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Tracklist: 1. Final Day 6:32 2. Hands of Time 4:28 3. Dawning 6:58 4. Dissension's Wake 5:25 5. Inside Your Dreams 6:08 6. Premonitions 6:48 7. Visionary 6:52 8. Arisen 5:08 9. The Mind's Eye 5:23 (inst.) 10. Years Ago 12:37 All music & lyrics: by Chris Matyus. Line-up: Chris Matyus - electric & acoustic guitars Greg Wagner - lead & backing vocals Keith Zeigler - drums & percussion Jamie Still - bass Female voice on track 10: by Nicole Tournat. Produced by Ed Tomecko & Chris Matyus. Recorded & mixed by Ed Tomecko mostly at "Audioworks" studio, Parma Hts., Ohio, USA. Mastered by David Yost at "Masterpiece Mastering Suite", Cleveland, Ohio.
Prologue. In fact, Archetype had released their debut mini-album "Hands of Time" back in 1999. To read the review of it, click here. However, all four of the songs from that mini-CD are featured on this album as well (tracks 2, 4, 7, & 8). In that way, "Dawning" can't be regarded as distinct album by Archetype. This is just their debut album, which is full-length and, in addition, excellently designed. So let's see what this band is musically about.
The Album. "Dawning" was created within the framework of a unified stylistics, the main genre constituent of which is Prog-Metal. The most considerable attendant elements on the album are the high-speed Techno-Metal and the slow Doom-Metal. Although the music of Archetype doesn't shine with any revolutionary ideas, nevertheless, it is on the whole original. I haven't found the distinct traces of influences on this album. Four songs Final Day, Hands of Time, Dissension's Wake, and Premonitions (tracks 1, 2, 4, & 6), as well as the only instrumental on the album, The Mind's Eye (track 9), consist of the guitar-based structures, most of which are not only heavy and harsh, but also diverse and complex. The various guitar parts, accompanied by the tight work of the rhythm section, are everywhere on each of the said five tracks. The masterful solos and riffs of electric guitar, diverse and, often contrasting interplay between them; some of which were performed in fifth, frequent changes of tone and mood, etc. All of this is typical not only for the said five tracks, but also for all of the 'heavy' parts of the other songs on the album. Chris Matyus is a very inventive and virtuosi guitarist. However, vocalist Greg Wagner, who is the only novice in the band after 1999, plays a very important role on the album as well. He is in many ways a unique vocalist-chameleon, and his vocal diapason is simply wonderful. While listening to the album, I have the impression that there are three singers, whose vocals are distinctively different. One of them has a low and rough, kind of demonic voice. Another, which appears more often than both of the other singing 'heroes', has a normal baritone, while his parts are most often rather dramatic. The third one, who has a high-pitched voice, is mostly heard in the wonderful choir parts when all of the three 'heroes' sing simultaneously, though, of course, in different (fourth and fifth) tonalities. All in all, the vocal palette is amazing throughout the album. Musically, all five of the remaining songs: Dawning, Inside Your Dreams, Visionary, Arisen, and Years Ago (tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, & 10) represent a blend of Classic Prog-Metal and the guitar-based Art-Rock. There are no keyboards on "Dawning". However, each of these five songs contains a few passages of semi-acoustic guitar that sound like solos of synthesizer. (It seems that Chris used the guitar synth.) The parts of acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars, as well as interplay between them and electric and bass guitar appear on each of these songs more than once. What is especially interesting is that the intros to all of them consist exclusively of the acoustic guitar passages and interplay between them and solos of either another acoustic guitar or bass.
Summary. Doubtless, the debut Archetype album can be regarded as an excellent album on the whole. However, these five songs, the arrangements of which consist of both 'metallic' and acoustic structures, are more interesting than the others. In that way, I am not sure that "Dawning" will please all sorts of the lovers of Classic Prog-Metal. However, to those into the creation of Fates Warning, (during the second half of the 1980s), Merciful Fate, Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Pain Of Salvation, etc. this album comes highly recommended.
VM. April 2, 2002
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