Written by: CR on 22/09/2008 14:51:36

Dream Theater has for many years been equated with progressive metal. Whether you like the music or not, Petrucci and co. have undeniably made some of the most important albums in the genre. Chances are that if you are into progressive music, you are either inspired by them, or the bands you like are. Unfortunately the band hasn’t been able to prove itself as the leader of the pack since the release of "Train of Thought" in 2003. Since Dream Theater got into this slump, I have been searching for a band who can give me my progressive fix. So it was not without a bit of excitement that I put on the new Ivanhoe record, wishing that I would now be introduced to the band that could give me what the aforementioned New Yorkers have failed to on their last two releases.

I started just playing the record through my Macbook's internal speakers which - like most laptop speakers - are not really that good. After three active listens through the album I really wasn't that impressed. I was initially impressed with the vocals and the production, but I soon found myself a bit bored, since the album doesn't really exceed at any point. As the intelligent reader you without a doubt are, you may suggest that it's my own fault, since my speakers are as good at playing music as Limp Bizkit is. To counter this argument I conjure up one of my own: there are a lot of people who use the standard Ipod ear-plugs or otherwise use lo-fi stereos. Those people will not find much to like on "Lifeline", since they will end up with the same feeling as I had. With a really good stereo you will on the other hand enjoy the same experience I got when I switched to my 2300 DKK (£200) in-ears. Suddenly a whole new world opened to me. The album is filled with small details that you will only catch if you are actively listening on a really good stereo. The music does not get any better as such, but you will find yourself caught up in finding faint nuances and small pieces hidden in the depth.

Hands down Ivanhoe does a good job in creating an all-round record where there's not really any songs that fall under the category "bad". There is, however, not enough originality to make this a good record. This has mainly to do with the fact that most of the record seems to be built around the vocals, which - though it is quality singing - leave the album without much room for fancy guitars or experimental drumming. This becomes the Achilles heel of the record. Ivanhoe end up suffocating their own music by not allowing it more room than is absolutely necessary, so as to not restrain the vocals. Therefore the music ends up a bit boring on your average stereo.

Download: Time Machine, Cheops

For the fans of: Dream Theater

Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.09.2008


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