THE dark horse treat of 2008
A fresh take on prog-metal,this unknown indie debut album is simply amazing. While not quite at the technical level of Dream Theater's best, it reaches at and even slightly above the level of some of prog-metal's biggest names (Symphony X, I'm looking at you), and is easily the most technical and polished debut album of any band I have heard. Despite the indie release, the sound quality is also superb, and there is no noticeable difference between this recording and any labeled record. The sound is heavier, more minor key, and more aggressive than much of DT's discography, especially the earlier works, and, as many will appreciate, is not in any way power or progressive-power metal (a genre I enjoy, but is often very mono-rhythmic and repetitive). The vocal style is lower in pitch and far more aggressive than the traditional power metal, yet is never grating and not a scream is to be found in the album. The talent and level of polish far exceeds the very young age (under 22, if I'm not mistaken) of each musician, and the songwriting is as phenomenal as the technicality. The keyboard flawlessly harmonizes and complements the guitar in some segments, then smoothly and quickly switches to playing an individual part in the next, adding significant layering and depth to the music as the keyboardist is a virtuoso of his instrument, which is demonstrated in dueling synth/guitar solos worthy of The Human Abstract, Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold (in the legendary "City Of Evil" album), or any power metal band. While the drummer is clearly no Portnoy, his performance is more than acceptable for the debut album, as the drums tend to be the instrument that changes the most over a band's first few albums. While the highlights of the album are "Permanent Scars","Crazy Times","Mind Control", and "Tangent Universe", it is similar to "City Of Evil" in that nearly every song is on the same high level and even the low points ("Predestination" is far too short at 1:40 and "I've Waited" and "Lost Vision" are slower and more acoustically instrumented) are excellent and stand above the work of many of the band's peers. Tracks are generally long, with the only tracks more than 3 seconds below 5:00 being "Lost Vision" and "Predestination". The vast majority of tracks, however, range from 6.5 to 7.5 minutes, with "Mind Control" reaching 8:50. Lyrically, the album contains no offensive material of any kind, though it is a somewhat ominous concept album vaguely telling the story of an oppressive government and censorship. The band allows their Christian worldview to be seen in their lyrics, though one must interpret the symbols and metaphors of the lyrics in all but a few more direct references and a secular listener could likely listen to the album and not notice, and would certainly not be offended. I have been in constant awe since seeing this band as the final band of Cornerstone music festival, the audience comprising of about two dozen due to their funk-esque name, lack of label, and unfortunate fest scheduling. I heard their music drifting across the fest to my tent, and literally sprinted to their show. They are simply THAT good. I would recommend this album to anyone who appreciates technicality, and cannot wait for their next album!
This is my first posted review but, if you don't have the full album in your MP3 player after 1 preview, then you're just dead musically. It's like Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Metallica, Demon Hunter rolled into 1. Such a perfect blend of these many styles and not one song is worth skipping over. So polished. So beautifully crafted and vocals are excellent. You can't play them softly, they are meant to rock the neighbors houses as well as your own.