Rush meets Dream Theater with jazzy overtones on this eccentric yet lavishly packaged debut CD. Italy's Proloud, which has gone through numerous line-up changes since its formation as a covers band in 1996, play a complicated brand of progressive metal containing elements that don't always mesh. For example, the Geddy Lee-esque voice of singer (and chief lyricist) Giancarlo Mattei sometimes sounds out of place against a wall of shredding guitars and lush keyboards on the 10-minute "Fickle." On the other hand, Mattei's vocal techniques fit in perfectly on the acoustic "Shooting Star" and the heavy and dramatic "Last Inhabited Planet" — speaking in a distorted Italian tongue and backed by additional singers.
Despite the intricate dichotomy of voice and music, "Gethsemane," the lone instrumental (not counting the disconcerting 31-second "Self Destruction" noisebite that opens the album), stands out on Rebuilding. Opening with an exhilarating piano line, the piece quickly segues into intriguing chord progressions, defiant drums and majestic arrangements. Other highlights include the title track, which closes the album with a simple yet evocative acoustic song that showcases Proloud's harmonizing talents, and the Latin-tinged "Leave It To Nature," which takes a few cues from jazz.
Rebuilding's splendid packaging features an oversized gatefold that includes a CD jacket, booklet and nine postcards – one for each song – with surreal illustrations by renowned Italian artist Lorenzo Vergani on one side and lyrics on the other. It's a near-perfect match for Proloud's complex music and thoughtful words.
This is a finely crafted album that nevertheless takes some getting used to, despite Proloud's familiar influences.