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Peaks and Valleys - 77%

musicgirl, October 8th, 2019

I have always been perplexed how few prog. metal bands I like, considering how much I dig both metal and prog. rock. The offspring of the two has not moved me as much. One reason is that mood seems to be brighter than alternately gloomy or introspective more classic sounds. Prog-metal playing and singing can get overchoreographed and unnatural. In contrast, I'm a big fan of Overkill, Manilla Road, Gentle Giant, Yes etc. Iron Maiden, Tool, Voivod and Mekong Delta show successful coupling of prog, and metal. Likewise, there is a lot to savor about Parallel Dimension's latest offering Angular Perception, but there were off-putting moments, as well.

First the enjoyable stuff. There were at least three songs I thought had really good energy and development. "What Lies Beyond," perhaps the album's high point, is tight and climatic with nice speed on the guitar and keyboard solos. "Orogeny" is both catchy and punchy with a strong guitar solo and inspired keyboard work. A dreamy vibe is a plus. Vocals, to me the Achilles heel of prog. metal, so often affected, here are well sculpted. Lead singer Edgar Lopez has a versatile voice that he wisely chooses to use a number of ways. Not enough singers do that. "Vanishing Illusion" is another track that maximizes Lopez' vocal strengths. His tone and mood are robust here. Overall the song is focused and forward-moving and at times, frenetic. Skin basher Daniel Almagro goes to town on the double kick. Keyboards play a balanced, supportive role.

At at least one point on Angular Perceptions, I feel keyboards are over-dominant, for example at times on the lengthy and multi-sectional "Hollow Hourglass." Altogether, the song is a study in contrasts of all sorts: there's both airiness and fright. There's ideas that work well and some that come up short. At times this number is a real banger. The instrumental sojourns display much mood, color and tension. Unfortunately the vocals and refrains tend to the anti-climatic with threadbare spots alternating with overindulgence.

"Hall of Mirrors," another disappointing track on Angular Perceptions, has a sing-songy refrain. Parallel Dimension is a band that shows much potential in their dreamy, cinematic soundscapes. All members are solid players/ singers. They just need to avoid the usual wankery and lack of cohesion that kills many a prog-metal band.