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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

TDW

The Antithetic Affiliation

Review by Gary Hill

The main person behind this project is a guy named Tom de Wit. He's responsible for the songwriting along with guitars, keys and vocals. He's joined by a number of other musicians for this set. There are two CDs here, each around forty minutes in length. The first and last songs of the set are epic numbers. Overall, this could almost land under progressive rock. It clearly has a lot of prog built into it. Yet there are some definite metal (at times extreme) things at the heart of the bulk of this set. Whatever you call it, though, this is quite adventurous and diverse. It's dynamic and powerful stuff. In addition to the CDs, there is a DVD here of an acoustic show. The sound on that is somewhat distant and the video seems like a very good, but not professional, job. Don't get me wrong, it's good. It's just not what one might expect for a live DVD. Still, this is a bonus here, and the main album is the selling point - and sell it it does.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One: The Idealist
              
The More We Remember

This opening number is an epic that weighs in at over 22 and a half minutes of music. Piano and other keys are the main elements as this starts and works forward. There are symphonic leanings at play. The vocals at the start are whispered. After a time the metal guitar screams into being and the cut marches forward with a metallic intensity and power. When the main vocals join it becomes more of an epic power metal cut. The shifts and changes bring some decidedly progressive rock like things to bear. It gets into some screaming hot territory at times. Around the five minute mark it drops way down to a mellower section that gets a little odd. Some more whispered vocals come over the top as it continues from there. After a while it rises up again and we're taken through some seriously interesting changes as it powers onward. This cut could qualify as progressive rock or heavy metal, really. It has plenty of both elements. I love the symphonic textures on this. The varying voices in the vocal arrangement make for an intriguing sound, too. This really is epic in terms of more than just the length of the piece. It covers so much ground and has so much power built into it. This gets very heavy at times. It's also incredibly intense. It drops back to a piano styled arrangement around the fifteen minute mark and begins to grow back upward with some symphonic stylings as more pure progressive rock vocals deliver the lyrics. It crunches back up from that point to continue, but the prog rock leanings are still in place here. There are definitely more progressive rock things as this makes its way along the road. It continues to change and evolve as it works its way forward. There is some scorching guitar soloing later in the number. This is just such a scorcher, really.

Anthem
This stomps in with some serious metal fury. It gets some proggy tendencies from some of the backing vocals, but overall this is pure metal. It's fierce and quite a combination of epic metal and power metal. The keyboards lend a different element further down the road, but this is pure intense metal.
Lovesong
More of balladic cut, this one could clearly land in the progressive rock zone. It's bouncy and a bit electronic. It also has some catchy hooks and interesting elements. The symphonic strings add something special to it.
Monolith – The Ascent
This comes in feeling a bit more rocking than the previous tune did. It's still set more in pure progressive rock territory. There are some cool shifts and changes on this thing. It gets pretty heavy and rocking as it moves onward. There are some definite metal aspects to some of the vocals on this thing. It also has some decidedly symphonic bits in the mix. There is a movement near the end that has a symphonic kind of fast paced riff behind it. It's cool. They drop it to electronic percussive elements to end.
Disc Two: The Cynic
            
Monolith – The Descent

A cool bass element opens this. They fire out from there to some seriously epic styled metal. This is clearly part prog and part metal. It's fast paced and on fire. There are some clearly progressive rock like parts later in the track. It gets into some mellower and more purely melodic texture further down the road.

Aphrodisia
A mellower more melodic motif brings this into being. It works forward from there with some folk and world music in the mix. The blending of differing voices on this is classy. The cut gets more powered up and metallic after a time. Around the two and a half minute mark it explodes out into some screaming hot metal. The vocals are pretty extreme and fast paced. The cut drops back a little from there and some symphonic elements cover the top of the arrangement. This has some almost operatic bits that bring more of that progressive metal element to it. This thing works through some pretty crazy shifts and changes as it continues driving forward. There are some powerful movements here for certain.
Dirge
This is more purely progressive rock in nature. I love the vocal arrangement and the whole piece just really flows so nicely. It's definitely more on the melodic side, but I wouldn't call it a ballad. It's a compelling and effective piece.
Lest We Forget
With symphonic elements at play, this screams in with a definite extreme metal sound. It's a fast paced and rather crazed jam as it opens. Eventually it works to something a bit more melodic for the instrumental break. This thing is another epic at over 23 minutes in length. They make good use of that fertile ground to create a seriously dynamic stomper. I love the guitar soloing around the four minute. There are some parts further down (with some creepy vocals) that make me think of Cradle of Filth. After that movement it drops to piano and symphonic elements. Some melodic, but powered in a neo-classical way, guitar comes over the top as the vocals deliver a rather balladic sound. The cut continues to grow upward from there. There is some seriously frantic and fierce symphonic metal jamming further down the road. There are chorale styled vocals at times. That's alternated with more furious, angry shouted vocals. We get some crazed instrumental work and some powerhouse vocal movements as this continues. Driving fierce technical metal takes control around the 12 minute mark. There are some more dark metal vocals beyond that. Then a screaming guitar solo comes over the top. After a time it drops to mellower stuff, but it gets punctuated by more screaming metal. Then it shifts back to the more balladic stuff. An instrumental section further down the road is dynamic and powerful while also proggy. Eventually more powerhouse metal takes command for the next vocal movement. I love the crunchy section that takes over beyond the 18 minute mark. Eventually a new intense sound with spoken vocals enters. They continue to create some powerhouse stuff beyond that with more traditional epic metal vocals returning.
 
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