ASSIGNMENT – Closing the Circle
Eschewing the multiple singer profile of the last album "Inside of the Machine", German progressive metal band Assignment slides in Helker vocalist Diego Valdez and Poverty’s No Crime bassist Heiko Spaarmann for this fourth studio album "Closing the Circle". The band originally began in 1995 under a melodic death style, only to transform themselves into the progressive, power oriented unit we take in today.
Choosing to go for a heavier texture in terms of main riffing and overall atmosphere, it’s not surprising that there will be comparisons to Dio on "Presence of Death", as Diego’s delivery and range certainly parallels the much missed holy diver. The keyboard/guitar runs within the instrumental break also give off a spirited ‘can you top this’ vibe that propelled early Dream Theater to must-see status. Another highlight "Genetic Slavery" opens with a cappella harmonies that mirror what Ralf Scheepers does in Primal Fear before quick hitting guitars, bass and drums interact in this up tempo gallop with stop/start interplay.
The final two tracks take up the last third of the record- "Entering the Universe" and "Between Parallel Worlds" both epic efforts. The former creates tension from the start through symphonic/keyboard oriented layers from Gert D. Sprick that make you feel like you are taking in a Shakespeare tragedy before transforming into a cut and chase, epic progressive metal effort, while the latter has that Savatage meets Helloween-oriented momentum, the female vocal accents and acoustic aspects pushing more character into the already adventurous storyline to end the record- incorporating the album’s title as a wrap around.
At 10 tracks and clocking in at 61 minutes, "Closing the Circle" has proper momentum and dynamic diversity – the progressive aspects aren’t too intricate or technically overblown, subtly incorporating a number of hooks and melody parts in terms of the vocals and the music (check out "Crimson Poison" for proof of both). Assignment offer an intriguing mix of styles while keeping things metal, making "Closing the Circle" another progressive gem in 2016.