Release DetailsLABEL Regain
RELEASED ON 10/20/2003
Embrace The Galaxy
posted on 2/2004 By:
I am a space dork. It’s the field I’ve chosen to work in, forsaking the big payouts of other industries, in the desire to advance the bounds of technology. That being said, a band with a name like Space Odyssey naturally intrigues me. As it turns out, this is a new project of Swedish keyboard virtuoso Richard Andersson. I rather enjoyed his last project, the self-titled Time Requiem album, and since he did not stray too far from a winning formula, I like this too. There are some noticeable differences between the two projects, beyond the all-new supporting cast. Let’s compare and contrast: TR is built on a neo-classical foundation, as is SO. TR is prone to bouts of overbearing keyboard wankery that overshadowed the rest of the band, whereas SO sees Andersson taking a small step back, letting the song play itself. TR had a more progressive feel, including the vocals, but SO leans more towards a power metal focus, with more rocking guitarwork, rhythms, and vocals.
As you might expect, the production is excellent. There are five instruments playing (counting vox), and I can hear them all nicely. The rhythm guitar is a bit muted, but it works in this context. On the other hand, the lead guitar lines are front and center, wailing away. The distortion produces an appropriately metal sound. It’s not surprising that the musicianship is masterful. Andersson envelops the music in lush keyboard atmospheres, and when the time is right, takes command with a flashy solo. Guitarist Magnus Nilsson is pretty new to the metal scene, but he can certainly play and must’ve picked up a thing or two from his European power metal comrades. My sole musical complaint is that the drummer tends to get stuck playing very simple beats, especially under fast verses, when he’s probably capable of much more.
The title track is one of the top songs onboard here, galloping along at a brisk pace from beginning to end. The next song, “Emposium” sets the way-back machine to 1985, utilizing triumphant synths, strong vocals, and a blazing solo to close. A few other songs (“Entering the Dome”, “Seduction of Life”) really channel the neo-classical, Symphony X-type vibe. “The House with a Hundred Windows” is a fast-paced instrumental, while “Grand Opening” is pure power/speed metal.
Richard Andersson definitely does not shortchange the listener when he creates albums, nor does he take the easy way out. If you really love technical speed and wizardry, all wrapped up in a power/prog metal package, then Space Odyssey is your band. If you are turned off by overwhelming noodling and having too many notes crammed into a song, then Embrace the Galaxy might still be to your liking, rather than some of his prior works. Recommended.
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