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Athem - The Extended Mind CD (album) cover

THE EXTENDED MIND

Athem

 

Progressive Metal

3.06 | 3 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ScorchedFirth
3 stars (6/10)

I discovered this album a while ago, after a friend linked me to the YouTube channel ("UnflexableGrace") of their talented singer, Will Shaw. He was doing covers of songs like "Don't Stop Believin'", "Queen Of The Reich" and "Metropolis Part 1", singing along to them in his car, and making a damn good go of it too. I bought "The Extended Mind" mostly on the strength of these covers.

I thought this album was good, but I couldn't really enthuse about it the same way. The vocals, whilst still done well, didn't stand out as much as I was expecting, and as much as I know they could. On the instrumental side of things, this is a pretty standard modern progressive metal release. Maybe a bit lighter in places, but essentially well within the established standards. The musicianship is good, but definitely not especially so, particularly given the bands (Dream Theater, Symphony X etc.) that have clearly influenced Athem.

There are 3 songs that really stand out for me though: "Fallen God", which moves from quite an aggressive technical prog metal start to a more symphonic and driving end; "Away" which is a brighter track that manages to be both melodic and heavy; and the closing epic "Lifting The Veil" which comes in at over 15 minutes. "Lifting The Veil" is really the powerhouse of the album in my opinion, rounding it off by revisiting some of the musical and lyrical themes of the rest of the album, going through a healthy variety of different movements.

There wasn't a massive payoff for the gamble I took in my purchase, but all the music here is of a generally good quality, even if it doesn't really bring anything new to the modern progressive metal table. I can at least recommend this album if you are curious. I would be interested to see if Athem could develop some unique aspect to their sound, because it is already enjoyable, but it's quite difficult to get updates. Hopefully Athem won't just disappear in a cloud of apathy, another victim of a genre already saturated with many similar bands, because I do feel like with a bit more work they could really make something of themselves.

ScorchedFirth | 3/5 |

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