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TRACK LIST: 1. Faith 1.13 2. Used 4.44 3. Kwiksand & Koolade 6.18 4. Frail'ty 3.32 5. Faith in Chaos-I 3.01 6. Faith in Chaos-II 5.11 7. Three Marys 7.30 8. Plastic Jesus 1.39 9. Faith in Chaos Acoustic Version 3.04 LINEUP: Andrew Rosciszewski – basses; keyboards Vincent Livolsi – drums; vocals Sara Lauren – vocals With: Vincent Downes – ac. guitar (1, 5, 6, 7) Dave Crum – guitar (4, 6) Ken Raftree – guitar (2) Ken Fragner – guitar (3) Josh Forsythe – guitar (7)
Prolusion. EYES ON INFINITY are a trio hailing from New Jersey, USA. Their self-released debut album, “Frail’ty”, is an 8-song suite, composed by band founder Andrew Rosciszewski, and based on ideas on human weakness, love and loss. Since the band do not yet have a guitarist within their ranks, a number of guest musicians have been invited to provide the guitar parts.
Analysis. In the notes accompanying their debut album, Eyes On Infinity cite an impressive number of influences, such as the inevitable Dream Theater, early prog-metal pioneers Fates Warning, and Pain of Salvation. Needless to say, these influences are practically nowhere to be heard on “Frail’ty”, which is by and large a very disappointing proposition – in spite of the potential occasionally displayed by the band. Though the biggest flaw for the less than successful nature of this disc lies with the production aspect of it, an excess of ambition on the part of the band is also at fault. As nowadays seems to be the rule rather than the exception in the progressive rock and metal world, “Frail’ty” is a concept album, and a rather ambitious one at that, dealing with the idea of human frailty (as the title implies). It is a pity that the stripped-down packaging does not allow for lyrics, which might have been a good addition, since the singing is anything but easy to follow. Eyes On Infinity adopt the dual vocal approach, with drummer Vincent Livolsi sharing credits with Sara Lauren. Now, even if having female vocals seems to be all the rage for ‘traditional’ prog-metal outfits, Sara’s vocals – though not intrinsically bad by any means – do not possess the clout to go with this kind of music. She sounds more like a grunge/singer-songwriter kind of vocalist (Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh comes to mind) than one whose voice should soar above the ‘wall of sound’ produced by the instruments. Moreover, her vocals are probably the worst victims of the album’s ill-judged mix – together with the drums, which often sound like little more than a collection of tin cans. There is actually not a lot to be said about “Frail’ty”, if not that, mercifully, the band avoided overstretching themselves by releasing some 70-minute behemoth. At just over 35 minutes, the album is, at least, easy to take in one sitting, even if this aspect is not particularly influential on the quality of the music. Since this is a progressive metal album, keyboards are very prominent, and so is the obligatory fast riffing, though both are marred by the appalling production values. None of the eight original songs sticks in the listener’s memory, not even what is meant as the disc’s highlight – the 7-minute-plus Three Marys (whose title, as well as the whispered ending and lofty aspirations, reminded me of Queensryche’s Suite Sister Mary). It does not help either that the album’s atmosphere is soaked in that contrived, existentialist gloom so widespread in the output of progressive metal bands, even the best of them in musical terms. Though I do not enjoy giving low ratings to albums, there are times when this is made inevitable by the poor quality of the material on offer. “Frail’ty” has very few (if any) saving graces, and makes for somewhat uncomfortable listening on account of its amateurish sound. The only track of some interest is the bonus acoustic version of Faith in Chaos, which at least does not sound as tinny or abrasive as the rest. This is a serious misfire, though hopefully the band will learn from it, and get back to the drawing board.
Conclusion. “Frail’ty” is an album I would only recommend to progressive metal completists, or those who enjoy the female voice so much that they want to collect anything featuring a woman singer. It is to be hoped that, for any future efforts, the band will try to get a better producer, and also tighten up on the compositional aspect.
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