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At War With Self - A Familiar Path CD (album) cover


At War With Self


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 12 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Progressive metal with distinct mandolin and frantic acoustic passages provide a unique and welcome fusion in this genre. The greatest appeal for me on this album is the author's acoustic tendencies. Sure he down-tunes, but his strumming and picking provide a depth to his music that makes him stand out. There is an eclecticism to this album that makes it a winner. However, the tone of the drums in the metal parts is unconvincing, but in certain other passages, the drums fit perfectly. The acoustic passages and the tone of the bass are what set this album apart.

"Reflections" Tastefully immediate, the album launches into textured metal, in which each instrument can be heard with clarity. It has an element of folk music underneath the mayhem. This is a brilliant opener with many layers, sonic clarity, and an uplifting middle section.

"Diseased State" Bridging acoustic bits with flare-ups of jarring metal lead into atmospheric passages interrupted by a slaughterhouse of feeble heavy metal.

"A Familiar Path" This piece is far superior, returning to the deep acoustic-led textured music that I loved in the first track. At once organic and mechanical, it introduces the first vocals, which are thick, if dull, harmonies. An Alice in Chains fan, particularly one who loves Jar of Flies, would love this. It's also like recent Echolyn, and I'm even more a fan of that. Echolyn and Alice in Chains- any takers? I'll raise my hand first.

"The Ether Trail" Gritty bass, high-pitched synths and a foundation of drums and heavy guitars make this a unique affair on this album. It almost feels like a heavy metal "Heart of the Sunrise." But it quickly turns into something of its own, with screaming lead guitar.

"Ourselves" Acoustic guitars, bass, and cymbals lead into a heavier, albeit more brittle passage. The vocals are male and female but through a distorted telephonic effect. That may be effective in the first verse, but I cannot imagine them sounding worse with no such effects. They really should have done this song with little or nothing more than reverb. This would have been the highlight of the album. Maybe they'll release a live version of the song without the pointless vocal distortion.

"Etude No.10" As one may expect, this is a classical guitar piece that is more exciting though less captivating than Steve Howe's performance in "The Ancient." It clearly features a number of open-string pull-offs. It all leads into a fuzzy, full-on psychedelic metal experience, which is not bad, but perhaps not appropriate.

"Concrete and Poison" More immediate heavy metal pours through. It offers different textures, including clean guitars, harmonic lead guitars left and right, and a thick but hearable bass. Its variations include pounding metal and flowing flute-led passages. The latter half is a tad muddled, but Irish-inspired enough to like.

"Hope" A solo electric guitar jazz piece in dropped-D and heavy distortion fuels this farewell. If the album had not shown was a clever player Glenn Snelwar was, then this does. Somehow, I appreciate his tone, despite my personal taste (and my dead grandpa) telling me it should be otherwise.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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