When Time Fades
8/12/2009 - Review by: Raising Iron
Suspyre's third and newest release, When Time Fades, finds the band continuing to delve deeper into their ever-expanding and exasperating compositional forays. As is wont of those toiling within the progressive metal framework, the band throws everything conceivable into their song structures, upping the style variation quotient to nth degree.
Hailing from NJ, it's not surprising to hear some similarities to fellow statehood stalwarts Symphony X - although not quite as heavy or thrashy - Suspyre instead opting for more vociferous keyboard proclamations than the heavier X-men. Even founding guitarist Gregg Rossetti throws in periodic doses of saxophone solos (see "Siren"), and frequently used jazz/fusion guitar stylings are infused and abused (think To-Mera and their latest effort, the grandiose Delusions) amongst keyboard orchestrations, programmed bits, and plenty of intricate vocal melodies liberally peppered into the mix. Vocalist Clay Barton even sounds a bit like Russell Allen, opting for that soulful, throaty, mid-tone mewling born out of mid-‘70's R&B, adding another dimension to the already complex music on display. And complex is the word for it, the longer songs moving into several different styles, speedy scales and virtuosic arpeggios being the building blocks for the larger keyboards layered above, there's no denying the band's musical acrobatics.
Having said all that, what will one walk away with after spending several hours absorbing When Time Fades (it'll take that long, trust me; remember though, that's part of the joy for hardcore fans of the genre)? Being a progressive metal band with predilections for showcasing adroit technique and at the same time keeping the songs focused is always a tough balancing act, and its one that song-focus usually loses. I wouldn't necessarily say that's the case here, but there is an overall feeling of just a little bit too much thrown into this seventy-five minute effort, leaving the average listener overwhelmed and fatigued; just not getting it.
True prog-heads (most of which are themselves musicians) will readily eat this up, and rightly so, Suspyre turning in a semi-cohesive effort with plenty on display, and despite my earlier descriptions, comparatively speaking they do dwell at the heavier end of the progressive metal spectrum versus many other bands in this field, and that can only help their cause.
Note: my score reflects the imprint left on the average listener, add a half a point if you're a Dream Theater/Redemption/SUE/Dreamscape/Symphony X et al fan!
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