As a fan of Dream Theater, I fell into the pit of Dream Theater clones back in the 90s like most fans of the band did. Some were better than others. There aren’t many of those bands left, with Vanden Plas springing to mine. I used to enjoy them but eventually I expected them to evolve away from their DT clone sound. They didn’t. What does all of this have to do with Soul Secret? They are a bit like Vanden Plas to me. Or maybe they sound like Vanden Plas sounding like Dream Theater?
The album “4” has top notch playing, good vocals and solid arrangements. The problem is that it’s all a bit familiar. Nothing really separates them from the crowd like, for example, Haken. It’s up to a band to have a sound that stands out. While Soul Secret can play progressive metal, it’s not really anything that hasn’t already been done. If you are a fan of any of those bands, “4” might be for you though.
The album starts well with “On the Ledge” and “Our Horizon,” but before long there’s a sameness to the songs and nothing remarkable. The epic closing track of nearly 17 minutes does everything a Dream Theater epic might do, but since these guys just aren’t in the same league, it doesn’t work for me. The end of the track, with overly dramatic dialogue, is a major turn off.
There is a huge layer of cheese that coats whatever meat is buried under it.
If you prefer bands that stick to the same blueprint that was developed in 90s prog metal, “4” is an album you will probably enjoy. If you prefer progressive metal to actually be “progressive,” you might want to look elsewhere.
Soul Secret are re-using an old blueprint and are capable of staying within the
lines, but prog needs to be more challenging than playing it safe.