Originally released in 1999 as Ian Parry's Consortium Project, or simply just Consortium Project, the album is going to be reissued November 18, 2011, on Lion Music as Consortium Project I: Criminals and Kings (a title which is more in line with the titles of Ian Parry's subsequent Consortium Project releases).
We are dealing with modern power metal with a progressive and slightly symphonic twist here (but not to the same extent as with the subsequent releases), and many of the tunes evolve around groovy and more classic metal-styled riffs. True to the power metal ethos, there are plenty of catchy vocal lines in the choruses on the album, and there is, in general, also quite the focus on melody.
Still, and this is my main beef with this release, despite the use of melody and catchy choruses, the album fails to make any lasting impression on me. I have given the upcoming reissue a lot of spins now, and still only very few parts strike me as being truly memorable. The album actually starts out very strongly with 'House of Cards', which contains som strong riffing and some pretty good vocal lines, and ends on a strong note in the form of a bonus track demo version of 'Evil World'. These two tracks are pretty good and quite memorable, but everything in between is just one big blur. This is one of those album where you will have to listen to just a couple of tracks at the time in order to not do the album, and the individual tunes, any disfavors.
In any case, it has an important place in the history of the Consortium Project, and fans who have not heard the first release yet should take this opportunity to get acquainted with the beginning of the saga of the Consortium Project.
1. House of Cards.
2. Banquet for Thieves.
4. Garden of Eden.
5. The Entity (Instrumental).
6. Change breeds Contempt.
7. A Miracle is all we Need.
8. The Snake.
9. Criminals & Kings.
10. Chain of Fear.
11. Pandora's Box.
12. A Miracle Is All We Need (acoustic version feat. Patrick Rondat on acoustic guitar)
13. Evilworld (demo version feat.Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) on bass guitar)