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AT WAR WITH SELF

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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At War With Self biography
At War With Self - sounds more like a psychological diagnosis than a band! This spanking new group is an instrumental power prog trio leaping onto the progressive scene at Mach 1. The project is the brainchild of guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar. Torn Between Dimensions, the band's debut recording on the Free Electric Artists label (a part of Laser's Edge), features Snelwar on guitar, mandolin, and keyboards; Michael Manring on fretless bass and e-bow; and Fates Warning's Mark Zonder on drums and percussion. Zonder's solidly tasty drumming firmly anchors the trio along with the melodically propulsive bass work of Manring, all wonderfully adorned by Snelwar's fierce playing.

The band serves up intense, emotional pieces in a wide variety of musical styles. Snelwar's intention is to "open doors to listeners who may be unfamiliar with progressive rock, classical guitar or metal." At War With Self have an equal passion for such diverse types of music as progressive and metal bands like King Crimson, Voivod and Pink Floyd; classical composers such as Bartok and Villa Lobos; as well as bluegrass and jazz. Torn Between Dimensions takes these influences and combines them into something undeniably progressive and strikingly original. The end result is a dense wall of sound, with different textures and feels within each number, one song flowing seamlessly into the next.

Guitarist Glenn Snelwar is perhaps best known for his contributions to Gordian Knot's eponymous debut, a project led by Chapman Stick player Sean Malone that featured guest performances by Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Sean Reinert (Cynic) & John Myung (Dream Theater). Snelwar helped co-write three of the songs for Gordian Knot, as well as contributing guitar work. Since his involvement with Gordian Knot, Snelwar has been incorporating mandolin, keyboard and string section programming into a foundation of classical, steel string and electric guitar arrangements to great effect.

Michael Manring is a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated bassist who has appeared on over 100 studio projects, including recording and performing with Michael Hedges and Attention Deficit Disorder (with former Primus drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander). Michael's fretless bass parts play a vital role on Torn Between Dimensions, melodic but never overwhelming.

For over 15 years, Mark Zonder occupied the drum stool for progressive metal legends Fates Warning. As Zonder's fans would expect, h...
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Acts of GodActs of God
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$7.48
$5.55 (used)
Torn Between DimensionsTorn Between Dimensions
Free Electric Sound 2005
Audio CD$8.99
$4.43 (used)
A Familiar PathA Familiar Path
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$9.18
$15.38 (used)
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AT WAR WITH SELF discography


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AT WAR WITH SELF top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 21 ratings
Torn Between Dimensions
2005
3.65 | 8 ratings
Acts Of God
2007
4.16 | 9 ratings
A Familiar Path
2009

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AT WAR WITH SELF Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Familiar Path by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.16 | 9 ratings

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A Familiar Path
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Progressive metal with distinct mandolin and frantic acoustic passages provide a unique and welcome fusion in this genre. The greatest appeal for me on this album is the author's acoustic tendencies. Sure he down-tunes, but his strumming and picking provide a depth to his music that makes him stand out. There is an eclecticism to this album that makes it a winner. However, the tone of the drums in the metal parts is unconvincing, but in certain other passages, the drums fit perfectly. The acoustic passages and the tone of the bass are what set this album apart.

"Reflections" Tastefully immediate, the album launches into textured metal, in which each instrument can be heard with clarity. It has an element of folk music underneath the mayhem. This is a brilliant opener with many layers, sonic clarity, and an uplifting middle section.

"Diseased State" Bridging acoustic bits with flare-ups of jarring metal lead into atmospheric passages interrupted by a slaughterhouse of feeble heavy metal.

"A Familiar Path" This piece is far superior, returning to the deep acoustic-led textured music that I loved in the first track. At once organic and mechanical, it introduces the first vocals, which are thick, if dull, harmonies. An Alice in Chains fan, particularly one who loves Jar of Flies, would love this. It's also like recent Echolyn, and I'm even more a fan of that. Echolyn and Alice in Chains- any takers? I'll raise my hand first.

"The Ether Trail" Gritty bass, high-pitched synths and a foundation of drums and heavy guitars make this a unique affair on this album. It almost feels like a heavy metal "Heart of the Sunrise." But it quickly turns into something of its own, with screaming lead guitar.

"Ourselves" Acoustic guitars, bass, and cymbals lead into a heavier, albeit more brittle passage. The vocals are male and female but through a distorted telephonic effect. That may be effective in the first verse, but I cannot imagine them sounding worse with no such effects. They really should have done this song with little or nothing more than reverb. This would have been the highlight of the album. Maybe they'll release a live version of the song without the pointless vocal distortion.

"Etude No.10" As one may expect, this is a classical guitar piece that is more exciting though less captivating than Steve Howe's performance in "The Ancient." It clearly features a number of open-string pull-offs. It all leads into a fuzzy, full-on psychedelic metal experience, which is not bad, but perhaps not appropriate.

"Concrete and Poison" More immediate heavy metal pours through. It offers different textures, including clean guitars, harmonic lead guitars left and right, and a thick but hearable bass. Its variations include pounding metal and flowing flute-led passages. The latter half is a tad muddled, but Irish-inspired enough to like.

"Hope" A solo electric guitar jazz piece in dropped-D and heavy distortion fuels this farewell. If the album had not shown was a clever player Glenn Snelwar was, then this does. Somehow, I appreciate his tone, despite my personal taste (and my dead grandpa) telling me it should be otherwise.

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 A Familiar Path by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.16 | 9 ratings

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A Familiar Path
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Not technical or prog metal is this outfit of Glenn Snewlar and his collaborators of the moment really - this is pure eclectic modern prog that focuses grandly on the confluence of jazz-rock, prog-metal, space-rock, fusion and ambient. Well, anyway, At War With Self's third effort "A Familiar Path" is a complete testimony of permanent inspiration and constant adventure. It is true that for this one, ATWS has developed a harder edge on the heavy rock and psychedelic sides of the line opf work alread yexplored in the tw oprevious albums, but still the essential core of this ensemble's sonic framework remains robustly firm on the ground of eclectic prog. The albums opens up with an old Snewlar composition that had already worked as one of the major assets of Gordian Knot's debut album: 'Reflections'. In thsi version, the mandolin is introduced in order to provide a refeshing magic in te hacoustic portions, and there is also a slightly enhanced melodic development somwhere in the middle passage. One way or another, oen version or another, it is always a pleasure to listen to this composition, it is so irresitibly appealing. 'Diseased State' is actually another old composition tha texisted before Snewlar became a recording artist: it is a bit closer to the standard of thrash metal, only with more emphasis on the neurosis than on aggressiveness: by thsi number, you can tell that this guy shares lots of conceptions with the guys behind the Canvas Solaris, Cynic and Behold The Archtopus names. The next 9 1/2 minutes of the album are occupied by the namesake track, which is the first sung piece in this repertoire. This one's mood is mostly contemplative and moderately languid, but with this extended timespan there is room for the emergence of some exciting variables whereby the instrumentation shifts toward shades of psychedelic darkness. The final acoustic guitar interventions fulfill the track's scheme quite gloriously. The metal-oriented stamina returns in full swing for 'The Ether Trail' ,which has to be one of the most muscular pieces that Snewlar has ever written, but it is not completely prog-metal: the indsutrial ornaments provided by some synth layers and most of the guitar lines bear a spacey nuance that defines the track's essence to a large degree. 'Ourselves' is the second sung track in the album: its mood is somewhat similar to that of 'Reflections', only a tad denser and a tad less agile. The result of that is that it gains a bit more of sonic power in comparison to the opener. The next thing is a pretext for Snewlar exorcising his academic ghosts: the lovely 'Etude No. 10' by Heitor Villa-Lobos benefits from an extensively creative rearrangement tha tgoes from a meticulous acoustic atmosphere to a sophisticated progressive architecture where fusion and technical metal become one single source of sound. The ending moments make a perfect climax of exquisiteness and dexterity. 'Concrete And Poison' is yet another vibrant exercise on prog-metal that sounds like Fates Warning-meets-Canvas Solaris. 'Hope' ends the album on a reflective note: a solitary guitar delivers calm arpeggios that softly cry out the mixture of melancholy and mental discipline that every hopeful heart should embrace. This is a beautiful way to end such a diverse, intelligently-elaborated album. To my ears, Snewlar is a genuine progressive master guitarist/writer of the new millennium.

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 A Familiar Path by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.16 | 9 ratings

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A Familiar Path
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars WARNING! ABSOLUTE MUSICAL MUST FOR 2009! This 2009 year end comes with a sensational album and we are delightd to discover again that intelligence and aggression music are making good house together !I am honoured to be the first person who has the privilege to review such a marvelous album!Well,it says that a first try is always a great challenge for any artist,the second tone is a confirmation or not,but the third time ,that's the big test of maturity and the supreme challenge of the value of any artist!!!AT WAR WITH SELF numero 3-A FAMILIAR PATH is,definitelly,the most mature,eleborated and valuable album for Glen Snelwar!The album has everything to catch the attention of any good music lover-prog metal especially KING CRIMSON or PORCUPINE TREE style!The smart,clever aggressivity of this album makes more interesting it's audition,and we are delighted with all the ingredients of a complex and complete album.Massive riffs,surprising breaks and changing of rhythms,superbe alternance between the muscled and calm parts in a song and a deffinitive maturity of composition!The first song of the album ,the wonderful composition called REFLECTIONS,is familiar to the GORDIAN KNOT fans-period first album where Mr Snelwar was seriously involved!A strong and,deffinitive catchy version of that song,a little modified here and there,but with the same quality !The title song is the most ambitious and complex song that AWS has until now!A small masterpiece,a great moment of inspiration for Glenn and Manfred,,the ultimate prove for the immense talent of this musicians! The production is strong and each instrument shines here,the alternance of composition is perfectly well balanced.Being 99 % instrumental, A FAMILIAR PATH offers other surprises too-the discovery of a very complete,mature and intelligent drummer and percussionist-MANFRED DIKKERS,partner in murder of Glen Snelwar,one of the most innovative and original guitar players of our times!!!CONGRATULATIONS to the heavenly gifted musicians involved in this great project!Being an AT WAR WITH SELF fan since their strong debut,I am more thand honoured to legitimate offer to this album 5 STARS without any hesitation To conclude,5 STARS for a beautiful release which proves that this 2009 year offered some great prog albums !

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 Acts Of God by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.65 | 8 ratings

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Acts Of God
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars One of the most promissing and talented guitar player of our days,Mr Glenn Snelwar offers with this second AT WAR WITH SELF something really interesting to the intelligent prog music lovers!This is the second try for Glenn Snelwar and his band ,the next step after the very promissing debut album TORN BETWEEN DIMENSIONS, which was a litltle revelation in the progressive world in 2005!Definitelly the KING CRIMSON shadow is everywhere,but ...hey!we are in 2007 with this album and many things can be sayed having such an immense pattern,model to fallow!We cannot forget Snelwar's involvement in the stellar GORDIAN KNOT project,but this time the AT WAR WITH SELF adventure continues with a vocal album!It's not an 100% vocal album,and the addition of some excellent vocals by MARK SUNSHINE brings something even more interesting and catchy compared to the 100% instrumental first album! MARK SUNSHINE is definitelly the right choice for the album and fits perfectly well with the musical direction of ACTS OF GOD!I don't know if the AWWS music can be considered to be extreme prog metal,it's not at all extreme in the musical message,maybee in the conception,and what is really imporant is the fact that this kind of music tries to not fallow some traced directions by other bands!KING CRIMSON is such a huge and immense inspiration for all the bands in prog music,but this new kind of music is definitelly innovative and attractive!Even if in the beginning the audition of this kind of music could be difficult,the next try will open new musical horizons and will give new dimensions for the people who search new ways of musical expression!SNELWAR and TROTTA are the instigators of this project and it seems that it's a true alchemy between them.This second try is a won bet for the band!Let's wait the new shot,and we'll have then the answer if the band's maturity is at it's peak....I'm sure the answer will be positive! 4 STARS for a very ambitious piece of true art!

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 Torn Between Dimensions by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.20 | 21 ratings

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Torn Between Dimensions
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The band lists KING CRIMSON and PINK FLOYD among others as influences. You can tell because the music is intricate, intertwined and intense, but it also has some atmosphere to it. This is Glenn Snelwar's baby, you might remember him from the first GORDIAN KNOT album. He plays lead guitar among other instruments. Actually GORDIAN KNOT in my opinion is a good reference to what this trio sounds like. Michael Manring who was in McGill Manring Stevens plays fretless bass and e-bow, while the great Mark Zonder formerly from FATES WARNING is on drums.There's an interesting quote in the liner notes from someone named Dhammapada in reference to the bands name AT WAR WITH SELF. It goes like this "If a man should conquer in battle a thousand and a thousand more, and another man should conquer himself, his would be the greater victory, because the greatest of victories is the victory over oneself; and neither the gods in heaven nor the demons down below can turn into defeat the victory of such a man". This is a concept album even though it's all-instrumental.

"The God Interface" opens with synths as piano joins in before drums, acoustic guitar and bass create a full sound. A calm with acoustic guitar and drums a minute in.Those spacey, haunting synths continue. Heaviness before 2 minutes. It settles as mandolin joins in. Bass and electric guitar before 3 minutes as it picks up again. Great song ! "Torn Between Dimensions" is dark with bass, acoustic guitar, keys and drums. It gets heavier and more aggressive before a minute. It settles again to a brighter mood this time.Yes torn between dimensions. The contrasts continue. Gorgeous guitar 3 minutes in. Very intelligent music. "A Gap In The Stream Of Mind Part One" is fuller right away with electric guitar, drums and keys. A fairly heavy rhythm actually before it calms down after a minute. The tempo picks up again with some nice guitar. It gets pretty intense. "Grasping At Nothing" has a good intro. It settles right down a minute in. Intricate and tasteful. Some good bass 2 minutes in. Piano joins in. It's heavier 3 minutes in. Nice.

"Coming Home" is acoustic and intricate as synths create atmosphere. Keys come in. A very acoustic track. "The Event Horizon" is heavy with some strings which work very well. Zonder is amazing as usual. A cool and intense song. "A Gap In The Stream Of Mind Part Two" is the longest song at just under 8 minutes. Dark with this heavy undercurrent. Kind of eerie actually. It gets heavier before 2 minutes. Contrast continues. This is spooky throughout but the ending is really haunting. Killer tune and my favourite along with the title track. "Run" is the heaviest yet ! Riffs galore and when they stop the guitar starts to grind away while the drums pound. I like when it settles later. Beautiful, then it kicks back in. "A Gap In The Stream Of the Mind Part Three" is 2 minutes of transcending and moving music. "At War With Self" is uptempo to start, synths before a minute then it kicks back in. The contrasts continue. I like the guitar 4 1/2 minutes in.

I really like this style of music and this one's a winner. Easily 4 stars.

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 Torn Between Dimensions by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.20 | 21 ratings

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Torn Between Dimensions
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by iceman3019

5 stars i first heard about glenn snelwar from sean malone's gordian knot. upon listening to that album, i was quite intrigued by the fact that some guitar parts actually sounded . . . good. the thing is, on the credits, the name that stood out the most (besides both sean's) was ron jarzombek (sorry glenn). don't get me wrong, he's a great guitarist, he can shred like there's no tomorrow, but his lines are to "souless" and lack the feeling that i'm accustomed to. i then noticed another name, "glenn snelwar," and from that point on, any guitar part on gordian knot's self-titled album that "sounded good" was linked to this musical genius. a couple of months later, i decided to do an internet search for this glenn snelwar fellow, and was surprised that he had a project too, and at once, i added at war with self's album to my "cd-get list."

first of all, we have to review the line-up. excluding his work with gordian knot, glenn snelwar was relatively new to me, but i had high expectations from previous listenings via his website. michael manring comes next, and if you know anything about him, he is a phenomenal fretless bass player, and studied under the late jaco pastorius (the greatest bass player that ever lived). mark zonder is last on the line-up, and all i know about him is his work with fates warning, namely, the album "a pleasant shade of grey." i wouldn't hestiate to juxtapose him with dream theater's mike portnoy. so, this should give you a guage of what i expected from this cd.

upon popping it into my cd-player, i was a bit scared, that this group wouldn't meet up to my expectations, but with the first track, "the god interface," i was relieved. my god. if nothing else, this album is about 1239487 musical ideas lumped perfectly together, under the guise of being "progressive metal." there's everything from eastern or tribal influences, straightup metal, early progressive, and even some jazz. the almost seemless blending of such beloved genres was ecstacy for my ears. snelwar exceeded my expectations by ten fold, with his plethora of neat classical acoustic fills in the songs. zonder's work was as good as, if not better, than his fates warning stuff, and manring, perhaps with the chunkiest, deepest bass tone known to mankind, weaves in and out of snelwar's liens and zonder's beat. another highlight the addition of mandolins, eastern percussion, electronic ambient effects, and keyboards to various tracks gave it a "moody" feel, highlights the "texture" of each piece (for lack of better words). this is something very commendable, since conveying "moods" and feeling via an instrumental album isn't the easiest feat.

complaints you ask? by no means is this a perfect album (and for that matter, perfect albums are BAD, perfect should not exist). the mixing quality is a bit unbalanced, with manring's fretless in the foreground, zonder's drums next, and all the way in the back of the mix, snelwar's acoustic guitars. at times, you have to try and find the guitar lines, but then again, singling out certain instruments on ANY album ruins the musical quality of it. other than this, this album gets a well deserved 5/5 (since 4.5/5 doesn't exist here, 5/5 doesn't mean "perfect" by any means, just what the scale states: "essential, a masterpeice of progressive music") . . . be sure to get the next at war with self album :) . . .

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