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I have a lot of gripes about this album. If these guys wanna wank, more power to them, but don't play crappy ballads all the time that hardly qualify as mediocre. Stellar production, cool lyrics, good musicianship (obviously), but unfortunately they couldn't cut down on the crap.
The Bad tracks include Blind Faith, which actually breaks into something worthwhile speedy bluesy section at about 5.01, but it's much too late to start shredding, the listener already gave up. Misunderstood is a worthless power ballad, that has about as much balls as a hamster. The Great Debate has a couple good riffs, but it's all been done before. As I was nodding off during the plodding Disappear, I could have sworn James said "I have a mangina". Obviously another pussy ballad. If that wasn't enough, there's a whole other disc chock full of more eunuchified crapola. Overture goes for way too long, if this track was like 2 minutes long total I would probably praise it, but they milk it, and milk it, and I'm getting very sleepy again. Goodnight kiss is another power ballad, I want METAL, not some crappy ballads with excellent prog metal thrown in. Losing Time Grand Finale ends off the title track with some fast prog metal that just shreds... oh wait it's more pussy rock.
There are only a couple above mediocre tracks, those being best described as the ones that stand out from the boring pussy rock but aren't quite excellent metal. About to Crash and it's reprise are really mellow prog with some heavier hints in the reprise. James sounds good, and the lyrics and overall composition work well, especially the piano parts, really different. Solitary Shell also is pretty good, not quite a ballad, but yet it is, just more of an uplifting and uptempo ballad, and the lyrics are fairly touching, detailing a man's life of introversion and depression, to which many of us can relate, so it works in the way that it means something, and the music amplifies that.
The good tracks on here aren't really just "good" they fucking kick ass 14 ways to Sunday! The Glass prison starts out fairly foreboding, then adds some killer guitar work, eventually repeating the forward moving melody. A little keyboard. Then as it slows into 1.45 it takes off with a killer wah-laden lick, headbanger's rejoice! Every time that licks comes back it's just ownage. Later on the melody returns with more cool keyboard stuff, then ritards into a heavy one note groove riff. Pretty much the song stays heavy throughout and goes for 14 minutes(!!) but never get's long-winded, and that's quite the feat.
Movements 3&4 of the title are the best, not just amonst this album but amongst the great stuff. War Inside My Head is a great song about war, although I never really got the "inside my head" though possibly it's all in the narrator's mind? Badass either way you take it. "A free vacation of palm trees and shrapnel" yes that's definitely metal through and through. It leads right into The Test That Stumped Them All, which starts out with shredtastic riff, leading into a two note riff for just a bid, and the verse destroys. James sings with balls, and the riff underneath is thrashy as fuck, some of the psuedo triplets in there. The riff that reoccurs between the different parts of the song is kind of similar to the fast riff in metallica's one, but is much better. The solo section has a new riff, and the shredding from the intro comes out of nowhere, still good. A keyboard solo, return to shred, end.
Why, someone explain to me why they couldn't play more heavy tracks? If it was all pussy rock under the guise of progressive that's one thing, but those kickass tracks really frustrate me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way. So in closing, download the three godly tracks and buy a Yes cd, you'll be much more pleased that way.