Not every album can be broken down or fully described with only one or two sentences. Some albums absolutely defy conventional explanation.
SECTION A’s second full-length is not one of those albums. You can sum it up this way: This album is a DREAM THEATER clone playing competent music with a story that’s a combination of the running story on the NIGHTINGALE albums and the recent movie The Butterfly Effect.
Okay, they don’t sound exactly like a DREAM THEATER clone…the song structures are a little simple for that. Oh, sure, all the musicians are competent, with guitarist/songwriter/keyboardist Torben Enevoldsen attracting the most attention as an above average shredder (and a slightly below average keyboardist). There is nothing displeasing to the ear. It’s interesting that this album has been a long time coming—the music was completed before Christmas ’03 and the drums were recorded in 2004. It dropped in February 2006. We do get some guest work as well, courtesy of producer Pontus Egberg (ex-LION’S SHARE) on bass and some keyboard solos contributed by Mats Olausson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), as well as a handful of vocalists I can’t place.
Oh yeah, the concept. Apparently, the first person protagonist (a fellow named William) falls asleep one night and discovers that when he sleeps he enters a parallel dimension. As near as I can tell (without the lyrics available to me), he is constantly pursued on both sides of lucidity by people who would abuse this gift. There’s a shootout with the cops that doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t know what justified the ending. Hopefully if you have the lyrics it’s a better story.
This album doesn’t lend itself to much thought. As mentioned above, Torben’s solos are quality, as are Mats Olausson’s guest work. I suppose that if SECTION A is your first exposure to post-DREAM THEATER not-really-progressive Progressive Metal, they’ll be acceptable. If you’ve heard enough of it in the past, you’ll probably enjoy the album while it’s playing. Afterward, you won’t find much sticking in your head…except the oft-repeated chorus of “The Gift.” Man, I just want that out of my head.
So yeah. Apart from the above-mentioned chorus, there’s nothing offensive here. There’s also nothing you haven’t heard before on other Progressive releases. (Online March 21, 2006)