Eidolon, "The Parallel Otherworld"
This band was formed back in 1993 by Glen Drover (guitars) and Shawn Drover (drums). The brothers are currently in Megadeth, thus I don't know the fate of Eidolon. For this album, the Drover boys have brought Pagan's Mind vocalist Nils K. Rue into the fold, and a powerful addition he is. I've heard some of Eidolon's previous work and wasn't impressed with the old singer, but Rue has the perfect pipes for this sort of thrashy prog metal - Geoff Tate, James Rivera and Midnight are apparent influences, but Nils is no clone and can hold his own with the best of them (but beware if high-pitched, theatrical vocals make you itch).
As mentioned, this is thrash prog - so expect no catchy choruses (although some melodies will get under your skin) and elongated songs (10 tracks clocking in at 68 minutes, 3 seconds). Glen is a good player and his riffs are busy and pummeling - nothing jumps out as startlingly original, but his tone is fat and the rhythms appropriately head-bangable. Dude's lead work is flashy and fast and one can easily hear why Dave Mustained brought this guy into Camp Arizona. Shawn is a sharp, clean drummer with nice cymbal accents - Iím not crazy about the anemic sound that the kick has on this record, but dem's the breaks (I've also been listening to a lot of '70s rock lately, and am currently in love with that old, natural ambient sound as opposed to the clinical click tracks of the modern era). The bottom end on the whole is pretty lacking, so picking out Adrian Robichaud's bass lines can be a chore - what I can make out of his work is that he often doubles the guitar bits (I guess Iím going to have to buy a subwoofer at some point). The usual prog metal approach is used, where moody acoustics give way to speed metal passages. No whacked-out time signatures are featured, so this is old school prog metal (yes, Iím aware of the inherent contradiction of this description - that's genres for you) rather than the modern mayhem that's currently in vogue.
If you dig old Queensryche, Helstar or Fates Warning, Eidolon have delivered a knock-out punch on this album (and Mercyful Fate fans may want to check out their cover of "The Oath", where Rue does a totally convincing impersonation of King Diamond - and I do mean totally). The production is sharp as a tack and the mix is excellent. Lots of neat studio effects are used to create atmosphere, so headphones are recommended. The twelve-page booklet features all of the lyrics, too-dark graphics and a page of credits and thanks. Speaking of the lyrics, this appears to be some sort of Cthulu-inspired concept album - but your guess is as good as mine. All in all a very nice package - I don't know if the band is on hiatus or what, but I can recommend this CD and look forward to what they may do in the future, Mustaine permitting.