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Hephystus: Fragmenting Shadows

Released November 1, 2013, Fragmenting Shadows is Hephystus follow – up album to their 2010 critically acclaimed release Burn the Page. Hephystus is a North Carolinian melodic progressive rock band made up of: Troy Surratt, on drums and backing vocals; Matt Halberg, on guitars and backing vocals; Brandon Miller, on lead vocals and guitars; and Aaron Yow, on bass and backing vocals.

This album feels like a rocket blasting off at the opening. "Winds of Change", and will take you back to what I think was the best of Dream Theater: the first three albums. They never slow down and continue to punch out power throughout this excellent sophomore album.

Troy Surratt's drums will ring in your head long after the album finishes. Surratt must have attended many of Mike Portnoy's clinics. He could write his own text now. His drum work is all over this album and leaves a listener like me pleasantly happy for discovering this band on I would argue that Surratt's drums are enough of a reason to buy this album alone. But oh…there is so much more… Every single track on this album is full of emotionally powerful lead electric guitar. With two lead guitarists the listener receives plenty of riff magic to satisfy any missing from the loss of Portnoy and the slow decline of DT. The songwriting is intense and creates viable storylines just like DT used to write.

Now that I have heard Fates Warning and of course Dream Theater's last albums I would say I'll stick with this band over the two aforementioned. This is the magic that is missing in their latest endeavors.

Although Brandon Miller's vocals are not as unique as James LaBrie's, the lyrics being delivered are much more interesting.

Track seven, "Perspective", offers bassist, Aaron Yow, an excellent opportunity to show off his "inner Geddy Lee". Track eight, "Burning Bridges" is another showcase for Yow. And he pushes it to the limit.

If there is any criticism, it would be that most of the songs clock in around four or five minutes long. It would be nice to hear a big epic long track full of storyline. However, as a listener I do not feel at all cheated with 13 tracks and a bonus 14th added on the CD version. Again, no track is less than three minutes long, so there is plenty of lyrical and sound development on each track.

If you like Dream Theater or Fates Warning get this album and hope that someday maybe they will hear it and turn back to the music they used to make with precision.

Track Listing:

1. Winds of Change 4:58
2. Choices 4:04
3. Within Us 4:51
4. Fragmenting Shadows 5:13
5. Chasing Down the Sun 5:39
6. Terror (Sing Me to Sleep) 4:24
7. Perspective 6:19
8. Burning Bridges 4:50
9. Age of Enlightenment 2:50
10. The Cycle That Binds 3:25
11. Playing With Fire 4:29
12. This Is Goodbye 4:02
13. Beyond Reach 3:20
14. Letting Go (bonus track) 3:07

Added: May 5th 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Hits: 2710
Language: english

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