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District 97 - Trouble With Machines CD (album) cover


District 97


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 167 ratings

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3 stars DISTRICT 97 from Chicago are back with a new album in 2012 and present a crossover of styles on 'Trouble With Machines', featuring melodic rock, symphonic impressions, heavy prog and even metal sentiment. Remarkable of course is female singer Leslie Hunt - American Idol finalist in 2007 to my surprise - and outfitted with an expressive voice. She perfectly fits and varies a lot, inclusive of some uncommon distorted moments. They start off with Back And Forth and it's immediately clear that you'll get way more than straightforward rock music here. Several twists and turns are implemented.The composition shines due to complexity, bears a strong groove as well as metal riffing guitars. Definitely a fine entrance to the album.

The Actual Color is the next to convince me while following this tricky path basically. Both songs do need some attempts to capture the variety. The Perfect Young Man on the other hand seems to peer hard at the charts first. However this one needs more than 10 minutes to play in the end. So when John Wetton comes in with his guest vocals, now then at the latest the song mutates to a (mini) epic ... guitar and organ are duelling each other in between ... and my lines of worry disappeared, nice one! Like on the debut album 'Hybrid Child' they've put Chicago Symphony Orchestra member Katinka Kleijn in charge of opening for one song with her cello. The extended track The Thief offers multiple facets once again, just to remark a groovy instrumental part with quirky keyboard solo.

I fail to detect any trouble with machines, to make it clear. A fantastic female voice, fine melodies and complex arrangements complement each other, another album though where I needed some rounds to come in eventually. Rich Mouser, also working for Spock's Beard respectively Neal Morse, has lend a hand with the production, A recommendable effort, although not every song can thrill me actually ... and please pay attention ... the first 2,000 copies come with a bonus pro-shot live DVD filmed at the band's 2011 performance at the Rites Of Spring Festival in Gettysburg - 3.5 stars finally.

Rivertree | 3/5 |


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