Arch/Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance review



Reviewer:
7.0

78 users:
8.41
Band: Arch/Matheos
Album: Sympathetic Resonance
Release date: September 2011


01. Neurotically Wired
02. Midnight Serenade
03. Stained Glass Sky
04. On The Fence
05. Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me)
06. Incense And Myrrh


Another tough one. When you have seasoned veterans such as these two fellas from Fates Warning fame (not to mention a crack team of session musicians), you come to expect some kind of solid direction. Although this album does deliver it's fair share of brain melting riffs, it's something that also has a large tendency to fall into pointless, jumbled meandering - a problem more associated with younger prog acts who have not fully grasped the concept of a little tasteful subtlety.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that "progressive" is not a word that entices me...at all. Despite this fact, it seems this album embodies both the highs and despicable lows that word sometimes entails. First of all, it is an album that shows incredible depth, but this depth frequently becomes just a display of overindulgent musicianship. That is basically how this album rolls from the 3rd song in; incredibly thoughtful riff-work put together in immense amounts of detail, followed by things getting a little out of hand, creating was is essentially a sonic mess.

The enjoyability of this album really depends on your degree of prog-appreciation. For us drunk-orangutans out there who prefer their metal a little more visceral, Sympathetic Resonance (despite the moving riffs scattered throughout) exemplifies a lot of what is somewhat repulsive about progressive music, in layman's terms - it gets a bit wanky. On the other hand, one mans yard is another mans dump as they say - a lot of this "wankery" seems to be hailed as musical genius by many, so this album will probably be of great appeal to fans of this specific corner of metal, even more so for fans of Fates Warning.


 



Written on 23.09.2011 by Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.


Comments

Comments: 23   Visited by: 214 users
23.09.2011 - 09:43
Clintagräm
J.U.N.K.E.R.
A well written review, but one I may find hard to agree with. I have been able to listen to half of the album and thought it was rather fantastic, non-wankery Progressive music, like most of what Jim Matheos has put out over his career. Perhaps it changes, like you mentioned, during the second half of the album. I'll only be able to tell when I get to listen to it in full.
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The force will be with you, always.
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23.09.2011 - 10:16
Ag Fox
Angel No More
Ahh... kinda forgotten about this collaboration. Thanks for the review and reminder
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loves 小巫
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23.09.2011 - 10:56
Milena
Learning To "X"
Written by Clintagräm on 23.09.2011 at 09:43

...and thought it was rather fantastic, non-wankery Progressive music, like most of what Jim Matheos has put out over his career.

Here it was something like that too, so maybe Doc just wasn't in the mood Rare are the prog bands I've heard that can seriously be accused for wankery, and they aren't really one of them. Maybe they were trying too hard to convince us, tho'.
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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23.09.2011 - 14:12
Rulatore
I dont like prog that much, but I do like a lot this album, didnt get the review, also I didnt find this one boring and not wanky, it's a really good album
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23.09.2011 - 18:00
Hammer34
Wow, you must have heard a different album. I long ago lost the patience I once had for proggy/wanky bands. Love the skill and intricacy, but just need a great song with some memorable hooks at the end of the day. All the nonsense is just a distraction. That's exactly why I love this album. It's got all the chops and interesting arrangements, yet each track holds it own as a song with memorable melodies, choruses, etc.

I think this album gets right what most prog bands get wrong in the "song" and "replay value" department. It's also heavier than I expected which was another nice surprise. Arch's voice & vocal style is certainly an acquired taste, but I think he gives a mostly masterful performance here. I have been loving this album since I got it.
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24.09.2011 - 02:20
strade
I'm not one to complain about reviews on this site, but this score is definitely too low. This is a progressive metal masterpiece as far as I'm concerned.
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My lo-fi synth project: http://luciddreamer.bandcamp.com
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24.09.2011 - 04:20
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Mmm there is totally NO wankery on this album. Everything fits as it is and is in service of the songs. This is no Opeth or Dream Theater. Arch / Matheos have delivered by far the best progressive album of the year.
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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24.09.2011 - 20:35
Susan
Smeghead
Doc this review seems remarkably honest! I like prog so I'll check it out with high expectattions
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"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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24.09.2011 - 22:25
Doc Godin
Obnoxious
I'd really like to see someone do a guest review for this. No, that's not a challenge to anyone, it's just that a remarkable amount of people are absolutely loving this album, and I'm just not seeing what is so distinct about this. I would genuinely like to know.
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"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
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25.09.2011 - 12:24
Ivor
Staff
I'm halfway through the album and while I think instrumentally it's a great piece, I can't stand the vocals. Totally ruins the album. That's a personal distaste speaking, though. Those who enjoy high-pitched voice will find the album pretty remarkable.

I.
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No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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25.09.2011 - 13:07
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Written by Doc Godin on 24.09.2011 at 22:25

I'd really like to see someone do a guest review for this. No, that's not a challenge to anyone, it's just that a remarkable amount of people are absolutely loving this album, and I'm just not seeing what is so distinct about this. I would genuinely like to know.


I am going to do my first EVER review of an album at somepoint but it cannot be this one. I am a Fates Warning apologist, so 95% of what I'd say about this album would be tainted. However, I do agree with one thing: The songs sometimes feel like they get "lost" - needless meandering through progressive metal land, just to make sure the song hits the 10 minute mark. Maybe there's a method to Matheos's madness and will feel differently after each spin.
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25.09.2011 - 14:00
Merchant of Doom
Written by Ivor on 25.09.2011 at 12:24

I'm halfway through the album and while I think instrumentally it's a great piece, I can't stand the vocals. Totally ruins the album. That's a personal distaste speaking, though. Those who enjoy high-pitched voice will find the album pretty remarkable.

I.



I agree with this... very solid, musically, but the vocals make me wanna puke... grow a pair of balls and start growling...
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27.09.2011 - 17:43
thelawler
I have to be honest this is one of my favorite albums of all time, I listen to it non stop and I think it is pure brilliance (I understand Arch's vocals you are either gonna love or hate....and I love them) This album is a perfect 10/10
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28.09.2011 - 19:53
thelawler
Written by strade on 24.09.2011 at 02:20

I'm not one to complain about reviews on this site, but this score is definitely too low. This is a progressive metal masterpiece as far as I'm concerned.

I agree 100% This album is truly epic!
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28.09.2011 - 20:35
drummercrm
Love this album to the extent that Jarzombek is on drums and the riffs are solid, but that's about it. The vocals are too much in most areas and what Doc Godin said about it being "pointless, jumbled meandering" and "overindulgent musicianship" is the perfect way to describe the album. Great review
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06.10.2011 - 07:40
bkrownd
I'd like to hear any comments on this album from those who, like myself, loved the John Arch era Fates Warning and can't get into anything that came after No Exit? I'm not asking for it to be a rehash of older Fates Warning, but I do wonder if it suffers from the artsy tendencies of later FW that lost me. Also, how similar is it to the 2004-ish John Arch CD?
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06.10.2011 - 11:02
Introspekrieg
Totemic Lust
Written by bkrownd on 06.10.2011 at 07:40

I'd like to hear any comments on this album from those who, like myself, loved the John Arch era Fates Warning and can't get into anything that came after No Exit? I'm not asking for it to be a rehash of older Fates Warning, but I do wonder if it suffers from the artsy tendencies of later FW that lost me. Also, how similar is it to the 2004-ish John Arch CD?


I think it will be right up your alley, better than a lot of post-No Exit musically and Arch is as vibrant as ever. I haven't heard the 2004-ish Arch CD so I can't say how it compares. This is coming from someone who likes selections from the whole FW catalog...
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16.10.2011 - 00:31
Antidote
This review doesn't do this album justice...at all. There's so much more in this album than meets the eye (ear, mind)
10/10.
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"You and me - we're not even the same species..."
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04.02.2012 - 02:25
My2Cents
Been said a million times, but I'll say it again: This score is too low!
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*insert quote that makes me look cultured here*
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07.04.2012 - 06:35
thehondo
Appreciate your honest opinion. Yes,most prog heads love it. But I think its a nice aggresive lift from the recent Fates Warning.
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No time like the present
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17.07.2013 - 21:01
asafated
I've listened to this album for a whole year when it released. 7 is really too low for this album. it deserves at least 9 i think.
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17.07.2013 - 21:19
JohnDoe
Account deleted
Written by asafated on 17.07.2013 at 21:01

I've listened to this album for a whole year when it released. 7 is really too low for this album. it deserves at least 9 i think.


for the reviewer who is NOT into progressive metal, this rating is definitely a positive thing.
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03.04.2014 - 22:30
Dentura
Shadow King
I respect your opinion, but I personally love this album. John Arch sounds amazing, and the musicianship is awesome, it never sinks to Dream Theater levels of wankery for me.
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...And so death to the falsity of thy former rulers. Thy kingdom of "heaven" burns in a field of fire, and Dentura is the one true God thou must yield thy hearts and souls to in absolute submission. It is his ultimate decree and will unto thee..
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