Ethereal Architect – Monolith
As far as album titles go, Monolith is something that I would not apply to something as specific and nuanced as progressive metal, of which Ethereal Architect’s second album most unashamedly is. I’ve always spoken of my apprehension with the majority of recent progressive metal, but as the past few years have passed, I’ve seen a lot of great trends work their way into the genre, namely a focus on more memorable melodies, quality rhythm guitars, and learning to effectively portray complexity without devolving into over technical masturbation. Seeing those developments work their way down through independent bands like Erethreal Architect is very encouraging.
Ethereal Architect brings in elements of techincal and melodic progressive metal in the vein of Sun Caged, as well as more symphonic metal elements in the style of big name power metal bands. There’s also more teeth in the music than a lot of what comes out of either of those styles. Not quite rabidly animal, but possibly a dedicated carnivore.
The music is varied, and well done, though the production level leaves something to be desired. In particular, I noticed that the drums lack the crispness that really accentuates good progressive metal. The benefit of variance comes somewhat at the cost of cohesiveness: Ethereal Architect does many things, and all of them good, however the heavier and more dramatic elements are pulled off better than the purely melodic or more thickly symphonic sections. If you’re a progressive metal fan, there’s no doubt something that you’ll find to enjoy here, though I don’t really hear an X-Factor to fall in love with. The two tracks I enjoyed the most were the opener “Kalinago”, which was a great exploration of heavy and symphonic fusion with a really memorable melody, as well as the 3rd track, “Obsidian”, which stands out to me for a bit of influence Blind Guadian in the guitar, as well as featuring a very impressive vocal performance.
Dagg’s Rating: 3.25 out of 5