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Transient - 2006 - "The Circle"

(44 min, 'Transient')

TRACK LIST:                    

1.  The Circle
2.  Enter the Grey
3.  What Lies Within
4.  As We Are
5.  Closer
6.  Watching & Waiting
7.  Absolution
8.  Traces


Edward Faust - instruments
Tom Engel - vocals

Prolusion. "The Circle" is the debut album by the American studio project TRANSIENT, which comprises two musicians, Edward Faust and Tom Engel, the former being responsible exclusively for the instrumental parts, and the latter, similarly, for the singing.

Analysis. "The Circle" is made up of eight tracks ranging from four and a half to six and a half minutes. With the exception of Absolution, the basic tempo is either slow or moderately slow throughout, but the music remains quite heavy in most cases. Tom Engel's vocals strongly resemble those of Queensryche's Geoff Tate, so I hear the echoes of that band's "Promised Land" album almost everywhere on this material, even though the instrumental canvases suggest to me that Edward Faust's compositional thinking is independent from outside factors rather than not. "A Pleasant Shade of Gray" by Fates Warning could have also been provided as an example if "Transient" were rich in keyboard patterns. Edward plays electric and acoustic guitars, bass and drums, and his command of these instruments is equally impressive, while keyboards are probably just not his special tea. Absolution is the only uninteresting track here. This is quite an energetic number, but it doesn't matter as it's built around straightforward riffs, additionally lacks tempo changes, and so turns out to be quite monotonous throughout. Three songs, the one eponymous to the project and their first offering alike, Closer and The Circle, while being good overall, reveal somewhat less diversity than those yet to be named, partly due to a ballad-like approach to some of their arrangements. The other four pieces all fully suit my understanding of true progressive metal, all involving inventive passages of acoustic guitar, thus proving that the genre's value isn't limited by the diversity of heavy guitar riffs or frequent shifts in direction. The absolute winners are Enter The Grey and Traces, which manifests light eastern intonations in places. It is perfectly located at the end of the CD, concluding it on a positively progressive 'note'.

Conclusion. "The Circle" isn't an earth-shattering CD, if it were to be compared to such sophisticated prog-metal recordings as "Awake" by Dream Theater, "No Exit" by Fates Warning or "One Hour at the Concrete Lake" by Pain Of Salvation. In all, it can be recommended highly only to those fans of the style that like their music not to be loaded with intricate arrangements demanding their strained attention. If the albums mentioned in the Analysis section are just what you need, you might be pleased with most of "Transient" as well.

VZ: Agst 21, 2006

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