Infinite Horizon

Soul Reducer

Written by: AP on 07/06/2009 23:06:59

Sometimes it feels like German metal labels are willing to sign just about any band, considering the amount of near-identical prog/power metal albums that are sent to us by them, and it's hard to recall any particular such album that has impressed us much. Infinite Horizon's third studio album, "Soul Reducer", released in the summer last year, is one of the latest of them and regrettably, though by no means unexpectedly, it follows the usual pattern: one-dimensional and entirely uninspiring.

My first grievance with "Soul Reducer" are the vocals, which are standard prog-metal fare, similar to Matthew Barlow of Iced Earth but lacking his soul and conviction. It's not that Marc Lemler (the vocalist here) can't sing - his range is actually impressive, but it's difficult to derive any kind of emotion from his lyrics let alone their delivery. In fact, the lyrics parallel the farce that is Beyond The Labyrinth's recent new album (the review of which you can find here), though the vocals here are somewhat more harsh than Jo De Boeck's classically inspired singing.

On the instrumental side things sound much better, particularly in the six-string department, with a satisfying variety of crunchy heavy metal riffs that occasionally flirt with thrashy terrain in the vein of old Metallica (check out "Re-evolution", for instance) and an impressive spectrum of ballad interludes influenced by the likes of Deep Purple. There's an airy keyboard presence in the background that adds some much-needed atmosphere but expect no jaw-dropping, Warman-style solo mayhem from it - that's for the band's two guitarists to handle. Armin Schmidt's fretwork on the bass guitar is of the usual, rhythmic kind, although he does let loose the occasional tasty sequence here and there.

Still, the instrumental achievements are difficult to appreciate when the album has been subjected to merciless under-production and that's a fucking shame because it sounds like there's some serious punch packed in there. Obviously the music is likely to completely transform in a live setting (such as was witnessed in the recent Alesana show in Copenhagen) but the album lacks the heaviness this type of music demands - and it's not because it isn't there. Unfortunately it means that the listening experience here is extremely bland and the impression I get is that "Soul Reducer" is unambitious and even dull.

5

Download: The Thin Line, Facing Mr. Hyde

For the fans of: Evergrey, Fates Warning, Nevermore

Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.06.2008

Black Bards

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