Andromeda

The Immunity Zone

Written by: NB on 16/03/2009 19:33:44

The word "black" doesn't actually mean anything in the term "black metal" (unless to indicate how evil it is perhaps). The same is true for the words "death", "power", "gothic" and even "rock". The word "progressive", however, has a very clear meaning when used to describe music. Why, then, do many bands in the genre of "prog" have a distinctly retrogressive sound? Hold that thought. Andromeda is a Swedish prog-metal band formed in 1999. It seems with their fourth studio album they are trying to propel themselves from their roots in relatively obscure, technical, space-age prog into something more accessible and mainstream. Sadly this has meant that they have largely ditched what attracted me to them in the first place: fast paced, keyboard and guitar driven technicality. On this latest album that has been replaced for the most part with calmer vocal sections and more restrained melodies.

That said, there is plenty of variety on the record, too; the first track having the aforementioned retro feel with echoing vocal sections almost reminiscent of a rock opera. This trails off with an unbearable synth section, which sounds like it came from some decade-old computer game, and into the next track which is completely different. "Slaves of the Plethora Season", whatever that means, sounds like a more polished version of Belgian band Beautiful Sin, which I would describe as a, not altogether unsuccessful, cross between modern, female-fronted pop and metal. I also feel the need to mention that this track contains the wonderful lyrics: "some girls have formed a plan [...] now blaming anyone who can get an erection" and "those who have none in the crotch, they've finally grown nuts". Byronic isn't it?

Following this is a bit of prog-by-numbers, slow melodies with the odd curtailed bar to give the music a "progressive" time signature whilst a vocal line containing the odd note out of key really rams this home. Luckily Andromeda has been around long enough to know what they're doing and manage to make even these tracks fairly convincing and memorable. The intro to "Censoring Truth" is one such occasion where an awesome riff with sci-fi keyboards shouts "cliché" but leaves you ashamed of actually finding it so cool!

"Another Step" is another memorable moment, but it's not until the last track that it really happens for me. "Veil of Illumination" brings back a taste of Andromeda's past. This seventeen-minute song's complicated, Dream Theater-esque sound is not particularly forward thinking either, but it does sound awesome. This is the track I will listen to again when I scroll past the album in my library, showing that, whilst this outing was entirely enjoyable, they should probably have stuck to what they did best.

Download: Slaves of the Plethora Season, Another Step, Veil of Illumination
For the fans of: Dream Theater, Zero Hour, Derek Sherinian
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.02.2009
Silverwolf Productions / Nightmare Records

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