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Great Stuff - 90%

Sraiken, October 26th, 2006

This album is an amazingly good progressive rock album. It’s filled with, as the name would suggest, acoustic guitars. The vocals bear a really strange resemblance to Bono from U2 at times, but without all the drama of his vocals.

Overall, the album is just some really good soft progressive rock that I use when I’m in the mood to calm down or relax. It maintains the musical ability that makes progressive rock and metal unique, as the guitars are never simple, but rather filled with complex arpeggios at times. All in all, the songs are extremely catchy, in their own sort of way. They’re not of the type that you can get pumped up to or mosh to. Rather, they just sort of take up space in the background, and they have the ability to completely fill the room with the soft guitars and keyboard washes.

There is not one single filler song on the album. The production is also very top-notch, as every single little detail comes through clearly. This is especially important considering the use of keyboard accents. The guitars shine perfectly, which is important considering the fact that there are no distorted guitars to speak of. Thus, they can’t compensate the way a band like Opeth does at times with a wall of sound. They use a crystal-clear production.

As far as the actual songs themselves go, they are just amazing. They are simple in their structure, and generally short and sweet. They are most similar to some of Porcupine Tree’s songs, but without the atmospherics that that band tends to use. As I listened to the albums, I found myself singing right along with the choruses, which is a testament to how instantly these songs get into your head and stay there.

What’s more, after the album was over, I still found myself singing some of those choruses, most notably a vocal line from “The Burden Is Mine…Alone”. That song is clearly the best song in an amazing set. Another highlight is the closing song in the set, “High Tide Waves”. This is the only song in the set to have any sort of electric guitars at all. These guitars are distorted, but clean for the most part. There is also an electric guitar solo in the song, although it’s very quiet, kind of like a guitar solo you’d hear on a NAC/Smooth Jazz song, or on an Opeth song from the “Damnation” album.

My one complaint is in the song “9-29-045”. This song is ridiculously long. So long, in fact, that it starts to lose the catchiness that makes the rest of the album so great. This is just a minor complaint, though, as the song is, despite being the worst on the album, still an amazing one.

All in all, the album is just great. It is one of those progressive rock albums that, if you like this genre, or even if you like some alternative rock or AOR, you should definitely have this in your collection. It’s flat-out brilliant the way it’s put together. I’ve listened to this album without fail whenever I go to do any sort of homework. It’s perfect background music, but at the same time, if you want to listen to it just to listen to some good music, this album also fits the bill.