Germany's Tomorrow's Eve went through a huge lineup change after releasing their 2003 album Mirror of Creation, an ambitious sci-fi concept album. With the exception of guitarist Rainer Grund and keyboardist Oliver Schwickert, the band has now a completely new rhythm section and a new singer. This is the highly anticipated successor to their well-received Mirror of Creation, as the story picks up right where the first disc left off.
You may be familiar with vocalist Martin LeMar through his work in Lalu's Oniric Metal, another progressive metal album that is heavily accentuated by killer riffs, spectacular keyboards, and diverse vocals that range from melodic to smooth to aggressive. Martin LeMar has without doubt brought new life into Tomorrow's Eve. Although he doesn't possess a perfect range, his singing is powerful and intense. He is able to shift from nice clean tones to aggressive, semi-growled screams in places to convey feelings of pain, anger and fear. Though he has his own voice, he reminds me of the singers in Spheric Universe Experience and Poverty's No Crime in that he constantly employs varied singing styles, especially during the heavier, more guitar-dominated passages. One of the songs also has me thinking of Savatage circa The Wake of Magellan. The midtempo track "Rebirth" not only signifies an important turning point in the concept, but it also recalls Zak Stevens' over-dubbed counterpoint vocals. LeMar's voice has a more aggressive tone though.
Musically, the band has retained their heaviness, if not take it a step further. The groove of "Amnesia" perfectly underscores distantly echoing symphonic keyboards and Tom Diener's raw drum sound. The riffage is incredibly thick, especially when merged with the stomping charge of Chris Doerr's bass. LeMar, however, carries over a melodic warmth to the piece, spewing out terrific vocal lines and draping them over a beautiful piano outro, much like the stuff we've come to hear on Vanden Plas' heavier material. The band launches into faster songs on "Pain" and the mult-segmented "The Eve Suite", bringing forth highly complex arrangements and dark keyboards. "The Eve Suite" is a particularly engaging number, as it's made up several movements, each highlighting a different aspect of the band.
Martin LeMar is joined by female vocalist Jennie Kloos on the Middle Eastern-tinged "The Market of Umbra", a song with great vocals and rich keyboard effects; and the challenging "Not from This World", where the two singers' duet soars above seas of melodies and a killer guest synth lead by Vivien Lalu (Lalu, Hubi Meisel). On the instrumental front, there are plenty of unison solos on "Irreversible" and "Distant Murmurs", which reminds me of Circus Maximus because of its great backing harmonies and searing electric guitar.
With all that said, the band saves the best for the last. "The Trials of Man" encompasses everything one might be looking for in prog metal. At seventeen minutes (though there's a long silence after the twelve-minute mark before the song is wrapped up with a sweet acoustic guitar coda), the song is written to perfection. Enchanting piano and synth work, lots of unconventional staccato-style guitar riffage, pounding bass, and soaring vocal harmonies. As a matter of fact, this song features LeMar's most gripping melodies on the album, as he truly opts for a different style that is not too common in the genre.
The production of the album is average; it is not as defined and clear as I like my prog, but it fits the music. Phil Hillen's stereo mixing dictates a more in-your-face attitude that sits very well with the tones of the instruments, as both the drums and rhythm guitars have an undeniable grit to them. LeMar does strain in certain parts, especially when the songs call for clean, Khan-like moments. In those sections, he either chooses to tone it down or undersing. On the heavier, crunch-filled section, however, he is flawless and hard to surpass. Also, considering this is a conceptual work, he likes to move from one style to another, changing vocals quite often to successfully accommodate the mood.
Mirror of Creation 2 is recommended to fans of melodic prog metal who enjoy lots of guitar crunch in their music a la Vanden Plas' Christ 0, Lalu's Oniric Metal, Evergrey's Solitude Dominance Tragedy, and Beyond Twilight's Section X.
- Man Without a Name
- The Eve Suite
- The Market of Umbra
- Not from This World
- Eye for an Eye
- Distant Murmurs
- Human Device
- The Trials of Man