Release DetailsLABEL Nightmare
RELEASED ON 8/2/2004
posted on 5/2005 By:
Anytime I muster up the courage for a walk through the perilous forest of power metal or its equally dangerous cousin, the barren waste of progressive metal, I try to stay alert for certain telltale warnings. Reading like a conveniently placed sign along the darkened path are two key words all weary travelers should be aware of: concept & collaboration. As I impart this tale of woe remember that through a little awareness one can avoid a similar fate. The first hackle raising sign is less obvious than the second and not until one is already neck deep in lukewarm compositions which exist merely as a vehicle for storytelling does one realize, “Fie and damn the devil, I hath wandered unseeing into an album of conceptual basis!” The second sign is clearly marked in liner notes and promotional documents: Two former members of Aztec Jade decided their previous band did not inflict enough pain and set out to create more dull music by essentially penning the same style of music under a different name with some friends.
Swinging his voice willynilly with little consideration for the ears of those around him, Leon Ozug at his best sounds exactly like a tertiary prog vocalist ought to; wavering the middle ground somewhere between Geoff Tate and James LaBrie. To the credit of this man and his two guest vocalists (which raise further collaboration alarms) they are the only element of emotion on this lifeless album. Rising above guitars which serve as slaves to the dominating synth produced orchestration; the vocal deliveries are impressive and have an unprocessed rawness to them. Be warned though, even the fantastic female vocals on “Lovers” tend to feel like a chore as the writers bludgeon the receiver with their hard line concept of lost lovers against the backdrop of two warring space colonies; perhaps an even more taxing listen in the wake of Star Wars Episode III.
Compositions on Regeneration strive for a sort of cinematic ambience which only servers to exacerbate the grandiose nature of concept fueled drivel. Flaccid is the operative word of the day both in production and execution. Propelling this B movie soundtrack, a recording of high school basketball practice most accurately describes the tone of the programmed drums which begin to grate with their monotonous procession from the album’s onset. There is a great deal of percussive variation written into the songs but the result is so clinical and stale no amount of effort on the part of the composer could distract from the tyrannical blandness assaulting my ears. Look no further than the 3:25 mark on “Pieces” for the perfect example of how the lions of tepid and safe writing combine with rigid instrument playing to form the Voltron of boredom. I dare say the only creature in the galaxy who could challenge this mighty robot on the field of crapulence is heralded by the infamous moniker Royal Hunt.
For future reference: “Conceptual keyboard driven progressive metal” is easily transcribed to read, “Avoid like the fucking plague.”
Register to post comments.