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Hourglass - Subconcious CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.58 | 31 ratings

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4 stars Hourglass is an American prog metal band hailing form of all places Utah, the land of Mormons and tabernacles. But Utah is also home to a man named Brick Williams, a hugely talented guitarist and songwriter, who has been on a musical journey that has been quite a roller coaster ride. Brick is the main man behind the project (producing, writing the lyrics and the bulk of the music) but has always tried to maintain Hourglass as a proper band and has gone through many different band mates while trying to realize his vision and be able to gig. Many of the other players were friends from school while some were from around the Utah music scene. To date, Subconscious is their crowning achievement and a great album.

Dream Theater comparisons are unavoidable. Brick certainly channels Petrucci and it could be argued that he is on par with him. His guitar is the main feature of this 79 minute album but this is no shred fest. This is the type of metal for those who like some but not a lot of the hard stuff. The songs vary tempo all through the album and Brick puts his guitar through the whole gamut in order to keep things fresh, melodic and catchy. John Dunston is a good drummer but plays with a restraint that Portnoy does not. The keys are not as prominent as a typical DT album, but are well done and the piano shows up nicely in a few areas. There are only five songs on the album, two short ones and three epics. The hope may have been for the two short ones to get a little radio play and they are certainly better than much of what you hear nowadays. I don't feel any drag in the epics. Williams has plenty of ideas to keep things moving along. The ending piece, a monster at 32 minutes, is about men going off to war and has six parts. It revisits a musical theme or two throughout and has an emotional aspect to it if you follow along to the lyrics. Cody Walker is a capable singer but will not be up for any awards. He sings nicely and has a good voice but the music could use a singer with a little more power. I don't mind his effort here but others may have an issue. He has since left the band. And a previous reviewer had a gripe with the production which I do not share. No problems for me on that front.

A new double album for the band is due out shortly. It has been four years in the making and has been a struggle for Williams to get out with personnel changes and the many other obstacles the music industry presents to bands that are not established. But Williams shows on Subconscious how big a talent he is and I expect the new album to surpass this one. Not an easy chore but the guy has chops. If you are a DT fan, this album certainly puts TOT, Octavarium and Systematic Chaos in the dust, while not being on the level of 6DOIT. I have probably over referenced our friends in DT here, Hourglass is certainly not a rip off and deserves a wider audience. Fans of prog metal that mixes things up and keeps good melodies while not going over the top should check this out. Good stuff.

johnobvious | 4/5 |


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