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"Where We Belong" is the debut offering from Sweden's trio NO RULES, which comprises Tommy Magnusson (guitars, bass and keyboards), Martin Nilsson (drums) and Olof Gustafsson (vocals). Despite what the outfit's ultra-ambitious name suggests, I find their music to be put in irons, figuratively speaking, though I must admit the guys have properly spent their studio time. I have no idea how they would sound on stage, but this recording's sonic palette is rich enough to perceive it as being the product of a quintet's performance. The twelve songs present range from three-and-a-half to five minutes, so be sure there are no deep arrangements on the album. Where No Rules belong to is, so to speak, clear to the naked ear, already upon the first spin. Most of the music is just a heavier version of orthodox Neo Symphonic Progressive, drawing something halfway between "Clutching At Straws" by Marillion and Pallas's "The Sentinel", the former band being a direct reference here. It is only the title number (which is slightly reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath) and a rather dull pop-rock song called Just Like a Stranger that don't blend with the said style - the former being my favorite track, whilst the latter is nothing other than a makeweight, put right in the middle of the album without rhyme or reason. Nonetheless this would probably be a decent CD, especially taking into consideration that it is destined exclusively to neo heads.
VM: June 7, 2007
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