|VOX TEMPUS: "In
the Eye of Time" vox
produced and mixed by Ray Mantor
review by Marco "Norman Knight" Signore____
last the full length of this band is out. Featuring Greg Bissonette
(drums), Eric Ragno (keyboards), Ray Mantor (guitars), Dan Reed (vocals)
and Jim Turba (bass), Vox Tempus enter as one of the most promising prog
metal bands from USA. As told in the promo
preview, most of the band is
already known to the public with the name of Equinox, making a really
good progressive Rock, and Ragno and Bissonette complete the formation
of Vox Tempus.
album is very well played and mixed, the sounds are exceptionally clean
and well recorded and the musicians clearly are of high quality. The
result is an excellent and enjoyable album. The first track, “For
Every Life”, has been already reviewed in my preview some time ago. A
nice opener for this album.
is the second song, introduced by an acid guitar and a powerful combo of
bass and drums. The keyboards paints a good background of pads under the
voice of Dan Reed, a progressive voice indeed, that is accompanied by
the elegant riffs of the bass, as the keyboards play with drums and
guitar. The choice of sound is good, and meets my complete ideas of this
genre (it’s a personal opinion, however!). Ragno opens up with
interesting synth arpeggio as the vocals double and the piano starts to
emerge from the well balanced blend of instruments. Quite good is the
insert of portamento synth just before the guitar solo with stopped
notes that flows into a fast (but not too fast) solo.
follow the tracks in the third song, called “Broken”, and the
atmosphere relaxes as the notes of Ragno’s piano introduce a vocal
line together with the acoustic guitar of Mantor. Almost a ballad in the
North American prog style, where the voice of Reed give its most in
expressivity. My compliments indeed! Excellent also the choice of Greg
Bissonette with the soft and well arranged drum track.
and analog pads as liquid notes flow into our ears to start the next
song, “Foreshadow”, and the intro of this song is completely left to
the proficient keyboard player, that plays with songs only to introduce
a tonal arpeggio of piano resemblant of Rick Wakeman’s performances of
suddenly the rhythm of guitar and bass advance from the dark, as the
drums play in counter-tempo. Here the voice of Reed modulates from his
deepest octave to the highest. The tone changes, we are in
“Revelations” that also was contained in the promo, as also the
following “What about”.
can be added to my comment about these two songs, for which I again
direct you to my preview.
of Time” starts with the ticking of a clock and an ominous bell as the
guitar, bass and drums spin a strange tempo upon which the synths dance
in an intricate arabesque of notes, and let in the guitar solo to begin
this song with a duet of the instruments; one of the most prog-oriented
songs of this very good CD, this instrumental track allow the whole band
to come into the spotlight and show what they can actually do. Never
boring, always interesting, this is the prog metal I like most. A sudden
change and the melody becomes reminiscent of Genesis sounds, as the
synth and guitar play as one on the piano, and then almost in a fusion
section the bass goes in a solo which never becomes bad for the ears,
creating an entwined carpet for the arpeggios of guitar first and of
keyboards. And both of course end into a quite interesting drum pattern
that melts into an unusual solo. A nice track indeed, that must be
listened, and one of my favourites!
we change register as the acoustic guitar leads us to the longest song
in this album (13:38) called “Love, Lies and Treason”. Voice and
guitar begin this song that suddenly changes tempo with the rim shots of
the drum as the arpeggio becomes reminiscent of “Natural Science”
from Rush. And then – as in that great song of the Canadian trio –
this “Love, Lies and Treason”
grows in power and atmosphere, with an
intelligent use of heaven-like staccato synths and the voice that plays
again at its full extension and expressivity. Soft again the song
becomes, and then the rhythm changes as we were moving into the tragic
storm that everyone experienced when a love story ends. And this subject
has been transformed into such expressive lyrics and sounds very few
times, although it seems to be one of the most perused themes in music.
This is one of the few times (as the terrific “Lost” by Vandergraaf
Generator comes to my mind) that a love song is not banalized both in
music and lyrics. Excellent is the touch of Bissonette on the hi hat
under the arpeggio of Ragno on piano. And then the nervous guitar solo,
a piece of style indeed! There, the tempo changes again, become
skittish, rapid, quick in eights instead of fours, in a small bridge
that again leads in a tempo in four with the vocal line walking on a
strange rhythm, almost on a glacier of feelings, and the closing of the
song draws near, as the chords open towards major tones and again the
tempo halves. Good progressive effort this track.
the Moment” is the last track of the album, another prog ballad made
of voice and synths with the piano underlining the main chords (if you
know songs like Dream Theater’s “Wait for Sleep” or Artension’s
“You are my Heart” crossed with a slow song from the American pop
music you can imagine this). A touch of genius is the rain and thunders
that fade in as the synths fade out. And as “a heart of gold pumps
within my metal skin…” I still like this kind of things. A sad
closing for a good album, yet a beautiful piece if you are in the right
can we tell about this album? Vox Tempus managed to pump new blood into
the dying breed of prog-metal bands (I must be specific: prog-metal for
me is Artension, Dream Theater, Fates Warning and so on, Symphony X not
included). The experience of the band members is clear and shines
illuminating of a new light the whole CD. This is the way prog metal
should be played: almost essential, without too many meaningless changes
(there only to create smoke in the eyes of the listeners), and pleasant
to listen to.
not expect heavy riffs or raging double bass drums from this album. This
was not the intention of Vox Tempus. In the Eye of Time is a great work
that only suffers from the fact that prog metal albums have already been
produced in the past, and if you want to be part of prog then you have
to bend to its standards – hence it’s hard to produce something that
is 100% original. But if you like the genre, then you will find this
album among your favourites.
compliments to the production, which must be mentioned as excellent.
Extremely clean sounds, very good choice of effects and patches, pads
and loops. The drums play a very important part, and I like arranged
drums – they are an instrument, not just a metronome!
last word: I was impressed enough when I listened to the promo. And as I
listened for the first time to the full length, without looking at the
tracklist, I immediately remembered the tracks I’ve heard in the
promo, because Vox Tempus manage to create riffs that can be easily
remembered. A great achievement for a band indeed!
conclusion, I strongly suggest to the progsters out there to at least
listen to Vox Tempus. Most possibly you will like it. But I also suggest
to other metallers to listen to this album. Sometimes a change of pace
is what you need. And this sounds like a very good change of pace!
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