Gabriel & Dresden – ‘The Only Road’ (Album Review)

When one of the most iconic acts from the early days of trance music Gabriel & Dresden decided to return to the game after an 11-year absence, good friends Above & Beyond were more than willing to welcome them back to their Anjunabeats label. After their self-titled debut album in 2006, ‘The Only Road’ this is only Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden’s second studio album, but one thing is certain since the December 15 release of the highly-anticipated successor: it has been worth the long wait!

‘The Only Road’ is meant to be listened to from the beginning to the end – and in that particular order only. The album’s second disc proves this, as it contains the edited versions of the twelve tracks on the actual album, again in the exact same order. When hearing it from start to finish, the listener is really taken on a magical journey, as each single track on its own manages to create feelings of nostalgia and melancholy, with emotions ranging from sadness and darkness to subtle euphoria. Vocal support from the likes of Sub Teal and Jan Burton on several of the album’s tracks are the perfect fit to the atmosphere that the album breathes.

Gabriel & Dresden’s sophomore album is filled with highlights and in total a true piece of art. Music fans from all genres should be thrilled that the American duo returned to producing dance music, as the guys created an amazing blend of styles – and managed to turn these into one fascinating story. Yes, their history in trance music shows in the previously released singles ‘This Love Kills Me’ and ‘Waiting For Winter’, but even tech sounds (‘Free Your Mind’), house and progressive tracks (‘White Walls’, ‘You’) and ambient/chill-out tunes (‘Hospital Piano’ and ‘Underwater’) are featured on the ensemble, proving the pairs’ skills as multi-talented producers.

Gabriel & Dresden said about the album:

“What makes ‘The Only Road’ special is that it was fan-supported and fan-inspired. We didn’t just make this record for us, we made it for all of the people that had faith in our music. For us, it isn’t just an album — it’s our soundtrack of the past 11 years — the beautiful, the ugly, the melancholy and the hopeful.  It’s something we’re proud to share because it represents who we are and the long road we traveled to get here, or should we say… the only road.”

‘The Only Road’ stands for who Gabriel & Dresden were in the past and it flawlessly moves on to who they have become as artists in the years of their absence. The result is an absolute masterpiece, possibly one of the best and most authentic albums of the year 2017.