When Time Stops is the debut release from Venezuelan progressive metal act Tolerance, though it took them nearly a decade of line-up changes and songwriting to get this platter finished up for Musea and into our hands. The hard work over many years though seems to have been worth it, as this is a very enjoyable album that really shows the love that the band have poured into it.
Comprised of Ricardo Figueroa (vocals), Carlos Cabrices (guitar), Ricardo Nunez (drums), and Antonio Ramirez (keyboards), with bass & strings being performed by a cast of guest musicians, Tolerance show plenty of skills in being able to craft melodic progressive metal that showcases a wide assortment of chops as well as emotion. What is instantly apparent is the love for Dream Theater that the band clearly has, as a good chunk of the album really has that Images and Words era feel to it, especially tracks like "Meeting the Path", "Drifted" and the title cut. Figueroa's vocals have a certain James LaBrie tone to them, though he arguable has more range than LaBrie himself, and the abundance of soaring guitar & keyboard exchanges no doubt show the influence of Dream Theater. That being said, When Time Stops is by no means a straight clone of the New York band, as Tolerance do a great job of throwing in some native jazz & funk elements into their songs which give them a unique edge. The musicianship of the players is top notch, with Cabrices & Ramirez really dazzling throughout the entire album. As excellent as the playing is however, it all comes down to the songs, and this band knows how to write catchy, intelligent songs with plenty of musical fireworks.
Despite the obvious Dream Theater references here, When Time Stops is a really good album that should be a no brainer for any progressive metal fan who craves expert musicianship and catchy melodies. Sample a song like "The Greatest Plan" if you don't believe me, as this one contains just about all the things that this band do so well. Good stuff, and I'll be keeping a close eye on these guys in the months & years ahead, while enjoying this one over and over again.
2) When Time Stops
3) Different Skies
5) Blind Spot
6) Meeting the Path
7) Beware of the Birds
8) The Greatest Plan