After the release of the phenomenal “Temporary Psychotic State” EP, I think everyone’s expectations were very high for the release of this album.
Unfortunately, in many regards, it falls short. It’s always a challenge to use certain instruments within Metal and the saxophone has to be at the top of the list. DREAM THEATER used it on “Another Day” and failed miserably, AMORPHIS used it on “Am Universum” with mediocre results and now, following in those footsteps, SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE have used it and were not successful. Similarly, flutes and brass instruments can be hard to pull off and those are used appropriately on the album, but only to a certain degree.
More importantly than all that, though, “Suspended Animation Dreams” fails at capturing the same, lush atmosphere that was so prevalent on the previous EP. There are glimpses of it at times, but for the most part you’re just left wondering what happened to this band. “Awake” is one of the songs that has the open windows to a better SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE, in fact, most of that song is excellent and is almost entirely responsible for salvaging the album. Once those glimpses do arise, however, like towards the end of “No Place Like Home” you’re reminded of just how incredible this band can be.
I haven’t been this disappointed with a band since GREEN CARNATION and sadly enough, both bands seem to have wasted the same amount of potential. Unlike GREEN CARNATION, though, the potential is still there, so hopefully it will be fully realized on future releases. (Online August 23, 2005)