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Acid Rain - 2010 - "The Descending Line"

(49:43, ‘Acid Rain’)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.	Doors of the Mind 4:53
2.	Chasing Dreams 4:12
3.	Rough Spirit 4:30
4.	Beyond Reality 5:10
5.	Time to Plant Destruction 8:53
6.	Never-Ending Nightmare 4:28
7.	Hold My Tears 2:18
8.	The Light inside You 5:24
9.	Memory Waves 4:20
10.	The Descending Line 5:35


Sebastian Fernandez – vocals 
Ezequiel Gimenez – bass 
Mariano Revilla – guitars 
Martin Magliano – drums 
Andres Blanco – keyboards  

Prolusion. The Argentinian outfit ACID RAIN was formed back in 2002, with Buenos Aires as their base of operations. They made their debut with the EP "One Night of Reflections" in 2006, and in 2009 the EP "The Single Line" followed alongside their full-length debut "The Descending Line", all of which were self-released by the band.

Analysis. The progressive music scene in South America appears to be rather vibrant. More and more frequently I encounter bands I've never even heard of which have a long and ongoing history behind them from that continent, and the number of artists with a more recent birth appears to be extensive too. Acid Rain belongs to the latter category, a relatively young band with, hopefully, a long history in the making. In this case we're dealing with a band following pretty closely in the path laid down by Dream Theater. Progressive metal is the style, with intricate compositions and majestic arrangements as trademark features but also incorporating the odd passage and theme with a gentler expression. And instrumentally and compositionally this outfit showcases a high degree of talent too. A particular detail they master to the point of perfection is interwoven guitar and piano motifs, opting for an approach where the contrasting resonances and tonalities of the electric guitar and the tangents supplement each other to perfection, enhanced by giving the former an emphasis on the darker tones while the latter caters for the light and positive. Elsewhere we're treated to pretty much what one might expect from a progressive metal band of this variety, with high-quality majestic keyboard and guitar riff constructions aplenty. A nice additional detail reculiar to Acid Rain are themes with somewhat of an AOR-tinge to the keyboard motifs, and second-to-last effort Memory Waves also incorporates a stunning jazz-rock theme a minute or so into the composition. This instrumental piece is also the stand-out item on this production according to my personal taste, and the fact that it is instrumental has quite a lot to say for that. There's a lot of promise displayed by this fine band, but one field where I find them lacking is in the vocal department. Fernandez has a nice voice for this type of music, although somewhat limited in range, but to my ears at least he has quite a bit of work to do in order to utilize it effectively. I frequently found his voice not to blend in well with the instrumental parts, and much too often slightly at odds with them, occasionally with a rather strained delivery to boot, especially noticeable on a track like The Light inside You. I know I'm rather sensitive to vocals in general, and for many I guess that this aspect won't be regarded as highly important or even noticeable. But for those sharing that sensibility "The Descending Line" is a production that will be of limited interest due to that.

Conclusion. Compositionally and instrumentally "The Descending Line" is a fine example of progressive metal made in the Dream Theater vein, showcasing a band with a lot of promise and a good deal of talent. The lead vocals are something of an Achilles heel, however, and those who are sensitive to that aspect of a band's output should approach this album with caution. Those less keen on that aspect and generally more interested in and intrigued by instrumental and compositional dynamics should find this album to be a pleasant experience, however, and most likely a rather good production overall.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 1, 2011
The Rating Room

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