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You should like this release - 99%

2Eagle333, June 27th, 2016

It's pretty good. In any case, Eleventh Hour are an obscure band from Oregon, that produce a style closely related to progressive metal, with a few resemblances to a significantly refined form of earlier Alder Fates Warning records like 'Perfect Symmetry.' With a slightly unique tendency of titles like 'Red Shift,' 'Mechanised,' and 'Our Own Device' - the second and last form an interesting contrast - they generally well express a sense of dissatisfaction or atomisation in the release's contemporary, slightly mechanical society. This is limited slightly by the vague nature of its thematic material, which tends to only vaguely skirt around a given subject matter, and hence is still slightly reliant on association and so on to make something coherent of it. Despite this, it is still one of the most refined and coherent metal releases in the general territory of progressive metal, and this is integrated better than most other releases.

The song 'Mechanised' takes on a slightly more personal take than most techno-thrash bands and so on when dealing with its general subject of the reduction of man to a machine in a certain society, featuring lyrics like, 'They will extract what once was you.' It has certain similarities to Fates Warning's 'The Arena' as well, but nonetheless deals with the general political area, the actions of people, and so on in terms of the mechanical analogy, which is further than most other takes on this do. It begins with the 'spoken' section keeping time with the instruments, and then goes on from there to a fairly personalised and critical view of life within the society it took as subject.

The music generally speaking draws on the usual trappings of more progressive styles, but stream-lines this significantly, and allows for this to keep going quite relentlessly. This means that its evocation of a more mechanical atmosphere on 'Mechanised' is generally more effective and continual than most. Nonetheless, it also allows for their music to gain a sense of aggression which is more typical of metal generally, and allows them to say things in a fairly forceful and notable way, which helps this record stand out and gives it a strong sense of indignance.

The song 'No Feed Desire' takes a perspective slightly less definite than its title is, of one who 'swallows life to feed desire' - on the one hand not minding suffering and its infliction, on the other using this to fuel 'desire.' This is generally more of an impersonal viewpoint, or not identified with the performers, as the title notes. While it might be slightly inconsistent in a way, this is in part to get across the more staid perspective of the title, and hence works in a way. The general perspective of this release is of one lost in some ways in a mechanised society, but nonetheless concretely hoping for something outside of this. This allows it a fairly detached and unconcerned perspective, which is effective and quite cutting. The confluence of the title of 'No Feed Desire,' and lines like, 'By dark my anger comes alive,' comes across as quite appreciably prudish.

'Red Shift' takes the more thrashy elements of this release, at times bordering on an incorporation of techno-thrash elements into a more progressive framework, and also generally attempts a slightly more serious take on the genre than is always present. It has the interesting feature of lines like, 'All that is solid has decayed,' along with, 'Victim of circumstances beyond my control, red shift has taken me over now,' which is interesting given the heritage of terms like that in the 'Manifest of the Communist Party,' where it is used to characterise its contemporary, 'mechanised' society. The song itself generally draws on a sense of purposelessness inherent to a given society, somewhat similarly to Holocaust's 'When Penelope Dreams.' Its title is also slightly interesting given the slightly vampiric imagery of 'No Feed Desire,' a theme which re-occurs on this release alongside that of disease, which gives it a fairly dark direction despite its polished appearance, and these form a sort of thread of coherence through the release despite the frequent divergence of subjects and themes.

This release is quite pointed and in some ways appropriate to the atmosphere of the 1990s, and hence quite divergent from the prior works of its performers. Its overall direction is quite efficient and continuous, which allows the instruments to progress quite fluidly throughout the song without generally needing too many breaks, allowing for some interesting and different patterns. In general, it takes a general direction in progressive metal and techno-thrash and refines and stream-lines it to the point of being near the zenith of this kind of genre. Its style generally stream-lines its more pointed nature, allowing for more straightforward integration of the slightly aggressive and organic vocals. It is generally speaking a cut above most bands, and its efficient style allows for it to easily involve quite a few subtleties, which in a sense alongside the slightly less clearly directional songs become the focus of the piece. It has many gems scattered along its length and the general themes dealt with.