Starting off at an interesting pace, “Echoes” by Gracepoint is full of the twists and turns that you’d expect out of a modern-day progressive metal band. Tight and precise, the group journeys through 10 tracks of solid, if not unspectacular prog.
Although the down-tuned guitar and overall musicianship got me interested at first, as the album progresses I see some cracks in the foundation. While the first-half of the album is unrelenting and forceful (save for the short and clean “Secrets” with it’s laid-back guitar-driven subtlety), I find myself losing interest as the tracks progress further. The vocals are quite a turn-off for me as they’re very reminiscent of nu-metal (think Godsmack). He tried his best, and it’s not for lack of effort on his part, but they just don’t fit with this group.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally on board with the talent of this group in general. Their musical flair oozes out of the speakers. This is definitely pure, hard-edged prog that’s rough and straight ahead, and not a prog-metal band with noticeable 70’s influences (which seems to be a pre-requisite in various degrees with various bands in today’s climate). The guitars are the big highlight for me as the style reminds me a lot of Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), and that’s a high compliment. Furious syncopation is the order of the day with the song structures, which are noticeable and appreciated, but then the band go from that to sounding plodding and depressing. It can throw the listener off as the flow is not continual. This proves to me that you can have all the talent in the world in a band, but the feel and drive of all members needs to gel into a cohesive sound.
If the band could’ve built on the opening tracks and kept the momentum going, I would have jumped at the chance to be more interested in this album as a musical journey rather than a task of frustration.
04. Full Circle
08. July 4
Playing time: 51.01
Release Date: 8 April, 2016