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Echolyn - As The World CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 286 ratings

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2 stars Echolyn is a band I'd looked forward to diving into for quite some time and my first experience (As the World) was a major disappointment, so I will try to be as brief as possible. I have been repeatedly spinning this album over time to give it time to grab me-and there was one aspect where it did. The chops these guys possess are just unreal, both vocally and instrumentally, and I can't deny them that. While I don't care for the updated semi-Gentle Giant style of harmonies they are well done. Much more impressive are the instrumental chops these guys have. Every one of them are tight and play with some real muscle which I came to appreciate. I frankly just love the PUNCH the bass and drums throw at you though the manic style of composition wore thin after a while. I found the frenzied style of many tracks to be more exhausting than truly interesting, especially combined with that vocal style. I really would like to hear Echolyn again as an instrumental project if such an animal exists. I commend their playing skills and would be comfortable settling in at 3 stars (pretty good music) until we get to the next piece of the puzzle.

Oddly, the problem for me on "As the World" are the lyrics. I say oddly because generally I don't pay much attention to lyrics unless I really love them, or as in this case, unless they completely annoy me. I can accept the occasional poetic references to spirituality and matters of faith/character. Such benign sentiments are scattered throughout rock and roll and when handled with graceful subtlety can be quite effective. Here the lyrics can run just too precious, obvious, and self-righteous, sometimes sounding like a cross between an Evangelical youth minister and a self-improvement coach. There is also a smug and proselytizing feel that sometimes creeps in to the vocalist's tone making me feel like I'm being lectured. While I defend their right to say anything they wish to say, I also have to right to say I find their lyrics poor and absolutely uninspiring. There is an early poke at logic and reason that made me groan and from there I knew this might not be my cup o' java-I happen to be a fan of logic and reason personally. Pass the Spock, thanks. I realize my opinion of this popular band is a minority one, but I did find Bob Eichler over at our friends Ground and Skywho felt something similar: "the lyrics try so hard to be deep and worldly, but come off sounding like a whiney teenager who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. The Christian-rock influences (something I rarely see mentioned about Echolyn) don't help to endear them to me...if Spock's Beard could double their chops, they'd sound just like Echolyn. If you think that sounds like a compliment, then Echolyn might be just the band for you." For me, were Echolyn an instrumental act I may very well enjoy this more than my rating reflects, but for now I'm not able to get past the vocalist and certain parts of the message. To each his own.

Moving on to the release notes, the tri-fold digipak reissue will certainly please fans of Echolyn. They throw in a bonus live DVD recorded two days before the original release in 1995. While the audio/video quality is a bit shaky on this, it will no doubt be a huge treat for fans to watch. My rating is a personal one, if you know you like Echolyn's other work then I'd suggest you try this one too, and get the nice bonus DVD for some rare home viewing.

Finnforest | 2/5 |


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