Heir to Maynardness
Now, the title is not any kind of mockery. The vocalist and only member of Heir to Madness, Jason Wiscarson, really sounds much like Maynard J. Keenan(Tool, A Perfect Circle) and it can only be considered as an advantage in my book. The music presented in his debut album is somewhat influenced by Tool and APC's music as well, but it is fresh and soul-stirring just to the same extent.
Personally, I'm not into either extremely polished or totally raw production so the sound of THE CITADEL appealed to me right away. It is quite organic and there's a lot of natural, soft space in it. I'll go even further and say that the sound has something old school to it. What can I say, I just love those dreamy guitars, naturally sounding distortion and well... fantastic vocals.
THE CITADEL is an eclectic record, full of interesting theme, mood and pace changes. Still, it's not a technical metal album - the emphasis is placed on atmosphere and evolving harmonies, not intricate construction of songs. Thus, despite kind of complex approach to composition, Heir to Madness managed to maintain some elements of the traditional, verse-chorus, structure of songs. Thanks to that, he gained enough space to make his vocal performance the center of the whole. Let's be honest though, his dreamy art rock guitar themes create an amazing background for it. And the heavier parts - modern yet tinged with classic hard rock feel - complete the task.
That's a real treat for fans of atmospheric rock and metal, especially for those who are waiting for the new album from Tool. THE CITADEL is more similar to APC though, with the difference that it has more progressive character and it sparks with rock energy more often than Maynard's side project. I'll speak bluntly, it's simply better.
TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10[fantastic!]: Citadel of Self; Arbiter of Somnolence || 8/10[great]: Bliss; Wondrous Wrath; Last Line of Defense || 7/10[very good]: Siamese Suicide; Manhole || OVERALL = 80/100