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Wow... - 100%

evildude, May 17th, 2008

I've been listening to this album for about 3 days now. I don't know what came over me, but this is the only thing my Winamp saw. This album is highly addictive. Now, I am one of the people who consider power metal gay, cheesy and boring. Bands like Helloween, Sonata Arctica, Rhapsody or their clones don't mean absolutely nothing to me. The only genre close to power that I really like is the speed heavy Iron Maiden sings on their first albums. And this what you'll get here. A dark, fast sci-fi story about an old RPG I've never even heard of before this album. Its interesting because it didn't attract me when I first played it. I guess that's because, back then, I was hooked by Down Among the Deadmen (a real masterpiece) and this is pretty different.

As said above, this is a concept album. It's theme revolves around a Professor who turned the main character into a human-dog (human-vargr) hybrid using genetic engineering. Or something like that. The weird (Slough Feg) part is that it makes sense and you become captivated by the storyline. Of course, the lyrics are great. I can't really find a comparison, but I can guarantee they're better than any prog band I've heard. Yeah, this makes Dream Theater and Opeth shit in their pants. One of the few albums with complex lyrics that that doesn't use words because they sound "cool". There's another thing that helps you get in the atmosphere of the album. I don't know who Mike Scalzi is and where the hell he came from, but he's my favourite vocalist after Dickinson. A brilliant performance. His pronunciation is impecable, considering the flow of words and the changes in the tone. Also, Scalzi's vocal range is impressive. Best performances on Gene-ocide, Vargr Theme-Confrontation and The Final Gambit. The instruments reflect the genius of the band. I don't know much about playing such songs, but I can imagine the timing is hard as hell. There are sudden changes in the rythm, various riffs change unexpectedly just to return to their original sound and all sorts of little tricks that actually manage not to appear artificial. The drumming is in the back - where any good drumming should be - and is responsable for the dramatism present in the entire album. The guitars all-powerful here. Their clarity and musical quality in outstanding. Overall, the production is excelent. As for the songs themselves, The spinward Marches and The spinward Marches (Return) are the 2 instrumentals here. Both are under 2 minutes and fit perfecly. You can see a very accurate continuity between The spinward Marches and the next song. High Passage-Low Passage, Asteroid Belts and Professor's Theme present the two important characters. These songs are alert and have a pretty funny and cheerful sound. Vargr Moon and Vargr Theme are darker songs, and Scalzi reveals his true vocal range. If you have heard Down Among the Deadmen, you know what he can to from there. Hell, what am I talking about? Their entire discography is superb. There isn't a single band in the world with so many consecutive good and different albums. Just bloody get them!

One last thing: if you like them, spread the word.

"In all this world I only wanted to be independent
Clearly your madness brought this curse on me
Wait and see!"