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Chroma Key - Dead Air For Radios CD (album) cover


Chroma Key


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.97 | 175 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I see it burning in the sky... it is a red ball of fire...

Also a household name in the prog community, Kevin Moore will likely never be able to shake of his ex-Dream Theater tag that's followed him around for so long. Even if the music that he makes could not be further removed from his old band at all, most people might come marching into his other project expecting a similar sound. However, as mentioned before, these people are likely to be let down. Chroma Key is Moore's first solo venture and it really sounds like he was trying to do something different. More of a venture into electronic psychedelica than a prog-metal affair, this is a spacey album who's overall ''darkness'' factor is a little more than overwhelming.

Characterized by piano, synths and Moore's voice, this was obviously a project where he intended to show off his strengths. He does so very well, because while he may not be the best singer in all the land he certainly knows his limits and stays well in them. His voice often comes off as hypnotic, and I remember the first time hearing it wondering if they had added a constant effect to it. They haven't in all cases, the man simply sounds like a computer. This is a good thing though, because his voice suits the music just so and he doesn't ruin it by trying to be flashy. Comparisons to other bands here are not easy, but the easiest comparison (perhaps obviously with the ability of hindsight) is to his future project OSI but without the guitars. Perhaps a more spaced out and electronic, guitarless Tool would also be a fair comparison for those who haven't heard Moore's other projects.

The songs themselves are rather short, there's no sprawling compositions here to speak of. All of the songs as well are quite evenly matched and stay within the confides of a (kind of) set theme, as well, they're quite catchy with some memorable hooks without becoming too simple for the proghead to enjoy. Ironically, between all the computers and the computer sounding voice there is a very real emotion to be had behind all the songs. Even in the computerized spoken word coda Hell Mary there is a terrible sense of fear and sadness given the context of the words and the ambient music in the background. This is the most extreme example on the album of course, as it's more of an outro than a song, but the real songs on the album do much the same thing. The for example the amazing On The Page, one of the highlights of the album, here we have a delicate piano melody led by Moore's mechanical voice and given life by some very melancholic lyrics that all combine with a good hook to create something very special. Other standouts on the album include the opener Colorblind, the frantic drum beat of Undertow, the accusing America The Video and the haunting Mouse.

While hesitant to give this one a full five meaning 'essential' since some people may not be able to enjoy the electric feel of this album it is certainly an amazing disc which deserves a spin by everyone wanting to give it a shot. If you enjoy dark music driven by keyboards then look no further. People who find something to like about this one but think it needs to be heavier should definitely look up OSI. Highly recommended, this one gets 4.5 cameras out of five. Very near perfection, and an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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