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(64:34, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Flashback 4:13 2. Racing the Hours 7:58 3. News 10:00 4. Doppelganger 4:06 5. An Outer Body Experience 7:03 6. Outside In 10:03 7. Nanoworld 12:28 8. Mind Over Matter 8:44 LINEUP: Ricardo Falcao Ц guitars Johnny Ц keyboards Nuno Correia Ц bass J.C. Samora Ц drums Paulo Pacheco Ц vocals
Prolusion. The Portuguese act FORGOTTEN SUNS can trace its history back to 1991, but it took 10 years for the band to develop enough to merit an album debut, "Fiction Edge 1: AscentФ from 2001. In 2004 the sophomore effort "Snooze" saw the light of day. In the 5 years intervening between that production and 2009's "Innergy", Forgotten Suns has changed key personnel and has also been determined to evolve their stylistic repertoire, the latter of which ended up costing the band their vocalist just prior to the recording of their latest venture.
Analysis. Whenever I receive an album exploring progressive metal, one aspect of this genre that never ceases to amaze me is the vast influence the bands that created this genre, and in particular Dream Theater, still have. It has covered a lot of ground in their career and it appears to be pretty challenging to avoid musical elements not already covered by them for other bands in the same musical universe. And Forgotten Suns are bound to get their fair share of references to this highly influential act as well Ц the foundation of their sonic explorations is classic contemporary progressive metal; the guitars dominate, synths have a major supporting role in the proceedings and the guitar sound in particular will be familiar to most fans of Dream Theater. But this Portuguese act does add some embellishments of their own to their take on the genre, though. Space-tinged synths pop up on a regular basis throughout the album, a few jazz-tinged moments appear and there are even a few brief instances of nu-metal-inspired segments to be found. Sampled voices are another effect used on select occasions, a feature that adds lots of atmosphere when used correctly, as on this disc. The most striking feature of this production is that it's rather more challenging than your average progressive metal release, and in particular compared to acts that look to the vintage variety of the genre for inspiration. Rather than flamboyantly showcasing technical skills at every opportunity, this band concentrates on creating rather more challenging and quirky compositions. Intricate but not overly complex instrumental patterns underline vocal as well as soloing segments, and in particular on the 6 tracks that pass the 5 minute mark a multitude of different themes are played out. Mellow parts with ambient tinges, massive guitar and synth excursions and stripped down parts with only a couple of instruments pushing the song forward are all parts of the sonic tapestry woven. Quickly evolving and changing, but always revisiting any given atmosphere, it does take some concentration on the part of the listener to grasp every detail of the proceedings. The only aspect of this venture that stays pretty constant is the rather dark atmosphere, whether mellowed down, stripped of all but the bare essentials musically or embellished with rich and majestic features. The mood of this album stays on the dark side, albeit rarely indulging in highly ominous sounding excursions.
Conclusion. Apart from its title, "Innergy" isn't what you would call an original album. There are many aspects of this outing that do indeed sound familiar; at best one might say that this band is skilled at producing variations in familiar territories. The compositions are well-made and well-crafted though, and there are details here that a dedicated fan of the genre might appreciate, in particular those with a desire to get an album of conventional progressive metal a few notches more challenging than most others exploring this musical territory.
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