The Aftermath Odyssey
5/16/2008 - Review by: Frank Hill
Sensory has found a niche in the progressive rock/metal area with CDs from Circus Maximus and Pathosray. Nation Beyond is the Swedish find (licensed from Burning Star Records) that should add to the overall health of their recent body of releases.
With their debut, Nation Beyond takes on the concept album. It can be quite daunting for any band to tie in an hour's worth of lyrics and music to a story that makes sense. Mention in the publicity is of course made to the masterstroke of Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, but "The Aftermath Odyssey" is only its brethren by labeling. "O:M" was lyrically dense and temporally short taking place quickly within a character's mind. "TAO" takes place over a significant amount of time in reality and is way more simplified in musical aspects. Their common thread is a lost male falling in love with a female along the course of his journey and the fleeting redemption that results.
The CD itself is propelled forward by it's storyline and the dramatic vocals of Nielz Lindstrom. His traditional, emotional delivery is the counterpoint to minimalist blend of power chords and short melodic leads that come from the guitars. I would have preferred more riffs and hooks there instead of the symphonics. The production on "The Aftermath Odyssey" is superb, but often to the point of excessive overdubbing that doesn't fit with the theming. The choirs work well with "A Rainy Day in Hell" and "The Council" giving them a dose of profoundness, but there is no need for them at other times. The drum sound is quite overpowering in the mix of many songs and other atmospherics reflect a airy, vastness that belies the ashen grays of the post-apocalyptic world. The music didn't always add to any worry about the characters' fate. I do believe though that they could find single success with the pleasant "Soulmates" and the additional female vocals of Sara Heurlin.
"The Aftermath Odyssey" is an honest debut effort that doesn't overwhelmingly succeed nor does it miserably fail. I shows that a preponderance of sound will color a CD, but it doesn't always provide the emotional pull a listener needs.
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