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“Lapse of Reality” is the biggest departure from the Ring of Fire album that inspired the band’s inception yet, employing even more Progressive elements from the Symphony X and Dream Theater style and moving further away from the traditional Neo-classical influence of Malmsteen. There is a good deal of low end riffing in odd times mixed with odd time meters that almost make certain songs such as “The Machine”, “Change” and the title track sound like they could have been placed on Symphony X’s “The Odyssey”.
A principle change in the band’s line up of Steve Weingart replacing keyboard virtuoso Vitalij Kuprij is a key factor in the new sound, as he tends to rely a bit less on the outer space sounding synthesizer tracks that gave the earlier Ring of Fire material a quasi-Ayreon sound. Most of the keyboard sounds on here are piano tracks and string sounds, although occasionally we do get a more mechanical sounding set of ambiences like the kinds found on “Machine”.
Some of the songs on here have more speed moments than others, such as the technically driven “The Key” during the chorus, or the dark and heavy sounding “Don’t Know”. But for the most part, rather than having straight up fast songs like on previous albums, here they are dispersed in the form of fast sections to songs with slow intros and many changeups. “Faithfully”, “Perfect World” and “One little Mystery” exhibit this to varying degrees, as they all possess a mish mash of minimalist riffs and double bass pedal bursts that is peculiar to the Neo-Classical Prog Metal style.
This album is definitely not for everyone who liked the earlier material on the last 2 studio albums, it is indeed quite different. However, it is also very consistent from start to finish, unlike “Edge of the World” which almost listened like a split album with 3 different bands on it. If you like Dream Theater, Symphony X, and other bands that mix Malmsteen style soloing with an unconventional approach to song writing that is beyond Malmsteen’s repertoire, this album will work for you. I like it, but I treat it as a different creature than “The Oracle”, which is my favorite studio album out of the ones released thus far.