Dominion Records has quickly become one of the mainstays of modern progmetal.
They have brought us such essential discs as Mercury Rising's brilliant Upon
Deaf Ears, as well as one of the best progmetal albums ever, Vauxdvihl's To
Dimension Logic. But their latest release, The Quiet Room's Introspect, doesn't
quite live up to that standard.
It's not that the band is not talented; the chops are there, the vocal skills
are there, the essence of a great band is tight and intact. What is missing is
two things: good songwriting, and a voice of their own.
Let's talk about that "voice" issue first. The Quiet Room suffers from the
plague that affects most progmetal bands at one time or another: sounding too
much like someone else. This genre is still new, you know, and comparatively
speaking, it's a bit crowded in the area of inventiveness. Bands like Fates
Warning and Magellan pushed the outer boundaries and gave them shape; countless
bands since then have been content to dwell in the areas defined by their
forefathers without pushing the wall out any farther. Sadly, Introspect suffers
from Fates Warning-itis to a caustic degree: not only does Chadd Castor sound
like a Ray Alder impersonator at times, but the music seems stuck in the past as
well. "Second Time Around" features a guitar riff that is almost lifted verbatim
from "Part of the Machine" from Perfect Symmetry, and several other spots seem
to be mere imitations of Matheos & Co.
To be fair, there are some absolutely brilliant moments here, like the
majestic "Holding On". Clearly, this is a band with a future, and one that I
will watch closely.
It should be noted that progmetal, like all progressive rock, is held to a
higher standard than other popular music: therefore, lukewarm output from a band
like this should take precedence over the best work of anything you'll see on
Billboard's top ten. Oasis couldn't write music this good if their pampered
British asses depended on it. If Introspect were to emanate from the pen of
Prince or Hanson or god knows who else, we'd all bow down and kiss their feet;
as it stands, it is a mildly recommended piece of modern progressive metal that
holds infinite promise for the things to come from this band.