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Next to None: A Light in the Dark

A Light in the Dark is the InsideOut debut from Pennsylvania band Next to None, featuring Max Portnoy on drums (son of Dream Theater/Winery Dogs/Liquid Tension Experiment/Transatlantic/Adrenaline Mob legend Mike Portnoy), Ryland Holland on guitar, Kris Rank on bass, and Thomas Cuce on keyboards & vocals. As you can imagine, the group are all still in high school, but show some formidable skills here on their debut. With Max being the son of Mike, you can also possibly imagine that he has taken some serious influence from Dad, specifically from his time in Dream Theater, and the result is that much of A Light in the Dark sounds like some of the heavier Dream Theater moments with a little extreme metal thrown in for good measure.

"The Edge of Sanity" takes the formula of Train of Thought era Dream Theater, but adds in Cuce's mix of clean vocals and death metal growls. Seeing as his melodic vocal style sounds very close to James LaBrie, when he drops in his growling, the results are not far off from LaBrie's most recent solo outing Impermanent Resonance, which featured the growls & screams from drummer Peter Wildoer. "You Are Not Me" again sees the alternating vocal styles amid a more modern metal approach, while "Runaway" tosses in prog with heavy metal riffing and rhythms, the drums & bass passages especially impressive but mention also needs to be made of the vintage sounding keyboard flourishes. If you like Dream Theater's more keyboard & vocal based ballads, there's the lovely "A Lonely Walk", and "Control" is a dramatic slice of progressive metal that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Scenes From a Memory, filled with intense, complex instrumental sections that highlight all the members, easily one of the must hear tracks on the album. You can hear bits from "In the Hall of the Mountain King" during "Lost", while "Blood on My Hands" again takes that heavier Dream Theater approach, mixing busy drumming with enticing keyboard & guitar interplay that will appeal to any prog-metal fan.

Overall, this is a fun debut from a very young band who no doubt have a bright future ahead of them. Poppa Portnoy has produced the album, and it sounds quite good, which should come to no surprise to anyone. What the album lacks is a bit of originality, as they are obviously going the Dream Theater route full bore here and need some time to craft their own identity, but that should come in time. The growling vocals will be a hit or miss with some, but I give the band credit for at least trying something different in an otherwise predictable formula. Next to None are definitely a band to keep your eye on.

Track Listing
01. The Edge Of Sanity
02. You Are Not Me
03. Runaway
04. A Lonely Walk
05. Control
06. Lost
07. Social Anxiety
08. Legacy
09. Blood On My Hands

Added: June 29th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1791
Language: english

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