Only Road – Gabriel & Dresden
Free Your Mind – Gabriel & Dresden
White Walls – Gabriel & Dresden
This Love Kills Me – Gabriel & Dresden
Underwater – Gabriel & Dresden
Hospital Piano – Gabriel & Dresden
You – Gabriel & Dresden
Sequoia – Gabriel & Dresden
Over Oceans – Gabriel & Dresden
Waiting For Winter – Gabriel & Dresden
Jupiter – Gabriel & Dresden
I’m Not Like Everybody Else – Gabriel & Dresden
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign and released through the Anjunabeat label, The Only Road is the second studio album from trance duo Gabriel & Dresden and their first since joining up after splitting back in 2008. Blending soulful lyrics, hypnotically driven beats and a unique vocal-heavy sound, The Only Road is an impressively crafted album, masterfully combining both slower, lyrically driven tracks with more anthemic, faster songs to great effect.
Gabriel & Dresden take us on a musical journey down a winding road of ups and downs, beginning with the mood-setting Only Road. The echoing lyrics contrast beautifully with the teasing progressive synth making for a very strong opening to the album. Although Cosmic Gate’s remix manages to really bring out the anthemic potential of the song, the original still makes for a solid start. From here, the first half of the album swings through contrasting tempos with the anthemic This Love Kills Me nestled in the middle. The end of the first half hits the brakes, slowing the tempo down for the emotionally driven, deep lyrics of Underwater.
Hospital Piano acts as a proverbial interlude here, combining a soft piano piece of instrumental music with echoing chatter and background noises. It’s certainly an odd inclusion and something not usually seen in an album like this but it does work if you listen to this in one sitting start to finish rather than picking out individual tracks at random. From here the album then increases in tempo, showcasing a selection of tracks that really bring out the best in vocalists Josh Gabriel, Sub Teal and Jan Burton who all feature heavily on the album. The 1 hour journey closes with the beautifully on-point lyrics of I’m Not Like Everybody Else, emphasising that this unique trance duo are truly different to everyone else out there with this style of vocal trance.
The Only Road is a moody, dark album, one dripping in emotion and encapsulating everything that makes this music so special. The lyrics feel poignant and deeply personal but constant shifts in tempo do make this quite the polarizing album. This does work well given the winding road Gabriel & Dresden are trying to present, especially combined with the effort to make every song blend into the next, but those after something more euphoric or driven with a sustainable level of energy will certainly be left wanting. Gabriel & Dresden’s return is one that’s certainly welcome and given the work done on this album, paint a light of positivity for the duo’s road ahead.
Verdict - 8/10