Traditional progressive-metal arrangements and lyrical concepts dance with organic acoustic-driven songs about love and relationships on The Alien Inside, the third album from Italy's Empty Tremor. Led by keyboardist extraordinaire Daniele Liverani (who, incidentally, released the first-disc of the multi-part Genius rock opera in 2002 with such singers as Steve Walsh, John Wetton, Daniel Gildenlow, Lana Lane and Mark Boals), Empty Tremor floundered during the late Nineties with a revolving lineup, particularly at the lead vocalist spot.
When it came time to write the songs for The Alien Inside, the band still hadn't found a singer. Enter Oliver Hartmann, the former lead vocalist for the German progressive/power-metal band At Vance. Hartmann knows how to reign in his voice and keep these songs from going over the top. Just imagine a more charismatic John West (Artension, Royal Hunt).
The title track is classic progressive metal, while the mid-tempo ballad "I Found You" explodes with dynamic group vocals, harmonies and heart-on-sleeve lyrics. Liverani's keyboards play a vital role in the eight songs here, ensuring that no one piece is dominated by the band's dual guitars, smart rhythm section or Hartmann's voice. The result is a balanced, accessible and appealing prog-metal album that sounds fresh, even after several listens. These days, that's saying a lot.
1) The Alien Inside (9:39)
2) I Found You (7:12)
3) A New World (5:35)
4) Who You Really Are (8:24)
5) Don't Stop Me (9:37)
6) Stay (4:20)
7) The Love I've Never Had (8:48)
8) The Alien Outside (6:29)
Total Running Time (59:53)