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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Within Another

EP

Review by Gary Hill

This independent four-track release shows a prog metal band that will probably go places. The group seem to have very solid instrumental and compositional skills. The only thing that could use a little work in some places is the vocal performance. It is not that the vocals are bad, they simply lack power and depth at times, things which practice, and perhaps a little training, can overcome. The group seem to combine elements of bands such as Dream Theater with Fates Warning (probably their biggest influence from the material on show here) and even with death metal and Black Sabbath. For information on ordering this disc, pop by the band's website at http://www.withinanother.com/.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Conflict With Reason
Storm sounds and dramatic picked guitar start this. Both of these gradually build for a time, then the cut explodes into a prog metal fury that feels a bit like Dream Theater meets Fates Warning. As the vocals come in they are just a little wanting of power. The come across as needing a bit more strength, but certainly not off key or in a bad tone. The band works around a fairly simple metal jam, but they throw in a ton of odd timings and changes to raise it well above the straight metal vein. Later they break into a fast paced metal fury section that feels a bit like the last couple Halford era Judas Priest discs. Eventually this gives way to a jam that is somewhat eastern tinged. After this segment, it drops back to something more closely resembling balladic for a short time, then a new jam based on a very tasty riff takes the song to its conclusion, but the fade out is a bit of a let-down for a climax.
Resolution
Effects start this one, then a tasty prog metal jam takes the cut for a time. It shifts gear rather quickly, though to an extremely heavy, almost death riff. The group rework this in prog metal style and run it through. This movement ends and a new, considerably heavy and fast paced prog metal pattern emerges. Intriguingly the group intersperse this with flashes of the balladic mode that is to come, sort of a foreshadowing. On this balladic segment the vocals are fairly weak, but as the cut regains intensity they begin to soar. This contrast is essentially going from the weakest vocal performance on the CD to the strongest in a matter of a few lines. The track follows up with the varied themes already presented for quite a time, then drops to an all-new hard-edged, slower jam. This runs through to a false ending then bass takes the composition for a time, and the band rework it into a new proggy metal style. It gains both intensity and speed, and a guitar solo screams over top. It then turns the corner again towards a heavy, but more melodic segment. Then more death material emerges, which the band speed up to end the cut.
Dwelling
As if they knew we needed a break after that last cut, this one starts in more sedate balladic form, then builds on that. After a time the track rounds the corner to more hard-edged, but still maintains a rather balladic format that feels quite a bit like Fates Warning. The cut stays quite true to this musical form for a while although the group intensifies and expands on it. Eventually a crescendo gives way to a jam that feels a bit like a thrash take on Sabbath's "Master of Reality" sound. This runs through, then crescendos, and a brief balladic interlude takes the composition. This is in turn gives way to faster paced jamming before the main theme returns. The vocals overall on this cut are more effective.
Written in Water
Fast paced bass starts this one. As guitar enters it is in the form of tentative riffs over top. The first verse is sung over this and processed feeling a bit like Dave Mustaine in Megadeth. After this verse, the cut explodes into new prog metal fury. Then it begins the new verse in this style. The vocals are stronger on this one, too. The band change it up a bit, but stay pretty close to their main themes for quite some time, just reinventing and playing around them. After some time passes, a crescendo gives way to a short balladic section, then a new harder-edged movement emerges that brings back the Fates Warning comparisons. This eventually explodes into a fast paced, tasty instrumental break. Then after a time, this drops away and mellow acoustic sounds, feeling a bit out of time, serve as the outro.
 
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