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TODAY'S REPORT

A.C.T

Eclectic Prog


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alexanderp@pr
4 stars One of the greatest debuts ever! The band already has a sound that works well throughout the whole album. There are a few weaker songs, but they fall well in the musical pattern of the album, so they are really a problem. The real problem to me was the lyrics, especially on the track "Personalities", which give away the bands non-English background. But that won't bother if you are looking for a major Prog-Rock-sound sensation of the decade!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#17109)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
Frodok@lycos.
5 stars Referring to an interview with Jerry Sahlin, the keyboardist and lead composer of the band, in which assures that "Careful with your step" by SAGA, meant the beginning of it all, as well as his condition of ELO´s fan, I think it explains the origin of this bizarre music, a strange mixture of ELO, SAGA, QUEEN & IQ, with complex arrangements & rhythm changes, full of ideas and with a superb production and playing. The music is quite commercial, but they achieve a subtle balance between quality and capacity to reach big audiencies. I think this band has NO relationship with bands life DREAM THEATER and all that stuff.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#17110)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
rycheage@si.r
4 stars I think this is the best album in my eyes as there are so many catchy melodies and tunes to easily get into. Every one knows I think Grandpa Phone home is the best, coupled with Piece of meat, and the almighty Lord of Lies this album rocks people!!! A excellant sound recording which deserves to be turned right up to annoy the neighbours!!! That way they too will here the awesome tones of A.C.T!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#17111)
Posted Saturday, October 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I just got the CD on a loan basis from my friend two weeks ago. At first I was not interested to borrow the CD as the cover did not attract me at all; it does not seem as a typical prog cover. And . the look of the band members at the cover . oh boy, what kind of lousy cover is this? I gave a try anyway. The first time I spin the CD, I was so confused about the kind of music the band is playing. It was not accessible to my ears. But when I pushed myself to listen repeatedly, I finally could feel the difference the band has created through this album.

A.C.T. has successfully demonstrated, thru this debut album, that prog can be performed in "humorous" way . It challenges the typical association that prog means "dark". The music of this album is definitely energetic, with punchy keyboard and some guitar riffs, but not in a format that most people get used to it. It's not a straight rock as we used to know and hear; but it's not under any sub-genre of prog music we have ever heard also. I'm not sure whether we need to create another definition of sub-genre of prog to classify A.C.T? Their music is the kind like IQ (especially the way the singer, Herman Saming, sings is smilar to Paul Menel of Nomzamo album) meets SUPERTRAMP, DREAM THEATER, and probably ELO. So, what would you like to call it? NEO-PROGRESSIVE METAL?Uuugh, I dunno really. They're just different and really excellent! I love it.

The album comprises 8 tracks and one epic titled as "PERSONALITIES (the long one)" with 7 tracks underneath the epic - so 15 tracks in total. All tracks are wonderfully composed!

The opening track "ABANDONED WOLD" starts with guitar riffs that reminds me to prog met bands like DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X, but it happens only a short period and the music flows with keyboard as lead. The intro part before vocal line enters is really nice; loaded with energy and frequent tempo change in a very short duration. When the voice enters "Welcome to an abandoned world ..etc" it's very obvious that the singing style of the singer reminds me to IQ "Nomzamo" album. The combination of keyboard and lead guitar is in the right balance; there are nice guitar riffs in the middle of the track especially during transitions. The combination of vocal and lead guitar at the back is excellent. There are lots of sudden tempo changes in this track.

The second track "THE WANDERING" flows in the same upbeat tempo as the first, but this time it is opened with a lead guitar work by Ola Andersson. The keyboard is now playing at a background music - it sometimes crunch at the end of the bars. When the singer sings "Hold on tight, you think that you are right .." it sounds poppy but backed with heavy guitar riffs. There are nice orchestration parts in this track.

The band then brings us to "WALTZ WITH MOTHER NATURE" where this time the keyboard plays a dominating role with some guitar riffs. It has frequent tempo changes and various melodies. The structure is a bit complex but the band performs it in an upbeat tempo so it does not seem that complex. Voice quality is excellent; stunning guitar and keyboard works. The only thing lacking is that it ends up with "fade-out" style that I don't like.

"WHY BOTHER" to me sounds like IQ performed in a faster tempo - stunning lead guitar work (that sometime reminds me to LED ZEPPELIN's "Whole Lotta Love") combined with very nice keyboard in the vein of symphonic progressive rock. The mixture of many kinds of music styles has made this track fruitful and innovative.

"TODAY's REPORT" is probably the most humorous musical taste than other tracks. It has a very short piece of lyrics (only two lines) repeated many times throughout the track. "Happy birthday to a new-born dream" "Somewhere around the globe can't you see??" The beauty is that the repetition does not create a sense of boring because it's packaged in such a way that the music styles are different. It's an interesting track to enjoy!

The next track "WELCOME" is opened with a music dominated by lead guitar. When vocal enters the music, again I can sense the IQ singing style even though ACT voice quality is much better than Paul Menel in Nomzamo album. One thing that I notice really well is the very similarity of melody in the music segment when this track enters minute 3:50 - 4:00. It's very obvious with transition piece in IQ SUBTERRANEA album!

The seventh track "CAT EYES" is really a worth-observing track because it combines the jazz style at opening when the vocalists sings the intro part. But it then moves to a faster tempo with rock style complete with relatively thin guitar riffs. The guitar fills during interlude performed in jazzy style is really amazing! This track deserves high recognition music composition and especially in innovation. It's really excellent!

The next track "CHASE" has more guitar riffs combined with keyboard work and singing style in the vein of neo-prog music. The keyboard solo accompanied with guitar riffs and then followed by electric guitar solo are really stunning. The keyboard is then taking the lead in a faster way just before the vocal line returns back. It's a wonderful composition. The ending part is dominated by electric guitar solo.

Vocal and keyboard kick off the epic through a short piece "Foreplay" followed by full- blown rock music and electric guitar solo in the vein of progressive metal. It then suddenly stops and continued with a guitar fills in HACKETTian style. The music then flows in a solid way combining various style of music, i.e. bits of prog metal and neo prog. The vocal quality is excellence. Keyboard and guitar are fabulous! When the epic enters "Insomniac" part, suddenly the right-side of my speaker turns off and I heard only the vocal voice accompanied by keyboard at the left-side. The drum then enters the music and the two speakers work as usual.

In summary, this album deserves five star for songwriting, musicianship, overall performance and production.The sonic production quality is really excellent! Well, at least with my mid-price NAD amplification and B&W speakers system I enjoy the sound very much! It's different kind of prog. It's hard for me for not to rate this album with 5/5 rating. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Having listened to this album, I tried to buy it for myself but I could not get it from the local CD shop here. But I'm lucky that I got their latest album "LAST EPIC". GW, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#17113)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
slack4justice
5 stars Today's Report is a very, very impressive album. Somehow they've created a very distinct sound, which I will vaguely describe as a lighthearted and fun Dream Theater, but different due to the excellent vocals of Herman Saming and the excellent compositions and solos (and I mean EXCELLENT) by Ola Andersson and the gang. Those who think Dream Theater is too much wanking and not enough song, and those who think James Labrie is annoying, and those who think there's no good new prog need to check Today's Report out. Now, besides what I've already said about this great album, each song has different winding time signatures, melodies and overall tone and feel from the last song, making the entire thing an interesting listen. Talk about complex and accessible, it sounds like a slightly faster Yes. They create an accessible symphonic hard rock combination that you can't find anywhere else. An amalgamation of nearly every good quality of prog we've found from years past up to now is in full effect in Today's Report, it's essential because you probably will not find anything like this in the prog scene right now, and it's a breath of very fresh air. As Gatot says, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#38257)
Posted Saturday, July 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars

Normally I don't like to compare one's band music with the music performed by some other bands but in this case the things are somehow obvious. The vocals parts are influenced by Rush but also the composition style. But Rush is not the only band which seems that had an influence on their sound. Other bands like Queen or ELO had also an influence. I found their guitar rhythmic sound a little bit too noisy and scratchy.

Another characteristic is the comic/theatrical way of singing. Their sound on some of the songs is like those puppets shows melodies (e.g. Cat's Eyes and not only).One song which I like to recommend is The Chase. It has a very melodic keyboard driven and with the same comic infusions here and there. Herman Saming's voice sounds really good on this song.

Considering the country where these guys are coming from I have o admit that I was a little surprised about the way they decided to approach the music. The other bands I know from Sweden had a different onset. 3.25 stars but check out their next release because they really improved.

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Send comments to petrica (BETA) | Report this review (#124314)
Posted Friday, June 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Very fine band from Sweden. They don´t sound like anything I heard before, but this group also have some fairly, easy-to-find, influences: Queen, Supertramp, Rush, Saga, Yes, with some Pendragon and Dream Theatre here and there. Still, they are quite original. Great musicanchip in all aspects. The approach is very melodic, sometimes bordering the pop, but not really quite because the arrangements are way too complex, too quirky and the tempo is always changing. Eclectic prog, indeed!

Today´s Report is their debut album, but it does not sound like that. In fact is so well recorded, produced and played that I thought it was their most recent, really, when I bought it. The songs are usually short, very well crafted and varied. The vocals are indeed very particular (reminding me of Supertramp´s Roger Hodgson in some parts). Not all the songs are my cup of tea, but none are bad either.I usually hear the whole CD without skipping a single track, which is not very common nowadays.

The brazilian version comes with two bonus tracks that are almost as good as the original ones and a live video for Welcome (where you can see that lead singer Herman Sanning is quite charismatic) . This is one of those CDs it takes a little time to get used to. But then, you keep playing again and again on your CD player. I´m looking forward to hear their other CDs. 4 solid stars..

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#160250)
Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Today´s Report" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through MTM Music in 1999.

The music on the album is heavy progressive rock with an occasional metal edge. The compositions are very sophisticated and melodic but not necessarily complex. There is an emphasis on catchiness rather than on technical playing. It shouldn´t be misunderstood though as A.C.T are very accomplished musicians and they occasionally play some really technically challenging parts. The high pitched lead vocals by Herman Saming, the harmony vocals and the choirs are very impressive too and sometimes remind me of the high quality vocal work of Queen. When A.C.T are most heavy and progressive they remind me of early Dream Theater.

Standout tracks are "Abandoned World", "Waltz With Mother Nature", "Today's Report" (with the spoken catastrophic words), "Welcome" (damn catchy that one) and of course the "Personalities" suite which is brilliant to my ears.

The only issue I have with "Today´s Report", is that the sound production could have been sligthly better, but it´s nothing too serious and the excellent musicianship and adventurous songwriting more than make up for it. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#162652)
Posted Monday, February 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An excellent debut album... And a big surprise to me!

This band mixes elements and influences of a lot of bands I love... Rush (Saming's voice...), Saga (specially in the Ola Andersson guitar's sound, wich is sometimes very similar to this band, both in riffs and instrumental interludes...), Queen (the vocal harmonies and choirs...), Dream Theater (specially in the harder parts...), Supertramp (A.C.T are so eclectic as this band, and they have a similar dramatic feeling)... But adding a lot of originality in the form of a curious sense of humour, and a some odd musical experiments (calypso, pure jazz...) The results are simply brilliant and very funny. It's a pleasure to hear this album again and again, because it's catchy, fresh and hilarious.

The quality level of the tracks is also really high... Maybe the song Today's Report is under the rest of the tracks... But it's just my personal taste. The rest of the tracks are good, with a lot of highlights. The long one, Personalities, it's just a collection of short songs put toghether, and it lacks some musical coherence, because there is any melodic connection between the fragments... But I love it anyway, because it's catchy, funny and wonderfully played, despite the silly lyrical concept.

The production of the album is also very good... Not spectacular, but very efficient and clear. I specially like the guitar sound, powerful and Saga-oriented, and the keyboard's arrangements. The musicianship is also very competent... Every instrument has protagonism, and the friendly Herman's voice is well adapted to the funny musical direction. The main composer, Jerry Sahlin, makes also a very good work with the different keyboards.

Best songs: Abandoned World (powerful track wich opens this album in a heavy way...), Waltz With Mother Nature (maybe the best song of the album, with an incredible instrumental part and a funny calypso melody...), Welcome (very catchy verses, and another great musical interlude...) and Personalities (funny and really catchy, although a bit unconnected...)

Conclusion: a band with a true personality... Being not afraid of showing their influences, A.C.T are able to give the sensation of being hearing something new, fresh, and full of brilliant ideas. The prog metal lovers will find some interesting moments. The eclectic prog aficionado will also enjoy this work. And the people searching for humor in prog will be surprised! So I can strongly recommend this album to everyone, because being so variated, well executed and with this amount of good compositions, every listener will surely find something interesting on it.

My rating: ****

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#185431)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars 01. Abandoned World To show that the first track on the disk to a known 'understanding' of music, soon came the phrase: 'to get more omega. You know what? He is a jerk! (laughter) This track shows the great potential of the band, heavy guitars without being 'hard', a melodic voice of mind and excellent keyboards. As I said in describing the band is not, nor Neo Prog Prog Metal, as is normal with bands co-sisters, what we have here is a sound mannered and very melodic. There is only the half that comes with the heavy riffs and some words in the dry sound, which takes the time to last, just back from a beautiful and melodic and the theme again.

02. The Wandering That the bottom row of excellent Peter Asp, the keypad of Jerry Sahlin never ceases to be desired and always fills very well the 'space'. One of the things that impresses me is the voice of Herman Saming which is excellent! A good chorus recheia the song. Hello Andersson of the guitars are magnificent, even in the soil. String magnificent with parties and more almost classic chorus and emotion.

03. Grandpa Phone Home This song is awesome! From the beginning to the epic 'reggae' with a great chorus. That everyone here should hear. What this band saw! With an instrumental that most perfect and accurate metric is one of the highlights.

04. Waltz With Mother Nature The beginning already kills a bitch great synthesizer, and a line of low most brilliant yet. Oh sure, a soulful voice can not even more. Carib? Yeah, I went to him, came back and did a very nice one for our music. (laughter) Highlight to hit Tomas Erlandsson with music in all its broken. A great atmosphere for all the music. Many overlapping guitars, direct influence of Brian May (Queen), master of overlap. The synthesizers are essential to the sound of the band.

05. Why bother This song reminds me some 80's bands, but the last bar before the back is another story. It is amazing how many details, while the voice through the guitar phrases to pursue another target and another keyboard. With many guitars scattered by the band and also many keyboards, all excellent!

06. Today 'Report This track starts in a 'strange' with some settings, then as the title suggests are given the news, and if I mistake the second time that the 'reporter' speaks, he says something about Brazil. The guitar is just fantastic in the sequence. Changes in tone and theme of an easy way and leave the listener upset, but paying attention to every detail, which is great. Nearly one instrumental track, unless the reporter and the voice of a very legal and other news.

07. Welcome Exciting start, however, they are very good at introductions energy. The verse is sung on a low line of very good and an excellent keyboard, the voice is always highlighted. The chorus is still legal. Climates that most sensational, around half of the land we have a low that is at least one of the more melodic stuff. The sequence has a guitar break (which at that time we already know) and he learned it vary with the best of our melodist music.

08. Cat Eyes I'm not sure if it is a low wooden original, but I think even a synthesizer in the introduction. A stylish jazz, type 40, with known tune, but with a touch ACT is divine. Several voice and a climate that is very nice Christmas, brings good memories, even if you have no.

09. The Chase Box of music? No! Almost like something (or not, depends on the point of view). I only know that the combination of them and guitar synthesizer always surprises me. The melodies are always so delicate, but at the same time dense and full of broken. The song is almost continuously since the end with his box of music has entered almost in communion with 'a long song'.

10. Personalities - The Long One a. Foreplay Only a small introduction of keyboard and vocal.

b. Piece Of Meat What I said? They have a morning to make a joyful sound, but at the same time dense. Just over 1 minute and ...

c. Tinnitus The quebradeira starts, pure Progressive Rock 90s, excellent! Guitar and synthesizer on a strong and complex.

d. Lord Of Lies Lord Of Lies is almost happy, and several passages' sunny ', but what wrong with that ... no? Music needs to be sad forever? I think not!

e. Emelie (Ms. Amnesia) I like this type of synthesizers. A strange letter, so I got an almost Matrix.

f. Insomniac This is the best part, that means something Wish You Were Here it is, I love these effects mono. Indeed the whole is full of effects.

g. Concluding Speech The final speech is a good excuse for ending the track in style. Viva the disc sensational.

Usually this does not sound seduces me, but this disc is an exception.

www.progshine.com

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#196876)
Posted Friday, January 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
CCVP
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Inoffensive and uplifting progressive metal

Some time ago, A.C.T's third album, entiteled Last Epic, was listed among the 20 best eclectic prog albums so, the first time I had the opportunity to come across any A.C.T album, which was, ironically, their debut album, I bought it right away, not only because one of their albums were so highly regarded, but also because it was fairly unexpensive.

When i came home i immediatelly put the album to play, but right away I was incredibly disappointed for 3 reasons, basically: 1) the album sounds like progressive metal (the music is not as hard/heavy as other bands from progressive metal, but the overall result sounds pretty much like a generic band from said genre), 2) the band sounded much like another Swede progressive metal band (Andromeda, specially when compared to Andromeda's first album), but had much sillier arrangements and 3) I bought the album thinking about buying something completelly different, some kind of music that would mix the most diverse genres ever, like usually happens in the Eclectic Prog genre, what obviously did not happened (some have said that this band has Queen, Supertramp and Rush influences, but i just can't see/listen them, seriously).

So, as you can see, i got something completelly different from what I expected and my first reaction was going back to the store to change the CD or ask my money back, but just before leaving my house, i thought, what the hell, i'll give this a chance and, in the following days I listened to the album again and again and realised it was actually quite good. Indeed, despite the silly arrangements the album is not that bad at all.

Also, it is important to note that this album is an uplifting one. All songs are in major scales and that, together with the arrengements, makes the songs sound like they do. The problem is that it also makes some songs sound extra silly, because these songs havesad lyrics, so wtf A.C.T?

The highlights definitelly go to their singer. What a great vocal work we have here! As for the songs, the hightlights go to Abandoned World, Waltz with Mother Nature, Why Bother and Personalities (The Long One).

Grade and Final Thoughts

This album really grew on me: from something I despised to something I like. Though the album is not perfect, it is really enjoyable and recomended, if you like this kind of soft uplifting progressive metal or heavy arena rock. Thus, its grade is 4 stars

One important final note is that, in the special edition there is one video of a live performance, where they pley the song Welcome. The song is not very impressive, but the instrumental work is pretty good. The biggest problem is the vocal department: the vocalist clearly can't sing as good as in the studio, and he actually sings out of pitch in a lot of parts. Nevertheless, the album still pretty good.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#211506)
Posted Thursday, April 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars One element of good progressive rock, I think, is its capacity to blend what might seem incompatible musical styles. It is a risky procedure and one that often leads to disastrous results. But done well and the result is truly rewarding. And to fully appreciate such eclecticism requires close listening. Such, I believe, is the case with this album - for it impressively mixes a strong dose of progressive metal with a 'pop' sensibility. At first listening I was a little disappointed: the music seemed a little too plastic and reminiscient of 80s 'pop' metal. But with repeated listening I began to think the album was very, very good. The crunch and sheer drive of 'Mother Nature Waltz', the stirring power of 'Today's Report' and the general ability to make highly complex yet accessible songs is something that makes this a great piece of 'contemporary' progressive rock. Even the addition of such things as calypso motifs, which ordinarily I would find off-putting, actually works within the context of the album as a whole. Perhaps it is viable for PA to include yet another sub-genre - 'Progressive Pop' - in which such albums as this and those by It Bites, for example, might be included. For although the inclusion of 'pop' within the progressive category seems anathema the actual music is actually very good.

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Send comments to Kiwi1 (BETA) | Report this review (#219470)
Posted Tuesday, June 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars Indeed, their debut is progressive metal, but let me add, without progressive metal. Quite confusing, I know, but this all I want to say is that this is not normal PM. It's big element is humour, playfulness and melody, so for me, PM is just a form in which all these sounds takes shape. Importance lies elsewhere.

In contrast with their first album, this is less prog. But melodic line basically remains, but metal is just disguise here. I hope that there are also pop elements, but it's all hidden behind prog. And, well, from giving 5 star prevents me that all this, even present in next album is focused in it. Here, it's all thrown into one big pot and mixed together with something that results in quite good soup. But not as good as their later release.

3(+) ladies and gentlemen, but feel free to surf on these waves of joy.

EDIT: However, it''s not so strong album after all. They're in Eclectic genre now, moved from Prog Metal (if I remember correctly), so let there be here. A.C.T. has a better albums than this one, so take this as "not-so-bad" debut, but mostly, the good ideas are still forming and unstable. But they're all here. In their next albums, these dreams finally come through fully.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#251371)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The debut albums are usually tough but this one is just amazing! The band has already established their own distinct sound and there seems to be no end to creativity. This trade mark sound will be improved on with the next releases but mostly in terms of slicker compositions since the skills are already prominent here. Today's Report starts off nicely with Abandoned World and keeps it up all the way through to Why Bother. Next is the title track which reminds me a lot of Dream Theater's The Great Debate and although this album was recorded before Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence I still prefer Dream Theater's track because of its subject and great structure. Next up is Welcome which reminds me of the track Welcome from Tommy by The Who and once again I feel that this track is inferior in comparison. Cat Eyes rounds off the tracks before the long piece Personalities and it's a very straight forward track although by no means terrible.

Personalities is the first of the so called The Long Ones which will be featured on all the next A.C.T albums with the exception of Last Epic, probably because that album is one long composition to begin with (and including its own Intro/Outro-sections). Personalities is a real treat of a composition and features a wide array of influences including progressive sections which remind me of Genesis and E.L.P..

A.C.T's music may not be for everyone due to the highly melodic and eclectic musical content but it's definitely prog which will make it an excellent addition to any progressive rock collection.

***** star songs: Abandoned World (4:04) The Wandering (5:37) The Chase (5:14) Foreplay (0:23) Piece Of Meat (1:15) Tinnitus (2:24) Lord Of Lies (2:24) Emelie (Ms. Amnesia) (2:00) Insomniac (4:38) Concluding Speech (0:34)

**** star songs: Waltz With Mother Nature (6:38) Why Bother (4:52)

*** star songs: Today's Report (4:44) Welcome (5:50) Cat Eyes (4:26)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#258106)
Posted Sunday, December 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars About a year ago I launched a topic in our forum about this special Swedish progband and asked our community if they considered A.C.T. an eclectic band. I will not go into detail about the discussion but apparently it was the right subgenre. The reason I asked it was that A.C.T. sounds a bit too common to me for this category that is known for the more complex and darker side of the prog spectrum.

This debut album by the band is a good example of what I mean. Even though the songs are interesting and at least a bit complex it also has pop features and could just as well be placed in crossover as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, I will go through the individual songs now because there are things to say about them.

The album starts with The Abandoned World, one of my very favourite tracks of all time by this band. Very catchy with great energetic drive flowing extremely well from start to finish. 4*.

Next is The Wandering and is one of their most interesting songs ever. It starts with a downright R&B part (!!??) for almost three minutes followed by a sudden switch halfway in more typical A.C.T. rocking style till the end. When I first heard this one on my mp3 player, I couldn't believe it was one and the same prog song. 3,75*.

(Strange enough on my version the 3rd song Grandpa Phone Home is absent !?)

And next, believe it or not, is exactly the same story ! Waltz with Mother Nature has the exact same build up as if the band wants to prove they could do the same thing just as easy one more time. This time the R&B part lasts for some 100 seconds again followed by the rock part. I wonder what the band is trying to prove here but at least it's original. 3,75*.

Why Bother is another very catchy song in the same style as the opening track A.C.T. is very good at these I can tell you. 4*

The title track is a bit different again with an often returning chorus and several pieces of some talking news reporter. Besides this it's another very accessible song but also with enough variation to keep it interesting. 3,75*.

Welcome is another straightforward rocking song. A.C.T. plays in a pretty heavy style but somehow it doesn't really strike me as such. Some people even call it metal but that can only make me smile. This is really many miles away from anything like metal. If it is at all, it's extremely "friendly for the ears" metal. Nice quiet part after 3:30 minutes followed by a very fine guitar solo. 4*.

Cat Eyes is more friendly poppy sounding track which is nice for the alternation. 3,5*.

The Chase gets right away back to the heavier style. Interesting to realize A.C.T. plays many songs in more or less the same style without getting boring. At least that's how I experience it. Another very good song but not outstanding which goes for almost all songs to me. Also here a great guitar solo after 4 minutes. 4*.

Personalities is a multi layered epic lasting appr. 14 minutes in total. A nice construction all in all but not really adding a new style compared to previous songs. My favourite part of this epic is Lord of Lies with funny lyrics. 4,25*.

I can only conclude here Today's Report is an excellent debut and it put the band on the music map for sure. Maybe even my very favourite A.C.T. album of all four. Four stars without hesitation.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#261932)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is Swedish band A.C.T.'s debut released in 1999. I must say this band has never really clicked with me for some reason.They're fairly commercial sounding and i'm not a fan of the vocals at all. Sure they're fun, energetic and make positive music, i'm just not into their style at all.

"Abandoned World" opens with pounding drums then the synths lead the way as the tempo picks up. Catchy stuff. Vocals arrive before a minute. Not a fan of the backing vocals later on.The heaviness before 3 minutes is good though. "The Wandering" reminds me of RUSH briefly when it opens then it changes as synths, drums and guitar lead. Great sound here regardless. Vocals before a minute as it settles. Contrasts continue. "Grandpa Phone Home" has an almost reggae rhythm to it with the focus on the lyrics, backing vocals too. Not a fan at all. "Waltz With Mother Nature" opens with crazy synths then settles quickly as vocals arrive. The tempo changes often on this one. "Why Bother" opens with drums, guitar and synths. Vocals arrive quickly as it settles. Again contrasts between uptempo and mid tempo continue. I like the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "Today's Report" opens quietly for a change as sounds build. Sampled spoken words join in talking about HIV. It kicks in then settles as these news clips continue to come and go talking about different subjects. It's kind of cool actually. "Welcome" hits the ground running. It settles before a minute and vocals follow. Not a fan of the sound here. "Cat Eyes" opens with deep bass lines as vocals and snapping fingers join in. A silly song really that sounds like QUEEN. "The Chase" doesn't do anthing for me although instrumentally it has it's moments. "Personalities (The Long One)" is divided into 7 sections. "Foreplay" is a short silly vocal piece. "Piece Of Meat" is better. An uptempo tune with vocals. "Tinnitus" is the best track on this album for me. I really like the instrumental work here and there's no vocals to be found. "Lord Of Lies" has some heavy outbursts as synths play over top. It lightens a lot when the vocals arrive though. "Emelie (Ms Amnesia)" is a light hearted tune. "Insomniac" reminds me of QUEEN again. "Concluding Speech" is a short piece with vocals, piano and synths.

Worth 3 stars but I have trouble appreciating it.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#298096)
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is ACT's first album. Funny that I review it the last. This is their most eclectic release, and probably less flirtations with metal here. It's basically anything goes approach - they mix rock with pop, light jazz, Latin music, neo-prog with its cheesy synths and prominent lead guitar lines, some electronic keyboard loops, even some biting social commentary. The last part of the album is made up in a typical ACT fashion of a loosely connected suite of humorous vignettes. And it's all delivered with welcome punch. Do ACT hold potential to cross over from eclectic prog to, well, crossover prog? I would certainly wish so, but probably the answer is no. They are catchy, for sure, just too heavy and technical for the pop crowd, and not enough metal for the metal crowd. So, what's left is us, aging prog dudes.

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Send comments to Progrussia (BETA) | Report this review (#1141168)
Posted Monday, March 03, 2014 | Review Permalink

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