Theocracy may be the most recognizable face in the Christian power/prog metal niche but Jacobs Dream is one of its more enduring participants. While the Columbus, Ohio group has been around in some form or another since 1994, this is not only their sixth full-length album but also their first to come out in nearly a decade, the last one having been 2009’s Beneath the Shadows. Sea of Destiny also seems to be the only album to feature vocalist Kevin Wright as he has since left the group, effectively making room for original singer David Taylor.
While early Jacobs Dream was comparable to Helloween or Queensryche, with the vocals in particular having that Michael Kiske flavor, Sea of Destiny oddly reminds me of the albums that Yngwie Malmsteen released with Tim “Ripper” Owens some time back. The guitar riffs and songwriting style are similarly muscular yet epic, Yngwie’s signature reverb heavy production style echoes throughout, and the vocals are delivered in a Ripper-style shriek. It may not be what longtime fans would expect from Jacobs Dream, but as someone who thought that Perpetual Flame needed more representation, I’ll gladly take this approach.
Thankfully the band’s actual songs aren’t anywhere near as focused on wankery and don’t run together all that much. After starting with a series of solid songs, things start to pick up as the shred-friendly instrumental “Echoes of Birmingham” transitions to the more power metal leaning “Into the Night.” From there, “Combustion” is another speed metal monster with a slowed down chorus to match and “Lady of Sorrows” is a punchy mid-tempo rocker.
Overall, Jacobs Dream’s sixth album may sound a little weird for those expecting the more elegant power prog style that made their first two efforts so strong. Thankfully the execution is solid and is energetic enough to make the album enjoyable on its own merits. Sea of Destiny is a couple songs shy of being an essential recommendation but if you like your power metal with a bit more speed and shred in it than most, then this’ll be right up your alley.
“Into the Night”
“Lady of Sorrows”
Sea of Destiny is now available both digitally and on CD via CD Baby.