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Step into Liquid > Traffic in My Head > Reviews
Step into Liquid - Traffic in My Head

These Liquid Skies and the Congestions They Cause - 66%

bayern, March 6th, 2018

This “congested” outfit provided the follow-up to Megace, a brilliant progressive thrash team, and partially to Drowning in Real, a less interesting, but still worth checking out progressive power metal formation who extinguished in the mid-90’s after one album (“Mind Gallery”, 1994). The style on this volatile “liquid” opus is a curious amalgam of the few more avant-garde, less metal-prone decisions from Megace’s sophomore, the dreamier, more introspective approach of Drowning in Real, and a pinch of modern 90’s variations some of which taken directly from the Seattle movement’s “kitchen” (Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, etc.). Surprisingly, this combination doesn’t suck, like some of you out there may think, although it can’t quite pass for the guys’ (and a girl) finest hour.

Those of you who have fallen in love first and foremost with Melanie Bock’s unique, versatile singing style will have another nearly 50-min to revel in while those looking for more aggressive thrashy escapades will perhaps leave after the first, maximum second number as this isn’t going to be entertainment for the headbangers. This is a modern progressive metal opus the band not interested in serving anyone’s tastes, especially not the ones of the followers of the old school resurrection campaign that was the order of the day at the time as both the heart and the soul of this instalment have been left in the 90’s.

A jarring nervy beginning awaits the listener with “Racing Team” which is an atmospheric grunger ala the mentioned Seattle heroes, with Bock’s superb vocals giving this otherwise standard proposition a stylish touch. “Inner Peace” follows a similar path, but the superb melodic tunes and the appropriately inserted balladic escapades elevate it above mediocrity, with “Smart Intensions” sounding both angrier and more dynamic touching early Helmet on top of some intriguing, surreal minimalistic flourishes. “The Sun Always Shines on TV” is of course an A-Ha cover very well pulled by everyone involved, the well measured performance by Bock well suited to the dreamy, spacey musical approach epitomized. With this early culmination well noted, the album seriously loses steam afterwards with the semi-title-track “Traffic” creeping unobtrusively with loose distorted guitars, the heavy ballad “I Wanna Know” too starkly livened by sudden more aggressive jolts, and “Angelized” bordering on jazz, fusion and blues with its awkward, non-linear structure. The sleepy balladic/semi-balladic delivery blemishes every subsequent piece till the end save for “Conclusion”, the bonus track which is a Megace song, a supreme twisted Mekong Delta-sque thrasher with angular, atonal riffage that for some mysterious reason has been “dismissed” from the “Inner War” recording sessions.

Sticking awkwardly at the end after the preceding much mellower, and decidedly less exciting material, this cut would make you stretch out for the Megace CD’s on the shelf rather than revisit this effort here immediately, searching for similar flashes of genius. There are simply not many of those here the guys (and a girl) not exhibiting a lot of enthusiasm although Bock, even in a more relaxed mode, still delivers better than the majority of the female vocal constellation around. This is an introspective, plain brooding at times, affair occasionally livened by more dynamic jolts, the band having fun in a strange anti-climactic manner that could have been intentional if they had no plans on prolonging their career after that. Thinking outside the box has always been at the top of the band’s tools of the trade, but in this case this is more of a reluctance to conform with the prevalent trends on the field than a focused display of originality.

Stepping out of this traffic jam wouldn’t be too hard as not much would stick with the average metal fan once all has been said and done. Still, it would be interesting for both the fanbase and the scholars to check how one of the most original artists to ever grace the metal scene have voted to wrap it on… in a charmingly grungy, liquid fashion that might leave certain aftertaste, but would hardly cause anyone severe stomach ache.