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AFFECTOR

Progressive Metal • Multi-National


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Affector biography
AFFECTOR is a multi-national progressive rock/metal project founded by German guitarist Daniel FRIES (ex-DIVINITY) and Dutch drummer Collin LEIJENAAR (NEAL MORSE, DILEMMA). When they started working on the debut CD ''Harmagedon'', US-based bass player Mike LEPOND (SYMPHONY X, SEVEN WITCHES etc.) and vocalist Ted LEONARD (SPOCK'S BEARD, ENCHANT, THOUGHT CHAMBER) joined them. ''Harmagedon'' was released in May 2012 through Inside Out Music and features four guest keyboardists - Alex ARGENTO, Neal MORSE (TRANSATLANTIC/FLYING COLORS), Jordan RUDESS (DREAM THEATER), Derek SHERINIAN (PLANET X/BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION)- but also the Polish orchestra 'Sinfonietta Consonus'.

''Harmagedon'' is a concept album about the Biblical Apocalypse and fuses heavy riffs and fast solos with the melodic vocal lines by Ted Leonard. The project takes influence from the main bands of the individuals involved (e.g. SYMPHONY X, ENCHANT, DREAM THEATER), resulting in a mix of modern progressive metal and heavy prog.

Parts of biography adopted from the official website - edited by aapatsos

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3.69 | 70 ratings
Harmagedon
2012

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AFFECTOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars This is a professional, but unoriginal progressive symphonic power metal recording. The most original thing is the obvious Christian message, and not a subtle one at that. Well, you've got your riffs, fast and slower melodic guitar solos, synthesizer runs, rumbling organ, epics, including a six-minute instrumental freak-out on Rapture, and multi-tracked vocals aiming for the anthemic. Aiming, because the singer, Ted Leonard (of American bands Enchant and Spock's Beard), has a good voice, but not exactly metal. Song structures are loose, with various vocal segments, some repeating, some not, linked by lenghty shredding-style instrumentals. To repeat, musicians are competent. Such greats as Neil Morse, Jordan Rudess and Derek Sherinian wouldn't have lent their talents here for nothing, although, to tell the truth, their contributions are not exactly distinguishable. It's just the second-handed-ness of the record that I have a problem with.

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 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Affector is one of the most intresting prog metal bands I've heared lately, is a multi-national band with well known musicins involved in. The drummer from Neal Morse band, the excellent vocalist Ted Leonard from Enchant and Thought Chamber fame, the bass player from Symphony X - Mike Lepond and no more then 3 keybordists, all top notch musicins Alex Argento, Jordan Rudess, Derek Sherinian + famous Neam Morse and guitarist Daliel Fries all 5 stars musicians, so what about the music. The instrumental parts are killer, skillful passages, technical arrangements all melted in a very convincing manner for all prog metal fans. Their first album released in fall on 2012 named Harmagedon is a conceptual album based upon biblical apocalypse. As I said, the instrumental sections are impressive, fast solos, inventive keyboards parts, very complicated druming and above all some truly awesome vocal lines from Ted Leonard, what a great vocalist he is. Some highlights for me , the instrumental Overture pt.2: Prologue, nice, comlicated prog metal with melodic lines and awesome musicianship, The Rapture or the title track are excellent prog metal pieces that proves right from this debut that Affector mean bussines in this field. All in all more then a succesful first album from Affector, I like all the pieces big time, is the type of prog metal that I like very much. Long track, with elaborated quirky arrangements, top notch performance and ideas. For me 4 stars for sure, definetly I'll keep an eye on this band in the future, worth to be discovered by many prog metal fans as possible.

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 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Affector is a multi-national progressive metal act featuring members of Symphony X, Neal Morse Band, Enchant, and Dilemma, and Harmagedon is their debut full-length observation. Playing in the style of Dream Theater, the album consists of high-class musicianship, technical acrobatics, and most everything else you'd expect from a traditional progressive metal release. Affector hardly brings anything new to the table with Harmagedon, but the album has enough high points to excuse some of its shortcomings.

Harmagedon is a concept album that talks about a Biblical apocalypse - Affector does not hide the fact that they are a Christian band, and although the end times can make for a cool metal concept, the lyrics here are trite and lack any form of subtlety. It's challenging for a nonbeliever to listen to this album without quickly growing bored by the proselytizing lyrics, but (fortunately) the musical aspect is much better. Though you won't find anything terribly original on Harmagedon, there are plenty of killer riffs, melodic solos, and frantic instrumental runs to satisfy any prog metal fan. Drummer Colin Leijenaar especially impresses me with his complex and intricate playing. Guest keyboard appearances from Neal Morse, Jordan Rudess, Alex Argento, and Derek Sherinian are also likely to grab the attention of prog metal fans, and all deliver solid solos that add to the instrumental credibility of the album. If I had to make one complaint about the musical aspect of Harmagedon, it would be that the vocal melodies seem rather weak compared to the instrumental segments. There are some very memorable vocal lines, like the chorus in "Salvation" or "Cry Song", but generally they seem rather bland, and this issue can be compounded by the awkward lyrics.

It may seem like I'm coming down hard on Harmagedon, but I do actually enjoy this album. Instrumentally, Harmagedon is excellent, and if Affector spent more time writing clever lyrics and strong vocal melodies, they could've really hit a home run with this debut. The result is an album with untapped potential, but still enjoyable enough to warrant a recommendation to progressive metal fans.

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 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by Morsenator

5 stars This album, a delightful surprise to me, managed to get on the top of my personal "favourite albums of 2012", before names like The Flower Kings and echolyn. Super groups are of course nothing new, not in prog or even in progressive metal realm, but Affector has skill and inspiration enough to get past tired clichés and to actually produce great, quality metal. Riffs and melodies are tasty and accessible yet complex enough to keep interest throughout the album. There are many amazing moments and some stunning tracks like "New Jerusalem" and "Salvation" give numerous goosebumps to me. The powerful voice Ted Leonard, skilful bass playing of Mike LePond and heavy drumming of Collin Leijenaar work take their place well in Daniel Freies' compositions, and he gets to shine as well in many solos which go enough but never too much to the shredding territory. This is one of those albums that help me keep my faith in today's progressive metal, a much bashed genre from many directions both in and outside of prog.

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 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Harmagedon' - Affector (7/10)

Sure, like so many of their contemporaries, these progsters are following in the footsteps of Dream Theater, but does this truly do a disservice to their music? In most cases of the dreaded DT-clone, I'm left feeling like great talent is wasted on emulating the work of others who did it better in the first place. Given that an actual member of Dream Theater offers his musical stylings here, it shouldn't be so much of a surprise that multinational prog metal collective Affector have more than a little in common with the legends. Although we can discount much talk of originality from the start onward, Affector deliver a polished, incredibly performed and tastefully composed hour-plus of traditional progressive metal, and had it not been tarnished by trite lyrical content, I might call it one of my favourite prog metal albums thus far this year.

While this may be Affector's first album, they are by no means newcomers to the prog and metal scene. Here, we have a guitarist from Divinity, drummer from Spock's Beard frontman Neal Morse's solo material, bassist from Symphony X, and a singer from Spock's Beard and Thought Chamber. Make no mistake; each band member has earned a reputation for good reason. If that weren't enough, "Harmagedon" is rife with guest keyboard solos from some of the most recognizable musicians in prog today- two of Dream Theater's own keyboardists (Derek Sherinian and Jordan Rudess), Neal Morse and Alex Argento. Throwing in an orchestral introduction, you should be getting the impression by now that Affector have gone all out with this record. The production is professional and slick, and there are more time signature changes than you can share a mellotron at.

As for the actual quality of the music, "Harmagedon" starts off in an incredibly impressive fashion, delivering the sort of technical showmanship and complexity we have come to expect from the progressive metal style, paired up with some surprising beauty. Although I'm often wowed by music like this on a cerebral, unfeeling level, Affector manages to make their instrumentation beautiful as well. Daniel Fries' guitar work is excellent, and while Jordan Rudess' keyboard solos here may be few and far between, his signature gives an essence of authenticity to the band's otherwise derivative style. Stylistically, Affector are certainly not busting down any doors and shaking the progressive world, but it's difficult to speak ill of them as a prog metal act when they do it so damned well.

Decidedly less successful than the instrumentation however are the vocals. Although I caught myself thinking throughout the opening instrumental that Affector could have been better with a vocalist, Ted Leonard delivers something of an imbalanced performance on "Harmagedon". He is certainly a skilled vocalist, but the melodies are something of a hit-or- miss arrangement. The vocal harmonies are lush and powerful, but his voice often sounds a little too weak and vulnerable to pass off some of the more 'epic' moments on the album. Perhaps a greater issue at hand however are the lyrics themselves. "Harmagedon" is a concept album dealing with the biblical interpretation of the end of the world- Revelation. While an apocalypse sounds like it could be a very fertile ground for some imaginative lyrics, Affector take it from a purely Christian perspective, and a saccharine one at that. Although I do not personally share or agree with the beliefs of Christianity, I try not to let my religious opinions get in the way. However, it seems the only time Affector stops reminding the listener of its Christian motivations are during the instrumental sections- which, not incoincidentally, happen to be my favourite moments on the album. With lyrics explicitly praising their Lord and denouncing sinners and hedonists, it would be an understatement to say that the message grows tiresome quickly. It's beautiful to me whenever someone gets inspired or excited enough about something to make art about it, but the lyrics' utter lack of subtlety or cleverness leave me pretty disappointed.

"Harmagedon" at times feels like it is trying a little too hard to be a Christian metal album. The truth is, Affector sound their most inspired and alive when they steer clear of any concept, and simply aim for making the sort of mind-bending progressive metal that has kept proggers on their toes for a good couple of decades. It does not expand much past what Dream Theater have already done, but given this band's astounding grasp of the style, it doesn't deter from the excitement of their instrumentation. It's a very good first step as a new project, and it's a shame such otherwise minute issues could affect my enjoyment of the album so much.

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 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars Great Expectations

Affector represents the gathering of big names and excellent musicians that bring with them qualities of their "principal" bands; a kind of progressive metal ''super-group'', which has become a sort of a trend these days (see EPYSODE, FLAMING ROW, even AYREON). Daniel Fries and Collin Leijenaar are the masterminds behind this, supported by the talent of Ted Leonard and Mike LePond, but also the guest appearances of four well-known keyboardists and a Polish symphonic orchestra - a combination which ought to succeed.

The album lasts for a little more than an hour and is full of heavy guitar riffs (primarily in the vein of Dream Theater, but also Symphony X) and fast (mainly keyboard) solos, over which the melodic vocal lines are laid out by Ted Leonard. As a concept album, there are a few main themes which are repeated in the album, admittedly with great success, and particularly in the highlights of the album, the instrumental ''Overture (pt. 2)'', but also ''Salvation'' and ''Harmagedon''. The use of twin guitars and accompanying keyboards (a la 90s Dream Theater) create two or three memorable riffs that I would not mind hearing repeated throughout. The musicianship is also undoubtedly (and as expected) exceptional, the variations enough to sustain tracks over 10 minutes long (title track, Rapture) and, yes, there are those catchy refrains you were hoping for from Leonard.

The concept builds on the Biblical Apocalypse, from where the majority of lyrics are extracted, often intact. I felt that, in some occasions, the lyrics don't tie in with the musical background and often the grandeur and the epic feeling are lacking in order to support the concept. This mostly appears in the middle sections of the album and the closing track, which I found somewhat weak and/or indifferent. The Neal Morse and Enchant influences are also there in the sung melodies, while Leonard seems to ''disappear'' for long sections within some tracks. Most of the album is compositionally articulate, with the exception of the occasional mixing of series of themes that affect its cohesion (even during the highlights), creating some confusion.

All in all, a very good album that will not disappoint the fans of progressive metal, but could be far from the masterpiece that might have been expected. The potential is definitely there to create one, and it will require some further elements of originality to excite me. Amen.

3.5/5 stars

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 Harmagedon by AFFECTOR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 70 ratings

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Harmagedon
Affector Progressive Metal

Review by dtguitarfan

5 stars I have struggled to find the words with which to properly review this album. I could tell you all about the all star crew that makes up the band: Daniel Fries, along with drummer Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse/Dilemma), bass player Mike Lepond (Symphony X), and vocalist Ted Leonard (Spock's Beard/Enchant/Thought Chamber). Plus they have four special guests on keyboards: Jordan Rudess, Derek Sherinian, Neal Morse, and Alex Argento. I could also talk about their masterful blending of their metal instrumentation with the symphonic arrangements pulled off by the Polish orchestra Sinfonietta Consonus. Or I could tell you about the concept of this album, dealing with the end times in a very unique way (for this musical genre) and inspired by the fears of the world ending in 2012 based on the Mayan calendar. But I wanted to make this personal, and so I decided to write the following as a letter to the band - perhaps by some chance one of them will read it:

Thank you. Thank you for having the courage, the integrity, the diligence, and the drive to create an album like this, and doing so with such power. You don't know how long I've waited for someone to create an album with this level of technical musicality, in this style of music, with this level of quality, and with this kind of lyrical concept, treated with such a high level of integrity and respect. You may never know how much you've inspired me, or how uplifting this was to me. The lyrical concepts of this album were presented in such a beautiful way, with dark passages that made the highs of the album all the more beautiful, that as I listened to this, I was filled with indescribable joy, driving me to the point of tears, and I pondered things which I really ought to ponder more often. From a brother in Metal, and, I believe, in many other ways: rock on!

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