Scenes From A Germany

Progressive Metal has always been a very dubious genre - aside from immortal legends Dream Theater, very few bands carry the genre off properly. They either try to be so spaced out they end up sounding like a washing machine playing a keytar, or they eventually shelf the progressive element and fall back in generic metal. The fact that you can count the number of good progressive metal bands on one hand is not good.

Scenes have struck a balance that satisfies the genre they are trying to lead. It's certainly something new, simply being a progressive metal band keeps you from sounding generic. However whilst there is a lot of strong stuff here, there are a few songs that slip towards the chasm of normality.

That's not to say the progressive side plays second team - it's the dominating factor of this album, "You Walk Away" is a delightful trek, nodding towards Dream Theater, Symphony X, and even newer bands like Evergrey and Threshold could produce something similar. The wall of guitars that emanates towards the end of the song is beautifully broken down by scathing synths, to bring a refreshingly new sound. Alex Koch's vocals aren't up there with James LaBrie or Russell Allen, but they're enjoyable enough to get even the most musically critical of listeners to at least sing along in their head.

Overall, an interesting offering from a band with serious potential. Tracks like "So (Father)" and "My Own Life" are going to sound absolutely amazing live, and I can't wait for the inevitable "Live From Japan" DVD release.