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ANGULAR PERCEPTIONS

Thought Chamber

Progressive Metal


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4 stars Thought Chamber is yet another progressive metal band in a very big sea- do they have what it takes to stand out? Hailing from Dallas Texas, (also home of the band Stride) I think they have a GREAT shot!

Premonition - A rocking starter, an intro song that settles into the next track

Sacred Treasure- The singing comes in here, (sounds quite a lot like Dream Theater's "Learning to Live", as you may hear) and it is pretty well done, the lead singer and the chorus blend very well. This track also shows you their wonderful musicianship and song-writing skills. They are one of few progressive metal bands that blend technical skills and music/melody to a core. Great song! 5/5

A Legend's Avalon This track is more singing based, leaving the music somewhat in the background until about 3 ½ minutes when the music gets going. (As I listen to this track, it is pretty obvious they are influenced by Dream Theater's use of Synthesizer sounds, and Guitar technique. (I know, I know, comparing another band to Dream Theater.) This song is OK. Nothing bad, nothing great 3/5

Balance of One- Nice balance of music with vocals. This band does a great job of intertwining the two. Almost sense some Rob Halford with some of the vocal notes hit. (This may be a good or bad thing for you) A very nice bridge and solo section makes this a nice song. 4/5

Mr. Qwinkle's Therapy- Possible highlight of the album? Great instrumental. These guys can flat out PLAY. 5/5

Transmigration of Souls- Great intro, very cool song- does net up through the entirety. These guys play intelligent, crafty music!! 5/5

God of Oblique- Another cool song, perhaps not as good as the previous tracks, but good none the less. Part of me wants this band to do more instrumentals! It seems this band is at its best when the band is playing, and the singing it put on hold. 3/5

Silent Shore- like the title may suggest- this is a slower song. The women will dig this one  Not bad- cool guitar work. 4/5

Accidentally on Purpose- like any prog metal band, after a slower, softer track, Thought Chamber decides to get back to what they do very well, play some harder stuff! Great track, one of my favorites! (Instrumental) Pieces of Gordian Knot and Liquid Tension here. 5/5

A Mind Beyond- This is a nice ending track, making me want a follow up album as soon as possible. 4/5

Angular Perceptions is outstanding considering that it is a debut for the band. While it is excellent, it is not essential. A must for fans of Liquid Tension, Gordian Knot, Dream Theater, and others. Again, this is excellent material!

4 stars easy.

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Send comments to Drew (BETA) | Report this review (#114164)
Posted Sunday, March 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Angular Perceptions is simply another good album from INSIDEOUT label, a genuine prog metal with some fusion and jazz influences, well produced and well played, while not being so original. The album starts in a very good way. First three/four tracks are very stunning, SACRED TREASURE in particular, a masterpiece. Unfortunately after some time and listens the album will sound quite boring and repetitive while not being so long (only about 55 minutes). ANGULAR PERCEPTIONS needs many listens too, so don't throw it away after first time.

A short track to track:

PREMONITIONS introduce in a nice way the album, with a powerful guitar riff supported by nice pad sounds. (/)

Second track, SACRED TREASURE, is a really varied, well played and amazing track. Chorus is awesome, instrumental section also more. Seven minutes will become way less. (8)

A LEGEND'S AVALON is more a easy listen track with a catchy and a bit banal chorus. Anyway the whole track sounds nice, especially instrumental section. (6.5)

BALANCE OF ONE has a stunning riff with a good keyboard job supporting the guitar's powerful groove. Singer make amazing vocals in this one. Again a nice instrumental. Anyway, a bit boring in the end. (7--)

MR QWINKLE'S THERAPY is an amazing and funny instrumental. Stunning. (7+)

With next track, TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS, the album starts being boring. The whole song is nice, well played but it's far away from precedent tracks. (6+)

GOD OF OBLIQUE is so catchy but it has simply no substance, nothing will remain after listening to it. Nice riff, anyway. (6+)

SILENT SHORE is a slow ballad and is quite good. Ethereal athmosphere. Nice guitar solo and good job in general. (7+)

The instrumental ACCIDENTLY ON PURPOSE is a boring instrumental, only technical exhibition. (5.5)

Outro A MIND BEYOND is a nice track and a nice ending, with a weird and cool riff. Nice vocals. (7)

Being a debut, this is a good work. Try again for more. (7-) / 3 stars

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Send comments to 3run3r (BETA) | Report this review (#125422)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars On the cover of this cd is a little round sticker that states that singer Ted Leonard of ENCHANT is featured. Make no mistake though this is a Michael Harris project. Michael Harris is one of the best guitarists out there having put out many solo records and before that he had some major commercial success in Japan and Europe with his former band ARCH RIVAL. One of Michael's solo albums is called "Sketches From The Thought Chamber" and this is sort of an extension of that. Harris wrote the music and lyrics for all the songs getting some help with the music on two of the instrumental tracks. With Ted singing on this record there is going to be a lot of comparisons between THOUGHT CHAMBER and ENCHANT. THOUGHT CHAMBER is all about bombastic solos,complex playing and arrangements and they are a lot heavier than ENCHANT. I would compare this band's music to LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT and DREAM THEATER.

The band certainly shows what they are all about on the first song "Premonition" an instrumental. Over the top keyboard playing and virtuoso guitar solos are fired off left and right before they show some diversity with a slow and heavy ending. "Sacred Treasure" features some amazing keyboard playing but it's a little too upfront for my tastes. The vocals 2 1/2 minutes in make me smile as I think of ENCHANT.The guitar is great as we get some riffing followed by an intricate guitar solo then a keyboard solo. "A Legend's Avalon" opens with some double bass drumming and some impressive guitar work 4 minutes in. "Balance Of One" features Harris singing lead on the bridges while Leonard takes care of the rest. Drums and bass dominate the instrumental sections as the guitar blazes a trail. This is excellent fusion.

"Transmigration Of Souls" has some fantastic work from the rhythm section.The guitar melodies are IRON MAIDEN-like, while the bass before 5 minutes is impressive. "God Of Oblique" is a change of style to almost like an eighties metal song. I like it. A blistering guitar solo after 3 minutes followed by a keyboard solo. There is an eastern feel to the song 4 minutes in. "Silent Shore" features guitar synth (there is a lot of this on this record), e-bow and some orchestration.This song is more laid back and the closest thing to an ENCHANT song. Tasteful guitar on this one and it ends with a Page-like guitar melody. "Accidently On Purpose" is an instrumental, and all I can say is "yeah,these guys are showing off big time". "A Mind Beyond" has some good guitar and vocals as the synths swirl. I love the background synths on this one that are followed by some heaviness and a jazz passage.

Tough one to rate only because the musicianship demands nothing less than 4 stars but for my tastes it's closer to 3 stars. I'm just not a big fan of uptempo, keyboard led music. Fortunately it's not all about that. I am so impressed with the guitar play of Michael Harris though, and of course with Ted's vocals. So it's 3.5 stars for me. And by the way I have to admit the reason I bought this disc had something to do with the little round sticker on the front cover.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#127669)
Posted Thursday, July 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is ENCHANT’s vocalist side-project as far as I know (at least, with his participation), and his voice made me muse a bit of my early days in Prog realm, when every discovered band seemed so challenging but still far from DREAM THEATER’s fame :) Couple of songs in the beginning of “Angular Perceptions” were quite good, biting and powerful, but the further we were going, the more obvious things became to emerge. Nothing wrong here (record quality and musicianship are top-notch), but this one must be recommended (and will appeal) mostly to ENCHANT/Prog-Metal fans. Others will hardly find anything special here musically. 2.5 stars in a whole.

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#131826)
Posted Sunday, August 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought this one because of the Enchant connection but also because I liked the tracks on their MySpace page (very useful feature of MySpace that). Anyway, I liked what I heard and wanted more. And more is what I got.

This is a very good album if a bit over-complex in places. I like that sort of thing which would make this a four star release for me. However, with the broader populace in mind I'll give it 3 and suggest you check it out if you really like your prog-metal with a jazz/fusion flavour.

Oh, yeah, Ted Leonard does a fantastic job with the vocals, just as he does for Enchant!

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Send comments to scarista (BETA) | Report this review (#136148)
Posted Tuesday, September 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is some catchy prog metal. Not the most original stuff, very Dream Theater influenced but the compositions are very strong. Sacred Treasure, Transmigration of Souls, and Gods of Oblique are especially strong, the latter being extremely catchy. Recomended to prog metal fans basically.

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Send comments to King Crimson776 (BETA) | Report this review (#149778)
Posted Friday, November 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Thought Chamber debut album Angular Perceptions is prog metal in the Dream Theater vein. Lots of tempo and time signature changes, melodic vocals and outstanding musicians. Only problem is that we“ve heard it all before both better and worse. When I started listening to the album I was sure that this would be a 4 star album, but I have changed my mind after a couple of listens. This is really a 3 star album, not that it is mediocre, but as I mentioned before we“ve heard it all before and midway through the album I get bored with the style and the riffs get generic in my ears.

The musicians are outstanding throughout the album even though I have never heard of any of them before. That“s except for Ted Leonard from Enchant who does a great job here, putting his voice to full use. He sounds better here than he did on the last couple of releases from Enchant. Maybe he believes more in this band ?

Well I used to be very much into this style of music, but my interrest has cooled over the years, and maybe this is the reason for my 3 stars. It is an impressive album, just not my prefered style.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#153339)
Posted Saturday, December 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Promising debut album from this self-coined supergroup.

Excellent musicianship is the dominant feature on this album, especially experienced axeman Michael Harris use the opportunity to showcase his instrumental prowess on this release, but the other members of the band get their chances of conveying technical brilliance throughout this release too. And the vocals of Enchant vocalist Ted Leonard are excellent in a Dream Theater kind of way.

What's lacking are really good songs though. Lots of instrumental showcasing here, but not too many songs as such; as the compositions seems to be pieces assembled rather than songs composed.

Worth checking out by fans of technical metal with progressive elements, and should be loved by people of the opinion that Dream Theater don't showcase their technical abilities as much as they should.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#162025)
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Kansas in Progressive Metal

By the time I am writing this review, I have been listening to this album inits entirety more than 10 times and the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it. It's probably the music style is energetic (most of the songs), in the vein of progressive metal, and also it's quite complex, technical in nature. Michael Harris, the multi-talented musician majoring in guitar and composition, but also plays keyboard and vocal, is the mastermind behind all of the musical concept of this album. For those of you who have been familiar with another prog band Enchant, you can find the voice of its lead vocalist Ted Leonard. It's quite funny I find here that when I listened to the music of Enchant I did not realize that the voice of Ted is very (very!) similar with Steve Walsh of Kansas. I could only find here with Thought Chamber that similarity in voice. And I do not know why, listening to this stream of music by Thought Chambe creates a feeling of Kansas music in progressive metal style. This must have been due to the fact that the voice of Steve Walsh has embeded beautifully in Kansas music and it has become an integral part of any Kansas music.

Having said so, can't you imagine how happy I have been listening to the music of Thought Chamber due to the above facts. In fact, if the lead vocalist is not Kansas-like, say James LaBrie taking the role in vocal department, or Russel Allen of Symphony X, I still can enjoy the stream of music these gentlemen are delivering through "Angular Perceptions".

Why Liking this Album?

There are couple of reasons that I can summarize on why I like this album that probably would apply the same to you:

Technical Complexity Well. basically this is what most people expect whenever they are listening to what "supposed to be" a progressive music. And I have to admit that this album throughout all of the ten songs delivered here with this album are technically complex. If you are the kind of people in the school of thought that progressive music should be complex, this is it! This album is one hundred percent for you, because you can take any segment in the music and you would agree with me that there are so many acrobatic notes that really mind boggling. The first time I spun the CD I felt tired in the middle of the album, but with some more spins, it grew on me, steadily. Now, I get used to it with any complex pieces no matter how acrobatic the notes are in relatively fast speed manner.

The album starts wonderfully with an ambient keyboard work in "Premonition" (2:12) followed with jaw-dropping drumwork combined beautifully with stunning guitar fills. Keyboard still plays with guitar in intertwining fashion, bring the music into beautiful zone of complexity with symphonic flavor mostly produced by keyboard work. The complex arrangements then move into a break of acoustic guitar work that bridges the music into next track "Sacred Treasure" (7:07) featuring the vocal line while the opening track was just an instrumental. Bass guitar work is also excellent. There is also break with acoustic guitar during the transition to "Legend's Avalon" (5:48) and there is a long break during track 8 because the track ("Silent Shore" (3:40)) is basically a mellow one.

Harmony This subject is usually mixed up with melody because some people judge harmony on the basis of melody line which actually is different animal. For this album, I don't think the music is melodic (having a strong point in melody line) even though for me personally it's okay as well as being compensated appropriately with harmony and technical skills. Fortunately these songs contained in this album are all having excellent harmonies among instruments' sounds and notes produced by each instruments. In addition to that, the vocal melody delivered by Ted Leonard sits beautifully in the accompanying music. The result is an excellent harmony in terms of musical instruments as well as vocal line.

On first case, i.e. the instruments harmony you can enjoy nicely track 9 "Accidentally on Purpose" (4:53) which demonstrates a great example on what I mean. This is a full instrumental piece and it does not rely on melody as the music flows from start to end, rather it relies heavily on harmonies among keyboard, bass lines, guitars and drums. You can find each player is a virtuoso in their respective instrument. The bass guitar is very dynamic while the acrobatic drumming is also stunning and in most of transition pieces I am amazed with the style. The drumming style is in the vein of Mark Zonder (spelling?) of Fates Warning, I believe. Guitar virtuosity of Harris is no question. It all add up into beautiful harmony, and so beautiful music.

On the second case, you can take any example from all songs with vocal line. Take for example "Transmigration of Souls" you can segregate the music from vocal and find out great harmony. But our focus is now on how vocal has blended into the music. As the music flows I can see great Ted Leonard vocal embeds into the music and it has become the integral part of the music that you can not segregate anymore, it unites nicely and naturally. Imagine replacing the vocal with guitar or keybord! It's hard that you can enjoy it, because it becomes disintegrated.

Energetic>. If you like the heavy side of progressive rock, this music is dedicated for you because most of the compositions are heavy in rhythm section and acrobatic in nature. Of course there are breaks in between songs and also one mellow song, but the rest is energetic.

Why Not Liking This Album?

I don't know any reason for not liking this album unless you do not progressive metal music because the songs contained here in this album is excellent and strong in songwriting, tight composition. In fact, if you like technical mastery of guitar or keyboard, you can also enjoy this album. Well, if you only enjoy neo progressive music and do not want to explore your music boundaries, I guarantee you will suffer enjoying this kind of music.

Conclusion

Having explored this album in great details, even though I do not write on track by track basis, it's very easy to summarize this album as an excellent addition to any progressive music collection. Fans of Kansas might be favored knowing that the music is somewhat Kansas played in progressive metal style. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#163037)
Posted Sunday, March 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another release from the usually reliable Inside Out Label.

It took me a while to track this one down and now that I have, I wish I hadn't bothered. Like too many so called prog metal bands the playing is top notch from all concerned. However, there isn't a single memorable tune on the whole thing and the keyboards? thin, weezy, nasty 80's style korg sounds that have been done to death by the likes of Jordan Rudess and Derek Sherinian for years. Even the involvement of Enchant's Ted Leonard cannot raise this one above 2 stars. A triumph of technique over content.

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Send comments to Paul R (BETA) | Report this review (#166035)
Posted Tuesday, April 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you're going to play derivative progressive-metal, you better do it like this.

When I first learned that ENCHANT's Ted Leonard was the singer of a progressive-metal band, I got scared. ENCHANT, while a good group, is not really metal, and I could never imagine Leonard's soft, pop-esque vocals in a true metallic atmosphere. I thought it was too thin, too cute, too un-metal.

The good thing is that he has proved me wrong. In THOUGHT CHAMBER, Leonard's performance is excellent, among the best of his career. The usual melodic vocals he chooses for ENCHANT are here, but we see now another side of his abilities: the ability to sing louder, to sing higher, to be able to front a much louder band. He succeeds almost completely. Just a few times during the album I got the idea that he was in stress trying to fit in with the music, but generally, he makes for a very good progressive-metal vocalist.

And now let's talk about the music: THOUGHT CHAMBER is a traditional progressive-metal band that plays in the same school of DREAM THEATER. Their music is mostly riff-based but they have great originality to come up with very interesting ones. The songs are longer than usual, with extended instrumental sections and three purely-instrumental tracks. The influences are varied, and we can even feel some jazz here and there, especially in the harmonies and bass lines. THOUGHT CHAMBER puts a lot of emphasis in interesting texturing work, with some moments in the album sounding like true counterpoint.

The music wouldn't be as good if it wasn't played with such amazing skills. Here we have a true outstanding set of performers, from the excellent, jazz-oriented drummer and bass player (who really shines throughout the album) to the impressive guitarist, Michael Harris, leader and mastermind of the band. This album is his idea and it shows, as it is the guitar the instrument which in the end outshines the others with the splendor of the solos and ornaments and the technical proficiency one can discover and enjoy.

At times, "Angular Perceptions" just lacks memorable choruses or melodies to be considered a true 5- star progressive-metal album. I was inclined after the first few songs to give this record the highest rating, as it's one of the best-played traditional prog-metal albums in existence, but after I listened to the whole thing, the impression it left in my mind was less strong. It's an excellent addition to any collection and therefore I give it 4 stars.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#173842)
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Thought Chamber is a new band of Arch Rival's guitaris Michel Harris. He gathere around him some great musicians like voclist from Enchant, drumer from defunct Eniac Requiem, so a good line up for prog metal. The music on this album entitled Angular perception from 2007 is very uptempo, with many odd twists and very strong musicianship. The conection with Enchant is inevitable when we have here Ted Leonard on voice from Enchant, but the music is much diffrent, more complex and is prog metal unlike his mother band who is more heavy prog with some pop elements here and there. Anyway Leonard did a great job here, showing he is capable to do other kind of vocal arrangements like in Enchant, here is more powerfull and even in places is more confident on his voice and his possiblities to explore more grounds. The main man of the band Harris is a great guitarist with many solo albums and many collaborations with other bands, besides his work with Arch Rival, he is the cherry on the cake on this album, some really intristing chops, great riffs and inteligent solos, made from this album to be a great discovery for prog metal fans. The drumer is excellent, he was aswell great in Eniac Requiem , so here is aswell a top notch musican. The music is very complex with some influences from Spastik Ink to Dream Theater in places, even some jazz fusion elements are there remind me of Anomaly (dutch prog metal band with jazz fusion elements) and even Gordian Knot. The resoult of this combination is outstanding, I was realy impressed by these musicins, very skilfull, very confident in their possibilities= a solid effort that worth every second. The best pieces are all, not a weak moment, all are very strong and shows how great this album is - specially on the three instrumental pieces, but the rest is also magnific. I will give 4 stars easely, among the best prog metal albums I've heared in years, recommended for sure.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#202362)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I originally came across this band after hearing and falling in love with the song 'Transmigration of Souls', and upon finding out that their singer was none other than Enchant's Ted Leonard, I just knew I had to have this album.

One word: Wow.

After a two minute instrumental opening track, the song 'Sacred Treasure' completely blew me away, with its intro full of random guitar/keyboard/bass licks and solos, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. So many instruments playing so many different things at once. Layer upon layer of interesting melodies and harmonies makes this an instant classic in my eyes.

The typical Prog Metal cliche is that this is very 'Dream Theater inspired', and whilst I'm not denying that, Thought Chamber have a very cool exotic style and mixture of elements which make this a truly unique group. The amazing playing and songwriting style could easily stand toe-to-toe against DT, and songs like 'Sacred Treasure', 'Balance of One', 'God of Oblique' or any of the instrumentals justify this.

At times Leonard's vocals seem a little thin for this style of music, but hey I'm not complaining, it still sounds awesome. In fact, there is nothing to complain about, this is one hell of a debut, and deserves a place in every Prog fans collection.

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Send comments to Valarius (BETA) | Report this review (#276320)
Posted Sunday, April 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'll admit, I was impressed with the musicianship on this album. I was impressed on how obviously talented musicians managed to make such dull and boring music. A common problem I have with a lot of progressive metal bands is that they all more or less sound like more boring versions of Dream Theater. Thought Chamber actually managed to get by that block by having a more technical metal influenced sound. And they proceeded to do absolutely nothing with it. The compositions are bland and boring, the soloing feels like random doodling, the lyrics aren't terribly interesting--it's just a bunch of uninspired blandness. That being said, it's well played blandness, and if you're looking for something like background music it can certainly be enjoyable, but frankly, this album isn't worth a focused listen.

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Send comments to msphelps (BETA) | Report this review (#276371)
Posted Monday, April 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 55 minutes of energetic, mostly instrumental wankery (in a good sense) enters one ear and flies right out of other. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with this album. Technically impressive (guitar-oriented, but bass deserves special mention too), even moderately catchy, vocalist slightly weak for this kind of pompous music, but fairly good. Derivative, but what is not nowadays? Points of reference would be Dream Theater, of course, followed by likes of Iron Maiden, Symphony X, Rush, neoclassical metal, some jazzy-funky playing. No harsh stuff thankfully. There is just little for my ears to grab on to. Strictly for hardcore fans of Dream Theater-style progressive metal. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. But let's encourage guys like that, they seem to be having fun with what they are doing.

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Send comments to Progrussia (BETA) | Report this review (#1145108)
Posted Sunday, March 09, 2014 | Review Permalink

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