Roadrunner Music 2011
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
I wanted to like this album. I didn't approach it with knives sharpened, I didn't want to jump the bandwagon... but what can I do? Out of the 16 tracks, there's maybe only three or four that I even remotedly like. Is this the same band that recorded one of my all time favourite albums ("Operation: Mindcrime")? Maybe it's my fault, I haven't embraced the modern/alternative/art rock sounds of today, and still crave for the same things that have always appealed to me in music, the main thing being memorable melodies. You won't find much of those on this album.
Looking at my notes I made during the the playbacks of this album, there's not much to write about... but I'll try. Probably the best track of the album is the opener "Get Started", with its' AC/DC-like laidback crunch and a somewhat distinctive hook. The very U2-like "Around The World" is okay too, and somehow the interesting lyrics of "Retail Therapy" elevate the song to a higher level. Just about the only song that has some traces of "Empire" or "Mindcrime" is "At The Edge", even though the band stays true to their "no-chorus" policy...
As for the rest of the songs, they range from ambient/new age ballads ("Broken") to the Radiohead-meets-INXS sounds of "Drive" with plenty of plain weirdness in between. In an interview we recently conducted with him, Geoff Tate expressed enthusiasm about the fact this album cannot be gategorized, there's no genre to associate with it. If that was the band's goal, it has been reached. This certainly isn't a "progressive metal" album, or any kind of "metal" album at all. It's experimental rock music, but what's disappointing is that it's ultimately unpleasant to listen to. There are no melodies that would draw me back, the "choruses" are decidedly monotonous and univiting. Dedicated to chaos? I want order! Maybe I'll just go and listen to "Rage For Order" instead. That was an experimental album too, but compared to this, it's melodic bliss...