Tom De Wit's latest effort; The Antithetic Affiliation is the most prestigious album he has worked on so far. After disbanding his previous band Mind:Soul he could completely focus on a project that eventually would become TDW & Dreamwalkers Inc. The recordings started somewhere in 2014 and would last to this year's release of The Antithetic Affiliation; a double album that is divided in two segments. The first CD; The Idealist represents a more melodic, symphonic side of TDW's music, while the second one; The Cynic emphasis on the darker side and tends to be more metal than the first CD. Over the years the project had grown from a kind of solo effort to a real band situation, Dreamwalkers Inc. became the addition to TDW and accents the real band situation. Besides Tom De Wit the Dreamwalkers are: Lennert Kemper, Norbert Veenbrink and Joey Klerkx on guitars, Vincent Reuling on synthesizers, Hanna van Gorcum on violins, Peter den Bakker on bass and drummer Kenneth Martens. Besides these musicians The Antithetic Affiliation sees a number of guest musicians and vocalists, also several band members add their voices to the album.
As a bold choice, The Idealist opens with a massive epic track; The More We Remember. Almost twenty three minutes of wonderful music, where all the progressive aspects have been woven into each other. The combination of TDW's vocals and guest vocalist Radina Dimcheva proves to be a winner, both voices perfectly blend and the accompanying choir adds a splendid symphonic touch to the epic. Anthem is a shorter progressive rock track, where the vocal choruses are really catchy as well accessible. Nevertheless Anthem is more powerful than the previous epic, but equally impressive including some really awesome guitar solos. Lovesong shows the gentle side of metal music, TDW reveals his inner self during this smooth symphonic, acoustically driven song. The Idealist closes with the first part of the track Monolith, The Ascent. A fine progressive rock track that tends towards progressive metal and holds a great synth solo as well as some nasty grunts and great guitar parts.
The Cynic continues where the first CD left us, but like I mentioned the darker metal feel is more prominently present. Towards the end of Monolith- The Descent, the power is lessened and The Decent turns into a nice acoustically track with smooth folky elements. Aphrodisia opens soft, but after two minutes a majestic riff kicks in and brutal power takes over. I guess Tom has never sounded as nasty as he does during this specific vocal part, Nice! Although the track ends nice and smooth, without a doubt Aphrodisia is the most metal track on the album. Dirge, like Lovesong is an almost acoustic track. Dark, emotional and the beautiful voice of Cailyn Erlandsson, that turns out to be a perfect combination with TDW's vocals. Lest We Forget is the final track on The Cynic, together with Aphrodisia the tracks that are the heaviest on the double album. Tom growls, screams and sings beautifully on this epical progressive metal tack. A big kudos for the wonderfully recorded guitar parts and solos, which sound fantastic. But also the trumpet and trombone parts, played by Thomas Cochrane are brilliantly embedded into the composition. In the end Lest We Forget turns out to be my personal favourite on the album.
TDW & Dreamwalkers Inc. launched their live debut during the pre-party at Prog Power Europe 2016, playing a number of the freshly recorded songs as well as some older compositions. All of them in an acoustic setting. During this memorable event, the video that is presented on the third disc was recorded. Like Tom explains on the video, there were some technical problems during the recordings, but nevertheless he wanted to add the show; An Acoustic Night At The Chapel as a DVD to the album. These live acoustic recordings show how intense as well as familiar the show was. The audience present all belong to the great Prog Power family and showed their respect to TDW & Dreamwalkers Inc. Although the recording is not flawless, it does give you a wonderful insight of both a TDW performance as well as how tight and connected the PPE family is.
Tom's new step in music is one towards more professionalism, intense music and wonderful songs. The Antithetic Affiliation turns out to be an amazing album recorded by some very talented musicians.
Finally I am happy for the mentioning of Bert in the liner notes, I guess this little furball is the real genius behind the album.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Dave Smith)
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