The T 666
If you're going to play derivative progressive-metal, you better do it like this.
When I first learned that ENCHANT's Ted Leonard was the singer of a progressive-metal band, I got scared. ENCHANT, while a good group, is not really metal, and I could never imagine Leonard's soft, pop-esque vocals in a true metallic atmosphere. I thought it was too thin, too cute, too un-metal.
The good thing is that he has proved me wrong. In THOUGHT CHAMBER, Leonard's performance is excellent, among the best of his career. The usual melodic vocals he chooses for ENCHANT are here, but we see now another side of his abilities: the ability to sing louder, to sing higher, to be able to front a much louder band. He succeeds almost completely. Just a few times during the album I got the idea that he was in stress trying to fit in with the music, but generally, he makes for a very good progressive-metal vocalist.
And now let's talk about the music: THOUGHT CHAMBER is a traditional progressive-metal band that plays in the same school of DREAM THEATER. Their music is mostly riff-based but they have great originality to come up with very interesting ones. The songs are longer than usual, with extended instrumental sections and three purely-instrumental tracks. The influences are varied, and we can even feel some jazz here and there, especially in the harmonies and bass lines. THOUGHT CHAMBER puts a lot of emphasis in interesting texturing work, with some moments in the album sounding like true counterpoint.
The music wouldn't be as good if it wasn't played with such amazing skills. Here we have a true outstanding set of performers, from the excellent, jazz-oriented drummer and bass player (who really shines throughout the album) to the impressive guitarist, Michael Harris, leader and mastermind of the band. This album is his idea and it shows, as it is the guitar the instrument which in the end outshines the others with the splendor of the solos and ornaments and the technical proficiency one can discover and enjoy.
At times, "Angular Perceptions" just lacks memorable choruses or melodies to be considered a true 5-star album. I was inclined after the first few songs to give this record the highest rating, as it's one of the best-played traditional prog-metal albums in existence, but after I listened to the whole thing, the impression it left in my mind was less strong. It's an excellent addition to any collection and therefore I give it 4 stars.