Power of Metal.dk Review

Active Heed
Higher Dimensions
Style: "Progressive" Rock
Release date: 25 June, 2014
Playing time: 65:16

I'm going to preface this review by stating one thing: out of all the albums I've heard in 2014 thus far, this is by far the absolute wurst. I mean, it's real junk food. I can't help it, really. Last year, Active Heed (Umberto Pagnini, otherwise known as that dude that spams the heck out of every Facebook group that he can) released their/his debut album, "Visions from Realities". It was met with questionable praise, and, honestly, wasn't even progressive at all. Well, give me a lollie and smack me silly, but this sophomore album "Higher Dimensions" is exactly the opposite of its name. It's abysmal. Even excretory at points. Totally laughable.

That sounds harsh, right? You'd be right. "Higher Dimensions" is like the leftovers in the refrigerator that you forgot were there, and now there's something disturbingly ripe and hairy about them. Utter squash, in other words. Avoid it completely. The band (actually just a studio band that plays the music that Umberto writes) attempts to mix the classic prog bands, such as Genesis or Yes, with the smoother sounds of Arena or Pendragon. Just mentioning those amazing bands in this review, in all honestly, is utter bologna. Even though a band names influences, it doesn't mean that the band will try to make the sound their own somehow. Active Heed, however, tries to copy the sounds of the past, but fails miserably and excruciatingly. It's like comparing spam to steak, or shrimp to lobster. It's like a bad cover band, and the beer at the show tastes like piss. In other words, you got nothing out of the experience.

So, you're asking, what's actually going wrong here? Well, you see, Active Heed seems to think that there's a recipe for progressive rock. Add a bit of keys, a dash of guitar solo, and make sure you don't forget to throw in some time signature changes, or else no one will call you prog (that's the mistake he made on the first album). So, they tried to follow the recipe, but ended up with garbage clippings instead of filet mignon. Time signature changes are literally thrown in, seemingly randomly, for the complete heck of it. The bass player is playing the notes, but there isn't a single instance of groove or rhythm anywhere. The guitarist plays some solos here and there, but there isn't an ounce of soul or emotion in any of them. The vocalist is singing, but, in all honesty, is bound by the worst vocal melodies I've ever heard and also some of the dumbest lyrics, too. I couldn't get over how horrendous the vocal melodies are, as the vocalist seems to be singing just to be singing. It's a completely phoned-in performance by the band, and I can understand, as the writing is 100% cheese and by-the-prog-book.

Each song manages to be "blah" in its own way. Honestly, you'll find yourself wishing for the end of each one, too. Every time I heard the sound of synth, my heart rose, but I ended up being disappointed, like a stale dessert bar at a two-bit wedding reception. You get your hopes up for some smooth chocolate, some moist cake, or maybe even some old- fashioned pie. What you get, though, is definitely old, but also moldy, putrid, and gives you a headache. The final track is the high point of the album. "Not Left and Not Taken" has a decent keyboard solo at the end, and even some aura, too. It doesn't make up for the rest of the song or album, though. A few good spots in moldy bread do not warrant keeping the whole thing. Throw the entire loaf in the dump.

I don't like to be mean. I really don't. Yet, Active Heed has made a name for themselves by spamming the Internet. Ironically, their music is like spam, and not even the crispy fried kind. I almost wonder how many of their fans have actually heard their music. I've lost count of how many times I've gotten a message asking me to like their page. In reality, this album is way worse than the first, as at least that one sounded like a genuine effort. This album only gets worse with each listen, and the stale, rotten vocal lines make listening to it a real chore. The band plays well, but the notes are uninspired and seemingly forced together to try to achieve "prog". What this band is missing, however, is that prog is not the sum of a list of parts, but rather an attitude and an ambition that are clearly missing from this album. In the end, this album is completely bland, vanilla, and worthy of the trash heap.

01. The War of Tempos (4:00)
02. Far Escape (6:02)
03. A Little Bit Expired (4:30)
04. Gaps in Time (3:50)
05. Multiple Replies (6:34)
06. The Numbers of God (5:34)
07. Crop Squares (4:06)
08. A Pet Called Prime (4:22)
09. No Speed Limit (6:50)
10. Kick-Ass Grammar (4:12)
11. Ternary Level One (5:26)
12. Not Left and Not Taken (9:50)
Label: Independent
Get the disc: Active Heed @ CDbaby
Artwork rating: 70/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 8 August, 2014
Website: www.activeheed.com