2. Neo Paradise (03:42)
3. The Grid (03:36)
4. Return (03:44)
5. Beyond The Stars (02:48)
6. Dusk (04:35)
7. Twin Paradox (05:07)
8. Upside Down (04:52)
Total time: 31:51
Release date: April 26, 2021
Label: Symmetric Records
Promo: Angels PR Music Promotion
According to John:
“I’ve created this album inspired by my favorite 80’s – 90’s video game sountracks and some of my favorite guitar heroes such as Adrian Smith, Joe Satriani, Tore Østby & Roy Z. I like to call it a “sci fi” concept record, just without the lyrics! I’m extremely proud and honored to be on Symmetric Record’s roster among all those amazing artists and Bob Katsionis himself!”
First thing that hits you is this is pretty prog. It has some nice guitar leads, along the lines of even Evergrey (A band I love) and even some Ayreon feel to it. The keyboard lead more so lends itself to this 70s prog sound. Production is tight but a personal preference would be to have the keyboard lead a little wetter or perhaps just behind the guitars but these are stylistic choices which only an artist can decide. All the same it doesn’t take anything away from the cool musicianship on display.
Drums are good, nice big reverb snare feels quite 80s in fact. I feel like I’m cruising down an American highway in the heat of the west cost while the sunset casts itself over the bay. This is an interesting blend of styles. Again, guitar work is pure Evergrey and I love it. This is starting to feel like a beer album, one of those albums you enjoy in the garden with a beer for company.
Guitarist clearly has some chops as well, the Arpeggio work is class, hardly any scuffs or scrapes when sweeping, clear and smooth. I know probably 10 people alone who would dig this. The bass break in Neo Paradise is pretty glorious as well here, kind of Jazzy.
Then out of nowhere there is some Iron Maiden influence, gotta love the classics. Honestly I like this a lot but my only wish for this album is that there was some kick ass vocals along with it, I like instrumental music but It’s harder to connect with in my opinion in this style to stay engaged I think vocals are key.
I could honestly see this stuff being pretty huge with the right vocals in it, Something like Nocturnal Rites perhaps? Of course this is a choice for the artist and even without the vocals it’s still a solid album. Harmony work is beautiful.
To sum up this album in a sentence I will say. Imagine Evergrey had a baby with Ayreon but lived in the American west cost in the 80s It’s got all the chug and purpose of metal but it’s also so easy just to digest it. Best track – Neo Paradise.