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Thought Chamber - Angular Perceptions CD (album) cover

ANGULAR PERCEPTIONS

Thought Chamber

 

Progressive Metal

3.48 | 70 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kansas in Progressive Metal

By the time I am writing this review, I have been listening to this album inits entirety more than 10 times and the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it. It's probably the music style is energetic (most of the songs), in the vein of progressive metal, and also it's quite complex, technical in nature. Michael Harris, the multi-talented musician majoring in guitar and composition, but also plays keyboard and vocal, is the mastermind behind all of the musical concept of this album. For those of you who have been familiar with another prog band Enchant, you can find the voice of its lead vocalist Ted Leonard. It's quite funny I find here that when I listened to the music of Enchant I did not realize that the voice of Ted is very (very!) similar with Steve Walsh of Kansas. I could only find here with Thought Chamber that similarity in voice. And I do not know why, listening to this stream of music by Thought Chambe creates a feeling of Kansas music in progressive metal style. This must have been due to the fact that the voice of Steve Walsh has embeded beautifully in Kansas music and it has become an integral part of any Kansas music.

Having said so, can't you imagine how happy I have been listening to the music of Thought Chamber due to the above facts. In fact, if the lead vocalist is not Kansas-like, say James LaBrie taking the role in vocal department, or Russel Allen of Symphony X, I still can enjoy the stream of music these gentlemen are delivering through "Angular Perceptions".

Why Liking this Album?

There are couple of reasons that I can summarize on why I like this album that probably would apply the same to you:

Technical Complexity Well. basically this is what most people expect whenever they are listening to what "supposed to be" a progressive music. And I have to admit that this album throughout all of the ten songs delivered here with this album are technically complex. If you are the kind of people in the school of thought that progressive music should be complex, this is it! This album is one hundred percent for you, because you can take any segment in the music and you would agree with me that there are so many acrobatic notes that really mind boggling. The first time I spun the CD I felt tired in the middle of the album, but with some more spins, it grew on me, steadily. Now, I get used to it with any complex pieces no matter how acrobatic the notes are in relatively fast speed manner.

The album starts wonderfully with an ambient keyboard work in "Premonition" (2:12) followed with jaw-dropping drumwork combined beautifully with stunning guitar fills. Keyboard still plays with guitar in intertwining fashion, bring the music into beautiful zone of complexity with symphonic flavor mostly produced by keyboard work. The complex arrangements then move into a break of acoustic guitar work that bridges the music into next track "Sacred Treasure" (7:07) featuring the vocal line while the opening track was just an instrumental. Bass guitar work is also excellent. There is also break with acoustic guitar during the transition to "Legend's Avalon" (5:48) and there is a long break during track 8 because the track ("Silent Shore" (3:40)) is basically a mellow one.

Harmony This subject is usually mixed up with melody because some people judge harmony on the basis of melody line which actually is different animal. For this album, I don't think the music is melodic (having a strong point in melody line) even though for me personally it's okay as well as being compensated appropriately with harmony and technical skills. Fortunately these songs contained in this album are all having excellent harmonies among instruments' sounds and notes produced by each instruments. In addition to that, the vocal melody delivered by Ted Leonard sits beautifully in the accompanying music. The result is an excellent harmony in terms of musical instruments as well as vocal line.

On first case, i.e. the instruments harmony you can enjoy nicely track 9 "Accidentally on Purpose" (4:53) which demonstrates a great example on what I mean. This is a full instrumental piece and it does not rely on melody as the music flows from start to end, rather it relies heavily on harmonies among keyboard, bass lines, guitars and drums. You can find each player is a virtuoso in their respective instrument. The bass guitar is very dynamic while the acrobatic drumming is also stunning and in most of transition pieces I am amazed with the style. The drumming style is in the vein of Mark Zonder (spelling?) of Fates Warning, I believe. Guitar virtuosity of Harris is no question. It all add up into beautiful harmony, and so beautiful music.

On the second case, you can take any example from all songs with vocal line. Take for example "Transmigration of Souls" you can segregate the music from vocal and find out great harmony. But our focus is now on how vocal has blended into the music. As the music flows I can see great Ted Leonard vocal embeds into the music and it has become the integral part of the music that you can not segregate anymore, it unites nicely and naturally. Imagine replacing the vocal with guitar or keybord! It's hard that you can enjoy it, because it becomes disintegrated.

Energetic>. If you like the heavy side of progressive rock, this music is dedicated for you because most of the compositions are heavy in rhythm section and acrobatic in nature. Of course there are breaks in between songs and also one mellow song, but the rest is energetic.

Why Not Liking This Album?

I don't know any reason for not liking this album unless you do not progressive metal music because the songs contained here in this album is excellent and strong in songwriting, tight composition. In fact, if you like technical mastery of guitar or keyboard, you can also enjoy this album. Well, if you only enjoy neo progressive music and do not want to explore your music boundaries, I guarantee you will suffer enjoying this kind of music.

Conclusion

Having explored this album in great details, even though I do not write on track by track basis, it's very easy to summarize this album as an excellent addition to any progressive music collection. Fans of Kansas might be favored knowing that the music is somewhat Kansas played in progressive metal style. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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