No, this isn’t a dream – Belfast metalcore outfit Dream Awake have finally released their new E.P. Don’t Hold Your Breath… and it’ll leave you gasping for more.

If you’ve ever listened to my radio show (what do you mean you haven’t?! Click here, you’ll love it), you’ll be familiar with my ‘Local Artist of the Week’ segment in which I dive headfirst into the world of rock, punk and metal across the island of Ireland. First and foremost, support your local scene. From Galway to Dublin to Derry/Londonderry, Ireland is bustling with awesome acts that deserve your attention. Belfast, of course, is no different and August 18th saw the return of one of the leading lights in the capital’s metal scene: Dream Awake.

After a summer that included appearances at Sunflowerfest in Hillsborough and the legendary Download Festival, the metalcore five-piece have burst out of the studio with their brand new E.P. Don’t Hold Your Breath. As part of the E.P.’s official launch, Dream Awake will be performing at Queen’s University Belfast’s Student’s Union this Friday to celebrate its release with support from Alpha Twin, Ketos and Mugged By A Ghost. But should you go? Should you do what metal expects of you and stick two fingers to the man by not doing what you’re told… should you, in fact, hold your breath for this E.P.? Well, let’s find out.

One thing that can be said about this release straight from the off is that its production is of supreme quality. Electing to work alongside Avenue Studios’ Daniel Kerr, who has overseen (amongst others) the likes of Southampton-based beasts Our Hollow Our HomeDon’t Hold Your Breath is deliciously crafted and displays a noticeable progression from Dream Awake’s debut E.P. Pathfinder from 2015. It’s a polished piece and bears a sound that would convince even the most know-it-all of music fans that this was a major label release. Bravo!

With a crash of thunder and the emptying of the heavens, ‘The Weathering’ is a strong, well-paced opening track with a sublime goosebump-inducing guitar line that courses throughout the entire song and will force you to bang your head. The inclusion of Napoleon’s Wes Thompson in the final phase of the song propels ‘The Weathering’ towards an almighty vocal crescendo and the perfect start to this release. Carrying over from its predecessor, ‘Mind’s Eye’ is another strongly crafted song. With a greater emphasis being paid to a “clean” vocal style, it is certainly one of the sing-a-long tracks of the E.P. and for future live performances.

Erupting into life after a tantalising fade-in, ‘Cataclysm’ is a breakdown enthusiast’s heaven that’ll rival the best in the business. Perhaps more than any other song on Don’t Hold Your Breath, the production value is most noticeable on ‘Cataclysm’. Every guitar lick, instrumental effect and flurry of drum beats will resonate in your ears and will further pull you into the song; ultimately, not letting go. ‘P.O.D’, the penultimate track of the E.P. is another strong offering with a lethal injection of heavy guitars and merciless drums. The MVP of ‘P.O.D’, however, is undoubtedly Christina Rotundo whose guest vocals provide another dimension to the song and an overall freshness to this release. ‘Heavy Heart’ rounds off this five-track E.P. with a further reminder of Don’t Hold Your Breath’s production merits and Dream Awake’s musical prowess: it’s the ideal closer to an overall great release.


Dream Awake’s BRAND NEW E.P. Don’t Hold Your Breath is OUT NOW!!!

Follow Dream Awake on FacebookTwitter or by visiting their official website to keep updated on news, tours and new releases.

Remember, the Don’t Hold Your Breath E.P. release show will be taking place at Queen’s University Belfast’s Student’s Union on August 25th – click here for more info. 

Matthew Kirk

Matthew Kirk

Host of 'Maximum RPM' 2014-2017
Winner of 'Radio DJ of the Year' at's National Student Media Awards (SMedias) 2017 - three cheers for heavy metal!
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Matthew Kirk