Band: Last Chance To Reason
Album: Level 2
Genre: Progressive Metal
When one thinks of Progressive Metal, chances are, bands like Dream Theater, Cynic, and maybe even Opeth come to mind. With their newest album Level 2, Last Chance To Reason aims to change the playing-field of the genre. Having known these guys, and watching the band grow over the years, one may say this review is a bit biased. But, all bullshit aside, this album kicks fucking ass.
Level 2 is a concept album focusing on the main character being trapped in a mysterious digital world. He must battle his way through said world by any means necessary to survive. The real kicker is that this album acts as the soundtrack for a video-game with the same title, also created by the band. Though the game is yet to be released, there is a demo, which you can download here. But while we wait for the game to be finished, here are the goods on the album:
Let me just start off by saying that there is a good chance that this may be one of the most cohesive albums to hit the shelves in a decade or two. When listened to all the way through, the album seems like one 45 minute song. It's incredible. The flow/pacing of the album is one of its strongest aspects. Each song packs it's own unique build to a climax. But, when put together, each track creates the build to the epic climax of the whole album. It's a true testament to the musicians skills at writing.
Lyrically, the album is a huge tease. This statement isn't to be taken negatively. Quite the contrary. Given that the album is to act as the soundtrack to the game, a lot of the lyrics hint to the action and/or plot-points in the story of the game. And, well, from what I'm getting out of the album and lyrics, the game will be nothing less than epic.
As far as how the music sounds when combined into songs - Prepare to shit your pants. The technicality and precision to which each song is executed is breath-taking. Constant changes in time-signatures, as well as the different layering to all the instruments and the fusion of both heavy metal riffing and progressive rock elements give Level 2 a heightened sense of musical sophistication, while also bringing the album to life in a way few musical groups have ever achieved. Any group of assholes with instruments, and an attitude to "fuck shit up," as the scene kids like to say, can make a CD, but it takes talented musicians to do what LCTR has done here. After listening to this album in it's entirety for what is, I believe the ninth or tenth time, I feel as though this album stands as a physical, and musical catharsis for these guys. The emotion behind the music screams far louder than any amp can go.
Produced by the master Jamie King alongside the band, the overall sound of the album, along with the music itself, is flawless. All of the instruments have an audible and prominent sound, yet blend together so well to create something more than just a nicely mastered song/album. Upon numerous replays of the album, you will be able to pick up on even more additional musical contributions. Like I said, this album is insanely layered, and demands multiple replays.
As far as Progressive Metal goes, consider Last Chance To Reason one of the new titans of the genre. This album is for anyone who has an interest in the genre or true musical talent. To see if LCTR is coming near you, check their MySpace or Facebook. Level 2 was put out by Prosthetic Records and can be found on iTunes as well as Amazon and a record store near you. I highly suggest you go and pick this up.
As far as the score for this album goes - The readers can give me shit for it, but all biases aside, this is one of the most phenomenal albums I've ever heard. This is why I'm awarding Level 2 my first, and possibly only 10 out of 10. Congrats guys!