Jori : Stage Of Reality is one of those bands that kind of disappeared from the radar after a very good debut album. You can hardly blame the band in this, for almost every new drum beat of string pluck was instantly posted on their Facebook page. Fact is that three years after the excellent ‘The Breathing Machines’ we can be positively surprised by another excellent album by these Italian prog fanatics, this time an untitled album.
Singer Damiano Borgi is new in the group, he replaces Fransesco who definitely put his mark on ‘the Breathing Machines’. Luckily Damiano proves that he is more than capable of filling his shoes. He has a more rocky voice that is absolutely more versatile than the voice of Fransesco. Musically, things do approach the style of debut album quite a bit. This means progressive metal that does not let heaviness get in the way of the details in the music. The band holds the middle between more extensive and patient musicianship of Dream Theater in a song like ‘Not In Vain, and the more smashing nature of DGM that is featured in the likes of ‘Think Twice’. Also Symphony X is a name that surfaces occasionally. The album does strike as a bit less cohesive than ‘the Breathing Machines’, wich might have to do with the more vague and abstract concept. Also things are kind of interrupted by an Amy Winehouse cover right in the middle of the album, , ‘Back To Black’, with Amanda Sommerville on vocals.
Despite this album feeling more like an unlinked collection of songs rather than the concept album the band intended it to be, there is plenty to enjoy here. Musically and especially vocally, there is nothing to remark here. Stage Of Reality proves itself to be a band with the potency to grow to the higher regions of the prog metal landscape someday. Oh yeah, let’s not forget to mention Blaze Bayley singing a song as well, this being ‘Warlord’.