Leon : How do you get taken seriously as a starting band? ‘Spend loads of money’ must’ve been the answer of the Antoine brothers. The gents aren’t just releasing your ordinary debut, they did it in such a way that it almost can’t be ignored by the progressive meta scene. None other than Dave LaRue (Flying Colors, Joe Satriani) plays on the bass guitar and, as if it wasn’t enough, they’ve also tricked keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons Of Apollo) into playing all the keyboard parts as a (special) guest. We’re not done yet because super producer Paul Northfield (Rush, Dream Theater) and Grammy Award winner Ted Jensen (Santana, Muse, The Eagles) were hired to produce and master the album. Even the artwork was done by established designer Hugh Syme (Rush, Queensrÿche, Iron Maiden), who worked on the cover and the logo of the album. I genuinely ask myself what these guys do for a living in order to hire such talent. What can go wrong if you have a sum-up of this amount of talent?
Before I even played the CD I was reading the information that they had sent along with the album, the biography stated shamelessly that Antoine’s Legacy can be compared to Van Halen in their time and that drummer Glenn Antoine “easily manages to approach the level of artists such as Mike Portnoy and Mike Mangini”. Arrogant or self-knowledge? Whichever it is, my expectations were sky-high after reading about all of the above! Unfortunately they’re not able to deliver what they promise, it certainly isn’t bad but never do I get the feeling that I’m listening to the next big thing. The songs are quite fine, good even considering it’s a debut, but they leave room for improvement. Instrumentally there’s not much to complain about, especially when talking about the bass and ‘regular’ guitars, it’s very clear that these guys are talented. The keyboards from Sherinian are good, as always, but I get the sense that he wasn’t involved in the creative process, I’m missing his touch of virtuoso for which he’s known. Drummer Glenn knows how to play his instrument but can work on integrating his drums into the songs better, he tends to play chaotic (technically well-played) parts when he should leave room for vocals. At some point he plays somewhat complex double-bass rhythms during the verse of ‘Pain Of Illusions’ that just don’t sound good now. Less is more! Other than that the kick isn’t well balanced in the mix which is such a shame because this makes me miss something while listening to the songs, other than that the production is done well. Last but not least I need to talk about vocalist Marijn Geluk, a fine singer with a pleasant voice. However, his vocals sounds the same throughout the whole album, this is because he mostly sings in the same register and isn’t really creative with the vocal lines. It can be that Geluk just doesn’t have a wide range but I would recommend him to get into touch with a vocal coach who can help him work on these things. Because of this ‘problem’ I find it difficult to listen to a whole album now. Also, he tends to put too many words in his melodies, causing strange and rushed vocal lines.
No, it’s definitely not a flawless album and there’s enough to improve for the Antoine brothers, yet I can’t deny that it’s a good debut record! There’s lots of potential and the foundations are firm, but work is needed to live up to the expectations. Antoine’s Legacy won’t find its way to my CD player very often but I will keep my eyes out for a second album, I might even visit one of their gigs (if somewhere close by). I can definitely recommend a play to fans of groups like Dream theater, I’ve been very critical in my review. Band with a future!