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Age of Nemesis

Psychogeist

Review by Rick Damigella

It took a long time to get Psychogeist off the ground here in the US. Age of Nemesis (they were called Nemesis - they tacked on the "Age of" in August 2005) recorded the tracks for Psychogeist some 4-plus years ago. In fact, some of the tracks were culled from earlier albums, but those original versions - in fact, the whole album - were translated into English.

Age of Nemesis doesn't have a weak link in its lineup. Zoltan Fabian (no, that's not a Harlequin romance character - that's the guy's real name) handles guitar chores nimbly, Zoltan Kiss (ditto) handles the English lyrics with ease, and his powerful tenor is able to keep up with the strength of the material, Gyorgy Nagy is at home with simple keyboard passages or matching Fabian note-for-note, and the confident rhythm of Laszlo Nagy and Csaba Berczelly on drums and bass round out the band. (Berczelly has since been replaced and Gabor Krecsmarik is currently the bassist.)

Magna Carta appears to be launching a campaign to break Age of Nemesis into the U.S. That's not a bad plan, in my book. Fans of bands like Dream Theater and Fates Warning will want to check out Age of Nemesis. This is a band with a promising future and should win many fans along the way.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Psychogeist Story
In a nutshell, a psychiatrist finds her son in a dazed state with one foot in the grave. It turns out that the boy was part of a devious government experiment (I'm still waiting to hear about a "good" government experiment). (Check out the web site for the lyrics to this album.)
Grey Room
A deliberate intro into the main theme makes it sound like there might be some calm in the storm, but that falls apart 1.33 in. There're some tricky signatures in the first half before all hell breaks loose. Laszlo Nagy lays down a rhythmic pattern that may be the first prog-metal disco beat in history. The guitar then buzz-saws its way through the end as a spoken voice tells the fate of the father.
Faceless Enemy
"Grey Room" jumps right into "Faceless Enemy" so there is no chance for the listener to catch his or her breath. Laszlo Nagy matches Mike Portnoy double-bass-drum-beat for beat on the intro. The verses bounce back and forth in 6's and 4's. Gyorgy Nagy and Fabian go through some nifty riffing, and Fabian shows himself to have mastered some top-notch flat picking skills.
Mommy's Crying
The mother's story starts softly enough. Csaba Berczelly seems to have Tony Levin's "bubble bass" sound down pat. The guitar doesn't come in until 2.51. Fabian's guitar solo here may be the most restrained on the album. In all the piece is reminiscent of Mind's Eye, a Swedish prog-metal band whose Waiting for the Tide CD grabbed my ear and didn't let go for some time
Psychogeist
Age of Nemesis crank up the speedometer to "thrash metal" before settling down somewhat, but the title track to this suite may be the hardest piece in the collection. The spoken word sections act as a respite. Gyorgy Nagy gets top honors for his rapid-fire runs.
Breaking Away
Here Kiss gets a chance to show the clarity of his voice in the first verse as he is backed up by only piano, bass and drums. It isn't long before the band opens up the throttle to reach the climax of this suite. Age of Nemesis then revisits the chorus of "Fate's Door" before finishing on a new instrumental section that works as a closing theme, slightly optimistic and none too dark.
Goddess Nemesis
I don't know if you hear too many instrumental pieces in metal prog - "Hey guys, we don't have Labrie on this piece, do we?" - but Age of Nemesis are at home with instrumentals. Mahavishnu Orchestra pops into my head when listening to this, but there seems a nod to the musical styles of Hungary and Eastern Europe that fits in perfectly.
Eye of the Snake
Indian influences make their way into the opening as Fabian and Zoltan Nagy share lead duties, and trade solos. The band slips in a little riff that Laszlo Nagy deftly dances around to make the listener say "Whoa - what did they just do there?" The long coda again shows the Eastern Europe and Indian tinges.
Karma
There's nothing too pretty here - just straight-ahead metal that sounds quite a bit like Iron Maiden. Once the guitar jumps in and the drums lay out a "hoof beats of the Four Horsemen" rhythm, it's pretty much head-banging time. "Karma" may be the hardest-hitting piece on the CD.
Abraxas
It takes Age of Nemesis some time on some of their songs to get things going - this is one of them. The intro may be a bit repetitious, but then you're thrown a curve - the chorus of this has a bit of a relaxed strut to it. There are moments of head-banging, but there are equal amounts of spaciousness in the arrangements. ("Abraxas" is one of the songs on the CD that was re-recorded in English. It made its original appearance on the band's second album, released originally in 1999.)
Awaking Minds
Another instrumental, this is a nice respite from the storm und drung of the previous goings on. This is a simple piece with 12-string guitar and keyboards playing a rather uncomplicated pattern. The track sounds a bit like an etude and is a curious yet effective way to end the album.
 
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