Sandstone – Delta Viridian
Ladies and Gents, (Let’s be honest, this is a prog review, no ladies are reading this) I know you’re just so completely excited to read another review of an album that I find to be no better than mediocre: but tune in closely, because I’ve a very nuanced reason for this score. There’s every chance that you, dear reader, might love Sandstone’s latest release, Delta Viridian.
A couple things right off the bat: the album is melodic metal that leans into progressive metal, in what reminds me of a Fate’s Warning style. It’s possible that the comparison draws from the music, and certain that the comparison draws from Sandstone’s singer being an imitator of John Arch. For me, he does a pretty good (but not great) job imitating Arch’s voice, and that’s a bit of a turn-off. When a vocalist fails to imitate another singer, the performance is usually forgettable. Additionally, the composition of the songs is typically fairly solid. The songs all have individual hooks, and the guitar work is pretty good, but the drums are painfully dull for a ‘prog’ album, and that’s another strike against it in my book.
I can’t really slander any individual track, but repeated listens have left me without much of an impression. I’ve given the album multiple spins, and while it pains me to call the album forgettable (because I get much more enjoyment out of dismissing an album for obvious faults), Delta Viridian is dull simply because it lacks any great merit. This is the case with pretty much every song. They all start out promising, and there’s a melody that’s easy to get into. Instrumental prowess isn’t overwhelming, but it’s certainly complex music. As the song drags on however, it loses steam, and sort of limps to the finish line. The next song will start out the same way, but loses steam even quicker. By the third or fourth song, I realized I’d stopped *listening* altogether, and was now just *hearing*.
This behavior is the most pronounced with the final, nine minute track, “Vitruvian Man”. The intro is great, but repeats itself for too long. While the instrumental work is good, it is weighted down by verses that don’t add anything to my enjoyment of the song. I’d say the band has lots of fat to cut away, but I’m not altogether sure that there’s enough meat here to fill me up in the first place. At the end of the day, it just sounds like the band mailed in compositions that were less than inspired. Fans are likely to still be pleased, but I can’t really imagine a listener being anything more than satisfied (and certainly not fulfilled) by this album.
2.5 // 5