Not that it's a bad thing, but Swedish power metal act Dream Evil's latest LP, 'In the Night,' has drawn a ton of critical comparisons to the arresting work of Judas Priest. Of course, that shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since it was Priest who laid the groundwork for the current crop of speed and power metal masters -- bands like Dream Evil. And bassist Peter Stålfors freely admits that he's "a big fan" and that Priest "are big influences on our music."

Still, Dream Evil are an atypical power metal quintet. They've somehow managed to evolve in a sea of similitude and while the bassist admits "we are stuck, mentally in the '80s with our style of music," Dream Evil have a sound that's forward-thinking in its approach while still holding true to the genre's origins. None of this, Stålfors insists, was deliberate.

"The music comes out from us just as it does," he tells Noisecreep. "We do not try to evolve or do anything on purpose. The music is created as our sick minds work it. We just play what we like to play."

'In the Night' is, for some fans, Dream Evil's best studio offering since 2004's 'The Book of Heavy Metal,' the band's last album to feature founding members Gus G. and Snowy Shaw. Stålfors agrees the band hasn't sounded this good since that LP, and says he's "very proud of this album. And personally, I even think the overall quality of the album is better than the album 'The Book of Heavy Metal.'"

Unfortunately, Dream Evil don't have any touring plans that involve the U.S. anytime soon. They've just returned from a European run with Finnish metallers Stratovarius and have plans for a U.K. trek this spring. This summer will be devoted to playing festivals throughout Europe. In fact, they've only played Stateside once.

"[It was] at the Key Club in Los Angeles in December of 2006, and we had a really flipped out interview with Hollywood Music Television after the show," explains Stålfors. "[Frontman] Niklas [Isfeldt] requested a small pool of sea lions be brought backstage ... but that couldn't be done, of course."