The American state of Washington is known for more than one Progressive Metal band, just a brief glance will reveal the likes of QUEENSRYCHE or NEVERMORE (I know, not necessarily Prog in the closest sense of the word, but still close enough), so it did not come as a complete oddball, when Seattle’s WAKING HOUR submitted their first full album “Hollow Man”. Rising from the ashes of Spokane-based EIGHTFOLD PATH the quintet is offering us a demanding yet accessible variant of Prog Metal, which stays away from DREAM THEATER-esque finger-flexing and stays closer to the traditional Melodic Metal.
“Blind Faith” and “Tempest” both are “light” Prog, so to say, very harmonic and still with nice heaviness, but also showing off their skills and orientation in the solos and breaks, overall showcasing nice maturity and thought throughout the compositions, crowned by Aaron Potter’s good voice. And more than once these guys remind me of a cult Prog-band of the mid-Nineties from Boston, AUDITORY IMAGERY. It’s hard to compare two bands like this, but both give me the same kind of vibe, which is different from the regular Prog we get served all so often.
A very nice surprise is “Purge”, which is completely instrumental, but compared to many Prog instrumentals actually is a complete song, just minus the vocals, with dynamics, good structure and everything that you would expect, very nice indeed!
The biggest negative factor is the production, which sounds a bit dumb and lacks power, I am sure that there would be far more details to be detected, if the sound had some more clarity, but I rather have good songs and a weak production than the other way around, as it is far easier to work with.
Overall a very promising debut, which gives hope for more, fans of AUDITORY IMAGERY should definitely check out WAKING HOUR as well, just as should those, who like their Prog accessible or their Melodic Metal a bit more complex.
(Online April 18, 2007)