So you’ve got two ex-members of SPIRAL ARCHITECT. Are you that surprised when the resultant band sounds a lot like SPIRAL ARCHITECT? Not. Those two members are guitarist Kaj Gornitzka and vocalist Leif Knaushaug, with bassist Erik Aadland and EXTOL drummer David Husvik rounding things out. The fellows got together in 2000, practiced for a few years, then released the full length without a demo to test the waters.
Like I said, this could easily be the sequel to “A Sceptic’s Universe.” The group is playing technical material that doesn’t lose sight of its Progressive roots or alienate the listener with completely alien song structures. Gornitzka is a skilled guitarist who effortlessly moves from choppy time changers to flowing passages without breaking a sweat. Aadland is a constant presence, his Jazz-influenced bass work always near the front of the mix, never hiding or simply rumbling. For their parts, Husvik keeps up, but I was never good with judging a drummer’s technicality and Knaushaug at times escapes the limitations of a Prog singer, but for the most part is only distinguishable by his slightly lower register.
The technical abilities here are remarkable and some folks will be glad to hear that the guitar work is classy, without much in the way of shredding. It’s all very clean and very professional sounding and the band’s even willing to experiment with a sitar on “The Thin Layers Of Lust And Love,” but I gotta admit that among Technical Metal releases “Then Comes Affliction To Waken The Dreamer” doesn’t emerge as particularly distinct. It can sound too much like SPIRAL ARCHITECT until I’m not sure which one I’m listening to. At other times it resembles too closely someone like ZERO HOUR, or one of those instrumental groups (think SPASTIC INK, CANVAS SOLARIS or ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF in descending order of similarity) with a vocalist.
Fans of any bands I’ve mentioned so far won’t be disappointed with this release. SPIRAL ARCHITECT fans, starving after a six year wait, will gobble it up. It’s a good album, but the band needs to put some thought next time into what makes them different.
Random thought: “The House Of Nadir” sounds like a direct continuation of “The Thin Layers Of Lust And Love.” Odd.
(Online December 11, 2006)