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Next To None - A Light In The Dark Award winner

Next To None
A Light In The Dark
by YNGWIEVIKING at 21 July 2015, 7:35 AM

Today dear friends here is a short review about “A Light in the Dark”, this shining silver disc contains the debut album by NEXT TO NONE, a young Prog Metal band hailing from the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania, a team of gifted whizz kids featuring Max Portnoy on drums (yep you read well, a Portnoy on Drums… And yes, he’s the son of legendary Mike Portnoy from DREAM THEATER, A7X, WINERY DOGS, METAL ALLEGIANCE fame… ”What's bred in the bone will come out in the flesh”or "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"…etc.

The band NEXT TO NONE displays a complex interaction and many virtuosic instrumental sections, intense and dramatic atmospheres with some more extreme parameters notably in the vocal style and singing approach using the clean vs. grunt trick but in small quantities… Good news!

NEXT TO NONE started as a bunch of juvenile teenagers Ryland Holland on guitar, Kris Rank on bass, and Thomas Cuce on keyboards/lead vocals and the aforementioned drummer Max Portnoy at the helm… Now, the band has evolved and if the music is still prog-oriented, the growling vocals and the heaviest down-tuned riffing method is in coherence with the contemporary and exemplary of the third generation of Progressive Metal sound…

Throughout the recent years, the playing level capacities and the song-writing skills have improved, matured at a very fast rate, and were developed in a tremendous way. Leading to this collection of newest songs, which took shape as their full-length Mike Portnoy produced debut, under the title of "A Light in the Dark". The album was released on July 10th 2015 through InsideOut Music, featuring guest appearances by Ron Thal aka Bumblefoot (ART OF ANARCHY, GNR) and Neal Morse (exSPOCKS BEARD, /FLYING COLORS). They rightly deserved to have signed this contract!

Right in the first track everything is crystal clear, the "The Edge of Sanity" intro exactly fits the famous 90’s Prog formula, similar to “Awake” before branching to something more extreme with the addition of the occasional Metalcore growls of Thomas Cuce. His melodic vocal style is somewhere between fragile, unsure and clever (“Legacy”). However, unsurprisingly the ballad "A Lonely Walk" and the next track "Control" are in total connection with the DREAM THEATER D.N.A. legacy.

The closing number "Blood on My Hands" has also a strong 2000’s feel resumed activity with much ambition, this heaviness mode similar with the "Train Of Thoughts" era, based on a very busy syncopated percussion schema mixed with a dynamic duo, a whirlwind couple, made of keyboard & guitar, certainly a well-known gimmick, but appealing to each and every Prog-metal enthusiast.

With the long instrumental intro of “Lost” they struggling successfully in reaching the pole of technical inaccessibility, borrowing a few notes at Edvard Grieg and his famous "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" theme, a melody already evoked by SAVATAGE, METALLICA & RAINBOW. ”Social Anxiety” is the only insttance of a filler song…

But happily the remaining elements on the playing-list are still at the same highest echelon of excellence, obviously in the same prominence than the early cuts, still ultra predictable and unoriginal but tightly played and extremely well performed and finally enjoyable. That's the essential meaning, isn't it?

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Edge Of Sanity
2. You Are Not Me
3. Runaway
4. A Lonely Walk
5. Control
6. Lost
7. Social Anxiety
8. Legacy
9. Blood On My Hands
Lineup:
Ryland Holland - Guitar
Kris Rank – Bass
Thomas Cuce – Vocals, Keyboards
Max Portnoy – Drums
Record Label: InsideOut Music
     


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