4 out of 5 Stars!
First, let me begin by saying that I feel this band has a ton of potential. A TON!
The problem for not receiving a higher rating, mainly (in my mind, at least), lies in the quality of production. The tracks don’t have a cohesive sound quality—almost as if the album had been pieced together from different recording sessions with various engineers/producers. Sometimes the drums are muffled, sometimes they’re “in your face.” Sometimes the keyboards are diluted, sometimes bright. Etc., etc., etc. You get the drift. The variety is enough to leave you wondering how many months/years between recording sessions this album got recorded. The musicians and singer, more than capable, and at times stellar, are certainly not the problem. It always falls down to the mix on certain tracks, again, as if the album had not been recorded in the same studio(s) or period(s) of time—you can definitely tell which tracks received greater care when it came to the mix, or time, (or finances, more likely) available.
Still, please don’t get me wrong—nothing here is what I would consider “horrible.” Nothing at all. In fact, the overall package is still quite good when it comes to the Progressive Metal label. The band certainly shows an ability for writing some interesting tracks, and the singer (who reminds me of Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden fame) is definitely no slouch. With a bit of “loving care,” this band, in my opinion, could certainly excel into becoming a tremendous force in the Prog-Metal genre. They have the chops, and the instinct for melody when it comes to their arrangements, so hopefully they will glom onto some producer who has the same level of dedication to his/her trade as these boys obviously have.
I’d love to rate this release higher (since it has the potential to be KILLER) but not for the inconsistent production. Sorry, but “them’s the breaks.” Nevertheless, I’m a “hopeful yet reluctant” fan when it comes to the overall group.
For specifics regarding the music and atmosphere, there’s a bit of the usual Dream Theater influences, with also a touch of Shadow Gallery and Pain Of Salvation tossed into the mix, although I generally believe the band is closer in sound and style to Power Of Balance. A nice direction, overall, so again, allow me to reemphasize my opening declaration, that this band has a TON of potential. Whether it is ever realized, however, is the question. Prog-Metal fans should proceed with caution, yet please keep an open mind when it comes to sound quality, especially if you enjoy the bands mentioned above.