"The Old Man and The Spirit"

 By Dark Starr

I know that it’s just the beginning of the year, but here’s a disc that might well make my “best of 2012” list. It’s that strong. When I first spun just little bits of this to get a feeling for it, I thought it was a metal album. Surely some progressive rock purists would put it there. It’s far more prog rock than metal, though. It’s also very powerful with extremely innovative and creative musical and vocal arrangements. The songs are all like journeys through various sonic landscapes, each one distinct in its own way. To cover all the various shifts in tempo, sound and influence would take more space than we have here, but suffice to say, never does the album become tedious at any time. No track here seems to sum up the flowing complexity of Beyond The Bridge better than the very first number, "The Call"...this moves effortlessly from keyboard driven balladry to Middle Eastern influenced prog to flat out thrash metal. And it's coherent throughout. Just like every other track on this outstanding debut.

This band's style is related to epic metal, but it’s far more progressive rock aligned than that suggests. If you like your progressive rock with some crunch, you’ll love this album. It is one of the most impressive debuts I've heard in quite some time.