(Inside Out Music/Century Media Group)
I can't think of a less auspicious start to such a great album. The first track, and album title, is like a low rent homage to symphonic NWOBHM. After four or five listens it is becoming almost tolerable.
And this is followed by 'Forced Entry', which happens to be an excellent description of how the experimental warbled guitar feels as it penetrates my ears. I almost gave up until half way through the song a guitar solo slipped in like a fortuitous Micky Finn.
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Things started to make sense. I started to feel at home. It was music I like with a naked twist of prog melody and before I knew it I was pursing my lips and nodding my approval of the clever note choice. There was no obvious hook, just a seductive vocal line that I felt I should be able to join in with.
The first stand out track, the fifth on the album is called 'Mb. Indifferentia'. I have no idea why. And I don't care. It starts slow with a simple and gentle tune. Over six and half minutes it builds to an end that tears a strip out of prog blandness and spits forward something altogether more emotional.
The next track to grab my attention was 'Mediocrity Wins'. Check it out Alanis. That's actually irony. Listen up and if you like it, buy something.
I only wish I liked the guitar sound. If you checked the clip you can form your own opinion but to me there is something missing when playing typical Metal rhythm. I can't place my finger on it but there's a lack of bottom end and the mids are more like a flappy-rasp than growl.
When playing lead or lightly picked chords everything sounds great. It's not a massive problem and I can easily look past it. In the context of the album it's a minor niggle as the songs are great.
Whenever 'Bilateral' comes around I smile in preparation for the aural pleasure that's about to come my way. All I need is a skip button that will take me half way through a track and I'll be perfectly happy.
Musically it sits with Opeth's 'Watershed' but is yet more epic and symphonic. It's not quite as inventive or plain catchy, or even as varied but if you like Ishan, Opeth or any euro symphonic Metal then I'm confident you'll love this.
It draws together classical, opera, jazz, and rock into a real Heavy Metal Prog experience. It's been on in the car for some time and I've not even started to tire of it.
It'll never be as popular as Bon Jovi but it is sure to please a broad selection of discerning listeners.