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Figure Of Speechless - Tunnel At The End Of The Light

Figure Of Speechless
Tunnel At The End Of The Light
by Andrew Harvey at 09 October 2022, 4:10 AM

All the way from the land down under in the city of Melbourne, Australia, we have a quintet by the name of FIGURE OF SPEECHLESS they are fairly new to the music scene in terms of being a band as they are led by the main man, GLEN MCMASTER who's the guitarist and songwriter in the band he began as a musician at the tender age of 15 and at the age of 20 which by then he played in several bands, he mainly then took his focus on the classical guitar with Spanish influences in particular and fingerstyle guitar before he also studied Jazz music too. Unfortunately a few years ago, he was forced to stop playing after sustaining a nerve injury which may have impeded his music career possibly ending it and thankfully it didn’t.

The group involved in this, which is their debut album, named TUNNEL AT THE END OF THE LIGHT, is led by vocalist RAY ALDER(FATES WARNING, ENGINE, REDEMPTION) followed by guitarist GLEN MCMASTER who's the key member in the songwriting. On guest appearance also on guitar is RON ‘BUMBLEFOOT’ THAL(GUNS ‘N’ ROSES, SONS OF APOLLO plus more) as is bassist TONY FRANKLIN(WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER AND JIMMY PAGE plus more), keyboardist/producer DEREK SHERINIAN(DREAM THEATRE, ALICE COOPER and BILLY IDOL) and drummer BRIAN TICHY(WHITESNAKE, OZZY OSBOURNE, VELVET REVOLVER and more). Their debut album can be perceived as an ‘upcoming record brimming with a wide array of influences such as early progressive, rock and metal genres infused with classical and jazz sensibilities to create the album’s signature classic-alternative rock concoction. This debut album starts with “Day + Night” as progressive is in control with exciting guitar riffs. Vocals reach higher notation as it gains a glam/classic rock tone as it guides the other instruments.

Even the drums running around but partnered with guitar and bass to give the listener a taste of this album. An experimental phase comes briefly with vocal harmonies as drums do drill through on point as they are very clear. “Carve A Smile” opens with a vocal and piano duet with drums slipping into the fore as the other instruments join in. A full band unison is in full motion as vocal and drums take command of this track with another keyboard phase of play. Guitar merely takes the lead before vocals rejoin as we head into the next track which is “Escape Hatch” being the fourth track as synth pop-rock is heard but mixed up with progressive. Electric guitar is in there but probably not as dominant until it bursts into life later on in the track.

Similar themes are shared in this track as we can certainly hear hints of DREAM THEATRE based arrangements infused into this band’s approach and style. Onto track five which is “Midnight Desert Rendezvous” as an ominous soundscape effect intro brings the band in for steady prog rock fury. Drums have the narrative as guitar and vocals share the melody even a percussive section appears halfway through. Aside from that there is little difference in this track, going in track six which is “Tunnel At The End Of The Light”. A synth effect plays as the backdrop with the full band in motion as vocals take breaks within the track. This allows the other elements to stand out as the prog metal and classic rock tones ascend. Vocals do take their opportunity to reach high end notes and the guitar has more of a say in this track as there are more progressive elements, drums and bass guitar set the tone or mood of the track.

Fast running fills and spills on drums accompanies vocals that are nicely placed in the foreground of the audio spectrum and guitar can play along with catchy riffs but also engaging in vibrato or tremolo effects. This is very much the story so far as vocals come back in with projection as all instruments are bonded together, as none of them go too far out of their comfort zone.”Cast-Out” with snappy drum patterns and the backing sound effects take this track into guitar parts that are very well played. Vocals seem to have more of a contribution and knock on again with guitar, as the synth effects return and then into the next track which is “Draw The Line”. A noisy but bouncy sound effect is like a ball going up and down along with simple enough drum beats, there is more of a concept or spooky feel to this track.

There is certainly an aspect of synthetic gestures and maybe sci-fi influenced themes perhaps in the music like an adventure into the unknown or a planet that doesn’t exist. Guitar also has time to play some solo pitch shifts and each instrument follows along beautifully. Drums play rolling fills on the lower pitched toms and the mid range vocals blend well with this form of musical experimentation. “Inside Room 6” is the next chapter in this album story led by guitar with that rock ‘n’ roll approach with quiet drums in the background. Vocals in the fore as before and electric guitar does seem to pull back to allow the other instruments to speak up and even lyrical content which sound like there is a message being delivered or a story plot being told by a narrator. Vocals even ask questions maybe in their own way and maybe questioning the existence of humankind or a form of species, who knows but I do like the sound of this.

“Turn A New Leaf” as a 5 minute track starts with subtle guitar riffs then they come into play for real as drums play a simple enough cymbal rhythm to kick off the vocals into life once more. Vocals are very well sung and they are very much the centre of attention throughout the track and drums flow like a well balanced element that is being twisted to give the track contrast. “DysUtopia” is very much like the space oddity of the album with the synthetic movements of sound effects, as drums and keys play together a nice passage of instrumental based arrangement. Vocals come in then drums change ever so slightly to compliment the track with variation and settled sections of straight forward expressions. Guitar solos extremely well further on in the track and drums just support no matter what as we approach the last track.

“Unfolding” has more of the classic rock guitar playing and drums take a more careful approach and themes from before are reappearing now. Vocals now giving guitar another chance shine through and blossom as required and drums personifies this track with all its envious glory and majesty. Keys play out the last section in this track and the album comes to a close too as we look back with thought provoking gestures from all instruments. This album is very much a journey for the listener and it is well worth it, maybe a bit longer than expected, but the combination of sound effects with traditional band elements in the progressive style is not dead at all. Fans of DREAM THEATRE, TOOL and others can rest easy, because FIGURE OF SPEECHLESS are here to entertain the masses.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Day + Night
2. Carve A Smile
3. Escape The Hatch
4. Midnight Desert Rendezvous
5. Tunnel At The End Of The Light
6. The Cast-Out
7. Draw The Line
8. Inside Room 6
9. Turn A New Leaf
10. DysUtopia
11. Unfolding
Ray Alder - Vocals
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal - Guest Guitarist
Tony Franklin - Bass Guitar
Derek Sherinian - Keys/Producer
Brian Tichy - Drums
Record Label: SAOL Records


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