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More like Pervert's Mind - 50%

chaxster, November 21st, 2007

I mean, have you seen that cover?! It's not even arty like Ghosts of Loss, I can see the goosebumps on her areolae, dammit! If my mom found this cd in my collection, I'd have some explaining to do. Presumably something along the lines of why God would devise an equation involving soft porn. Maybe I could pfaff something about the Da Vinci Code and get away with it.

Getting around to the band itself, their first two releases were pretty standard competent power prog metal, but then they happened to fall in the path of the 'third time's a charm' phenomenon and kick it up several notches for the Enigmatic: Calling album. This improvement was thanks in no small part to new arrival, Jørn Viggo Lofstad, also known for doing axe duty for that rascally rasper Jørn Lande. Anyway, end result was that album was jam-packed with awesomely bombastic songs that had me throwing my arms up and either singing praises or singing along quite frequently. I may have looked like Jesus, too.

When I learned that they'd released an album this year with the same lineup, obviously I was pumped, and took steps to hear it out asap. It opened fine with the tinkling of 'The Conception' and all was well. Then what sounded like the Knight Rider theme brought in the title track, and while I tried to bop my head enthusiastically, I couldn't help feel something was missing. You had a decent verse, a catchy chorus, a perfectly respectable solo thrown in, but there were these empty pockets in between that you had to bridge to get across from one to the other. And I didn't care for the melody in the verse being all prancing and keyboard driven. Use that guitar, bitch! Overall, it felt more like a step backward than anything else.

Fine, I'll grant that they're trying out some new things, as evident with the Meshuggah-like riffage threading its way through 'Atomic Firelight', augmented with some digital effects for the vocals. It's just that it doesn't feel natural, and more like they're trying on different styles of music like casual wear. And when they're doing their usual song and dance, it all sounds like they've done the same thing before, only it sounded better then. Hell, 'Painted Skies' practically uses the chorus from 'United Alliance' a few songs back, only with half the speed. There's not a single song that can match up to the fun feel of stuff like 'The Celestine Prophecy', 'Supremacy, Our Kind', 'Taken', 'Resurrection' or 'New World Order'. The brightest spark on the album is their cover of David Bowie's 'Hallo Spaceboy', and even that's missing the ripping keyboard solo on the original.

Everybody seems to be firing on all cylinders, and I can't really fault the singing or any of the playing, which is more the pity since it makes it so glaringly obvious that these wankers can do so much better. I'm significantly disappointed and have to slash the thadiyans, despite the porno cover. I suppose, using the quality equation, I should get my hopes up only for their sixth album now. If you want the best work by these guys, get Enigmatic: Calling and be content.

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