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Near Life
Of Love & Illusions
October 2006
Released: 2005, Independent
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman

Every so often, the occasional unsolicited gem floats in that makes up for all the shitty Basement Black and Metalcore garage bands. This is one of them.

At first glimpse, it isn’t promising—-their logo is lame, and their presentation could use some work. But the music speaks for itself. Its sort of like a rush-hour Opeth or Poland’s April Ethereal-—Swedish-influenced prog-death with reasonable production, some solid ideas, and oodles of potential should they ever break out of their zipcode.

Often epic for no good reason, it strives hard to give the listener a little something extra with each successive spin. Tracks like “Disharmonic Souls” and “A Light Flickered In The Well” bristle with Opeth influences, particularly in the vocal department.

Acoustic interludes, complex arrangements, and jazzy time signatures ruffle the otherwise thrash/death feathers of a gifted but unwieldy bird of prey. Inspired moments such as the opener, “Into The Mist” and album’s peak, “Motionless Vigil” abound, with a sort of restless European urgency that seemingly taps the likes of Dan Swano as spiritual advisor.

At times a bit too restrained, its confidence often translates itself into an overly-relaxed state, with its multiple slow builds and slow burns masking the album’s frequent bursts of speed. This band can gallop with the best of them, and yet one can scarcely imagine them ever marching past mid-pace. Ultimately, this is well done, if nothing new—progressive, but not progressively so.

Fans of “musician bands,” as well as most things pseudo-Euro, be it Prog-Death or Prague-Death, will find something to like here. And as an indie release? I say grab it before they’re signed.
Track Listing

1. Into the Mist
2. The Devil and I
3. Motionless Vigil
4. Disharmonic Souls
5. A Light Flickered in the Well
6. My Death...
7. ...As Seen through your Eyes
8. Fin


Brian Grisham - vocals, bass
Juan Tapia - guitars
Ed McMillan - guitars
Justin Gundelfinger - drums

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» Of Love & Illusions
by Gabriel C. Zolman

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