By Dark Starr

I really liked this act’s last disc a lot. This follow up is quite good. It just doesn’t grab me as much as that previous one did. It seems to lack direction a bit at times. I don’t know if the songwriting was a bit forced or what, but somehow this just doesn’t gel as well as that release did.  Like I said, though, it’s still great prog rock. It’s right up there with a lot of other stuff. It just had a lot of greatness for comparison. 

The sounds of nature start the opening “Terracide.” Then some keyboard elements join. As it builds out from there it takes on a definite fusion sort of texture. As the song grows various bits of spoken word stuff comes over the top. It works out into some rather crunchy jamming that calls to mind Dream Theater quite a bit. I love the jam that is driven by some amazing bass work. This thing just keeps evolving and changing as it moves forward. This essentially segues into the next cut. 

With real vocals, there is a bit more of a mainstream rock sound to “Volatilestial.” Mind you, it’s still distinctly progressive rock oriented and complex. It’s just more of an AOR thing in a lot of ways. Some of it doesn’t work all that well from my perspective, though.  “Manifest Destiny” powers in with a real metallic riff. It’s fast paced, hard edged and very cool. If the whole album were like this it would probably land under metal. Sure, it’s proggy metal, but metal for certain. 

Coming out of the previous piece, “Oceanica Toxica” starts with a very melodic, mellower movement. It gets some metal built into it as it carries forward. The cut seems to blend something like Metallica with Dream Theater. The prog and metallic elements each take command at different times here.  Another that does a nice job of riding the line between metal and prog, “Mammonific” is more mainstream than some of the rest. The vocal arrangement is quite complex, though. The musical arrangement isn’t without its twists and turns, either. I particularly like the piano driven movement near the end. 

Sounds of the ocean start “Animaulic.” The cut works toward more electronic stuff from there. A metal edge joins after a bit and the song continues to move onward. As the it evolves, it’s more of an AOR based prog rocker. Yes, there is some crunch here, but it’s more melodic prog than it is anything else. It does get into some spacier, pure prog territory late in the number, too. 

I love the jamming on “Esoterica.” It has more of that spoken word stuff in the mix. There are some great moments of instrumental soloing, too. It’s a melodic prog composition with a lot of fusion in the mix. This instrumental is one of the classiest things here. I particularly like the multiple layers of vocals on “Crownet.” The cut has some cool melodic prog at its heart, but it also works into metallic territory at times. It’s a complex and ever changing piece of music, really. There are some particularly dramatic sections on this cut. 

With a great rather spacey prog arrangement, we get a break into jazzy jamming midtrack on “Obesite.”. Next we get a technical metal turned prog rendition of the classical piece “Ode to Joy.” There is a real soaring melodic prog vibe to the first parts of “Cosmosera.” It works out to faster paced, more metallic territory later, though. It also has a break into something that could probably best be described as jazz metal. For my money, this is one of the most effective numbers here. 

With a lot of jazz built into it, “Vastificant” is one of the best on the disc. It has a real space rock kind of vibe and at times makes me think of Red era King Crimson. It’s definitely a great way to end the set in style. Much like that King Crimson album, there is a space of silence at the end of this that seems like part of the song.