Once I Had a Heart


Dyecrest is back with a new singer and new album.
November 29, 2023

Melodic heavy metal from Finland is what we have on the menu today kids. DYECREST is the band and they are releasing their 4th full length album Once I Had a Heart. The album before this was in 2018 and the band came back with a new singer for this 2023 release. Their output is mainly melodic metal, without the speed  but with some epic melodic touches. Finland is not strange for heavy music with bands like APOCALYPTICA, NIGHTWISH and CHILDREN OF BODOM just to name a few, therefore, I expect a well produced and performed album. Let's check what they got. The first tune is “Sacred Sleep” and the album starts strong with this one.  A well produced tune with all the elements of a good melodic metal band. Good musicianship, piercing high vocals, keyboards and double bass drum madness. This is a long song with different moods and melody lines letting us know that the band has well seasoned composers as well .

 We follow with “Man Made God” ( I couldn't agree more!) with a crunchy riff and a nice melody. The band makes good use of backing vocals on the chorus. Good bass presence by Jukka "Zoukki" Matilainen sewing the guitars and the drums together. The band has a little heavier output than its peers and despite the vocals being able to reach high notes, you are not going to hear high screams in every song. The 3rd tune is the album title “Once I Had a Heart” and this gave me immediate QUEENSRYCHE vibes. The song uses voice, piano and acoustic guitar with breaks of heaviness for the chorus. An efficient formula that does not turn the song into a ballad but soften the edges a little. We reach “Oathkeeper” that brings back the metal goodies and does not disappoint. With well placed and performed backing vocals, plus double bass drum madness by the competent drummer Niko Takala. Another very well composed tune with different moods. The best for me so far.

 We pass the midway point with “Face the Light” and the band slows down a little with a more calm delivery but still with touches of crunchy guitars. All songs have great backing vocals and this one is no different. Heavy  presence of keyboardist Pirkka "Pirkkis" Ohlis in every song  and he also plays a third guitar in the band in some songs I suppose. The next tune is “Ready My Mind” and this one ups the energy a little. This is another one of my favorites on this album. The band mixes very well heavy crunchy riffs with epic melodies and despite the great number of bands in this specific genre, they do put a little of their stamp in each song avoiding immediate comparisons. “Colder” is next and brings a little more the keys to the front of the speakers letting it command the riff in some parts leaving the guitars in the background. Good melody and chorus and the usual nice backing vocal work. We get closer to the end with “The Final Act”. This one has the usual good work of guitar players Henri Arola and Matti Pasanen. A solid guitar duo as required in any melodic heavy metal band. Great solos and guitar battles that reminded me of  the band ANGRA despite the difference in the vocals. This is another highlight of a good album.

 We get to the end of the journey with “Fire From Your World”, the inevitable ballad…and is a reasonable one. With just a piano guiding the melody and another good performance from the new addition of the band, the singer Mikael Salo. He surely has a good voice and despite singing the majority of the album in a medium register, he is very capable of reaching high piercing notes with ease. A great match for the band and hopefully we will hear more from all of them in  future projects. A solid release of a well seasoned band that does not stay behind their more famous counterparts from Finland. An album that has something extra to show despite inevitable comparisons with other bands within a very well explored genre. I do hope the new band formation remains and that they will not take many years to release another album.

7 / 10









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"Once I Had a Heart" Track-listing:

1.Sacred Sleep  

2.Man Made God  

3.Once I Had a Heart  


5.Face the Light  

6.Read My Mind  


8.The Final Act  

9.Fire from Your World


Dyecrest Lineup:

Jukka "Zoukki" Matilainen-Bass

Niko Takala-Drums

Henri Arola-Guitars

Pirkka "Pirkkis" Ohlis-Guitars, Keyboards

Matti Pasanen-Guitars

Mikael Salo-Vocals 


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