The third album by Father Golem — the Spanish band formerly known as Bajo Zero and dating back to 1999 — opens with "Perfect Chaos," which invokes a Middle-Eastern spirit before crunching into a barrage of power chords that give way to Dani Castro's heavily accented James LaBrie-like English-language vocals. The song really takes off near the end, revealing Castro's soaring range and guitarist Jani Pihlman's depth. Pihlman's fat guitar sound bursts forth again on the next song, "Circle of Light," an expansive 10-minute excursion that allows Father Golem to musically stretch itself. The unexpected surge of a jazzy saxophone can be heard at the end of "Infrared," which also suggests a preference for experimenting and diversifying, as does the strategic placement of other brass and a string quartet. In fact, with only one of seven songs here shorter than seven minutes (the Porcupine Tree-inspired "Trapped Among Gravity Fields," which is actually part of a 12-minute two-part piece titled "The Evercycling," clocks in at 4:32), Pihlman is all over this album and receives some major complementary riffing courtesy of rhythm guitarist Fernando Sanjuan. Powerful melodies, tight musicianship and a palpable sense of purpose — as if Father Golem knows it has what it takes to rise above the international progressive-metal heap — dominate I/O.
Now, if only these guys could make their logo and album art as appealing as their music.
1) Perfect Chaos
2) Circle of Light
3) Sole Survivor
4) Last Man on Earth
The Evercycling Journey
7) Part I: Trapped Among Gravity Fields
8) Part II: Impact!