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When you are reviewing a progressive metal album anyone tend to instantly, almost unconscious to think about Dream Theater and/or Symphony X. This is not the case with the progressive band Time Machine. These guys are from Italy and are not related to symphonic power metal bands either so what do we get with 'Evil'?
The production is crystal clear and each instrument sounds perfectly including Pino Tozzi’s amazing vocal performance. The guys give room enough to show off their skills and you get kind of the same technical approach from Threshold.
After the mandatory orchestral keyboard introduction we get ‘Where is my heaven’ and this is a perfect opening. It has solid guitar riff. The usage of keyboards perfectly combined with the music creates an atmosphere of elegance, exquisite taste instead of the overuse most progressive and/or power metal bands do.
The vocals go in the vein of Khan from Kamelot in Siege Perilous: balanced, not high pitched, not James Labrie and not going out of his vocal range. They are perfect for the music. This song has it all: a keyboard intro, delicious riffing, excellent vocals, and exquisite guitar solo, keyboard interludes, opera chorus and the bass sound is a desert for the ears. The drums are absolutely delicious too. Without going to show off skills he goes alone with the music giving it texture (almost like Don Tardy from Obituary) which is exactly what this albums needs.
Ok, that was only for the first song so I’d spend a lot of time describing each song so I am going to give an overall view of the album and some highlights. Progressive bands have to fail in some points like: it is the production or bass sound, the vocals, too progressive and not metal enough or vice versa, etc. What we get with Time Machine is an outstanding mix of all these elements. ‘Army of the dead’ has keyboards use in the vein of Rhapsody by in the background. The guitar solo is again an ‘orgasmic’ pleasure and this one has also operatic choruses.
Following we have ‘Kiss Of Fire’ where the opening riffs go along with the drums. Solid as hell that it doesn’t even sound progressive metal. We get Eddy Antonini from Skylark as guest playing a piano solo which again, goes perfectly with the music and it highlights the song. The song overall is a lot more progressive in the technical and tempo changes fashion but it is very heavy. We also get an instrumental with a lot of industrial sounds surrounding to give you an idea of a factory or (due to the album’s concept) some machinery preparing the armies of hell to take over the Earth. The instrumental is bass driven and the keyboards are the second instrument to show off and the sense of melody is outstanding.
With ‘Neghentropia’ I really can buy Roy Khan is singing there. Very dark atmosphere is provided here from the guitars due to the heaviness and rhythm tasty riffing. In Evil Lies we even have a female singer sounding (to me) like Candice Night from Rainbow. ‘Angel of Death’ is pretty much like the first slow tempo song and what a way to do it. Musically this one sounds like pulled up from ‘The Dark Ride’ album.
On and on we get astonishing musicianship throughout thou they are not related to Dream Theater and/or Symphony X’ progressive metal AT ALL! This is an album that every progressive metal fan MUST have although after the first half the songs become not as interesting as the first. If you claim you like heavy metal with plenty of skills and brains then get it. If you like conceptual albums with symphonic elements go and get it. Trust me you will not get disappointed by this piece of art and in no way I am a progressive metal hardcore fan, otherwise this will be less objective so the table is served, give it a chance!