Sound: These Edmonton guys are tight, that much is plain to see. The rhythm section (Kevin Hoskin on Bass, Bill George on Drums) handle the complex time signatures and progressions effortlessly, and the dual guitar work of Kenton Thomas and Ross Brooks is technical without being showy. Some people regard these guys as an amalgamation of Opeth, Porcupine tree, Tool and Dream Theater, and I can see where they are coming from.
The solos are impressive, but forgettable, no "californication"-esque solo's. But this doesn't detract from the sheer fun and awesomeness of them. The riffs are well calculated doses heavy metal, and the quieter melody sections are well crafted as well. This album is seriously well produced, in fact, almost overly so. At some points I wished for a little muddier sound, just to break the tone up and make the tracks more interesting.
This album has the works, the catchy single "Jebel Moon", the epics "The Kingdom" and "We Kuffar", and the ballad "Six Degrees" and the rest of the tracks don't let the album down at all.
01. Jebel Moon
03. Your Kettle
04. The Kingdom
05. Six Degrees
06. The Simple Things
08. We Kuffar
09. Back In The Day
10. The Light
I'm giving these guys an 9/10, with the point lost for being a little too well produced, and just not fully rocking out. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are the serious drivers of the songs, and provide some excellent gems of creativity. Moments such as the chorus on "The Kingdom" just beg to be sung along to, it's so catchy. In all songs, the lyrics are intelligent, thought provoking, and memorable.
The lyrics usually fit in with the music, with a few odd clashes in the songs "Your Kettle" and "Back in the Day", which generally serve to make the songs just a little more creative.
The singing is the main gripe I have. At first it took me a while to get into the singing, my impression was that it was monotonous, and the singer was holding back a LOT. Upon further listens, I got used to his voice, but I'm still disappointed about the singing performance. Not nearly enough energy was put into all the songs, and the album suffers because of this. // 7
Overall Impression: This being the only album I've heard from the band, I can't compare it with their previous efforts. But as far as comparing it with other artists, well, It certainly holds its own against some of the bands its been compared to. It seems to me like this album beats the worst albums of each comparable band, e.g. This album absolutely PWNs 10,000 days, by Tool. And that in itself, is pretty amazing when you think about it.
The things that let this album down is the vaguely monotonous singing, the too-perfect production and the lack of losing control and rocking out. Then again, this is serious music, music for the intelligent.
"The Kingdom" is still in my top 25 songs list, months after having listened to it, and I got a feeling it won't be moving anytime soon. The amazing rhythm section deserves a Grammy, the guitar work is enviable, and the singing.... well, its a little like finding that the Tooth fairy ain't real. You're disappointed, but at the same time, the cash was a nice compensation.
If this was stolen or lost, I would embark on a quest to liberate my copy from the nasty thief. And take it back. And cut him up. With a chainsaw. And film the incident. And sell the footage to Universal Studios. And... // 9