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Unified Past

Progressive Metal

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Unified Past Shifting the Equilibrium album cover
3.91 | 44 ratings | 6 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Erasure Principle
2. Smile (In the Face of Adversity)
3. Etched in Stone
4. Peace Remains in the World
5. Deviation from a Theme (of Harmonic Origin)
6. Today is the Day

Line-up / Musicians

- Stephen Speelman / Guitar & Keys
- Victor Tassone / Drums
- Dave Mickelson / Bass
- Phil Naro (Gene Cornish & The Dangerous Lovers, Backhand, Corvus Stone) / Vocals

Releases information

Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Format: CD, Digital
September 11, 2015

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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UNIFIED PAST Shifting the Equilibrium ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

UNIFIED PAST Shifting the Equilibrium reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band UNIFIED PAST has a history that can be traced back to 1990, and a band then called Labyrinth. This precursor unit released three albums. The main members then formed Unified Past towards the tail end of the '90s, and have so far released 5 studio albums, as well as reissuing two of the Labyrinth CDs under this new name. "Shifting the Equilibrium" is their latest studio production, and was released through the US label Melodic Revolution Records.

Unified Past has taken a long step forward with their new album "Shifting the Equilibrium", almost coming across as a brand new band, and most certainly vitalized, the current line-up appears to have inspired all involved people to reach a new level in their respective contributions. A solid album on all levels, and Yes fans that are also fond of music with more of a bite to it are well advised to give this one a spin. As are Dream Theater fans that tend to enjoy vintage-style progressive rock, and then from one band in particular.

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars On the day that guitarist and keyboardist Stephen Speelman asked us whether it is true he looked like Yanni in the 90's, it's time for me to fill ina promise: the promise to review the latest album of his band Unified Past. The band I had heard about long ago, but I never really listened to their music until this album came out. Mainly due to the fact that they are classified as progressive metal, and I've not been interested in metal for a number of years. That changes every couple of years, and so also now).

On this album, Speelman is accompanied by bass player Dave Mickelson, who's rattling strings might have been a bit more up front in the mix, drummer Victor Tassone and vocalist Phil Naro. The latter two I also know from projects like Andy John Bradford's Ocean's 5 and Corvus Stone, which are musically quite different from Unified Past.

The music of Unified Past certainly isn't the kind of sky rocketing freak metal as we find for example on the albums of bands like Dream Theater in the last 10-15 years. Instead it's more a mix of 90's and 00's metal, with the keyboards and guitar tunes playing an important role - making it all quite nicely bombastic at times.

Instrumentally, the band is as capable as vocal chameleon Phil Naro is on vocals (check his other projects and random Youtube videos to see what I mean), and as tight as 1980s hardrock skinnies. I haven't tried to count, but I doubt there is a lot of 4/4 beat going on on this album, tempos change every time, and it's hard to spot mistakes.

My favourite track is impossile to identify, every track on the album has its own strengths. I love the keyboards on Smile, despite not being a big keyboard fan, and the vocals on Edged In Stone give me goose bumps. Peace Remains in this World could've been a hard rock classic from the 80s yet doesn't sound dated at all, and Deviation from a Theme is a wonderfully built up instrumental - this time not going from small to big, but rather the other way round - with a shiver inducing guitar solo near the end.

The only issue I may have with the album is that the sound is quite dense, a little more dynamics would've been nice - even if this is classified as metal (the dynamic range meter gave a level of 6 as explanation)

Definitely recommended - and rock enough to also appeal to those who are not into full on metal.

Also published on my blog

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Unified Past have been around since 1999 and have released several albums, most of them since 2008. This most recent release of theirs, 2015's "Shifting the Equilibrium", introduces vocalist Phil Naro in the line-up. Naro has been active in the music business since he was a member of Talas some decades ago and can be heard on albums by Druckfarben, D-Drive and Corvus Stone to name a few.

I'm not familiar with any of Unified Past's previous albums, but it was my appreciation for Naro's vocals that led me to check out this album.

To sum it up, there's a lot of music going on here. There's a very full sound with lots of keyboards and heavy guitar, bass and drums, and of course the vocals. The music is intricate and complex, it has some great vocal lines and melodies but keeps you guessing often. It's like symphonic heavy metal but with a positive vibe like Yes and Glass Hammer. In fact, Naro's vocals make for an excellent metal counterpart to Jon Anderson's.

It's not just the song-writing and music composition but also the sound and use of the instruments. The bass comes in clunky and chunky at times and other times low and warm. The keyboards include some classically-influenced passages. The guitars stay mostly heavy with an excellent choice in distortion settings and yet because of the rich keyboard presence, the album does not have a real metal feel to it most of the time. The music keeps moving and changing, never easing back and resting, never going for 5-minute atmospheric passages. Even when the acoustic guitar comes in, it's mostly more to contribute to the overall sonic palette of the song and ease off the intensity and not to specifically establish an acoustic guitar interlude. I would note though that once or twice I felt the acoustic guitar lacked impact perhaps because this album's production leans more toward the loud and sonorously rich side. At times I wonder with so much going on in the music what does the vocalist have to do?

But Phil Naro contributes a great deal to the songs on which he sings ("Deviation from a Theme" is an instrumental). His voice is powerful and emotion-packed. Catch that "Won't Get Fooled Again" scream in "Smile (in the Face of Adversity)".

If there's anything to say that's not heaping praise, it's that with all that's going on in each song, it's not easy to single out any particular favourites. "Etched in Stone" and "Smile" appear mention in my notes at least twice each, so maybe I picked out parts of those most often. But in the end it's just a musical ride from start to finish. Initially, I also had a bit of a quibble about the production, wondering if the dynamic range hadn't suffered a bit as there was a certain flatness, I felt. But on my latest listen through in reparation for this review I didn't feel the sound quality had suffered so noticeably.

This is easily a three or four star album and I'll give it four!

Latest members reviews

5 stars I would suppose that the meaning of Unified Past is up for interpretation. To me I see four journeyman musicians who have brought their collective talents and influences to the world of progressive rock. In 2015 they release their new offering titled Shifting The Equilibrium on Melodic Revolutio ... (read more)

Report this review (#1582173) | Posted by Mastyrx1979 | Friday, June 24, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars STYLE Powerful progressive rock. Shifting The Equilibrium is a sharp, tight album of gutsy tracks delivered with bright, dynamism and impressive technical mastery. At their best on the longest of tracks when the band break most strikingly into the arrangements with structural variations and aco ... (read more)

Report this review (#1520486) | Posted by MorpheusMusic1 | Tuesday, January 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars UNIFIED PAST is a U.S. progressive metal band formed back in 1999. Prior to that, they activated from early '80 under the name LABYRINTH. The album "Shifting The Equilibrium" is the 7th release of this band. UNIFIED PAST is our days YES, or if you like better, is a progressive metal YES. But t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1508656) | Posted by Prog Maniack | Friday, January 8, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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