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Pleasant Shade of Gray

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(58 Reviews)

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  • I’m not reviewing this as a Fates Warning fan because this is my first real exposure to this band, so I’m not sure how it compares to their other work. Someone mentioned this album in a conversation, describing it as a single 55 minute song. Naturally, with my intrinsic ardor for long songs, I ordered this album. To say I was impressed would be a gross understatement.I must admit this album took some time to hook me. It’s not very accessible, being slow and heavy, with a despondent mood. On about the third listen, I was beginning to pick up on the musical ingenuity and the unity of the album. By the fifth listen, I was fully entranced by the dark tone, the melancholy lyrics, and the superb atmosphere created by the musicians. Some listeners might be deterred by its inaccessibility. Cynical — and unlucky — listeners will dismiss the album as a slow, boring plod through hackneyed conventions of progressive metal.But those who give it a chance will be satisfied. The album plays out like a mysterious dreamscape and a constant stream of thoughts, with intermittent themes and recurring lyrical ideas. It pushes the listener into a hazy state of mind and takes to you on a 55 minute journey that runs through the gamut of emotions, thanks to the emotive vocalist Ray Alder and the atmospheric keyboards of Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater). The guitars also make quite an impression; gone are conventional solos and long-winded instrumental sections that are staple elements in progmetal, replaced by mellifluous and concise passages that supplement the feelings in the music. The result is a trance-inducing musical excursion that makes you think *and* feel. An excellent album, one of the few that taps the true spirit of music.

    Posted on November 18, 2009