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Honestly Unique - 90%

GuntherTheUndying, June 19th, 2010

Experimental music will always have a special place in my heart; next to Marduk, of course. I actually got a promo of this CD over two years ago and haven’t attempted to review it until now (yikes!) because Suspyre strikes me as indescribably unique. Sure, they’re a progressive metal band that appears a lot darker and heavier at times than most of the sub-genre’s counterparts, but the way Suspyre builds structures, tempos, and ideas can seem extraterrestrial. Either way, I always enjoy the warming embrace of “When Time Fades” whenever I feel like a feast of tremendous craftsmanship among the talents of these superb musicians.

The musical attack that gathers throughout “When Time Fades” is anything but your typical Dream Theater clone as one might anticipate. Quasi-speed metal riffs, jazz sections, scores of solos, symphonic keys, atmospheric complexity with some mid-paced material beside a lot of Cynic-ish instrumental divisions are present, but only represent a fraction of what Suspyre’s nearly-indescribable frontier has to offer. “Possession” explores a vibe of technical marksmanship once the music displays a unique plethora of mid-tempo riffs and melodies weaving in and out of each other with really no cohesion, but it paradoxically makes Suspyre seem both genius and insane. I don’t believe it is nevertheless ironic that the whole album also retains a melodic passiveness and catchy overtone, which, although not dominating, promotes addictive ether alongside this evolutionary journey. Its sound reveals countless coils and weaves into territories present and unknown. All in all, Suspyre’s image is remarkably superb.

“When Time Fades” also portrays brilliant thoughts when discussing the idea of experimentation in progressive music, quite beyond what I could have expected. Saxophone solos are shockingly common alongside Suspyre’s vertigo rhythm sector during “Evolutions” and others, but a lot of their arrangements are likewise atypical. For example, nothing causes a surprised reaction like the beginning of “Apparitions” in which surpluses of sporadic keyboards collide and bounce off raw, heavy riffing. Sometimes things go too far into left field: “Reign,” for example, is a very good track, but the band decides to toss in a folk jam with a mandolin section for whatever reason. Relevant? Maybe in another universe, but that small fragment is nothing to get choked up about; everything else is pure experimental gold.

Of course, Suspyre’s illuminated approach creates a wide spectrum of material in which nothing sounds akin. The record finally climaxes after an hour of majestic incantations with “Let Freedom Ring,” a riff-based epic exhibiting Suspyre’s dynamism, mathematical technicality, zesty experimentation, and terrific craftsmanship perfectly, mystifying under this unusual rotunda without fault. The ten-minute piece “Siren” is the only song that puts me in snooze-town, although I do enjoy the female vocals and Clay Barton’s vocal incantations; however, Suspyre’s musical attack is too fluffy and clearly contradicts the album’s maniacal infrastructure. The remaining tracks provide nutrients, and stand alone with any need for neither physics nor time.

Most importantly, if your musical threshold doesn’t surpass fairly-straightforward metal, don’t look into this because “When Time Fades” is as multifaceted as it gets; it’s an album for those that appreciate the development of ideas and talents. Overall, I’d say my individualistic interests find a suitable connection with “When Time Fades” within its many layers of progressive insanity. I’d say there is a link between brilliant metal and randomly ejaculating instruments in a cesspool of scattered cacophony: Suspyre’s “When Time Fades,” which openly represents a strange, compelling release in progressive/avant-garde metal’s ever-growing stream of crazy goodness, and it evidently deserves a spot in your collection, if you can bother to taste the experimental snack, of course.

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Maximizes its time without fading. - 81%

hells_unicorn, May 21st, 2009

When most people think progressive metal, they tend to think of the eastern coast of the United State. This is mostly due to the combined efforts of Fates Warning and Dream Theater in the early 90s, who had a little bit more of a direct influence on the concept than their Seattle rivals Queensryche. Even when looking at some of the hybrid versions that mixed it with death metal or power metal, a lot of the bands that were there early on such as Cynic and Symphony X all hailed from either the northern, central, or southern end of the Atlantic side of the country. This is all highly relevant because the more recent New Jersey affiliate of the scene Suspyre has a little bit of each of these classic bands present in their work. Virtuosic guitar solos, off beat drum lines and mixed meter beats, dreamy keyboard ambiences, and classical music influences are all to be found in their fresh yet familiar take on this very free spirited style of music.

Their latest offering “When Time Fades” is among the more ambitious albums to come out of this style within recent years, without completely sacrificing the identity that the genre has held in the name of partially embracing the latest trend in popular music. It basically walks a line between light and darkness, being not quite as heavy as most of Symphony X’s and Adagio’s output, but definitely sounding much heavier and harder edged than what Fates Warning began putting out in the early 90s. A little bit of a twist is thrown in with the use of a saxophone at various intervals, but it is able to do so in a tasteful manner rather than turning into an “Eddie And The Cruisers” love fest. Jazz and earlier rock influences are largely present, mostly on the longer songs where the band gets pretty liberal with how many styles they hit in a single sitting. Some of the songs definitely get a little bit overdone, throwing in one or two more ideas than necessary, but there is definitely a symmetrical nature to this album that makes it relatively easy to follow, and the melodic contours of much of it are definitely catchy.

The best songs on here tend to be the middle of the road ones lengthwise, where the band gets the right balance of stylistic variance and consistency. “Reign” is a good example, maintaining a driving mid-tempo feel with a few metric twists here and there, but largely keeps the structure basic. There are multiple saxophone solos and a folksy acoustic section towards the middle with a mandolin solo, almost like the sort of music that Miles Davis, Michael Romeo and the guy who composed the theme from “The Godfather” could agree on. Another solid one is “A World With No Measures”, which is perfect for anyone who likes chunky riffing and speed metal breaks in the mode that you might hear on an “Outworld” release. “Lighted Endrhyme” is also a highlight that will definitely please fans of Adagio who like rich string orchestra sounds and wild yet thematic lead interchanges. There is a shorter ballad in “Fallen Stars” that sees the band falling into the “Falling Into Infinity” trap with mundane, semi-pop oriented balladry, but the band is mostly on point, taking care not to spend too much time dwelling upon the various non-metal interludes too long and making sure that things don’t get so technical that the song gets lost.

Suspyre have remained fairly consistent throughout their run in progressive circles thus far, though they have become a good bit more longwinded in their songwriting since after they put out “The Silvery Image”. The abrupt stylistic shifts are sometimes a bit much, but this is roughly in line with the sound established since the early to mid 1990s. It seem somewhat contradictory to think of Progressive Metal in terms of a specific style since it tends to be extremely varied, but almost every band within even the most avant-garde of styles will have a specific formula to go by and a set of influences making their contributions possible, and I would say that this is a pretty solid contribution that avoids becoming either pretentious or losing its identity.