Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Harmony - Theatre of Redemption

I must say that I'm not too familiar with Sweden's Harmony and their brand of progressive power metal. I probably still would not know of this band if it were not for Ethereal Magnanimus (Daniel Heiman for those who are noobs) providing guest vocals for their third full length, Theater of Redemption. Given that Mr. Heiman's post Lost Horizon output has not even come close to living up to his glory days since leaving the band. Needless to say that this was an album that gave me some hope that Mr. Heiman would align himself with some musicians worthy of his magnanimus (pun intended) voice. The teasers seemed promising so I was highly anticipating this.

While this isn't a horrible album, it just does not leave much of impression on me. Being that this is the first time hearing this band I would say they are a second tier prog/power band that has plenty talent but they lack that magic that makes an album special. The album opener, "The Window of my Soul," is a good song that has a catchy chorus and some nice riffing with keys providing a nice backdrop. Heiman sounds as godly as ever on this song and one would think that a band with this type of sound could keep the momentum going but honestly, this is the best song on the album. The songs just seem to get more forgettable as we get into the album. This Heiman fanboy's huge bubble is about to burst. "Inhale" could have been so much better if Heiman would have had total control over the vocals here. The riffing is okay but this has a much more poppy sound to it. I have no problem with poppy sounding power metal but this doesn't go anywhere. The organs give it a nice 70s vibe in places but the song begins to plod along with nothing catchy except for the guitar solo. Sadly it's becoming apparent that this band is full of talented musicians but lacking in the songwriting department.

The rest of the album contains songs that try real hard to be heavy and proggy and it times it kinda works but most of the time they fall flat. I guess "Crown Me King" is decent but at the end of the day it just doesn't stand out. "Son of the Morning" tries to put on that eastern vibe but it doesn't seem to work for me. These completely out of place clean guitars on the bridge lead to a ridiculous sounding chorus that tries to invoke "Kashmir" or something. The solo is more wankery, which I'm not opposed of in most cases. The title track has some nice melodies and it tries to be epic and gets away with it for the most part. The problem is that the song is not memorable enough for me to really care to think about it again. There just isn't anything there catchy enough to draw me in. The background vocals are clearly not Heiman and tend to get in the way of his vocals. Actually even his vocals tend to be sound phoned in at times. ."You Are" is a just awful. It's a ballad that is the perfect example of what I said about his vocals sounding phoned in. The song just plods and doesn't do anything interesting. I know it's a ballad but it's almost six minutes of how not to write the metal ballad.

So the million dollar question here is, after creating and signing on one of the greatest albums ever made in heavy metal does Daniel Heiman lend his voice to those who are so clearly unworthy of his talent? This should have been so much better. This album is so hit or miss that it's hard to enjoy in whole. I'm not a song guy, I consume albums. With just a couple of songs worthy enough to be considered good and the rest consisting of bad ideas inserted into less than passable songs this could be in the running for disappointment of the year. Heiman is so much better than this. If you were like me and got all worked up over this, save yourself the disappointment. It's not what is seems to be.


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