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I am usually very picky about music. To say the least, I'm slightly jaded. Technicality doesn't seem to impress me as much as it used to.
That being said, I'm glad I gave Time Requiem another chance after I was "disillusioned" by their latest album, Optical Illusion. Their self titled debut is probably the most impressive power/prog album I've had the pleasure of listening to. All instruments are pleasingly technical most of the time, but there's something more here. Modulations, counterpoints, variances from simple verse-chorus-verse to true progressive form adorn this album, with themes and motifs appearing then disappearing then reappearing again. This is to say, the songwriting is quite superb and the layers/textures of the keyboards are magnificent on the ears.
If you haven't gathered this already, this is one nearly constant eargasm. They turn the attack to 11 and don't stop until you've been officially mindf*cked. And, unlike later releases, Richard Anderson mixes up the keyboards. Harpsichords, organs, crystalline and aquatic sounds come from the keyboards, as well as traditional prog synthesizer sounds. As well, Anderson doesn't hog the limelight like on later releases. All instruments, including the voice, get their 15 minutes of fame here, and even the drums come out occasionally and rape your ears with mind-blowing precision.
The reason for my title of "The Final Boss" is because, on the non-existent RPG of my dreams, this is the music they'd play during the battle with the final boss. In short, there is a lot of material here. Whereas other bands are content to pad out a few ideas over the course of the album (and to some extent Time Requiem did that on Optical Illusion), here there is an overflow of creation, a neverending eruption of energy and fire from your speakers. Problems of being too derivative or unoriginal that plagued later releases are not present here. While Anderson is certainly influenced by artists such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Yngwie Malmsteen, the influence is extrapolated and deconstructed then reconstructed in a new form.
If you like neoclassical, you will probably cream your pants for this. If you hate neoclassical because of the constant wankery, you might find this slightly refreshing. It has parts where it hints at Anderson's influences, but then it evolves into more original and integral riffs. And, as always, it never ceases to amaze with the machine-like technicality. If you're the kind of person who doesn't like this, you probably wouldn't have found out about Time Requiem in the first place, so you (the reader) will probably like this, and I urge you to get it now.
Time Requiem is the new band of Swedish keyboard virtuoso Richard Andersson (ex-Majestic). Due to bad co-operations with his business partners, Majestic splitted and Richard formed Time Requiem in autumn 2001. He still works with the great musicians from Majestic (Peter Wildoer/drums, Magnus Nord/guitar and excellent singer Apollo Papathanasio) but also with new fresh blood with an extremely brilliant bass player named Dick Lövgren (ex-In Flames and Arch Enemy). On their self-titled debut album the band delivers 9 songs of the most well played, absolutely amazing, technical, neoclassical progressive metal ever. Probably the best material I've heard in quite some time. The music is similar to Majestic (think of a cross between Yngwie Malmsteen and Symphony X), but it's more complex, is faster and has lots of tempo changes. The compositions are dominated by Andersson's amazing keyboard playing, guitarist Magnus Nord's heavy riffing and Apollo's superb voice, somewhat theatrical vocals that are reminiscent of Symphony X frontman Russell Allen. As if that weren't enough, the production is also astonishing. All of the songs are musically interesting, and several feature some incredible playing and really show off the band's instrumental prowess (you really must check these songs out: "Time Requiem", "Watching The Tower Of Skies", "Milagros Charm", "Grand Opus" and "Above And Beyond"). Simply put this is some excellent music. Fans of Symphony X and Neoclassical Metal bands must get this album!!!
Stunningly original? Not necessarily. Just notice that Richard Andersson is the keyboardist (Majestic, Silver Seraph, Adagio, etc) and you kind of know you're in for some technicaly neoclassical power metal. But hey, it's really well done, and beats the hell out of the new Symphony X album in my opinion. Very diverse songwriting, and very well-structured, none of the songs ever fall into the pits of wankery or pretension. Overall it reminds me of Symphony X meets Yngwie Malmsteen (the Yngwie comparison really only came to mind on "Milagros Charm"), but the finest moments of each. Very technical overall but not unnecessarily so, although it is the drummer from Darkane (Peter Wildoer), Andersson, etc., so you know they're tight as hell. Memorable neoclassical keyboard runs, guitar/keyboard dueling solos, pummeling double bass and cymbal work, soaring (but not too generic) vocals, etc. Most of this band's members are in other projects too, so competency is at a high, fortunately-these guys know their stuff. A surprisingly flawless and tasteful debut album, and I expect the buzz on them to increase. If you appreciate quality neoclassical progpower metal, this is just what the proverbial doctor ordered. Another winning pick for Regain Records.