Released: 2000, Lion Music
There are two things right off that bug me about this CD. Number one - the sound quality was not the best (the drum sound was the worst) and number two - this is not metal (despite the fact that it's being called a progressive metal project). To me this is more like prog rock with fusion overtones (jazz, classical, and easy listening). In many places the vocals are not the best but the CD's saving grace are the cool shredding solos. The key word for this CD is "progressive" NOT "metal." If you like progressive stuff with long songs, several musical styles fused together, lots of different instruments, etc... then you're gonna like this a lot.
Some of this HAD to be good because, check this out, here's the list of the main musicians that play on this CD: Alex Masi (an excellent guitarist known for his solo work and recent J S Bach renditions), Lars Eric Mattsson (another fine guitarist who is known for his solo work including his most recent 1999 release simply entitled Mattsson), Ella Grussner (from the new folk-rock band Barkavall - she plays violin and sings), Torgny Stjarnfelt (this is his vocal debut), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X, Playtupus and Alice Cooper), Alexander King and Esa Pietila (plays saxophone on "Judgement Day" and "Lighthouse".
All these musicians are not on EVERY song together. For example the more well known Derek Sherinian does synth solos on the tracks "Life is Now" and "Final Words." As for what I liked on this CD - the guitar solos are what kept my attention. If you like shredding guitar (and what metalhead in his right fuckin mind doesn't?) then that will be of interest to at least the guitar players out there. However, the music can drag on and become a bit self-indulgent...but hey, this is prog music after all! Besides the solos, the vocals on the chorus to "Judgment Day" stands out as particularly memorable when doubled. The female vocalist, Ella Grussner, shines on this one. The first few minutes of "Lighthouse" are pretty cool with the double kick drums and soloing. The Hammond organ kinda got in the way though (at least for me) and then the sax solo about 1/2 way through the song was nerve grating. I can't help it, but sax, to my ears, is like annoying whining. There's also acoustic guitar solos and some very cool violin parts in this one. All bases are covered...why don't they throw in a god damn triangle solo, bongos and harpsichord solos?!? Sorry to be sarcastic here if this is your bag, but to me this is overkill. The outro solos on "Lighthouse" are played over an Yngwie-like progression and they really shred....cool.
Not for the simple-minded or for those looking for "the groove", this is one surprise after another. Not exactly my music of choice but I can appreciate the talent blended together on this CD. More information on this gathering of talent can be found at http://www.condition-red.com