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Chain - Chain.exe CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.72 | 28 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars So apparently I get to be the first to rate this album something other than 3 or 5, so nyah!

Anyway, though not perfect, this album's good features far outweigh its bad. As everyone before me has referenced, the cities epic is an excellent song, though it probably should have just been one 38 minute track, as opposed to seven shorter tracks. The only time I like splitting tracks up like that is when each stands on its own, which these do not. Nobody wants to listen to just one part of Cities; it's a 38 minute song.

As for the other tracks, most are very good. She Looks Like You is a rather tasty ballad, making especially nice use of the band's keys. Eama Hut is probably the album's most frantic and heaviest piece and is also an excellent song. Never Leave the Past Behind is most definitely my favorite song. Clocking in at a paltry ten minutes in length (well, paltry compared to the 38 minute Cities), this song easily feels more epic, grandiose, and intense than Cities. The chorus is simply huge, contrasted against the fairly sparse verses. The song continues to build, shifting through heavier and lighter portions, never growing stale. Hot to Cold irritates me. Nearly everything about the song grates on my nerves. I suppose it's probably not that bad of a song, but I simply don't like it. Last Chance to See begins with a very light section, reminiscent of lounge music. This lasts for about two minutes before the song begins to change. It picks up slightly in tempo, as a banjo enters the mix before achieving epic heights at around 2.5 minutes. Overall, a fairly disjointed song, but still rather enjoyable.

In terms of what is specifically good about the album, two things specifically come to mind: flow and keyboards. The flow is probably the more important of the two aspects. The music almost always flows gently and naturally into new feels, leaving the listener with no ragged questionable transitions. This makes the album feel like a sort of road trip cross country. The countryside slowly changes without you really noticing the shift until it's already happened. Additionally, the keyboards struck me on this album. Put simply, I usually dislike prog keyboards. They frequently use stereotypical synthesizer effect #3 (you know the one I'm talking about) and try to play guitarist. I have no problems with keys taking the forefront, but they rarely emulate a guitar's role as well as a guitar would. In this album, however, the keyboards find their own niche. Tonally, they tend more towards organic sounds or atmospheric sounds. They frequently emulate strings and orchestra hits, which is a pleasant break from all the Jordan Ruddess knock-offs out there. They are also frequently heard in the form of piano (gasp!). No synthesized mutilated sound, just a perfectly organic sound. They also take their own niche. Rather than trying to step all over the guitar lines and play guitar solos, the keyboards frequently take on Aaron Copland-esque lines (Beef, it's what's for dinner commercials). It's rare to hear this type of playing, and I, for one love it.

For the bad, the vocals merit mention. They aren't universally bad, nor are they even often bad, but some of the vocal work is a tad nasal for my tastes (especially during Last Chance to See). Most often, however, the vocals are good. Hot to Cold also falls in the bad category. The song simply grates on my nerves in an almost unforgivable manner (luckily, there's that wonderful skip button).

To sum it up, this album is an excellent album; however, it does have its flaws. I highly recommend the album.

epifreak | 4/5 |


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