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Timecode Alpha - Place Du Martyr CD (album) cover

PLACE DU MARTYR

Timecode Alpha

 

Progressive Metal

2.05 | 2 ratings

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TCat
2 stars Timecode Alpha is a Progressive Metal band from Sweden that was formed around 2008 by Peter Lazar (keyboards, guitar, vocals, programming), who has also been involved with several other Swedish bands. Lazar soon recruited Mads Clausen (vocals) and Ken Sandin (bass) to help out and they released their debut album "Freakshow" in 2009.

Now, after 10 years and some issues with labels, the band has finally released their 2nd album "Place Du Martyr", released in November of 2019. This album has the same core line-up as their debut, but also features a few guests to help out on this album. It is made up of a whopping 17 tracks and has a run time of 65 minutes.

With the somewhat hesitant and surprisingly AOR sound that begins the album, "Scapegoat" doesn't provide the attention grabbing sound that you might hope for. You also find out right away what Clausen's vocals are like, and it is apparent that they may take some getting used to. He has a rough, gruff sound to his vocals, but he still has the range to go with it. There is a bit more complexity to the music than what you normally hear, but it never really seems to come together very well. "Gospel of Mankind" starts mysteriously with layers of keys, then the band comes in with guitar-led riffs followed by vocals. I can't help but think though, that the music is more of a crossover sound than it is progressive metal. Even then, the music is okay, but it just seems to be off a little bit and the band just doesn't seem to be that tight, the songs sounding like they could easily just fall apart.

"Grey Pt. Pain" is a bit more interesting with it's vocal layering and contrasting vocal ideas, the music also takes on a harder edge, but is still only on the edge of metal, and stance is solidified with a sax solo. The guest vocals almost reach a growling quality, and the overall track tends to lean more towards a progressive style, things are looking a bit more promising here, but there is still that lack of a feeling of unity in the band. "Grey Ptii Broken Truth" is pretty much as confusing as the title, as it wavers between crossover and metal, not really sure where it wants to be. It all attempts to be progressive, but ends up sounding messy with Clausen's madcap vocals sung against music which seems to be too light and symphonic at times and random growls that come out of nowhere. It all just seems unorganized and messy.

After a short instrumental, "Don't Let My Heart Be Broken" follows, along with more confusion of just where this band wants to be. The track is very AOR sounding, and the lyrics back that up since they are co-written by Alannah Miles (remember "Black Velvet"?). Anyone with interest in wanting to hear a Progressive Metal album will be sorely disappointed by this track, if they haven't been already. Again, the album only supports the crossover feel of the music. Unfortunately, the vocals are not that great, and the music continues to feel disjointed. It ends up sounding schmaltzy.

The album continues along this same pattern, songs that can't decide if the want to be completely AOR and trying to still have a progressive and metal edge, but they end up not really landing anywhere, and it all ends up just feeling disjointed and messy. The vocals are not that great, the music is okay, but only lands in mediocre territory. The band tries to give this image of being a Swedish metal band, but the sound is much too light to support that, so what we end up with here is music that is 10 percent metal, 10 percent progressive, 30 percent AOR and 50 percent uninteresting. Even the short, synth-laden intermediary tracks don't tie anything together, and end up just being meandering and pointless. Not a great album by any means.

TCat | 2/5 |

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