Released: 2001, Metal Blade
Theater of War is the second release from this American band whose sound draws upon elements of both power and prog metal. More than a year ago I borrowed a copy of the self-titled debut album and gave it a few spins. For comparison’s sake, and since I don’t remember much about the debut, all I can say is that the one thing that does stand out is that this new release has a lot more crunch to it. And that is a good thing my friends.
Several solid tracks abound on this CD, and none more solid than the opening track, Sanctuary. The song rips right from the gate with a razor sharp riff and rollicking drum intro. From there the songs that follow offer up a melodic flavoring of prog/power metal confections. No one instrument truly dominates, but the guitar play is very good both in the riff and soloing departments, and the drumming is solid. The keys are not as emphasized as they usually are in a lot of prog, but they do offer some texture and atmosphere to the music. The only truly disappointing song on the album is the ballad Sarah Williams, which starts off with a great atmospheric intro but then goes way down hill from there. I won’t go so far as to call the song your typical cliche-ridden ballad, I’ll just say it sounds very “familiar” both lyrically and in its arrangement.
Since there may be many metalheads unfamiliar with Jacobs Dream, I would be remiss if I did not point out some of their influences. Among the influences most apparent throughout the CD are mid to late 80s Rush, with a metal vibe in the guitar department. The rhythm section tends to give a nod to the classic Maiden gallop as well. Rush front man Geddy Lee comes to mind in the form of the lead vocalist David Taylor, who seems to fall into a space between Lee and Geoff Tate, in much the same way Keith Sudano of Eternity X once did. Nowhere is this influence more prevalent than on the song Wisdom.
This album is slowly growing on me and I may end up liking it more as time goes on. Theater of War is a strong release that the band can not only be proud of, but can also use to build a head of steam with which to forge into the future.
Official website: http://truemetal.org/jacobsdream/