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The Dreamtower of Progression. - 84%

hells_unicorn, February 11th, 2007

After 2 rather amazing albums showcasing a brilliant marriage of Speed Metal and Progressive influences, followed by a successful tour that was capture both in CD and DVD format, Mark Boals and company released “Dreamtower”, the second studio album under the Ring of Fire name. This album is somewhat a departure from “The Oracle” in that the Speed Metal has been toned down a bit in favor of a more Progressive oriented sound. Part of this is probably at least partially due to George Bellas leaving the band and taking one of the more Power Metal aspects of the band’s fold out of the picture. To be fair, Tony Macalpine was the axe man on the Ring of Fire album, but what he does on here is more reminiscent of the stuff he did on Mark Boals’ more recent solo album “Edge of the World”.

While the pacing of the album is definitely a bit slower, we still get some quality speed metal and crazy drumming in “Until the End of Time”, “The Invisible Man”, “Refuge for the Free” and also “Undone” if you possess the European release of this album. All three of them are more complex versions of the fast tracks found on “The Oracle”, as both Kuprij and Macalpine are in a constant state of evolution from album to album. “Until the End of Time” in particular has a long drawn out intro consisting of a Beethoven-like piano solo followed by a series of awesome instrument interchanges.

Other tracks on here such as “My Déjà vu”, “Dreamtower” and “System Utopia” have some newer keyboard devices, but still contain the same hard edged tendencies of the mid-tempo work on “The Oracle”. Much of the rest of the stuff on here is heavily inspired by the more Progressive epics of the last album. Suffice to say, the amount of changes here are not hugely significant in terms of overall songs so that the band would sound inconsistent, but the pacing of the album has been altered due to the re-ordering or song tempos and the various changes made to Kuprij’s composing tendencies.

If you were a fan of both “Ring of Fire” and “The Oracle”, this album will definitely sit well with you. Although not quite as speed oriented as those albums, we still get plenty of it and also some nice new surprises from the band in the songwriting and lyrical department. I listen to it occasionally, although not quite as often as I do the other two.