Andromeda - II=I review
|Release date:||March 2003|
03. Reaching Deep Within
04. Two Is One
05. Morphing Into Nothing
08. One In My Head
09. This Fragile Surface
Swedish progressive band Andromeda [named after a constellation in the northern hemisphere] made quite an underground impact with their 2001 debut Extension Of The Wish. Vocalist Lawrence Mackrory [ex-Darkane] proved to be an excellent counterpoint for guitarist Johan Reinholdz's [who is also a member of NonExist] complex riffs. The remainder of the band included keyboardist Martin Hedin, bassist Gert Daun and drummer Thomas Lejon. After a lengthy lay off, Andromeda finally get around to releasing their sophomore effort, II = I. The lengthy absence can be directly attributed to finding a suitable vocalist. However, perseverance paid off when David Fremberg entered the scene [after being recommended by Hedin]. Daun also relieved himself of bass duties, which left Reinholdz to fill in on the new album [Jakob Tanentsapf has since joined as a full time member].
As you would expect, Andromeda's music is full of complex time changes and riffs, but unlike their debut, Fremberg's vocals add a melodic quality that softens the blow the overtly sophisticated music can project sometimes.
The cascading flurry of heavy riffs introduces the opening number ?Encyclopedia?, but soon disperses as Fremberg enters. The big chorus still breaks through, and while it's not evident the first listen, it does grab you eventually. The slow, heavy moving ?Mirages?, ?One In My Head? and ?Parasite? manages to change tempo from time to time, before returning to a beefed up chant through the heavy choruses. ?Reaching Deep Within? allows Fremberg to use the full extent of his wide ranging vocal vocabulary, while the ballad of the album, ?Two Is One? is no less stunning when halfway through it turns into a full on progressive workout. The instrumental ?Morphing Into Nothing? every bit as intricate as Dream Theater, while ?Castaway? is a sweeping melodramatic ballad of sorts, showcasing Hedin's abilities on the keys. The closing number ?This Fragile Surface? reals seal the album in perfect conclusion. No one members of the band stands out here, instead, everyone seems to really pull out the stop and hammer the point home.
II = I is certainly a heavier album than their debut, but it doesn's lose any points for that whatsoever. The fact that Andromeda found a masterful vocalist in Fremberg, and delivered a classic second album is enough reason for anyone to check this out.
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