Review – Dreamwalkers Inc – The First Tragedy of Klahera

Dreamwalkers Inc is the brainchild of the multi-talented Tom De Wit, when it comes to music (especially prog-metal) there isn’t much this high energy Dutch wizard can’t do with regard to songwriting, playing, production and, on top of that, he’s a really nice guy and someone who I consider to be a friend. Having said that, this review will be objective, like every one I write.

Tom is a storyteller and with ‘The First Tragedy of Klahera’, that’s exactly what we get. Music started as a way for the latest news to be passed around, the bards singing the stories (with a bit of poetic licence, obviously!) to a rapt audience as they passed through settlements that were starved of the latest news and were often vast distances apart.

Storytellers. Society has had a place for them ever since history has been recorded. And stories can be deeper than one might see on the surface. The simplest of fairytales can hold deeper meanings and social commentary that takes some time to digest.

The album’s concept stems from a story written by singer/frontman Tom de Wit which was adopted into a novel by Janneke Stam (to be released somewhere in the future). The story is a high fantasy/steampunk epic, that details about a girl found in a forest on a dark fated night that is adopted into a small village by a loving couple. The girl is clearly different from everyone in the village and seems to be at odds with everything. It feels like everything she thinks and stands for is ‘not normal’ according to the world around her. This leads to a dark conclusion at the end of this record that will be revealed as the songs pass. The story of this girl named Klahera forms the basis of this album. Subjects like social alienation & trying to belong somewhere are present here. But also concepts as justice, how history is written & the influence and interpretation of religion and it’s consequences are touched upon.

Aided by a cast of voice actors known from other work in the progrock sphere, the band has tried to craft a record that almost plays like a movie from start to finish. ‘The First Tragedy of Klahera’ is the first in a set of albums and the story will continue on the next record. With this new body of music under their belt, Dreamwalkers Inc is excited to get out into theworld, play shows and tell this story to whoever wants to hear it. Because some stories deserve to be told and the band believes this is one of them.

Dreamwalkers Inc creates a melodic blend of progmetal & progrock with influences from all over the musical spectrum. The pandemic has seen the line up change and the new 6 person band that emerged sounds fresh and new. Featuring newcomers Sander van Elferen on Drums & Bjorn van der Ploeg on bass providing the rhythmic backbone of the band. Guitarists Lennert Kemper & Norbert Veenbrink provide the melodic and heavy tapestries on top. And the vocals are provided by Tom de Wit & Radina Dimcheva who provided different yet distinct voice colours to the mix. Aided by a cast of voice actors known from other work in the progrock sphere, the band has tried to craft a record that almost plays like a movie from start to finish.

With an introduction like that this album has to be something special and, once again, Tom doesn’t let us down. I have a love/hate relationship with concept albums finding some to be brilliant, musically diverse, musical events that stun and impress, while others are overblown and overwrought and, simply put, not worth the time. To save on the anticipation, I’ll tell you now that ‘The First Tragedy of Klahera’ sits firmly in the former category, so let me tell you why…

There’s all that’s great about prog-metal in this album, and in Dreamwalkers Inc’s sound in general, the loud “aggression” and amplified guitar-driven sound of heavy metal combined with the more experimental, cerebral or “pseudo-classical” compositions of  progressive rock and the band do it extremely well, you can hear it on Oldstead and the darkly delicious, brilliant It Lives especially. However, what you also get is the inventiveness of tracks like opener Justice My Tragedy which is almost hauntingly gothic in places as well as delivering huge, monumental slices of heavy rock and growling vocals, a pure melting pot of musical brilliance. Despicable is another sublime piece of music, it’s almost jazz/prog fusion in places and puts a big grin on my face, oh and don’t get me started on the brilliant, intricate and incendiary guitar playing on this song! The wistful, soulful wonder of Pushed is just beautiful and Tom and Radina’s vocals are as emotive as can be, it just a gorgeous song.

And what also makes this a phenomenal album are the performances of the musicians, van Elferen and van der Ploeg make one of the most cohesive rhythm sections you will ever hear in any band, never mind a prog-metal one and the guitars of Kemper and Veenbrink almost have a life of their own and speak to you through the music. It’s not just the solos, it’s everything, there’s a superb section in the middle of the opening track where they are bluesy and soulful before breaking out into something much more primeval, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! And, as twin vocalists, Tom and Radina make just about the perfect pair, his harder edged, powerful clean and harsh vocal meeting the perfect foil in Radina’s glorious, almost operatic delivery and it fits this concept perfectly. Broken Puzzle Piece is a particular highlight of the ebb and flow that their vocal delivery adds to the music but it really shines on the longest track, Mother Dearest, one of the best songs I’ve heard this year, and not just in the prog-metal theatre either.

The addition of the voice actors is nothing short of genius and does give the impression of musical theatre, storytelling at its pinnacle. I recently went to see Les Miserables in London’s West End and , in my humble opinion, this brilliant album and story would fit there very well indeed.

Music has the power to move you, the power to enthral and beguile and this utterly immersive and captivating ninety minutes of music does just that. Dreamwalkers Inc have that innate ability to entertain and bewitch at the same time and with ‘The First Tragedy of Klahera’ they have delivered as powerful a music statement as you will hear this year.

Released 24th November, 2023.

Order the album here:

Shop | Dreamwalkers Inc – Progressive, Symphonic Metal from the Netherlands

Review – TDW – Aphrodisia EP – by Progradar

(Cover picture by  Kelly Thans Photography.)


“Can you expect to cure an itch, when you are wired to the core to revolve ’round it?”

A question that symbolizes the way it sometimes feels if you long for something dearly, but society just blatantly says ‘no’ to your face. This sentiment of frustration, disillusionment, anger and sadness forms the foundation for the brand new TDW songs featured on the ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’

Tom de Wit has helmed his TDW project for 13 years now, starting writing his first music at the age of 16. The proper start was made with 2008’s release of ‘The Haunts’, Tom’s first real albumAfter releasing multiple albums in its wake, 2014’s ‘Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To’ was a record that showed the diversity and intent of this musician’s output. Showcasing that the music of TDW could be intense, layered and heavy at one moment and intimate small and fragile at others.

The ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’ is a special release, part of a pre-ordering campaign that started in September of this year. This is a supporting campaign for the upcoming TDW album ‘The Antithetic Affiliation’, slated for an April/May 2017 release.

The four tracks on this E.P. are completely finished but will also change in their final incarnations on the album. More layers will be added and more nuances will be put into the final versions. Therefore, the songs on this E.P. sound genuinely different to what the final album versions will sound like. This E.P. is a gift for those who support TDW and the musical concept it stands for.

TDW are Tom de Wit (vocals, guitars and synths), Lennert Kemper (guiatrs and vocals), Vincent Reuling (synths and vocals), Hanna van Gorcum (violin, vocals), Peter den Bakker (bass) and Rik Bruineman (drums).

Guests on the E.P. are:

Radina Dimcheva – Vocals on Aphrodisia

Cailyn Erlandsson – Vocals on Dirge

Dave Mola – Guitar Solos on Aphrodisia

Sophie Zaaijer – Violins & Viola on Anthem


(picture by John van der Zee)

The opener on the E.P. is the title track Aphrodisia and it has a very calm and collected introduction with laid back music and delightful, hushed vocals of Tom de Wit and Radina Dimcheva overplaying each other with some lovely harmonised sections. The violin adds a particularly classy touch to the song and you feel that you are drawn along upon a lulling wave of emotion. This is the calm before the storm though as the guitars crash and the keyboards roar and the blue touch paper is lit! Bang!!! off we go on a powerful maelstrom that flings you forward through the sheer forceful power of the music. Excellent riffing and the dynamic voices of Tom and Radina give the song a real energy before we break into a keyboard section that Jordan Rudess would have been proud of. The technical instrumental sections have real virtuosity and skill at their core, proper progressive metal at its best. Trun the volume right up and enjoy the frenetically challenging guitar solo from Dave Mola that follows, this track has it all in spades! I love my mellow pastoral prog but every now and again you need music that just blows the cobwebs into next year and this delivers big style! Then a complete turn around and a beautiful closing to the track as Tom’s vocals deliver a wonderfully winsome ending.

This segues nicely into the melancholy and sombre feel to the opening of Dirge, a song that feels like a lament from the get go. Cailyn Erlandsson’s vocals add a wistful loveliness to the track and, yet, you cannot get away from that feeling of sadness that pervades all. The piano and delicately strummed acoustic guitar add a keen sorrowful edge to the fragile beauty at the heart of this song. A pensive, wistful track that leaves you in a nostalgic mood, looking back at what may have been, the fading glory of the past.

Anthem strides out with a bombastic glee, a thunderous riff and powerful drums powering this enigmatic song right into centre stage. Progressive metal tinged with a bit of power metal, forceful, compelling and dominant, with a guitar sound hewn out of graphite and drums that could fell mountains. The compelling, anthemic chorus adds a nice counter-balance to the mightily potent verse and weighty feel to the music. The guitar solo is mad, manic and, ultimately, a hell of a lot of fun and the way the track closes out is just sublime, I must have put this track on repeat about four or five times with the volume turned up to max, sod the neighbours!

The final track on this excellent E.P. is the electronica tinged Lovesong with its sci-fi sounding keyboards that open proceedings. Tom’s vocals are heartfelt and full of a laid back honesty. I really like the feel of the song as it is completely different to the rest of the tracks on the E.P. It just goes to show the diverse skills that this talented musician and his cohorts have. It is a song that puts you in a thoughtful and pensive mood and the use of Hannah’s soulful violin is perfect as it interchanges with the tender notes of the piano. A real change of pace for TDW that shows a graceful subtlety to their music and one that I hope makes an even bigger contribution to the new album.

So you will have to pre-order TDW‘s new album to get your hands on this little gem of an E.P. and I have to really emphasise the fact that you should. On the strength of these four very varied tracks, the new album is going to be something special indeed and, as a stand alone release in its own right, the ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’ is well worthy of being in your collection, the guest vocals of Radina and Cailyn adding another exciting dimension. Tom de Wit continues to impress me with every new turn in his excellent career.

E.P. released 19th September 2016 only with pre-orders of ‘The Antithetic Affiliation’ which will be released April/May 2017.

Pre-order ‘The Antithetic Affiliation from Layered Reality here and get the ‘Aphrodisia E.P.’