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Max Pie – Passengers

Max Pie
by Oli Gonzales at 07 March 2022, 1:12 AM

With roots in classic metal, MAX PIE has evolved into a progressive power metal powerhouse. The Belgian metallers have extensive touring experience across Europe, and have slowly carved a loyal following. After inevitable line up changes over the years, the band have now arrived at a point of stability and can now offer what promises to be their most ambitious release to date! Honestly, after listening to this album, I wish that my creative writing could only match the creativity on display from MAX PIE. It’s like they’ve tore up the rule book and abandoned any traditional song writing conventions. But more power to them, because what they’ve produced for “Passengers” is a work of art!

I do get concerned when I listen to some progressive metal. Concerned because I feel that some musicians sacrifice feel and emotion in favour of needlessly showing off their technical abilities. However, songs like “Passengers” are dripping with pure human emotion! Whether it’s the soaring guitar leads, the piano keys, or the rather interesting use of the harp in the middle of the song, it feels like every single note and passage has a very careful and deliberate purpose. The same can be said for the majority of the songs on the album too. Front man Tony clearly is a talented vocalist with a soaring powerful voice. He has range and can hit some ridiculously high notes. That being said, I did wonder if he was a little one dimensional. I was wrong. Especially after “Drawing In The Future” where he demonstrates a lower more bass heavy tone to his voice. Almost have spoken, half sung.

The use of synths, keys and other aesthetically pleasing melodies form the back bone of this album. However, there are occasions when all instruments can lock in to create a heavy textured wall of sound. Like the opening for “Love For Sale”!  The band cite the mighty DREAM THEATRE as a key influence. This influence is most evident in “Ariadne's Thread”. This is 6 minutes of progressive metal bliss. The bass and drums combine and hold the fort in providing the platform for the rest of the instruments to build on. At times, the keys and guitar seem to have a mind of their own. Yet within this chaos and dysfunction there seems to be purpose and it creates a rollercoaster of a listening experience, never knowing quite where you’ll end up. That’s prog for you!

Production wise, everything sounds sharp clear and full. That being said, I do wonder if the drums could be higher in the mix, and I do think the synths and guitar are a little overpowering at times. In addition, an album of 1 hour in length is a big commitment for the listener. It makes me wonder if they could have capped it at 45 minutes and kept us waiting for more on future releases. That being said, it’s commendable that the band wish to showcase their ideas and everything they can offer, with no holding back. Overall, if you’re a fan of progressive music or if you think metal is boring, listen to MAX PIE and you’ll soon be proven wrong!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Ignition
2. A Thousand and One Lives
3. Lucy
4. Only the Silence Remains
5. Grains of Sand
6. Breath of the World
7. Ariadne's Thread
8. Last Goodbye
9. Drawing the Future
10. Love for Sale
11. Passengers
Tony Carlino - Lead vocals
Thibaut Basely - Guitars, Keys, Backing vocals
Lucas Boudina - Bass, Backing vocals
Sylvain Godenne - Drums, Backing vocals
Record Label: Rock City Music Label


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Edited 04 June 2023

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