Artension's sixth album, New Discovery is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed comeback album Sacred Pathways. Once again reuniting the original line-up of Vitalij Kuprij on keyboards, vocalist John West, guitarist Roger Staffelbach, and the superb rhythm section of Mike Terrana on drums and bassist Kevin Chown, New Discovery displays all the characteristic neo-classical prog metal talents of these five musicians. The main problem here, as with many Artension releases, is that the band fails to really advance their sound and try something different.
Sure, there are plenty of blazing keyboard and guitar solos, plus West has one of the most powerful voices in the genre. Somehow though, many of the tunes here sound a tad tired and rehashed. If you dig lightning quick keyboard/guitar melodies, furious double bass drums, and lyrics dealing with ancient civilizations, then you really can't go wrong with this CD. I felt however that the band achieved something great, melodically speaking anyway, on Sacred Pathways, that seems lacking here. I mean, we all know these guys can play. Just listen to Staffelbach's intense duel with Kuprij on "Remember My Name"-it's an amazing display of chops. However, the rest of the tune is just plain not memorable. Songs like "Hearts Are Broken" , the emotional "Endless Days" or the melodic title track seem to work better, as on these tunes the band slows down and really digs in with hefty doses of poise and melody. There is a nifty instrumental called "Symphonic Expedition" that lets Kuprij and the band really rip in a fusion style. I'd like to hear more of this from them, perhaps in an extended format (when are you guys going to record some epics?)
Perhaps I'm being a bit hard on New Discovery, but it just seems that Artension follows every exceptional album with a somewhat mediocre one. Many though will enjoy the virtuoso performances here, but I'm going to give this 3 out of 5 stars, as the majority of these songs are just not memorable enough for my tastes. I know Artension can do better.