Palace Terrace: Flying through infinity
The brainchild of guitarist and composer George Bellas, Palace Terrace includes drummer Sasha Horn and vocalist Jonathon R. Marshall. The album is a mix of progressive metal and operatic melodrama echoing something of the style of Nightwish. The concept of the album is based on a story of a 'soul' searching for its raison d'etre through contacts between the fantasy of 'afterlife' and reality.
The album employs structures from classical composition such as choral parts and orchestral embellishments as well as the tools of progressive rock with its many tempo changes, unusual metres, polyrhythms, counterpoint and instrumental flourishes. Part of the album is apparently written in 99/32 time – possibly on "Time will Tell" but I can't count that well! "Know your home" brings to mind Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory album but suffers from rather too much of the sung narrative. There seems to have been no effort here and in a number of other places (e.g. track 8) to make the lyrics scan properly – it comes across like the singer is reading from a book and adding melody to the words, stretching or squashing the phrases to make them fit.
That isn't to say there isn't plenty to enjoy on this album. The musical arrangements are sound and the instrumental parts are often imaginative and exciting. Some of the intricate guitar chord progressions such as in "Declaration" are most exhilarating. Jonathon has a powerful voice with the ability to evoke a range of emotions and, despite the rather ill-fitting word structure employed at times, delivers the complex lyrics with aplomb. There's also some neat 4 part vocal counterpoint in "Lights fall down".
The album has a particular high point in "End of Time" where some of the musical shock tactics used in RIO are borrowed to build a complex rhythmic pattern, superbly led by Sasha, with a menacing build toward a climax and ethereal fall-out overshot by poignant guitar lines and a deep intricate bass figure.
1. The Tenth Dimension
2. Chaos Theory
3. Time will Tell
4. Know your home
5. Who am I
7. Lights fall down
8. From this day forward
9. End of time
Added: December 28th 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Lion Music
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