If you want good Progressive Metal you have to go to the U.S. The very definition of 90’s Progressive Metal was etched in America by DREAM THEATER alone. Underground cult bands like THE QUIET ROOM, POWER OF OMENS and CYNIC and sacred testaments like “The Fragile Art Of Existence” were also conceived in the America. Now, what does all this nonsense babbling have to do with ALL TOO HUMAN’s second album, what am I trying to say? The same thing I started with this review, good Progressive Metal comes from USA.
The Texas quintet, featuring Derek Sherinian (ex DREAM THEATER, PLANET X, ALICE COOPER etc etc) as guest keyboard player on the album, plays an ultra versatile style of Prog Metal mixing the neo-classical touches of SYMPHONY X with the technical and progressive prowess of DREAM THEATER. Like most U.S. Prog Metal albums, “Entropy” is a tornado of skilled instrumentation, sometimes the band does too much of it. The 8-minute instrumental is acceptable because a Prog Metal album just isn’t complete without one.
Songs like “E-Killer” and “Seven Deadly Sins” are easier to get into because of the limited technicality and less divided structures. After that you have 60 minutes or so of crashing Technical Metal filled with small breaks, slippery solos, Jazz fills, spontaneous inputs, basically an hour of instrumental dictation hehe. No, of course the album gets clearer with time and when it does, you’ll start to appreciate it more.
Having Derek Sherinian on your album is a golden opportunity to spice up the atmosphere; his magical fingers weave colourful layers on the songs and when he feels like it he’ll play a fast solo blindfolded. Everybody seems to agree on the vocals being similar to a mid eighties version of Geoff Tate. However, Don Duzan is able to break away from sounding like a foolproof copy, his harmonies appear to be a bit lighter.
The members of ALL TOO HUMAN aren’t lacking one inch of experience, song writing skills, production skills or playing techniques, they have it all, everything except the most important element of all: creativity.
No matter how brilliant “Entropy” may sound doesn’t take my mind away from the fact that it’s missing some identity, so if you only want your Prog Metal album to be traditional and nothing more, place your money on this one. (Online September 5, 2004)