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Life Stage: Stage 1

Originally known as 4 ALARM, Life Stage is a progressive-metal trio out of Texas that cites influences ranging from Dream Theater and Rush to The Beatles and The Police. But what I hear most on Life Stage's five-song debut EP, Stage 1, is Enchant. That's right. The band last heard from in 2004 with a live CD and DVD has a challenger to its brand of crisp, clean and reflective prog metal. Edgy and melodic, these songs are powered by lead vocalist Ross Phillips, who could replace Ted Leonard in Enchant if Leonard ever decides to go completely solo. Intriguing song titles ("Full Proof," "Can I?") the title of "Instrumorphasis" (an acoustic piece that turns thick and heavy) mimics Enchant's "Progtology" from 2003's Tug of War and some major riffing add to the similarities. But Life Stage still lacks Enchant's knack for hooks.

Recorded when Life Stage was a four-piece band, Stage 1 could be considered a Christian album, with lyrics referring to the "Son," "God's judgment" and "His grace." But progressive metal these days contains plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle spiritual references. Moreover, this project doesn't sound like it was self-funded and self-produced. The album's lackluster packaging, though, could've used some extra care; black type on a black back cover isn't easy on the eyes. Fortunately, Stage 1 is easier on the ears.

Track Listing:
1) Full Proof
2) Can I?
3) Instrumorphasis
4) Time Capsule
5) New Life

Added: September 15th 2010
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Life Stage Website
Hits: 1667
Language: english

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