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Listening carefully the entire album, I realized that James Murphy becomes one of my favorites bands. The style of the band is just great because the band has a very original style and many brilliant combinations with other music genres.
First of all, the production of this album is just excellent. The very 'dark' ad 'fast' guitars can be heard during the whole album and the solos have a great musicality with skillful scales, brings to the album a good sound. The drums have a very good pattern and rhythm, and do well with the tempos. The job made with the bass guitar is just great, their sound gives to the music a good sound and musicality to the album.
With respect to the structure of the album, I think that the album is nicely structured because all the instruments and vocals are well-structured, do well with the tempos and the scales of the guitar solos fit well with the music. Also, all the instruments do well with all the variations that have this album and the different combinations of genres.
The lyrical themes in this release are simply great and the work done by the vocalist are awesome. I think that he does an excellent job here and he gives to the music the progressive style. The lyrical themes are very intersting because the themes are related to life.
To finish, if you like the progressive metal with some variations in the music, you'll like this album. The style, the riffs, the solos, the structure and the lyrical themes are just awesome. Also, the sound quality of this release is very good. If you're looking for a progressive metal with some genres combination, you might to pick this one up.
What a divine piece of artistic genius!
This album is a pinnacle heap of genius, not just from a guitar player's perspective either. This album is basically a shred infested array of songs, chalk full of catchy melodies, great drumming, a contrast in capable singers...and lastly some very innovative lyrics.
Yes, its fair to say that I may be James Murphy's biggest fan, but then again, this guy has such an undeniable resume, that if this particular album doesn't fit the bill for you, then check out Testament, or Disincarnate, or Death, or...and the list goes on, and on.
My point is this! Simply put, he is one of the top dogs in the world of shred, period! Oddly enough, one of the few players in the thrash scene today who still stands along side James in terms of his ability is none other than Alex Skolnick, ironic isn't it?
Maybe not, but enough rambling, and let me very quickly break down this album. Track one, and three are stellar. I am not the biggest fan of SYL, but I must confess that Devin's "controlled" vocals on these two tracks may very well be his finest performances, next to the glammish stuff that he did with Vai back in the day.
Touching the Earth with Chuck Billy on vocals is a winner. Through and through, this song reeks of genius. What's interesting for me is that this is when Chuck was going through his Demonic period with Testament, and I must say that was somewhat displeased by comparing his vocals on this album, to that of the Testament release.
The track featuring Eddie Head...Red Alert, not quite sure who this guy is, but the dude has a cool voice that works really well with the riff in this song. He kinda sounds a little bit like Layne Staley from AIC, but make no mistake, this is anything but grunge! In fact this track may very well have some of the more memorable melodies on the entire album.
The rest of the tracks are pretty well all instrumentals and they are not your everyday run of the mill neo-classical shred, ala Yngwie, repeat the same shit over and over again as fast as we can possibly play wankery! No! This material oozes with feel and conviction from every bar. The genius that this man manages to create is beyond words. All I can say about this album is that if you like your music technical and heavy, yet catchy and melodic, then do yourslelf a huge favor and pick up one of the most underated shred albums ever released! NOW!
So, I am a little surprised that this album has not been reviewed. After all, James Murpy is one of the most influential guitarists in metal. I first heard his work on Testament’s Low and have remained a fan since. I’ve even sought out his work in Obituary despite not being a big fan of death metal. This is a man with a vision, well, at least when his vision wasn’t obscured by his tumor.
There is a little of everything present on this mostly instrumental album. I am not afraid to call it experimental, but there is a definitely a framework to every song and they all come together nicely to make a very enjoyable whole. Fans of Testament’s later material might be able to find some tangible similarities, since Chuck Billy does guest vocals on this album and the second track, “The Last One” seems to be lifted from some missing Testament album. Still, besides having the somewhat signature Murphy guitar sound, this album is not easily comparable to any music album that I have heard throughout the years.
Firstly, this album has soul. Sure it sounds cliché, but it’s true and it’s not insignificant. Songs like “Touching the Earth” and “Tempus Omnia Revelat” exude an artistic identity that is refreshing, sincere and powerful. The same is also present in his somewhat prophetic lyrics, but that is another matter that I will leave for the listener to decide.
I am not a big fan of Devin Townsend, his vocals and most of his projects, but he does do a decent job here. Of course I would have preferred to have Billy do the vocals on this album, but I can’t have it all.
The purpose of a review is to interest a potential listener. So, I hope that this brings some more attention to James Murphy, since it’s likely that the man will no longer be to repeat his work due to his surgery. So, I guess this is an ode to James and his contribution to the music world we live in.
This album gets a 93%, because very few albums should rightfully get a very high score, nor do I consider this release to be the pinnacle of anything. It’s just a great guitar oriented album from a great musician. Enjoy.