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The Future is in Vain - 95%

2Eagle333, June 17th, 2016

This obscure release from a Greek band takes an interesting, and in a way much softer and rock-tinged, approach to the progressive metal genre. It takes a general theme of seeking something or someone, as is evident from the track titles, merged with a more religious theme, but not necessarily in an orthodox manner, as it were. From this, it often goes in a fairly despairing direction, but with hope in something seen which still drives the music and gives it a certain poignance. It is generally an interesting take on persistent themes of bands like Fates Warning, which nonetheless stylistically diverges from this enough to be a unique part of the genre.

The instrumentation generally strays on the softer side, or tends towards more rock or soft-rock trends, but nonetheless overall tends to take this in a direction which leads the music more towards the tendencies of bands like Fates Warning, or occasionally perhaps even Dream Theater, rather than otherwise. This gives it a fairly subtle and at times despairing quality. This kind of purposeful obscurity or casual, longing nature makes it quite pointed in some ways. The opening track, 'Reach You,' other than resembling the opening of Secrecy's 'Masquerade' quite strongly, features some interesting variation in the guitar section during its chorus - in part a slightly haphazard variation that nonetheless works - which is highly effective and serves to create a shifting landscape of sorts alongside the vocals, which allows for it to more easily convey the themes touched on in a slightly dynamic chorus. This makes this song stand out in a fairly significant way among others of the genre.

When it comes to more personal themes, the album can be highly despairing, which makes its slightly soft nature more striking and possibly depressive. Lyrics can be convey a strong sense of despair at times, with lines like, 'I'll reach you in my dreams tonight, flying in my heart,' from someone who might say that they had 'lost their mind' at that. Nonetheless, this is complemented with a certain sense of hope which the music often draws on for its effect, of having 'seen a light above' which is nonetheless described in the slightly unconventional terms of a 'perfect world,' always completed,' which seems to more relevant to social commentary in a way. The track 'Flying Away from Here,' other than in some details resembling the Bulgarian band Sider with songs like 'Faith,' generally takes a general rock style and turns it sharply in a more underpronounced and progressive direction, and generally deals with a certain sense of unrequited love quite notably, opening vocally with, 'No, you cannot see.' Its 'please make believe you cannot feel' is poignant, but slightly inconsistent with other lines in the song - nonetheless, it conveys the general sense of the song. There are occasional hints at continuity with the earlier 'Reach You,' thematically and with them 'reaching for you,' but being unable to 'find,' but nonetheless this is not fully developed on this demo, which is unfortunate, and hence it still comes across mostly as slightly distinct songs. That might be a bit daring as well, however, given the despairing and desperate themes.

The band manages to extract a significant amount of variation from their often similar modus operadi, Generally speaking, while they find mostly despair 'in this world,' this leads to a more stark contrast with the 'light above,' which is more characteristic of metal than most other genres of music. The opening 'Reach You' ends with the line 'Where do we go from here?' This is, of course, reminiscent of Fates Warning's opening to 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray,' a band which seems to have had some influence on the musicians behind this. Generally, it is nonetheless able to carve out a quite distinct niche in the progressive genre - music, not politics -, and is not merely a re-iteration of other bands. As such, it is worth a listen, if you are at all interested in such music.