VIRTUAL MIND – Shattered Silence
Without reading any background information about this progressive metal quintet before pressing play, something didn’t strike me right about “Shattered Silence”. All the components are there for appeal – a dynamic, forceful singer in Titta Tani (ex-DGM, ex-Astra, Ashent), the requisite guitar maestro in Francesco Fareri, and songwriting that moves between darker, heavier moments like “Life” and the total shred, progressive happy numbers like the 6:42 instrumental “After Thy Soul”.
The two culprits lay solely in Francesco’s songwriting and the programmed drums of Dario Ciccioni. Let’s take the latter aspect first. When it comes to such a challenging, involved musical style as progressive metal, no computer program can hold a candle to a human being behind the drum kit. I’m puzzled as to why Dario didn’t just perform live drums on this 7 song record, but it severely impacts the level of enjoyment in a negative manner. The songwriting just relies too much on staccato-laden, simplified chord structures during the verses, and nowhere near as innovative as Dream Theater or Symphony X have been able to incorporate through the years. If Francesco didn’t hit the right buttons in the solo department, material like “The Black Box” and “The Door” would just be better off in a cutting room floor demo and not available for public consumption.
“Shattered Silence” just sounds more like a cut and paste, long distance through e-mail effort that would have been better off being an instrumental record with full, real playing. We can’t win them all in progressive metal – stick to Sun Caged and Borealis from this label when you want to hear the best in the genre for this year.