Hold on to your ear buds, the concept album is back. Long a favorite of progressive bands in the days of long-format FM radio, the genre died out when punks brought back the 3:05 pop song. This disc came with the most cheaply photocopied press release I’ve ever seen, but I found their MySpace page and read up on these guys. They’re out of London and keep referring to themselves as a “metal band.” But this is the least “metal” disc I’ve ever heard; it’s right in the vein of King Crimson / Yes / Bill Buford jazz-influenced music. I even hear echoes of Kansas and the “Dust in The Wind” sound.

The seven tracks all sound different, the vocals are pleasant and accessible, no sign of inverted pentagrams or umlauted Olde English fonts sully the CD art, and the story even makes a kind of sense. “The Point of No Return” introduces the principal character — a child born with fins, a sort of mermaid — and in “Streams,” this child is out discovering the joys of living in the ocean in a Disney-influenced musical world. The upbeat and positive fades quickly, this unnamed child is soon caught and put on display, and he/she begs for freedom. Love blooms in the heart of her captor, and soon we are down at the bottom of the sea. I won’t spoil the ending, but even if this made no sense whatsoever, it’s a great piece of music, theatrical in scope and execution.

I’ll bet there’s a decent movie lurking in this material, and I’d take you to see it.

Haken: www.lasersedgegroup.comwww.myspace.com/hakenmusic

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