Thoughts Factory - Lost (2014) - The best parts of progressive rock and metal - 80% (26/05/14)
Thoughts Factory is a German progressive metal band composed of members of quite different ages who share a passion for the same genre. Their first record “Lost” is clearly influenced by bands such as Dream Theater, Magellan, Pendragon, Symphony X and Transatlantic. The band coherently mixes atmospheric and sometimes laid back progressive rock parts with melodic progressive metal passages and a few darker moments that remind me of Opeth.
The band’s first album displays its great musicianship in five short and three long tracks. My favourite song is probably the longest song called “Death Of A Dream” as this track never gets boring. It starts with warm melodies and elegant orchestrations before it slowly gets a more modern touch with simple and hard riffs and a few keyboard sounds here and there. The pace of the track varies from slower and heavier parts to a few faster instrumental parts. The vocals also vary from aggressive, fast and short parts with cold sound effects over more pronounced and natural clean vocals to a few rare but extremely efficiently used death metal growls. The structure of this song though always remains quite coherent despite the length and the great sense for details. I know the year is still rather young but this song is a solid candidate for the best progressive metal song of the year. This is what I would have liked the last Dream Theater record to sound like.
The rest of the album can’t catch up with the amazing closer but still has a few great moments. A little problem is that the band chose its two calmest tracks as opening duo. These two songs really open up after a while and have a chilling atmosphere but they are definitely too tame to kick the record off. The short piano ballad interlude as “Light” works much better to give you a break from the longer and more sophisticated songs in the middle of the record but this time I wished this song was longer because it sounds beautiful and inspired in only two minutes. Those who care about progressive metal and not that much about progressive rock must wait until the third track to get rewarded for their patience. “Desperation” features sharp riffs and noisy keyboard sounds that create an interesting counterpart to the smooth main and backing vocals.
The best songs come in the second part of the record. The joyous rock opera “Voices From Heaven” features warm keyboard melodies, a strongly pumping bass guitar and synthesizer work inspired by bands such as Genesis and Yes. The song is not very metallic either but an amazing progressive rock pearl. The following “No Way Out” is much faster and heavier and could come straight from almost any Dream Theater release. The song doesn’t reinvent the genre but its almost power metal influenced chorus along with the technically stunning instrumental parts spread a very epic and positive atmosphere. Along with the album closer, this is my favourite song on the record. “The Mire” starts with a quite long instrumental before the record’s best chorus makes this song stand out after three minutes. Melodic and passionate vocals meet an epic instrumental work. Instead of elaborating on that amazing chorus, the band simply repeated it and ended the song that way. If this track had been a few minutes longer, I’m sure it would have been one of my favourite pieces on here as well.
In the end, Thoughts Factory delivers a convincing first strike. “Lost” sounds diversified, passionate and technically appealing. The band even delivers a true international genre highlight with the closing “Death Of A Dream” as well as a couple of other solid songs like “No Way Out”. The band doesn’t reinvent the genre and has done a few mistakes that are typical for beginners such as putting the calmest song right at the start of the record and making the longer tracks a little bit overlong sometimes while the promising shorter ones finish too quickly. Despite these little flaws, “Lost” is a great album and fans of progressive rock and metal music should support this young band by buying its record and spreading its name.
Originally written for The Metal Observer« Axel Rudi Pell - Into The Storm (2014) - The simplest ingredients make the best dishes - 83% (26/05/14)My Imperium - Amongst The Ruins (2014) - France is the new cradle for melodic death metal - 65% (26/05/14) »
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