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This studio album perfectly shows if band members are talented, their product doesn't have to be equally good. It's impossible to record this, and preform it live later, unless you want to troll people. It's almost impossible to make heavy metal album without an excellent song. But they did it, 'cause they belong to this group of intelligent progressive metal people, so they have to experiment with everything, even with crap songs. This is not a good representative release for heavy metal, 'cause it doesn't have much heavy parts to enjoy. Amount of weak vocalists who preform vapid chorus and endless weak classical elements is simply too much. They even surpassed Stratovarius and some other bands with melodic approach which abuse keyboards.
There are 13 songs, impressive it seems, but there are so many goddamn intros which are bull-crap, and add even more nerdy feel for songs which come right after them, specially chanting in Latin in such ridiculous way. Short introductions and overtures are fine, but these are too weak and childish. The only great intro song which leaves good impression is Transcendence, yet it's 38 seconds long... that's the art of trolling. Michael Pinnella was probably the busiest band member, since he dominates almost in each second of every song with his mediocre keyboard work. Russell Allen's voice is powerless and too much lazy in general, but there are some energetic performances in fast songs. Michael Romeo didn't make many great riffs, besides some in Evolution (The Grand Design), Absence Of Light and A Fool's Paradise. His guitar solos are very rare, and those he made are nothing comparing to his solos on other releases.
Mike LePond wasn't notable at all, and along with Pinnella, Jason Rullo was busy band member too, but without any serious memorable work. It seems that all of them didn't have will to live, specially not to make creative and better stuff. Oh, I almost forgot, there is only one very good song here. Evolution (The Grand Design) has excellent riffs, cool refrains and great ambient. It's not their maximum, they could have done this one better if they removed slow part, and if Romeo played better and longer solo. That's all folks, the rest has been already described.
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Bad sides of this release:
Avoid this release, and don't spend your money on it, or time listening to this. You won't miss anything. If you really want to hear something great this band did, go, and listen to Divine Wings Of Tragedy, The Odyssey and Paradise Lost. The rest, well... better not to tell again.