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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Twisted Into Form

Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s say upfront – these guys are talented. If you have always thought that you wished Dream Theater were more metallic, these guys are for you. Frankly, I think they throw enough left turns into the mix here to qualify them as metallic prog, I could definitely see people reversing those two classifications to make them prog metal. There are even some death metal growls at times on this disc. The album tends to get a little too samey for my tastes, but they do what they do better than most. Their specialty here seems to be frantic, King Crimson like musical journeys that are firmly set in metallic crunch, but they do show that they are capable of more than that. Fans of this genre should eat this up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Enter Nothingness
A frantic metallic King Crimson like structure leads this off and the group work through several iterations on this before dropping into a more stable segment for the verse. Even, then they punctuate with more frantic excursions down side alleyways here and there. There are times where these guys sound a lot like a more metallic Dream Theater. They move through several themes and include a killer instrumental segment.
Instinct Solitaire
A similar furious Crimson like jam leads this one off and they fire out on a series of fast paced changes and alterations. They don’t simplify it as much on the verses here, instead keeping it quick and quirky. This one doesn’t alter all that much from the format of the first cut, but the group’s sound is full of enough furious changes to keep it from getting monolithic.
Torrents
Here we are treated to more of the same type of music that the first two cuts presented. When they move out into the chorus on this one, though, it really is more melodic than some of the other music on show here. This includes an extremely tasty instrumental progression late. Those two factors make this song a step up from the previous two in my book.
Thin Layers of Lust and Love
On this piece they break the mold with textural sounds starting this off. Then it moves out into a dark ballad approach for the first vocals. This grows slowly, but as it launches out into the first hard-edged moments it’s in a style that calls to mind an Arabic whirling dervish. Indeed, world music sounds skirt across the top of this. After this section, they drop it to a fusion-oriented movement. This is a change of pace and a highlight of the disc. They even drop it back to a more keyboard-oriented segment later that shows that this group is far from a one-trick pony. You’ll hear more Dream Theater on this one, but also some Rush.
Tear
Keyboard tones lead this one off in textural ways, but rather quickly they move it into another jam that calls to mind King Crimson – even more directly this time, feeling a lot like the Red album. They continue to explore the musical themes throughout the course of this instrumental. At less than two and a half minutes it’s the shortest cut here, but also a standout.
Manumit
This one opens more like the first couple tracks. In fact it shares a lot with those numbers, but features some odd vocals. At first a stuttering (through a flutter effect) vocal enters. Then later they shift out to death metal growls. Running the full gamut, later modes have sung vocals and they include a lot of varying musical themes – also running all over the map on this one. While it’s definitely an unusual one, this is another standout.
Flutter Kings
Here we get another dosage of the type of music that makes up the bulk of this disc, frantically paced metallic music with steady changes. It’s another furious series of quick paced changes and riffs rising out of nowhere to run in unexpected directions. In their tradition of throwing left fielders into the equation these guys drop this one way down to a rhythmic sort of jam later that is driven by the bass guitar. This has elements of gothic rock on it.
Erased
Just when there was a danger that the album would start to blend together they bring this one in with a slower, bluesy fusion type jam. It represents another definite change of pace. When they work this up later it’s into some of the most traditional prog-like structures, still hard edged, but very melodic and powerful. Then they drop it back to a flamenco based guitar solo.
House of Nadir
Here they move back out into the same type of sound that makes up the majority of the music here. This is a good one, but a lot of this is starting to sound too similar by this point. Still, as if they know that, they drop this one way back to mellow modes for a good deal of the track. It’s just the kind of diversity they need to keep it fresh.
Coda
Percussion leads this one off, then guitar harmonics sing across. They start a hard-edged jam, but quickly it drops away to the sounds that preceded it. After a time, though it rears its head again, and this time retains control of the song. Thankfully they include some varying segments in here including more melodic prog and some tasty instrumental movements within the themes that started it off to keep it from getting too monotonous.
 
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