A.C.T — Imaginary Friends (review)

A.C.T — Imaginary Friends album cover Album · 2001 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Imaginary Friends" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through MTM Music in March 2001. It´s the successor to "Today's Report" from 1999 and features the exact same five-piece lineup as the predecessor.

The material on the album features elements from various genres of music and there are many stylistic elements and artists which could be mentioned as influences on A.C.T´s music. I´d mention among others Dream Theater (the "Images and Words (1992)" album), Sieges Even (the "Sophisticated (1995)" album), 10cc, Queen, ABBA, The Ark (the Swedish pop/rock band) and Saga. A combination of progressive metal elements and sophisticated/art pop/rock elements make this an eclectic sounding release.

The music is very melodic and most tracks are easy to sing along to, but they are structurally complex enough to keep a progressive rock listener entertained. The album features 6 regular length tracks (4 to 7 seven minutes long) and one longer track (25:51 minutes long) titled "Relationships" which is divided into 8 shorter parts. The music features an overall cheerful/uplifting mood and the lyrics are generally tongue in cheek humorous. There´s definitely some great humour involved in this band and one of the biggest praises I will give to A.C.T regarding the music on "Imaginary Friends" is how many positive feelings listening the album evokes. One of the highlights of the album is the fast-paced and energetic "A Supposed Tour" but album opener "Take It Easy" also ranks up there. But as such all tracks on the album are excellent quality material. Intelligent and memorable compositions.

The musicianship is of high class. This music might have an easy listening pop feeling to it but it´s certainly challenging in terms of technical playing and compositional details. Keyboardist Jerry Sahlin uses some great sounds to my ears and lead vocalist Herman Saming has a distinct high pitched voice that might take some getting used to but he is very skilled. His voice could be an aquired taste though (not that he sounds like Geedy Lee from Rush, but the situation is probably similar).

"Imaginary Friends" features a powerful, clear, and well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion it´s a high quality album through and through. It´s highly recommendable to listeners who are looking for progressive rock/metal with an uplifting atmosphere, played by skilled musicians. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
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