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Fuseboxx - Animated CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.86 | 9 ratings

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5 stars 1. Overture 4:49

2. Animated 5:58

3. Reflections 6:09

4. Pagbalik 4:18

5. Columns 5:45

6. No Glory 7:38

7. Uyayi 7:34

8. Twilight 4:16

9. Hibang 5:11

10. Araw 5:06

2011 has so far blessed us with a handful of great international Progressive Rock releases. New albums from noteworthy bands like Yes, Symphony X, Riverside and a side project of the great Robert Fripp to name a few, have delighted progheads young and old who have always been on the lookout for new materials. This year also, the Progressive Metal community saw the departure of Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater, who was eventually replaced by no less than the owner of the worlds quickest pair of hands (as certified by that famous world records book that we are all familiar of.) in drumming, Mike Mangini. And with all that, we're just halfway through this year.

Here at home we are equally blessed. The much-awaited release of the sophomore album of the Pinoy Progressive Metal torch bearers Fuseboxx has finally happened. Animated is launched, on June 11, 2011 at Conspiracy Bar in Quezon City. Their follow-up to their first album released 5 years ago. The long awaited comeback was hampered maybe by several lineup changes, sucky music business scene and the unpreparedness of Filipino listeners, but whatever the reasons may be, the fans (I included) are just glad they managed to put out the album . Progressive music lovers flocked the venue including Fuseboxx's very own, The Colony, to participate and express support to the event.

2 weeks after the launch I got a hold of the album, and here, ladies and gentlemen is what I have to say:

The album boasts of 10 brand new all original music written mainly by Eric Tubon (synthesizers) and co-written by the remaining band members. Fuseboxx seemed effortlessly delivered another solid Progressive Rock/ Metal album fit for Progressive Music beginners, the pickiest of listeners and for the musically "unchallenged" as well.

I decided not to do a track by track review, 'coz just like The Matrix, you have to experience this album yourself.


What I've always liked about Fuseboxx is that though they play the brand of Metal that they do, they never fall inside the trap of musical w*nkery. Nothing is overdone. Some tracks clock in at more that 6 mins., but what's interesting to note is that the average track length is a little over than 5 mins., which is equivalent to most ear and radio-friendly songs. What I'm trying to say is that the songs and the message in this album is easy to digest and understand despite it being uncompromisingly progressive. That is why Animated is great for people who are new to the genre or to those who are absolutely clueless about what Progressive Music is. It goes to show that a band doesn't have to play long solos, elaborate instrumentals and write highfalutin lyrics to be called progressive. Songs with a more poppy feel includes Pagbalik (Returning), Uyayi (Cradle Song/ Lullaby), and Hibang (Insane) which reminds me of an Evanescence song.

The band's lyrics are largely based on the members' personal take on life and its struggles, love and hope, which I think we can all relate to. The texture of the songs loosely follows the pattern of Melodic Progressive Metal with a hint of Jazz and New Age music. Another usual problem that we encounter when we listen to this type of music is blandness. I mean, non-stop double-bass pedal drumming, high-pitched, monotonous, operatic vocals, cheesy keyboards, gun-metal grey guitar riffs and lyrics pertaining to dragons, wizards, demons and what not is my definition of musical blandness. I listened closely and I'm proud to announce that I found everything? TASTY! Well except for one track which I'll talk about in the CON section of my review. Despite its apparent simplicity and straightforwardness, Animated does not fall short of expectations from a Progressive Music veteran. Tracks like "Animated", "Reflections", "Columns" and the album's centerpiece and my personal favorite "No Glory" uncompromisingly raise the Progressive Music banner. Mico Ong (Guitar) and Lester Banzuelo's (Drums) playing are highlighted on these tracks. I recommend the listener to play those said tracks loud and proud. Horns up!

The Chapman Stick.

I know what you're thinking... No that is not an eating utensil. Wikipedia defines it as, and I quote "an electric musical instrument devised by Emmett Chapman in the early 1970s. A member of the guitar family, the Chapman Stick usually has ten or twelve individually tuned strings and has been used on music recordings to play bass lines, melody lines, chords or textures. Designed as a fully polyphonic chordal instrument, it can also cover several of these musical parts simultaneously." Note the phrase "used on music recordings to play bass lines". Rod Vidanes, Fuseboxx's former Bassist left the band a few years ago. The band tried recruiting bass players but eventually carried on without one. The burden of playing bass rested on Abby's (Vocals) back. That gives us another good reason to hear this album. Abby Clutario's skillful playing of the Stick, doing extra chores on keyboard and ALL while singing is one highlight. I play musical instruments as well, and I know how hard it is to do 2 things at the same time. Imagine doing 3. Sometimes I manage to play the drums and sing, or play rhythm guitar and sing, but it gets hard when the music I play becomes technical. That kind of playing requires mastery of the instrument and above average skill and Abby made it look easy. She is off the hook I say. I don't know how many bands here in the Philippines use the Chapman stick as part of their regular instrument, but I'm pretty sure there is not a lot. So for those looking for something different, Animated is for you.


A balanced review is a good review so here are the few I've noticed.

The album sleeve and cover. I'm a fan of artsy album covers. The cover compliments the whole music and the band. It's what we first see when buying a record so it's a big plus to have a great album artwork. The album cover is not that bad but the front cover of the album looks blurred and a little grainy. The new Fuseboxx icon/insignia becomes tiring because you see it in the front, the CD itself, and it's also placed behind the CD case when you remove the CD. I remember Fuseboxx posted some collection of pictures called "SIGHTINGS" before the album was released. They should've used them instead.

Production/ Overall sound mixing. I'm not an expert on this one, I'll leave it to the listeners, but I think Fuseboxx or their mixing crew can do a better job.

The first track, Overture. I'm not a big fan of operatic singing and I personally think it's a weak album opener.

Get a Bassist. Don't get me wrong, Abby is doing one heckuva job in playing Bass using the Chapman Stick, but imagine how great it is if the Stick is used to play more than just bass lines. Nothing sounds better than a true bass guitar. Bass guitar PLUS Chapman Stick equals EPICNESS!

In conclusion, I commend the band for sticking to what they do best, and not give in to the trials that they faced before this album is made available. I consider Animated a blessing because despite the lack of support of the listening public and surprisingly other bands and the given unpopularity of progressive music, Fuseboxx persisted and made an amazing album Filipinos can be proud of. I think the success of the 2nd album is due partly to an equally amazing bunch of fans called The Colony who stood by them through thick and thin. That's why they responded with a great release.

A must ?buy for Prog veterans, newbies and folks who are looking for a great rocking album.

USA have Dream Theater, Kansas, Aghora and Symphony X. Canada has Rush. England have Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Yes. Italy have Le Orme and a whole genre called Rock Progressivo Italiano. We Filipinos have Pinoy Progressive Music and Fuseboxx.

Mabuhay and Prog On!

JayDee | 5/5 |


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