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It could have been a really great one... - 71%

kluseba, January 3rd, 2011

This album could have been a masterpiece of progressive music as I listened to the original version of the epic "You or me" that was reduced to a short single by the label with the help of Desmond Child. The album was intended as a double album including a brilliant second part of "Metropolis" with a length of more than twenty minutes and thsi excellent demo can still be found and ordered at Ytse Jam Records or simply found on the internet. But this new album now mostly tries to continue the silent and calm style of "Awake" with a more commercial approach. Faceless ballads like "Peruvian skies", "Hollow years" or "Anna Lee" just bore to death. The mainstream production by the horribly overrated Kevin Shirley is another weak point of this record without guts and experiments. Even the epic "Trial of tears" is just an endless suffering and makes me fall asleep. This could have been such a great record but the pressure and conditions at that time made this album one of the worst ones in the band's discography instead. The extremely bad cover artwork adds another minus to this album.

But there are still a couple of great tracks on this record after all. The straight opener "New millenium" or the darker and more atmospheric "Burning my soul" as well as the very atmospheric and magic instrumental track "Hell's kitchen" that convinces with beautiful guitar leads are some of the hidden masterpieces on this commercial record. My very favourite track is the very progressive "Lines in the sand" that has some surprising and amazing Krautrock and electronical influences and strong back vocals by King's X singer Doug Pinnick. This song is extremely diversified, surprising and grows more and more every time I listen to it.

It's because of those songs that I still like this record and would recommend it to a fan of progressive music and would not vote this album as the band's worst effort and can give at least an average note.