Wow! All I can say is “wow!” When I think of dramatic prog rock, Without Face’s sound is what pops into my head. These guys are seasoned musicians, and their skills are absolutely exceptional! From the intricate, melodic guitar lines, to the angelic female/male vocal play, Astronomicon is simply a nearly perfect album of technical metal.
What really amazes me about Astronomicon is the way in which the musicians make extremely technical music sound as if it were easily created or played. Time signatures shift at the drop of a hat, guitars are playing harmonized and beautifully constructed lines of notes, the female vocalist signs in a soft, high voice that seems to be coated in velvet… WOW! There’s an almost indescribable effect, when listening to people who have obviously devoted their lives to music, coming together to make something truly amazing happen!
I did note, however, that this record is near perfect, not actually perfect; the reasons are small, but significant. The first issue I take is with the lead male vocalists voice: it’s terrible. He sounds very much like the lead singer of System of a Down, and that guy bugs the crap out of me. He’s also campy and cheeky! The other thing that needs to go is the ridiculous overabundance of synthesized keyboards. Sickening! I can understand some here and there, but the keyboards ruined Rush’s music, and they nearly ruin this gem, as well!
I can only highly recommend this to fans of prog metal, what I like to call “thinking man/ woman’s” metal. Everyone else will think it sounds like Dream Theater and laugh.
Earache Records: http://www.earache.com