Anubis Gate

The Detached

Written by: BL on 23/05/2009 02:40:52

Named after a time travel fantasy novel released back in the 80s, this five-piece heavy progressive metal group from Denmark first graced my ears around a year ago with "Andromeda Unchained", their 2007 effort. While I didn't listen to that album in its entirety I had a fair affinity with what I heard: some interesting additional instruments provided some spectacular layering effects along with stellar guitar work for a concept album. I'm glad to say that these elements are back greater than ever in their follow-up, "The Detached".

Like "Andromeda Unchained", "The Detached" is a concept album written by Martin Rauff. The story is based around the main character Bilao, who is part of a race of immortal people called "The Detached" because they have the ability to 'detach' themselves from time and space which allows them to travel back and forth through time. They can choose to give up their immortality upon finding an era in history to settle in, as time travelling becomes increasingly more difficult for them physically the more they jump around. I won't spoil any more though, as part of the enjoyment of a concept album is reading and 'hearing' the story unfold with the music itself.

Speaking of the music, there are moments where the guitar work combined with the other instruments shapes some mind blowing landscapes. Particularly on "Pyramids", where when you read the story extract and the lyrics, you really almost feel like you're witnessing the scene at hand: 20,000 workers building a pyramid day and night for a mighty Pharaoh. The way the instrumentation blends to form such rich layers is astounding. There is always an extra element in most of the songs, whether it be acoustic guitars overlaid on top, or synth instruments adding a really exotic touch. A lot of these moments are almost like surprises for listeners unfamiliar with their sound, so like the story there is always something new around the corner, and there is hardly a dull moment. A mention goes out to the production, which is simply wonderful as everything sounds clear as day.

On the heavier tracks such as "Dodecahedron" and "Bloodbath" the guitarists Kim and Jesper shine with some great downtuned riffing, and the melodic lead on top sounds far more bright and delightful in contrast. There are some really technical parts throughout, with mixed time signatures and some rather wonderful solo work; not necessarily in speed or bizarreness but in actual construction where things all just fit together, nothing ever out of place. A brief final mention to vocalist Jacob who sounds a little like James LaBrie of Dream Theater, his voice pleasant and soothing (I rather like the start of "Out Of Time") and credit for being very competent without being annoying which can be a problem elsewhere in this and similar genres. Further credit to drummer Morten and bassist Henrik for holding the rhythm together with tight performances, being far more subtle in their creativity but always present nonetheless.

My only minor complaints are that the flow can be occasionally hindered by the slower moments, or when there is an introduction of a new instrumental fill. Songs can be long (but not too long for prog standards) for some, so as always with this genre, and the concept in particular, to get the full experience and enjoyment one needs to be focused somewhat when listening. I really think this album is fantastic though, and for me is reason alone to go back to "Andromeda Unchained" to see what else I have been missing out on.


Download: Yiri, Dodecahedron, Options - Going Nowhere
For the fans of: Dream Theater, Symphony X, Kamelot
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.03.2009
Locomotive Records

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