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Khallice - 2007 - "The Journey"


****

KHALLICE is a Brazilian prog metal band, originally formed back in 1994. "The Journey" is their debut album, first released in 2003, and now reissued worldwide after the band signed to the Magna Carta label. The re-released version of the album comes with one bonus track. Musically, Dream Theater is a clear inspiration for the band. Most tracks contain parts with distinct Dream Theater flavoring, especially as the prog metal greats sounded on "Images and Words" and "Awake". Khallice has other sources of inspiration as well, though. You'll be able to hear hair metal influences and some Rush inflections as well as touches of Iron Maiden along the way. There are also tinges of jazz and fusion to be found in most tracks here, as well as keyboard work with a distinct 70s touch to it. All of those influences put together could make for a killer record, but not in this case. The most frustrating aspect of this release is that the songs wander all over the place. Most songs are built up on a plethora of small parts, where excellent-sounding parts that you hum along to are left after much too short a time for something else, and often for something not as good. And as another excellent part in a song comes into play, the same thing happens again and again. This ceaseless wandering in the tracks makes it hard to get a good feel for the individual tracks, as all the parts mixed together result in songs with a distinct lack of identity. That the individual parts of each song can have extreme variations in sound and mood does not help in building an identity either. The end result here is that I get the feeling that this is a band in search of an identity of their own, and a band without the ability or skill to really hear which parts of each song are good enough to explore further, and what parts are better to scrap. The musicianship is excellent though, so if listening to good musicians is more important to you than listening to good songs as such, this one should be checked out. Unless you're into vocals, that is. The singer in Khallice does have a good voice and good range, and sounds a bit like a mix of Bruce Dickinson and James LaBrie, but without the control and restraint those two utilize, resulting in vocals that at times end up in generic heavy metal howling as they did it back in the 80's. Now, if these guys can harness their individual talents a bit and develop as songwriters, their next release could be a very interesting effort. This one however, is a tad on the weak side overall.

OMB: October 17, 2008


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