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Hourglass - Oblivious to the Obvious CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.78 | 87 ratings

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4 stars I wrote a review for Hourglass' second album, The Journey Into, in July as it was sufficiently convincing to do so. That album had a lot of qualities that I like to see in my progressive metal: cohesive songs, healthy balance between heavy and softer music, well-played and prominent bass, and more. Thankfully, this band continues to emphasize these strengths in their latest'hopefully not the last!--album, Oblivious To The Obvious. But this time around there's a dark, sad, hopeless, and almost nihilistic feelings that permeate the music and lyrics; this is something that I wasn't too happy to see considering there's already a lot of that in prog metal. However, this double album demolishes my doubt.

A lot of the songs are varied: jazz fusion, metal, soft and delicate passages engage you as they emphasize the copious lyrics' messages. (There's even exotic influences in 'Pawn II', an exciting sequel to The Journey Into's awesome introductory track!) There's also some good work put into building atmosphere; 'Faces' is the prime example. (This track also does well with highlighting the singer's softer side.) But there's more to hear: catchy and memorable choruses and melodies are a feature in most of the songs, but more than anything, the bass is just amazing. From driving the pugnacity with glorious arpeggios to significantly enhancing the beauty of Hourglass' emotional movements, the bass never fails to force a smile. It's truly delightful.

Each of Hourglass' previous two albums contain multiple long songs and at least one suite. This one isn't, thankfully, any different because they know how to write epics. '38th Floor' enters your ears with, unsurprisingly, awesome bass that truly impresses, developing into a strong instrumental introduction that Hourglass does so well. The vocals come into play, and things get funky'once again, thank you bass! But, to match the lyrics, a rather melancholy atmosphere is built as well. Another instrumental ensues showing the brilliance of the bands' abilities. Things settle down with some percussion, synths, light guitar, and nice singing. However, it gets better: acoustic piano and acoustic guitar consummates the passage. Let it be known that underneath, as mentioned in the previous paragraph's coda, the bass is there as the foundation, amplifying your experience. After this, a small instrumental section powered by the guitar and bass leads into the beginning's lyrical goodness. It's nice, but I wish this song ended with a bang'as all great epics should. Nonetheless, '38th Floor' is a great song.

I'd like to continue, but I have to cut my meandering writing short. Everything I mentioned before is present on most of this album's tracks, and it all works very well. 'Facade', 'Delirium', and the eponymous suite are the highlights of the second disc, but that doesn't mean the other tracks aren't good too! If you like 'traditional' progressive metal with good songwriting, varied instrumentality, amazing bass, and bleak moods, then this album is 'the one.' I really hope this band releases another album before the universe' s heat death.

foregonillusions | 4/5 |


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