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Flawless iin every possible way. - 100%

MindRuler33, August 12th, 2007

My title for this review sums it up pretty well really. Listen after listen as more and more time goes by, I really can not find a single thing wrong with this album, not one complaint at all. Regardless of how many ways I analyze it, I can't find anything I don't like or even think could be improved upon. Let's take a look at the specifics.

Writing: I don't think you can ask for anything better than this when it comes to songwriting that is very emotional and well thought-out yet still definately has a metal edge to it. There's a couple "half ballads" on here, in the form of The Road Goes On Forever, Eye to Eye, and about 50% of The Eleventh Hour. These tunes offer up a very heartfelt side of the band, expressed through Jim Matheos' amazing guitar work and Ray Alder's unique and expressive voice. There are also however several tunes that are certainly more of a metal variety, such as Leave the Past Behind, Life in Still Water, Point of View, and Don't Follow Me. These songs generally feature enough harmonized guitars and complex rhythm section stuff to keep just about anyone happy. (Mid to late 80s Queensyrhce anyone?)

Playing: I can't fault the musicianship on this album at all. It's obvious from just a single listen that a lot of the playing is definately more complex than your average metal record, but on the other hand, this album does not do something many, many prog metal albums do, which is basically trip over their own feet by trying to write the most complicated music they can. The playing is very tasteful. The solos are flashy but only when the music calls for it. The vocals perfectly fit the mood of each song and passage, the drumming is very technical yet along with the bass delivers a much needed bunch when necessary.

Production: When I think of the greatest produced albums of all time, this is quick to come to my mind. Not a single thing is wrong with this album's production. Every end of the sound spectrum comes out very well, and the album sounds great any way you want to play it, loud or soft, on speakers or in headphones, it doesn't matter. The sound quality is immaculate, and in no ways leaves you desiring anything more.

So yes, it goes without saying that this album is a must have for fans of anything along the lines of traditional or progressive metal. This album appeals to a lot of different people though it's stylistically hard to classify. When I think about this album, it makes me actually realize what "the big picture" of metal and music in general is all about. You need this.