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UNIFIED PAST

Progressive Metal • United States


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Unified Past biography
US act UNIFIED PAST was formed back in 1999. The roots of the band go back to the early 80's, when Stephen SPEELMAN and Victor TASSONE started working together in various band projects, and then formed their own in 1990. This band, named Labyrinth, were active throughout the 1990's, and released three full length albums.

By 1999 the band had become a rather different project, lead by Speelman (guitars, drums) with Vinny KRIVACSY (keyboards, vocals), Peter PALMIERI (bass) and Matthew WOOD (drums) making up the rest of the band. They were approached by indie label Atomik Records, who signed the band. The band decided that a new name was in order at this time, and their old moniker LABYRINTH was replaced with UNIFIED PAST at this point. Later the same year their first album under this new name followed in the shape of "From the Splintered Present Surfaces", a collection of re-recorded old material alongside a few new pieces.

The band went into hiatus as recording artists following this production, but in 2008 UNIFIED PAST returned to the scene with the album "Power of Existence". This time around sporting two of the members from their LABYRINTH days, Steve CALOVI (vocals) and Victor TASSONE (drums) alongside SPEELMAN, with a guest appearance by keyboardist KRIVACSY. What the future holds in store for this veteran act time will obviously have to tell. Their return to the scene has been met with positive acclaim, which might herald this latest album release as the start of a new lease of life for UNIFIED PAST rather than being an epilogue to a long and eventful history.

Update:
Following the release of ''Tense'', UNIFIED PAST sign with Melodic Revolution Records and release in 2011 the album ''Observations'', continuing as a trio (TASSONE, SPEELMAN, KRIVACSY). In 2013, the second release through the same label follows, entitled ''Spots'', while Dave MICKELSON has picked up the bass duties and KRIVACSY is no longer on board.

Biography update by aapatsos

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Shifting the EquilibriumShifting the Equilibrium
CD Baby 2015
Audio CD$14.74
$14.73 (used)
SpotsSpots
Original recording
CD Baby 2016
Audio CD$9.99
$23.09 (used)
ObservationsObservations
Original recording
CD Baby 2011
Audio CD$11.24
$29.99 (used)
Spots by Unified Past (2013-06-11)Spots by Unified Past (2013-06-11)
CD Baby
Audio CD$56.84
Shifting the Equilibrium by Unified Past (2015-08-03)Shifting the Equilibrium by Unified Past (2015-08-03)
CD Baby
Audio CD$56.16
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UNIFIED PAST discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

UNIFIED PAST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
From the Splintered Present Surfaces
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Power of Existence
2008
4.50 | 2 ratings
Breaking Up The Atmosphere
2009
3.04 | 9 ratings
Tense
2010
3.08 | 11 ratings
Observations
2011
3.54 | 12 ratings
Spots
2013
3.96 | 34 ratings
Shifting the Equilibrium
2015

UNIFIED PAST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UNIFIED PAST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

UNIFIED PAST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UNIFIED PAST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

UNIFIED PAST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shifting the Equilibrium by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Shifting the Equilibrium
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Mastyrx1979

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 Revolution Records. From my observation I see four guys who have brought a little bit of every decade of progressive rock in the last 45 years and put it on one recording. When Stephen Speelman - Guitars, and I first made arrangements to get me a copy of CD to review, I honestly did not know what I was in for. After the first spin all the way through, I was very impressed. I can see why such respected publications such as Reuters, Yahoo News, Boston Globe and Bloomberg News has given this high regard. To top that off they also have received a huge billboard of advertising in Times Square in New York City. This praise has been well warranted. I have appreciated the originality of this project both instrumentally and lyrically. This is straight up pure power progressive rock that reminds me of the days of RUSH's Farewell To Kings, Hemispheres or 2112 to Emerson Lake and Palmer to even non progressive styles like Zebra and Triumph. There are 6 very different yet elegantly arranged tracks on Shifting The Equilibrium that clock in at a total of 56+ minutes. I will point of some highlights of each track on the album. Erasure Principle opens up with a great percussive intro with the cymbals playing a surround mix for the listener followed by a bass drum. Soon after the track takes a crunchy progression with a hard driving rhythm guitar before being followed up by the rest of the rhythmic section. The guitar deviates to some lead to rhythm interchanged before a very clean harmonic vocal from Phil Naro comes into play. Phil Naro's voice reminds me of a mix of one part Randy Jackson from Zebra meets one part Rik Emmett from Triumph and a final part Jon Anderson of Yes. Erasure Principle has a nice continuity of progression with various rhythmic sections, guitar solo's and neo progressive synths all interchanging at various signatures. Smile (In The Face Of Diversity) starts with a thunderous rhythm section and neo progressive synth in abstract harmony with one anther before settling in at the :50 mark. At the 1:29 mark the track takes a more traditional progressive metal approach much in the fusion area of say a Derek Sherinian with Planet X. This is also driven with great progressive keyboards driving the backbone. There are some proper breaks where the keyboard creates a great atmosphere for a isoalted vocal harmony before going back to straight away progressive rock time stamps. At the 5:29 mark Phil displays some semi melodic semi spoken word vocal styles. Stephen Speelman has some very tight solo's exchanging with rhythm portions. Etched In Stone begins with a electric acoustical guitar passage in harmony with the synth and midi programming. Once again the band employs a nice break where the vocals are isolated in harmony with the instrumental. The track takes on a good solid signature instrumentally to build harmony and melody on top one another. At the 3:00 mark the signatures going in and out wicked some very deep bottom bass progressions and guitar solo's. The vocal atmospheres get really tight on point in Etched In Stone. This is also a track that is a delight for the rhythm enthusiast with great tight drum bass harmonies. That is also with a perfect compliment from the stringed section between guitar and synths. At about the 6:45 mark the synth provides a flute like signature as a great harmonic melodic bridge. Peace Remains In This World opens up with a straight up power progressive passage of emotion that drives the lyrical content for the listener to follow in a groove laden manner. There is some great exchanges between the main rhythmic progression and guitar solo's that are really catchy. At times the track takes a semi pop sensibility. This is probably the heaviest track on Shifting The Equilibrium. Deviation From A Theme (Of Harmonic Origin) starts out with a power progressive fury. The band have definitely found their niche and identity on this one. This has some sick wicked straight away rock parts that break from time to time into a more lucid signature. There are big solo's and heavier bass to drum progressions. The guitar takes on effects as if speaking from time to time. The guitar in this reminds me a lot of Dave Bainbridge of IONA meets John Petrucci of Dream Theater. Deviation From A Theme (Of Harmonic Origin) is the only instrumental on the album that displays the band's instrumental prowess. Today Is The Day starts out with a very old school progressive psychedelic vibe much like Yes' Tales Of Topographic Oceans with some Sieges Even and Dream Theater combined elements. The keyboard atmospheres and rhythm atmospheres really gel in a tighten groove on this one. The lyrical content is one definitely influenced by Yes to Genesis. There seems to be a different instrumental with each verse and bridge at times having surround effects. In its 11:51 entirety, Today Is The Day has enough time signatures and progressions giving the listener the appearance the track is a 15:00 to 20:00 epic. Unified Past's Shifting The Equilibrium is on the edge of the evolution of cerebral progressive rock. Unified Past puts on both a instrumental and vocal harmonic clinic for how progressive rock is to be written, recorded, engineered and mastered. I can not wait to hear some of this in a live atmosphere. I give this a 5/5 for its spot on accuracy and thought provoking progressions.
 Shifting the Equilibrium by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Shifting the Equilibrium
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

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!

 Shifting the Equilibrium by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Shifting the Equilibrium
Unified Past Progressive Metal

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 www.angelosrockorphanage.com

 Shifting the Equilibrium by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Shifting the Equilibrium
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by MorpheusMusic1

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 acoustic interludes; Unified Past combine heavy riffs, symphonic synths and a huge, confident, driving rhythm section. Although there are solo sections, the band for the most part plays as an intertwined whole: fast guitar licks, deft keyboard fingerwork and heaving bass layering into a dense, vibrant tapestry. There is one instrumental - Deviation From A Theme (Of Harmonic Origin) - among the songs, an evolving piece of appealing character where the guitar work really shines. Otherwise Phil Naro's sinewy vocals cut distinctively through the mix despite the intensity of the instrumentation: commanding and vital; energetic and certain. Time signatures and rhythms shift so effortlessly that it's easy to miss just how much is going in with some of the pieces here, drawing on the whole range of the progressive genre from its inception nearly fifty years back. There is a clear sense of musical quality to Shifting The Equilibrium that rewards headphone listening and full attention. ARTWORK A glossy digipack holds Shifting The Equilibrium; alive with complex detail and colourful imagery. A muscle-map figure kneels on the front cover astride a skull carving surrounded by a dizzying tangle of synthetic/organic interconnections. Opening out into three sections, the rear cover presents track titles beneath the gaze of a dusky monochrome close-up of the cover figure. A band portrait fills the third outer panel and a broad fiery panorama extend across the inside spread. Brief credits are here as well as website details and contact information. Pleasingly, a twelve-page booklet is tucked into one end of the sleeve packed with lyrics, individual portraits and generous thanks. OVERALL Unified Past deliver Shifting the Equilibrium as their seventh release, having been around in different guises since the early nineties. As with the last couple of albums, the band work here with Melodic Revolution Records, but the addition of Phil Naro appears to have opened some interesting new sonic vistas for guitarist/keyboardist Stephen Speelman, bassist Dave Mickelson and drummer Victor Tassone. The six recordings are all mid-length, from around eight minutes to around twelve allowing the quartet plenty of room for manoeuvre and experimentation. You can sample the album via the MMR Bandcamp page for the release or you might want to view some of the videos found on the official Unified Past website where you can also find links to follow relevant news outlets.
 Shifting the Equilibrium by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Shifting the Equilibrium
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Maniack

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 this band is much more than that. Much more indeed. These guys combine vintage prog rock sound with more actual prog sounds in a very beautiful and somehow intriguing way. The playing style is very modern and accurate. All songs are very good and can compete with any progressive metal classics. In the same note is this album production and mixing. I don't have anything but good feelings and words about this beautiful release. This band deserves much more in the future. I think with the right management and many live shows, this boys can climb into progressive metal arena. I sure hope so because they deserve this. Better said: We deserve this!

The album artwork is very beautiful and very professional made and will be in my personal CD collection for sure. The main reasons for that: very good quality of music, artwork and musicianship.

That's all for today! Thank you!

 Shifting the Equilibrium by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Shifting the Equilibrium
Unified Past Progressive Metal

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.

 Spots by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.54 | 12 ratings

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Spots
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band UNIFIED PAST, at first known as Labyrinth, has been around in one shape or another for some 20 odd years by now. As Unified Past they made their debut as recording artists in 1999, but then a 10 year long pause followed before they resurfaced with their second production in 2009. The band appears to have entered a two year cycle of releasing albums since then. Following "Observations" from 2011, "Spots" from 2013 is their fourth and most recent studio effort, and was released through the US label Melodic Revolution Records.

The band's fourth studio album "Spots" is a production that should see the band establishing a reach towards a fairly broad sized audience. Their blend of classic hard rock and progressive rock into what I'd describe as a pomp rock sound is often an interesting one, and fairly appealing at that. An album worth investigating by progressive rock fans with a taste for classic hard rock just as much as by those with an affection for classic hard rock who also enjoy occasional forays into progressive rock territories.

 Spots by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.54 | 12 ratings

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Spots
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars Unified Past is an American group that's been recording since early 90's (first as Labyrinth) and Spots (2013) is their 6th studio album. The band is formed by the trio Stephen Speelman (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Victor Fassone (drums and percussion) and Dave Mickelson (bass). On Spots (2013) the band also worked with Karl Matzka playing keyboards on two tracks.

Released by Melodic Revolution Records early this year with a weird artwork by Ed Unitsky. Spots (2013) is focused on heavy themes, mainly because of Stephen's guitars.

First track 'Blank' shows us an interesting mix of Prog Metal with a catchy melody. But I have to admit that Stephen's vocals bothered me a bit. They sound too robotic, with too many effects on them. Second track 'Deep' reminds me of Glam Rock of late 80's and early 90's but with a Prog twist. 'Hot' is a weird instrumental track where you can literally listen ALL kinds of music in one single song. Looks a bit of a show off though.

Unified Past's sound can't be really pointed only as Progressive Metal, however, they have a lot of it in their music. Fourth track 'Seeing' exemplifies that. Plenty of Prog, plenty of Metal and plenty of Glam Hard Rock. The follow up is the second instrumental track on the album, 'Tough'. On this track we have mid-tempo beats and plenty of guitars. At some point it makes you think of Metallica's music (circa Black Album era). And that pretty much sums up many things about Unified Past's sound on Spots (2013) so far: they're trapped somewhere between 1989 and 1991!

The next track 'Age' doesn't change the 'trapped in time' impression, but we have some really nice synths by Karl Matzka here. But by the time of 'Sun' I was a bit tired of the album. I must confess that the sound of Spots (2013) is not my favorite, too much reverb, compression and effects on everything.

The album goes on and we have 'Big'. This track has a nice intro with good ideas and it's a more 'classic Prog' track. Both two following tracks 'Wet' and 'G' have very heavy bass lines and the last song, properly called 'The Final' is their best track on the album. It's more melodic, more Prog and with less effects.

Spots (2013) is a good effort and it has some nice compositions but for me it's an album trapped in time in terms of sound. The production makes every instrument sound dated, as if they were in 1991. Too much reverb, too much compression, too many effects on everything recorded, from vocals to drums. To complete, sometimes the mixing is a bit of a mess too and there are sounds all over the place not in a good way.

If you have never heard about Unified Past and you got Spots (2013) to listen to, you really could think this was an album released in early 90's, not in 2013. So I can say that if this is your favorite period in music, this is your album. But if it's not, it'll be hard to please your ears.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

 Tense by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.04 | 9 ratings

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Tense
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars From the States comes this powerful trio, that emerged from the group Labyrinth in late-90's.Labyrinth were active during the 90's and released three albums, but a change of name to Unified Past occured in 1999 with an album following the next year (''From the splintered present surfaces...The Unified Past''), before they were put on ice for years.Original guitarist Stephen Speelman reformed the group in late-00's with Labyrinth's original drummer Victor Tassone and singer Steve Calovi, while Speelman took over also the bass duties.2009 and Unified Past offer independently their second album ''Tense'' (with Greek characters on the front cover).

TILES meet DREAM THEATER/QUEENSRYCHE?This would be a good description for a guitar-driven album, that constantly see the trio changing grooves and tempos throughout, always having a fiery and highly energetic sound.Powerful drums and heavy bass work accompany Speelman's decent effort on lead and rhythm guitars, which eventually offer plenty of hard riffs and sharp solos, while his degree on Classical guitar helps him combine this dynamic approach with smoother parts.ALEX LIFESON and JOHN PETRUCCI seem to be his main influences in a work that moves from furious Heavy Prog to more technical Prog Metal territories.There is a guest keyboardist on the album, participating in a few tracks, but his work is hardly notable.Singer Steve Calovi has a passionate, a bit roaring but also rather raspy voice, that maybe not be everybody's cup of tea, but fits well in this impressive and highly energetic style.I think he sings a little bit out of tune in moments, but the album has few flaws regarding the safe style chosen.As the electric guitar is the main instrument here, all rely on Speelman's talent and his work is pretty great.

This album is rather long, a time length of about 45 minutes would be better for occasional listenings, but nevertheless this is one of the most edgy and angular prog albums around with a nice bunch of good guitar moves and lot of memorable material.Recommended.

 Observations by UNIFIED PAST album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.08 | 11 ratings

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Observations
Unified Past Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars US band UNIFIED PAST has been around in one form or another since the early 1990's. At first known as Labyrinth, but in 1999 they changed to their current moniker. "Observations" is their third full length production using this handle, and their first issued by the US indie label Melodic Revolution Records.

"Observations" comes across as a CD where the old cliche "an album of two halves" is an apt description. If you love melodic rock and accessible progressive rock and don't share this writer's sensitivities concerning vocal performance you should find it to be an enjoyable one, but if you tend to take notice of minor details in the vocals department you'd might want to check out the latter four tracks first to see whether or not they are enticing enough to warrant purchasing this disc.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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