The Infinite Overture Pt. I
Infinity Overture's first offering, Kingdom of Utopia, was an interesting album that really set them apart from a lot of the symphonic power metal offerings that are available. Even though it wasn't the hookiest or most enjoyable album that I'd heard, I came back to it occasionally because of its refreshingly different take on the genre. Well, for this, Infinity Overture's second release, the band has taken a different direction. In fact, this doesn't sound very similar at all to the band's debut. On their ambitious first installment of their titular project (The Infinite Overture, this being part I), the band has clearly gone for a much more aggressive sound, with some progressive metal leanings as well.
Upon listening, one thing becomes very clear. Infinity Overture has taken a long stride into the realm of technical prowess. Not that this was absent on their first offering, but Infinity Overture: Part I sees the band placing considerably more emphasis upon their instrumental talents. Some other elements are the same: we have very good female vocals courtesy of Kimmie Nielsen, and she is a pleasure to listen to. Some of the guest vocals are also very good (Thomas Jensen, Fabio Lione, and others), but there's a stark difference when it comes to the growls that are present on this album. They are atrocious. It's not that death vocals are entirely out of place. We've seen harsh vocals pop up everywhere, and their use in prog/symphonic metal is not novel. Quite simply though, we've got some wonderful female vocals and vibrant atmospheres that are just massacred by the poor-sounding growls. They're just not well done by any stretch of the imagination, and are the single greatest weakness of this record.
Otherwise, the music has become slower and generally a bit heavier. The guitars engage in a fair bit of chunkiness here and there, which almost seems directionless at times. The first couple of tracks are fairly strong, but it appears that to some degree, the band has forsaken direction in favor of more progressive stylings and technical showmanship. Of course, I don't see much value in this, and it weakens the position of the album as a whole. As it is, we wind up with an album with a couple of good tracks (“The Hunger”, “The Stand”) and a number of what seem to be jumbled ideas.
The good riffs and prodigious shredding on the first couple of tracks, along with the highly competent lead vocals, save The Infinite Overture Pt. I from being a total failure, but the band seems to have lost the focus that it had. Rather than a reasonably competent album of symphonic power metal, we've got a somewhat messy, unfocused album full of vaguely symphonic progressive death metal. It's talented and has a lot of promise, but is a letdown after the band's first pursuit. This feels more like an experimental first release rather than a band that had somewhat established themselves. Recommended to those who enjoy technical prog metal in combination with some beautiful female singing, so long as you don't mind the awful retching in the background.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 6.0 out of 10