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Laws were meant to be broken - 40%

Liquid_Braino, December 28th, 2012

The album cover doesn't hint at, but instead cries out that The Law Of One is a majestic, bombastic slab of unbridled symphonic metal. I suppose it is, but it's also something else. It's terrible.

Whoever mixed this album probably had the hots for the drummer, since his goddamn bass drum is so loud that it overpowers everything whenever the double bass pedaling erupts on numerous occasions. At the same time, the snare sounds like it was padded with a wet blanket, so maybe the affections were short-lived. The other instruments all fight for second ranking in the mix, resulting in a smorgasbord of mucky riffs and synthesized orchestrations that bear a tendency to merge into a morass of convoluted melodies that bury themselves under the constant thumping of Adam Sagan's feet. A more imposing challenge for dominant attention production-wise is the perplexing vocals of Suvi Virtanen. I'm not sure if the engineering job is entirely at fault, but her voice is utterly unappealing to my ears. Yes, she can pull a serious vibrato out of her ass with ease, but her tone itself is borderline ugly, almost coming across like some guy trying to mimic a woman's voice via falsetto delivery at times.

As for the compositions themselves, there are a variety of styles present from ballads to power metal exploits complimented by admittedly proficient musicianship highlighted by some decent guitar solos and dextrous keyboard passages. There's also a fair bit of sloppiness on display, almost as if the band were on some free-wheeling high while recording this album, not caring that whatever sort of metronome they were utilizing (if any) had to have been practically crying for them to shape up and keep shit tight to no avail.

Memorable moments worth revisiting are quite few, but I can almost picture myself continuing to listen to "Say, Try, Lie, Die" on rare occasions in the future. The galloping pace sets a nice palette, and the singer is able to salvage a decent vibe despite her charmless tone by channeling a Lita Ford impression, which surprisingly works. Another track, "A Tear In Her Heart", has a notable section in which the band goes off on a technical showcase that's certainly impressive in a progressive sense, but unfortunately reverts in a jarring transition back to the tune's insufferable chorus.

As for the rest of The Law Of One, the two ballads comprising the center of the album boast skillful keyboard playing with some clarity thanks to the absence of those atrociously mixed drums, leaving only the vocals to ruin them. Just about everything else though feels like an exhibit in how to take music with some degree of potential to be decent, and suppress any positive attributes through merciless sabotaging of the mixing board. Maybe the band were going for a "true underground symphonic metal" angle for all I know, but if that was the case, then I'd have wished that The Law Of One was limited to a hundred cassette copies since I wouldn't have been so easily bamboozled by a snazzy cover brandishing a well designed logo, and instead initiated myself with their next effort which employed the talented superbabe from Visions Of Atlantis on vocals. Considering the pedigree of these seasoned performers, they should have known better.