Nation Beyond - The aftermath odyssey 3.5/5

Reviewed: 2-8-08





Tracklist:

1. The end
2. A rainy day in hell
3. In the ashes
4. The wanderer
5. New eden city
6. The council
7. Soulmates
8. The last deceiver
9. Confessions
10. War of the wasteland
11. Aftermath
12. Point Zero
13. Soulmates (radio edit)


Nation Beyond is a new band from Sweden and their full-length debut 'The aftermath odyssey' is a concept album, a story about the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. Much like the concept, the CD is dark, moody and dramatic, mostly embedded in the progressive power metal mold, with strong orchestral elements and some choirs. For comparisons, Evergrey is the first band that comes to mind, but there are a few moments where I think of Kamelot and maybe even Vanishing Point. There's also some Angel Dust-like heaviness though, so overall, the CD varies from soothing to intense.

Vocalist Nielz (with no last name given) does a fine job on the CD, with his good clear voice, but I don't think he's quite as powerful and expressive as Tom Englund from Evergrey, Silvio Massaro from Vanishing Point or Roy Khan from Kamelot/Conception. He's a solid vocalist, don't get me wrong, it's just that I've gotten used to the ultra-high quality performances from Tom, Silvio and Roy. Luckily (at least for me personally), there are female vocals as well, provided by Sara (also with no last name given), though she's only present on a few songs, namely track 9 "Confessions" and track 7 "Soulmates", where Neilz and Sara provide a wonderful performance, duet style.

The CD starts out with a short intro "The end", which is quite heavy and contains inserts from speeches regarding 9/11, portraying the seriousness and depth of what's to come. This is followed by a 2nd intro "A rainy day in hell", but this one is slow and very different from the opener. So the first real song is track 3 "In the ashes", which starts out in crunchy fashion then later slows down. Track 4 "The wanderer" is fast at first, then smooths out later on, and these frequent changes in tempo are typical of the entire CD. Really, not one song maintains a consistent rhythm/tempo, and emotions seem to change with the tempo. This keeps the listener on his toes, but to be honest, the CD is too slow overall, drags on a bit during some of the lower quality songs, and there are very few faster parts, which is too bad, as I'm used to hearing a good amount of speed from Evergrey, Vanishing Point and Kamelot.

Still, despite the few slightly-negative things I've said, 'The aftermath odyssey' has many great moments and should appeal to fans of dark/symphonic progressive power metal. Unfortunately, because of the lack of a fair amount of speed, those who are only into the power metal side of this sub-genre will probably be a little disappointed here. In addition, this CD isn't quite as memorable or melodic as most of the CDs from the aforementioned bands. I won't hesitate to call this a strong debut however, and that's just it, this is only their debut. So check them out today, and watch out for them in the future.



CLINT




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