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The Vicious Head Society - Abject Tomorrow Award winner

The Vicious Head Society
Abject Tomorrow
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 29 May 2017, 6:21 AM

THE VICIOUS HEAD SOCIETY’SAbject Tomorrow” album is immediately impressive.  From the opening keys of the first track to the last notes, the album is a thousand wet dreams of a thousand progressive metal fans. It has been one hell of a year for prog metal and this album continues the trend, one that I hope never stops.  The guitars have a very tight tone to them, just the right balance of searing metal and thinking man’s prog, reminding me of early DREAM THEATER although they have a bit more edge.  Other than a few guest musicians, Graham Keane plays everything but drums on this album, and does the vocals.  The drums are handled by the well-known musician Kevin Talley and  Klemen Markelj. I’m not sure who plays what drum parts on which songs but both do an impressive job as this is some of the best drumming I’ve heard in some time.  Vocally speaking, Keane’s voice is smooth, well-pitched, concise, and it soars around the songs.  I’ve always heard that a good vocalist could be considered another instrument and Keane drives this idea home. I couldn’t possibly talk about each track of this amazing release without it being a 52-page thesis so I’m going to talk about a few tracks but keep in mind the whole album is just out of this world.

The opening track, “The Sycophants” runs through a gauntlet of sounds in its almost mine minutes and every second is enjoyable.  As previously stated, the song begins with keys and an ominous tone which builds with a spacey but energetic frenzy as the heavy guitars come in with their odd time signatures and prog goodness.  A lot of prog metal bands have a trouble being both metal and prog at the same time but much like another prgo band I reviewed (NEED), THE VICIOUS HEAD SOCIETY makes your head bang while keeping you guessing.

Keane’s expressive vocals propel the song with some very nice bass keeping the rhythm going.  The vocals end for a bit and a guitar solo appears out of nowhere but yet it still finds a place to live within the very wide boundaries of the song.  Around the four-minute mark, a very well done melodic bass props the song up with clean guitar and vocals complimenting the melody around it.  The song goes into some more DREAM THEATER territory with a great mixture of riffs and keys dueling it out.  Then like on a dime, at 7:08 the song turns into a heavy as fucking metal show, the crunchy riffs switching from metal to prog while the keyboards go insane with crazy showmanship. One hell of an opening track.

The fourth track, the ten-minute epic “Agenda…” echoes EVERGREY in the beginning, with the short, intricate bursts of heavy metal guitar.  Unlike the opener, this one focuses more on being heavy pretty much the entire time although Keane’s vocals keep things melodic.  Throughout the song we are even treated to some heavy vocals, bordering on death metal but not as brutal.  It slows down at the 6:41 mark to let a melodic guitar solo shine through the still heavy backdrop of the other guitar.  At the 8:19 mark, the song gets insanely heavy and fast paced. Spastic riffs and drumming speed through while the lead guitar plays a unique guitar solo just before the keyboards go for the throat with their own short but super sweet solo.  The song trails off with clean guitar, melodic bass, and what sounds like violins but it might be keys doing a damn good impression.

The last track I will talk about is the 18-minute long “Analogue…”  and needless to say, it is quite the opus.  Rain, thunder, and somber keys open up the track laying down a desolate tone with some spoken word thrown in.  It builds until around 3:00 mark and melodic bridge leads us into the vocals that are, as always, just perfect.  The next few verses alternate with clean and heavy guitar, a roller coaster of a ride.  The song gets heavy, almost thrashy, until almost 10 minutes in and lush, sonic soundscapes from the keys and drums push the music into a dream like world where there is only thumping bass to keep us grounded.  As the music pushes into the light, the darkness comes back with some heavy guitars and even some playful sounding keys.  Towards the end, an absolutely blistering guitar solo shreds through the ear canals, taking no prisoners.

Any fan of progressive metal, even the most die hard, will find something to impress them on wonderful ride that makes up these 8 songs.  In a year of already standout prog metal releases, this one threatens to take the top spot.  It is a must have.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Sychophants
2. Abject Tomorrow
3. Downfall (Voice in the Sky)
4. Agenda I: Cryptograms/II. A Digital Sel F
5. The 11th Hour
6. Psychedlic Torture Trip
7. Gods of the New Age
8.Analogue Spectre: I. Reflection / II. Thought Data Stream / III. The Passing / IV. Amaranthine / V. Ghost in the Machine / VI. Love
Lineup:
Graham Keane – Music, Vocals, Guitars, Bass and Keyboards
Kevin Talley (guest) – Drums
Klemen Markelj (guest) – Drums
Pat Byrne (guest) – Bass
Derek Sherinian (guest) – Keys
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 26 May 2019
 

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