Facts on the Ground
After originally starting out as P:O:B, Slaves to Fashion plays a version of rock and metal that they hope is "…timeless and by that the very opposite of fashion". Granted, they do have a very nice sound, but they fall into a rut that most progressive metal bands do. They are, whether slightly or not, a Dream Theater clone. Now that isn't necessarily a bad thing, there have been some good Dream Theater clones, but the less original an album the less enjoyment you can get out of it.
That being said, they do have a nice sound and most of their songs vary from each other. This provides for a well balanced feel that doesn't over power a listener. With great melodic tracks such as 'Superstar (I Want Out)' and some more melancholic tracks such as 'Out Of Here', Slaves to Fashion really does show its artistic differences. Probably one of my favorite tracks on the album, 'Libido Ride', offers the most Dream Theater like sound, but they copy it so well it is very enjoyable. Johannes Støle almost copies James Labrie's voice perfectly and it blends in nicely with the bands overall feel. The guitar solo towards the end of the track by Torfinn Sirnes is nailed perfectly, giving the listener a satisfied ending.
The epic on Artistic Differences, 'Facts on the Ground', is perhaps the most progressive on the album and is a great closer to the album. The guitar and drum lick to open it is done very well, and compliments Johannes Støle's voice very well. Another thing about this song is that it is by far the most original. Even though it is the most progressive, and that would usually tend to tell people it would sound more like Dream Theater, it has a unique sound to it that, as I said before, closes the album perfectly. The slow metal sections almost remind me of Pain of Salvation a bit, and that is one of the biggest compliments I can give a band.
The production is handled very well and is pretty standard for today's progressive rock/metal.
When a person thinks about progressive metal from Norway they usually think of Pagan's Mind, Ihsahn, or Leprous, but Slaves to Fashion has given a name for itself with this new release. Though this album definitely would've garnered more stars if it wasn't basically a Dream Theater album, Artistic Differences definitely has something for everyone, as it had for this reviewer. So, for a pretty good, though slightly unoriginal album Slaves to Fashion gets 3.5 stars.
1. Love You Back
2. Mrs. Hero
3. Made to Meet My Eyes
4. Superstar (I Want Out)
5. Empty Chairs
7. Left Out in the Cold
8. Out of Here
9. Libido Ride
10. Facts on the Ground