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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My album of the year

Well, 2009 has been another interesting year for prog and progmetal. I looked back at my top 10 list of 2008 and there were only 2 or 3 albums that had any lasting appeal for me. So I might even call 2009 a resurgence of sorts for me but it's possibly all relative and at the end of 2010 I'll feel the same way about 2010 that I do right now about 2009.

There has been more than a few CDs that could easily be contenders for the top spot on my list, but I'm always keyed to a newcomer that seemingly comes out of nowhere and knocks my socks off. This year I chose the Israeli band Edgend's album, A New Identity. Hats off to Lance/Nightmare Records for finding and releasing this album.

The scope of this album is what grabbed me from the start. It's epic and magnificent in breadth. References to Symphony X and Adagio are obvious here. The bands treads a delicate balance into the neoclassical genre that is epic without being too cheesy, instrumental without being too much shred, and symphonic while keeping it heavy but while also avoiding the typical galloping drum pitfall of power metal. There are so few bands who can find the right balance, and Edgend does it perfectly. Symphony X raised the bar on the neoclassical genre but it took them 5 albums to do it, and Edgend comes close to matching this mastery right off the bat on their debut!

There's great talent at work here on the instruments, most notably in the keyboard and guitar work. The singer sounds to me like a close match for Adagio's old singer Readman. Highlights on the album are Revelation and A Chosen Truth which are both very catchy. Also Voices/Out of The Equation (A New Identity) make an excellent ending to the album and both songs flow together as a single song. My only nit with this album is on the production side. The guitar tone lacks clarity, especially during the guitar solos. The production issues are serious though. I'm just a bit of a stickler when it comes to guitar tone and I thought it could have been done better but it doesn't decrease my enjoyment of the album. The production of the album itself is quite clear with a good balance of keyboards within the music.

Considering this is the debut CD from the band, I hope Edgend have many more great albums in their future and will eventually release a masterpiece like Symphony X's 'V'. As a new avid fan of the band, I can't wait to hear what they do next.


guitarsean said...

I think I'll have to pick Subsignal's Beautiful and Monstrous (if I can't pick my own band ;-)

Sieges Even (Art of Navigating...) was such a new and fresh find for me the first time I heard it on Progulus. The follow up was a bit of a letdown and I was saddened that the band broke up (again). Subsignal, for me, builds on the Sieges Even sound and has solid songwriting. The added keyboards are a welcome addition to their style as well. They seem to have gotten a lot closer to the sound they were trying to nail with Sieges Even.