Virtual Symmetry have finally came to gestation, after starting out as a singular project in 2009. This, their first album, is a collection of songs that were written in and about that time. There's no Wiki page just yet, but according to the band's official website (click here), the band started off with a multi-instrumentalist called Valerio Aessi Villa. He does the guitars on this as the rest of the slots are taken up by Mark Bravi (keyboards), Alessandro Poppale (bass) and Davide Perpignano (drums). A couple of the songs contains keyboard solos by Jordan Rudess, the keyboardist of top Prog Rock band Dream Theater. I'll be honest, this has put me on high alert as I'm not the biggest fan of prog, although I do enjoy "2112" by Rush.
The band site also describes the band as Progressive Rock, with their sound containing elements of ambient, fusion, pop and contemporary. There is also particular attention paid to creating a mix between technique and melody whilst creating an atmosphere akin to something cinematic. I've no idea what this is like as I've yet to hear this band, so let's get started...
1) Darkened Space - A synth passage which sounds like the sound effects from an 80's sci-fi TV show. Reminds me of Vangelis, slightly. Not too bad.
2) Program Error We Are The Virus - Quite keyboard heavy, reminding me of the 80's again. Nice intro though, more keyboard effects before a very well produced guitar, bass and drums kicks in. The song takes an interesting turn as after a mood-setting passage which sounds like a ballad is going to start, it soon speeds up into something approximating metal. It's rather good, like Iron Maiden meets Heart during their power ballad phase. The song is just over ten minutes long, and the last few minutes of that are an excellent guitar solo. We're off to a good start.
3) Soul's Reflections - Pretty much the same kind of intro as the last one, not too bad. A bit shorter than the last one, this one has another 80's vibe to it, quite AOR in places. You'd expect the music video to have something like billowing curtains and dresses, like Bonnie Tyler or something. The song is not too bad. Hey, at least it's not Whitesnake!
4) Pegasus - Keyboard and bass intro lead into something sounds almost like Power Metal. Seems so far this album has been combining that with the more AOR side of music. The official website wasn't kidding when it said these guys dip their toes everywhere. This song has some fine guitar-work on here, and not just the solos either. Very good.
5) You'll Never Fail Again - Heavy piano intro which sounds like a left-over from the Tarja album (Her that used to be in Nightwish). Mind, we're back into AOR territory so it fits rather well, I think. This sounds like it could be in a montage for an 80's movie. Possibly one of those family comedies where the montage shows the people in the movie having fun or something (kind of like the one in Three Men And A Baby after the drug dealers get arrested, but I digress). Thumping rhythm guitar sounds slightly out of place but is ok. Nice solo towards the end.
6) Silent Sweetness - Has anyone checked with Tarja Nightwish to see if she's missing any melancholic piano instrumentals? As we've got one right here. No doubt there is a lot of heart and soul in this but throw it to the fucking sharks for all I care. Mind, if they'd done a Spinal Tap and named it 'Lick My Love-Pump' then that would have been cool! The outro of one-key-every-ten-seconds is a pisstake as well.
7) Message From Eternity - And to absolutely no-one's surprise, we've got piano/keyboard intro with a whiney synthesiser that reminds me of the riff from War Of The Worlds when the journalist returns to London and sees the martians are all dead. It's not too bad, really. Definitely a lot of talent has gone into this song. As we've now gone onto a bit with acoustic guitars and some more keyboard stuff. The electric guitars come back into it as things progress. This song also has a decent instrumental section towards the end. It's all very good but at twenty-three minuts long, feels a bit much. The best bits of this song could have been edited into two, maybe three shorter songs. But like their promo said, the band were looking into cinematic soundscapes here. And they certainly succeeded.
Well, there we go! That wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The only gripe I had was that the two long songs could have been edited into shorter songs. Less is more and all that. Still, what was there was certainly well crafted and put together, the band are certainly a very talented band and are sure to have a lot of success in the future. We wish them well.
7/10 - This is good and well worth a check,
Top Track: Program Error We Are The Virus.
This album is available on iTunes.
Facebook Page For The Band