Harmagedon
AFFECTOR

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AFFECTOR - Harmagedon cover
3.84 | 8 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. Overture pt.1: Introduction (1:49)
2. Overture pt.2: Prologue (5:35)
3. Salvation (8:48)
4. The Rapture (14:05)
5. Cry Song (5:35)
6. Falling Away & The Rise Of The Beast (8:01)
7. Harmagedon (13:00)
8. New Jerusalem (7:35)

Total Time: 64:28

Line-up/Musicians

- Daniel Fries / guitars
- Collin Leijenaar / drums
- Mike LePond / bass guitars
- Ted Leonard / vocals

with

- Neal Morse / Keyboards
- Alex Argento / Keyboards
- Derek Sherinian / Keyboards
- Jordan Rudess / Keyboards

About this release

Inside Out Music May 21st 2012

The initial version of "Harmagedon" will come as limited edition CD in slipcase packaging and additionally featuring 2 special acoustic versions of the songs "Harmagedon" and "New Jerusalem" as bonus tracks. The album will be also available as strictly limited 2LP version in 180gr. vinyl, as standard Digital Download and also as HD-Audio Digital Download version via I-Tunes

Thanks to colt for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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AFFECTOR HARMAGEDON reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

J-Man
Affector is a multi-national progressive metal act featuring members of Symphony X, Neal Morse Band, Enchant, and Dilemma, and Harmagedon is their debut full-length observation. Playing in the style of Dream Theater, the album consists of high-class musicianship, technical acrobatics, and most everything else you'd expect from a traditional progressive metal release. Affector hardly brings anything new to the table with Harmagedon, but the album has enough high points to excuse some of its shortcomings.

Harmagedon is a concept album that talks about a Biblical apocalypse - Affector does not hide the fact that they are a Christian band, and although the end times can make for a cool metal concept, the lyrics here are trite and lack any form of subtlety. It's challenging for a nonbeliever to listen to this album without quickly growing bored by the proselytizing lyrics, but (fortunately) the musical aspect is much better. Though you won't find anything terribly original on Harmagedon, there are plenty of killer riffs, melodic solos, and frantic instrumental runs to satisfy any prog metal fan. Drummer Colin Leijenaar especially impresses me with his complex and intricate playing. Guest keyboard appearances from Neal Morse, Jordan Rudess, Alex Argento, and Derek Sherinian are also likely to grab the attention of prog metal fans, and all deliver solid solos that add to the instrumental credibility of the album. If I had to make one complaint about the musical aspect of Harmagedon, it would be that the vocal melodies seem rather weak compared to the instrumental segments. There are some very memorable vocal lines, like the chorus in "Salvation" or "Cry Song", but generally they seem rather bland, and this issue can be compounded by the awkward lyrics.

It may seem like I'm coming down hard on Harmagedon, but I do actually enjoy this album. Instrumentally, Harmagedon is excellent, and if Affector spent more time writing clever lyrics and strong vocal melodies, they could've really hit a home run with this debut. The result is an album with untapped potential, but still enjoyable enough to warrant a recommendation to progressive metal fans.
Time Signature
The rapture...

Genre: progressive metal

Affector is an international super group that whose line-up includes members from Spock's Beard, Dilemma and Symphony X. "Harmagedon" is the band's debut album and something of an ambitious affair offering up sophisticated and melodic progressive metal.

After a perhaps somewhat misleading introduction in the form of the hyper-symphonic 'Overture pt. 1: Introduction', the album really kicks off with a melodic and technically impressive instrumental tune, in which the guitarist Daniel Fries' skills on the fretboard shine through. 'Salvation' is the first track on the album to feature vocals, and Ted Leonard's clean vocals fits the melodic but technical style quite well. This combination of melody and technicality works excellently, and there are enough odd meters and other quirks to appease most fans of progressive metal. At the same time, the melodies quite catchy, and the music is generally quite accessible. The song structures are dynamic and complex with a track like 'Cry Song' being a nice little prog rock ballad. A main feature of almost all the tracks on the disc is that there are many unexpected out-of-the-blue changes in time, tempo and whatnot. This may not be something that pleases everyone, but personally I have always had a weakness for that kind of antics.

The musicians that constitute Affector are highly competent and professional. Both guitar and keyboard solos (with guest performances by the likes of Alex Argento, Neal Morse, Jordan Rudess and Derek Sherinian) are technically advanced and impressive, while the rhythm department is robust and rock steady, and the dynamic vocals are clear and clean. The production is polished and well defined, and this is a positive feature when it comes to this type of technically advanced rock music, because it means that you can hear all the details.

The lyrics have strongly oriented towards Christianity, and it is not something all metal heads are happy about, but it is certainly something I can live with in this case. Personally I am critical towards all religion, but at the same time I respect the need and the rights of the individual to express and celebrate his or her religious beliefs (that being said, I also reserve the right to ignore other people's expressions of religious beliefs if I so choose). The Christian lyrics are not cheesy or silly (I mean just compare "Harmagedon" to the Christian silliness of Golden Resurrection's "Man with a Mission"), and it is easy to divert one's attention from the lyrics and onto the very appealing music itself. You can always hear some Slayer or old Sepultura, if you need to be de-Christianized afterwards.

Affector's Armageddon is more than a decent work of progressive metal which is simultaneously challenging and catchy, and the album should, musically, appeal to fans of progressive metal.
Conor Fynes
'Harmagedon' - Affector (7/10)

Sure, like so many of their contemporaries, these progsters are following in the footsteps of Dream Theater, but does this truly do a disservice to their music? In most cases of the dreaded DT-clone, I'm left feeling like great talent is wasted on emulating the work of others who did it better in the first place. Given that an actual member of Dream Theater offers his musical stylings here, it shouldn't be so much of a surprise that multinational prog metal collective Affector have more than a little in common with the legends. Although we can discount much talk of originality from the start onward, Affector deliver a polished, incredibly performed and tastefully composed hour-plus of traditional progressive metal, and had it not been tarnished by trite lyrical content, I might call it one of my favourite prog metal albums thus far this year.

While this may be Affector's first album, they are by no means newcomers to the prog and metal scene. Here, we have a guitarist from Divinity, drummer from Spock's Beard frontman Neal Morse's solo material, bassist from Symphony X, and a singer from Spock's Beard and Thought Chamber. Make no mistake; each band member has earned a reputation for good reason. If that weren't enough, "Harmagedon" is rife with guest keyboard solos from some of the most recognizable musicians in prog today- two of Dream Theater's own keyboardists (Derek Sherinian and Jordan Rudess), Neal Morse and Alex Argento. Throwing in an orchestral introduction, you should be getting the impression by now that Affector have gone all out with this record. The production is professional and slick, and there are more time signature changes than you can share a mellotron at.

As for the actual quality of the music, "Harmagedon" starts off in an incredibly impressive fashion, delivering the sort of technical showmanship and complexity we have come to expect from the progressive metal style, paired up with some surprising beauty. Although I'm often wowed by music like this on a cerebral, unfeeling level, Affector manages to make their instrumentation beautiful as well. Daniel Fries' guitar work is excellent, and while Jordan Rudess' keyboard solos here may be few and far between, his signature gives an essence of authenticity to the band's otherwise derivative style. Stylistically, Affector are certainly not busting down any doors and shaking the progressive world, but it's difficult to speak ill of them as a prog metal act when they do it so damned well.

Decidedly less successful than the instrumentation however are the vocals. Although I caught myself thinking throughout the opening instrumental that Affector could have been better with a vocalist, Ted Leonard delivers something of an imbalanced performance on "Harmagedon". He is certainly a skilled vocalist, but the melodies are something of a hit-or-miss arrangement. The vocal harmonies are lush and powerful, but his voice often sounds a little too weak and vulnerable to pass off some of the more 'epic' moments on the album. Perhaps a greater issue at hand however are the lyrics themselves. "Harmagedon" is a concept album dealing with the biblical interpretation of the end of the world- Revelation. While an apocalypse sounds like it could be a very fertile ground for some imaginative lyrics, Affector take it from a purely Christian perspective, and a saccharine one at that. Although I do not personally share or agree with the beliefs of Christianity, I try not to let my religious opinions get in the way. However, it seems the only time Affector stops reminding the listener of its Christian motivations are during the instrumental sections- which, not incoincidentally, happen to be my favourite moments on the album. With lyrics explicitly praising their Lord and denouncing sinners and hedonists, it would be an understatement to say that the message grows tiresome quickly. It's beautiful to me whenever someone gets inspired or excited enough about something to make art about it, but the lyrics' utter lack of subtlety or cleverness leave me pretty disappointed.

"Harmagedon" at times feels like it is trying a little too hard to be a Christian metal album. The truth is, Affector sound their most inspired and alive when they steer clear of any concept, and simply aim for making the sort of mind-bending progressive metal that has kept proggers on their toes for a good couple of decades. It does not expand much past what Dream Theater have already done, but given this band's astounding grasp of the style, it doesn't deter from the excitement of their instrumentation. It's a very good first step as a new project, and it's a shame such otherwise minute issues could affect my enjoyment of the album so much.
dtguitarfan
I have struggled to find the words with which to properly review this album. I could tell you all about the all star crew that makes up the band: Daniel Fries, along with drummer Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse/Dilemma), bass player Mike Lepond (Symphony X), and vocalist Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard/Enchant/Thought Chamber). Plus they have four special guests on keyboards: Jordan Rudess, Derek Sherinian, Neal Morse, and Alex Argento. I could also talk about their masterful blending of their metal instrumentation with the symphonic arrangements pulled off by the Polish orchestra Sinfonietta Consonus. Or I could tell you about the concept of this album, dealing with the end times in a very unique way (for this musical genre) and inspired by the fears of the world ending in 2012 based on the Mayan calendar. But I wanted to make this personal, and so I decided to write the following as a letter to the band - perhaps by some chance one of them will read it:

Thank you. Thank you for having the courage, the integrity, the diligence, and the drive to create an album like this, and doing so with such power. You don't know how long I've waited for someone to create an album with this level of technical musicality, in this style of music, with this level of quality, and with this kind of lyrical concept, treated with such a high level of integrity and respect. You may never know how much you've inspired me, or how uplifting this was to me. The lyrical concepts of this album were presented in such a beautiful way, with dark passages that made the highs of the album all the more beautiful, that as I listened to this, I was filled with indescribable joy, driving me to the point of tears, and I pondered things which I really ought to ponder more often. From a brother in Metal, and, I believe, in many other ways: rock on!

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