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Abydos - The Little Boy's Heavy Mental Shadow Opera About the Inhabitants of His Diary CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.07 | 118 ratings

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4 stars Abydos is the side project of Vanden Plas lead singer Andy Kuntz. The album consists of 12 tracks covering various degrees of progressive metal, symphonic metal, and progressive rock. The album is a concept album based on "a little boy's heavy mental shadow opera about the inhabitant's of his diary" (this is the subtitle of the album). Andy had experienced the death of his father and three other loved ones at the time this album was created. According to additional reading, the concept revolves around a little boy who experiences visions of other people's lives inside of his head following the death of his father. In addition, the concept is about the mythological Egyptian location of Abydos and an evil alchemist, Green the Scarecrow Man, who betrayed Osiris, the Egyptian God of death and rebirth by stealing the gift of permanent reincarnation so that he could live forever. The first track, The Inhabitants of His Diary, is a minute long instrumental dominated by some heavy metal drumming by his Vanden Plas band mate drummer, Andreas Lill. It is an introduction to tell you that this isn't your father's concept album. This is going to have some heavy metal bite to it. The second track, You Broke the Sun, is a very nice progressive rock track which includes some beautiful piano and guitar playing, some orchestral strings, and a choir singing the chorus. At times, Andy's singing voice sounds uncannily like James LaBrie from Dream Theater. The third track, Silence, is a seven minute long track consisting of multiple time signature changes. It is partly a melodic rock song and partly a progressive metal song. Andy varies his vocals on this song so that he does not sound as much like James LaBrie. The fourth track, Far Away From Heaven, is a piano based ballad which includes some swirling string sections. The next three tracks, Coppermoon (the other side), Hyperion Sunset, and God's Driftwood are three straight progressive metal songs in the Dream Theater vein. On Hyperion Sunset, Andy uses some harsher vocals, possibly using a bull horn to distort his voice. The seventh track, God's Driftwood, is the third progressive metal song of the trio. It starts out with acoustic guitar playing and strumming before the metal kicks in. The eighth track, Radio Earth, starts out with a Buggles' type computer voice, followed by a Steve Howe type acoustic guitar riff. The song has some nice piano and guitar work throughout and is mostly a progressive rock song. The ninth track is the title song, Abydos. It is a symphonic rock song with a liberal use of piano and an orchestral string section. This is probably my favorite song on this album. The tenth track, Green's Guidance for a Strategy Adventure Game, is a minute long section that introduces the concept surrounding Abydos and its mythological significance of reincarnation; as well as the betrayal by the alchemist of the Egyptian god Osiris, and according to Andy, this was the birthplace of mystery theater. The vocals are done via a computer voice similar to what can be heard on Ayreon's space concept albums. For the eleventh track, Wildflowersky, Andy again pulls out the James LaBrie sounding vocals and produces another Dream Theater type progressive metal song. There is some superb drumming on this track and at about the 7 minute mark there is a really nice tempo change and then a lively 30 second section before returning to the main theme of the song. The last track, A Boy Named Fly, is an epic track, 12 minutes in length. This song consists of rock, metal, and symphonic sections with multiple time signature changes. This is definitely the track that most progressive rock/metal fans will probably enjoy the most. All in all this was an excellent album which I highly recommend to prog fans; however, it doesn't reach masterpiece status for me for two reasons. The first reason is that this is a concept album, but quite frankly, the only reason that I think that I know what the concept is, was that I read an interview with Andy Kuntz. I prefer that when listening to a concept album that the concept and story are out there for all to hear and understand and enjoy. The second reason that it doesn't reach masterpiece status is because of the numerous pronunciation errors that occur throughout the album. I realize and respect that English is not his first language but somebody should have told him that he was singing "wision", "wirus", and "can o' pie", instead of vision, virus, and canopy. I should note that he is releasing/or has released a stage theatrical production of Abydos which includes theatrical productions to the story line of Abydos. The acting and costumes might provide a lot more detail to what the actual concept of the story was. I am hoping that someday I might see this video to see if it shines a light on the concept for me.
rushfan4 | 4/5 |


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