In progmetal, it seems that creating an album with a lot of guests, is still very fashionable. So here we have another one, and hey, the core duo of Sander Stegeman (vocals, guitars and bass) and Joran Dijkstra (drums) are as Dutch as Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, should you not know). On the guest list we find vocalists like Richard Sjunneson, Tom de Wit, Bert Heerink, Marjan Welman and Andi Kravljaca. Another important guest is Joop de Rooij who does synths and orchestrations, and we have Jord Otto en Mendel Bij de Leij who provide some shredding guitar solos.
Big difference to Ayreon, at least in my humble opinion, are the vocal genres. On this disk we get a lot of grunting and howling. And though that might not be to everyone´s liking, they did bother me very little. In that respect I compare this a bit to Opeth. I think overall the melodies outshine the more extreme vocal parts. Another bonus for me is the will to experiment with less obvious genres like drums´n bass and electronica. So yes, parts of this album are plain heavy and riffs galore. But couple that with interesting song structures and open dynamics where melodies really shine, and you get a album that slowly but surely sucks you in. So I can recommend this to anyone with an open mind!
Worth mentioning is new (to me at least) label Layered Reality Productions, whose releases we will feature more often in the future.