War of the Worlds / Pt. I

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group, 2018)

Karakter: 2.5/6

michaelromeo.jpgThat Symphony X shredder Michael Romeo is an insanely talented guitarist is pretty much a fact. Based on its title, one could be led into thinking that this 10-track solo offering of his revolves around H.G. Well's literary classic "War of the Worlds", but that does not seem to be the case. However, just as Well's work of genius is grandiose, so Romeo's album is a highly orchestrated and symphonic power metal opus that is as technically impressive as it is epic in scope. There is no shortage of bombastic atmospheres, galloping riffs, and thunderous percussion on this one, that is for sure.

There is a majestic and cinematic quality to the proceedings here, but the actual song material does not excite much passion or stir the senses. It is not that "War of the Worlds / Pt. I" is derivative or without merits, but it lacks spark, vigor, and feeling. Sure, some parts come across as energetic and fiery, but the absence of emotional intensity results in the album never really taking off. All of the ingredients are there yet it does not manage to turn into a riveting record, which is to say that the drama and grandeur of it all is simply not particularly engaging or captivating. Having said that, many of the transitions between the metal sections and the ambient/neo-classical ones and the way in which they blend together are quite remarkable and fluid not to mention that the musicianship is way up there with the very best of them. You can tell that Romeo truly labored over the album and paid attention to each detail, nuance, and so on and so forth, but sadly, nearly all the tunes sans "Differences" sound stiff, rigid, and devoid of hooks.

Ultimately, "War of the Worlds / Pt. I" neither reaches any stratospheric heights nor comes across as a memorable output even after repeated listens, which is both frustrating and disappointing. There are plenty of great ideas on display here, loads of potential, and some commendable experimentation with various electronic sounds and elements and whatnot, but all in all, this is a letdown and not the musical thrill ride full of surprises that I was hoping for. Ambitious but unfulfilling, really. Still, if symphonic metal with a certain amount of complexity to it sounds appealing then maybe you should give this one a shot.

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