Combining elements of traditional heavy metal with doom, hardcore vocals, and occasional bursts of speed, Pittsburgh, PA’s Dream Death gained popularity among the metal underground in the 1980's.
The band formed in 1985 with guitarist Brian Lawrence, drummer Mike Smail, and Ted Williams on bass. Lawrence also took on the role of vocalist, as the band recorded their self-titled demo and played their first shows.
After a few months, the band decided on adding a second guitarist, Terry Weston (former Doom Watch bassist), and began writing the material for their second demo: "More Graveyard Delving". This demo, as well as a growing fan base from heavy live shows and word of mouth, got the attention of new metal label New Renaissance Records.
The song Method To Madness appeared on the label's Speed Metal Hell vol.3 comp, and New Renaissance then gave the band a full deal, resulting in their 1987 debut, "Journey into Mystery". Shortly after the release of “Journey into Mystery,” Dream Death parted ways with bassist Ted Williams, replacing him with Richard Freund.
With Rich on board, Dream Death recorded the 3-song "Ode To Sorrow" demo in 1988. This line-up would continue to play shows and write new songs before ultimately deciding on a name change, and slight style shift into the traditional doom metal band- Penance. Brian Lawrence would leave Penance after their 1992 debut album "The Road Less Traveled", followed by Rich Freund, after a European tour with Sleep and Cathedral.
Mike Smail and Terry Weston would record 4 more albums under the Penance banner, with shifting line-ups, through 2003. Dream Death reawakened in late 2011, with the Lawrence, Smail, Weston, and Freund line-up making their return to the stage on April 21st, 2012, at a sold-out 31st Street Pub in Pittsburgh.
The band debuted a new song that night, and continued writing the material that would inhabit 2013's self-released "Somnium Excessum". Dream Death would make two festival appearances in the summer of 2014.
First, at Pittsburgh's own annual punk-tinged Skull Fest, where the band co-headlined Day 2 at Mr. Smalls Theater.
The next weekend would see the band heading north to take part in Montreal, Quebec's Wings Of Metal. They were received by a raucous crowd at the Catacombs, marking their first performance on Canadian soil.
Following these shows, the band composed the songs that would become their 2016 "Dissemination" album. Tracking started at Mr.
Smalls (also the site of Somnium Excessum recording) in August of 2015, with engineer Larry Luther at the controls, and Chris Kozlowski also lending his production and recording expertise. Rise Above Records released this third full-length album on March 4th, 2016, though the band would not resume playing live until the following year.
A festival appearance is slated for April 1st in Philadelphia, at the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest. .
The official Dream Death FB page.
- August 1986
More Graveyard Delving
- November 1986
Journey into Mystery
- October 1987
- New Renaissance Records
Ode to Sorrow
- July 1988
Back from the Dead
- December 2004
- Psychedoomelic Records
Pittsburgh Doom Metal 1986
- January 2009
- Hell's Headbangers Records
- February 2013
- March 2016
- Rise Above Records