"Abandoned in the Stranger's Room"

By Dark Starr

This double CD set is quite an interesting release. The first disc, Abandoned, is a studio album. The second, In the Stranger's Room, is a live set. I'm sure there is enough metal here that some prog purists will disagree with me when I say it's a progressive rock release. Clearly, though, the art-rock based concepts and many of the actual shifts and changes make this progrock. I have to admit that for me the music works better than the vocals. If there is a part of this project that I'm not sold on, it's the vocals. Then again, there have been plenty of acts I felt like that about at first (Rush springs to mind) and ultimately wound up being a fan of the vocals, too. So, only time will tell. 

The live set has a different flavor that the studio one in a lot of ways. I make out things like King's X on the second disc. Even songs that appear on both are altered a bit. I think that's probably because in the studio there are more layers and nuances added, while live it's a bit more stripped down in terms of arrangement. In some ways, it works better that way, but it is less proggy. 

There is quite a bit of range here, just in terms of the studio set. When you contrast that with the live disc, it's even more apparent, though. If you like hard rocking music that has a definite AOR progressive rock edge, this is likely to appeal. It also presents an interesting contrast between studio and live, almost offering a glimpse behind the curtain of production at times.