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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the 4 year wait!, 8 Jun 2012
Mr. D. D. Buchanan (Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Harmagedon (MP3 Download)
Prog Rock super groups are always something I'm a bit weary of, for one there are far too many of them and usually they are formed to facilitate each individual band members chance to vent their musical prowess.
On occasion though it actually works and the super group don't come across all pretentious. This is the case with Affector.

Affector are a Progressive Rock/Metal band founded by German guitarist Daniel Fries and Dutch drummer Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse/Dilemma). They are joined by Bass player Mike LePond (Symphony X) and vocalist Ted Leonard (Spock's Beard/Enchant/Thought Chamber).

Their new album `Harmagedon' is a concept album that is based on the end of the world. Fries and Leijenaar have taken parts of one of the oldest books in history (the Bible) to tell the story of the end times using only biblical verses. There is no rhyme or cadence for the vocals, the lyrics haven't been embroidered with a personal touch, and the music was written around the verses.

The album begins with a soft instrumental piece called `Overture Pt.1' complete with Polish orchestra Sinfonietta Consonus but its not long before `Overture Pt.2' kicks in with the rest of the band. Like `Overture Pt.1' this track is instrumental but it glides in and out of darkness and light with its Progressive Metal feel.

Track 3 `Salvation' shows what Affector are all about and also introduces vocalist Ted Leonard into the mix. If there was ever a vocalist suited to this kind of music its Ted Leonard! Smooth and pitch perfect. Affector's luminosity though is the guitar work of Daniel Fries, blindingly technical and ranging across various progressive metal styles.

`The Rapture' is a particular stand out on `Harmagedon', combining melodic solos and the Sinfonietta Consonus orchestra with some of the heaviest metal riffs on the album, at 14 mins long it's a giant dose of Progressive Metal supremacy. Vocalist Ted Leonard is terrific again and his choice of melody cannot be faulted. For me there is a definite likeness to Swedish group Freak Kitchen's frontman Mattias IA Eklundh at times.

`Cry Song' brings the pace and heaviness down a notch for a few minutes but it doesn't sound out of place in the slightest, it's also nice to hear the band pulling things back a bit and not relying solely on their technical skill to make well composed songs.

Title track `Harmagedon' shows the band picking up the pace and some well executed metal shredding from LePond and Fries. At 13 minutes long this track really displays a magnitude of contrasting dark and light textures and the varying styles of solo from Fries just make it all the more interesting to listen to.

`Harmagedon' isn't so much an album but a journey of apocalyptic and fragile moments and Ted Leonard's soulful voice is like a layer of silk over the bands altering textured sound. As far as Progressive albums go this is probably one of the best I've heard this year so far and I only hope the Mayans are wrong and we get to hear more music from this lot in 2013!

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Harmagedon by Affector (Audio CD - 2012)
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