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1. Visionary 2. Dissencion's Wake 3. Arisen 4. Hands of Time Line-up: Chris Matyus - guitars Jamie Still - bass Keith Zeigler - drums Chyle Vagner - vocals
This is the very first official Mini CD by this band from Ohio, though they also have a four-song demo CD, titled "Archetype". The band was formed in 1997 by guitarist/ composer/lyricist Chris Matyus. In spite of Archetype being Americans, "Hands of Time" was released in Europe (Kopenhagen, Denmark).
1. Visionary. The band describes their music as "Melodic Progressive Metal: complex, dynamic, powerful". Already after the listening to this track I thought these guys use the word "melodic" for nothing. I remember, the majority of neo prog metal (and also just pseudo prog metal) bands are trying to describe their style exactly with this word. Visionary shows strong, really dynamic and powerful progressive metal, but I didn't notice any commercial "melodic" elements here. Guitar is all over the track, constantly creating lots of varied arrangements. Excellent work of rhythm-section and a strong voice of Chyle Vagner add here some openly necessary colours to paint a vivid picture of dynamic Classic Progressive Hard Rock / Heavy Metal, with a moderate level of complexity, though.
2. Dissension's Wake. Together with the titlesong, the most complex and interesting song on the album. The same total domination of guitars in arrangement shows the band trying to create a work with a structurally unified musical conception, their own original music, which is a good factor. This composition contains a number of very diverse changes of moods and tempos and effective arrangements made up of original masterful solos and interplays on the part of lead guitar(s). On "Hands of Time" I especially like the moments when the lead guitar sounds like cello or... like a wasp.
3. Arisen. Stylistically fully corresponds to the overall musical conception of the album. Exceptionally varied guitar arrangements and solos, resting on a solid basement of the rhythm-section and a strong diverse singing (though, sometimes Chyle Vagner sounds not quite unlike Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden).
4. Hands of Time. Probably the most "epic" and diverse (read "progressive") song on the album. Endless guitar themes and arrangements are incredibly tasteful, changes of moods and tempos come in when you don't expect. And although structurally-wise this album looks a bit too smooth, Hands of Time proves that the band have a huge compositional potential.
Summary. On the whole, "Hands of Time" sounds much better than a bunch of other already famous bands like Saviour Machine, Elegy, and even Symphony X, who really play "Melodic Progressive Metal". The hard edged, sometimes apparently heavy metal structures of Archetype, raised to the power by their moderate progressivity and original guitar arrangements, will be welcomed by a younger prog-audience, without doubt.
VM. December 24, 1999
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