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I hear a lot of Dan Swano. Who doesn't, the man is in many, many bands. Now, I know for a fact that Swano is a capable musician from all of the projects he's been a part of. He's a very great musician at that. This album impressed me in a lot of ways, but also left a lot out (or too much in, in some cases).
The guitars are fairly intricate, but I can't help but feel vexation from the general tone of the guitar. The guitar sound is very fuzzy and heavily distorted. In many forms of metal (death metal, black metal) that may not be a problem, but it just doesn't work here. It's like a very bad itch that I am not able to scratch...and it's always there. The acoustics are much better than the electrics because it is devoid of distortion and the fuzzy electric guitar sound.
The keyboards are actually kind of cool in a lot of the songs. In some songs ("Add Reality" for example) it really gives the music a bright and retro kick to it. My only problem is that the keyboards are heavily overused, and at times much too squeaky and wailing. The overuse of keyboards reminds me much of the band Styx, but to a lesser degree. If the keyboards were used in moderation I wouldn't care as much, but they are ALWAYS there.
The music sounds rather peppy and felicitous - perhaps too felicitous. Some songs remind me of old video game music (Castlevania, anyone?), except add in a bit of a cheesy edge and sometimes even preposterous. Not a bad album by any means, progressive fans would go ape shit over this album if they haven't heard it yet. Even if you're not a prog. fan, I'd say it's worth a listen or two. Bits of it are quite enjoyable, but to me, a lot of it sounds very hyper and oblivious to the world around it by being too happy.
If you're a prog. fan, you'll most likely bow down to this album and beg for more. If you're not, it's at least worth a listen; it might surprise you. Over all, the musicianship is superb, but there is just too much. Swano needs to learn to slow the fuck down at times.