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Life Stage - Stage 1 CD (album) cover

STAGE 1

Life Stage

 

Progressive Metal

3.33 | 3 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Stage 1" is the debut release by US, Austin, Texas based progressive metal act Life Stage. "Stage 1" is a 5 track, 32:31 minute long EP. The band is a four-piece act on this EP consisting of Ross Phillips on vocals and guitar, Rocky Phillips on Guitars, A.J Grigson on bass and Andy Emerich on drums. The band has since the recording of the EP replaced A.J Grigson with new bassist Chris Miller and Rocky Phillips has also left the band making Life Stage a trio.

The music on "Stage 1" is for the most part a really heavy progressive metal style with lots of edgy and quite groovy metal riffing. Iīm thinking Dream Theater meets Metallica with a slight nod towards Pantera. The band also sites Rush as a major influence and I would add Enchant to the influences as well. Mostly because of Ross Phillips vocal style and vocal lines which sometimes remind me of Ted Leonardīs ditto. With the name dropping out of the way I actually think Life Stage are good at mixing their influences into a sound of their own. They donīt particularly sound like anyone else and thatīs always a good sign on a debut release. The band seem very ambitious and the level of musicianship is excellent on the EP. Heavy edgy guitar riffing, quite technical drumming, great bass playing and generally great interplay between the musicians. This is a powerful yet sophisticated act with an emphasis on power. They nearly blew my socks off when the opening track "Full Proof" went into gear.

Life Stage fortunately have many different strings to play on and the 5 tracks on the EP cover a lot of ground while still sounding unmistakably like Life Stage. There are 4 tracks with vocals and 1 instrumental on the EP. I enjoy all tracks on the EP but the instrumental "Instrumorphasis", the opening track "Full Proof" and the 2nd track "Can I?" are probably my favorites. Reading the lyrics on the EP it becomes quite clear that Life Stage come from a Christian background and their vision and worldview are dealt with in the lyrics. Sometimes very directly like in "Can I?" and other times in a bit more subtle manner.

The production is really powerful. The guitar might be a bit too loud in the mix but it sounds great IMO. The vocal production is a bit flawed though and doesnīt sound completely professional to my ears. Overall the production is enjoyable though.

"Stage 1" is a great and quite promising first release by Life Stage. There are a few things I think the band should work on for future releases though. They have the most important things down and thatīs power and enthusiasm. The EP oozes both. The instrumental skills are excellent and the songwriting is intriguing for the most part. So my only complaint here is about the vocals and the vocal lines which are a bit sub par to the rest of the music. Weīre not talking anything really disturbing, but they do drag my rating down a bit and I hope Life Stage will focus on improving that part of their sound. So overall this is a very promising and solid debut effort with room for improvement and a 3 - 3.5 star rating is deserved. This could be a band to look out for in the coming years. Iīm intrigued.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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