Horst : It has been exactly two years ago that I reviewed the demo 'Mother Of Sin' from this Dutch outfit, and if you take the trouble of reading it again you will soon discover I was pretty much blown away by their music. Logically I assumed then that the guys would have no problem finding a suitable label to sign with, but apparently I was wrong. According to the MOS website the album has been recorded in 2004 already, but if I am not very mistaken (nope, the biography that accompanied the promo was as empty as a hermit's address book, so no help there) the band signed a deal with Italian Steelheart Records only recently. Now I do not know if this was kind of a last resort, but the fact remains that I still think it is very strange that a quality band like MOS has not been picked up by one of the "big boys” like Nuclear Blast or Inside Out.
You see, the band has bettered itself considerably since the release of the demo. I don't know in what way former Vandenberg bassplayer Dick Kemper has contributed to this (the album was mixed and produced in his S&K studio), but the result is awesome. The sound is a lot more open, but at the same time crystal clear, something that really benefits the complex music. In terms of songwriting though nothing much has changed. The music is still firmly rooted in Cacophony soil. In essence this means lots of moodswings and variation in tempo, complex song patterns and lots of instrumental craftsmanship. The big plus however in comparison with the demo lies in improved bass and drum sound, that no longer drowns in all the guitar violence. The same goes for the vocals, which are now a real part of the song, and not just a bridge between solo's. They remind me a bit of Rob Rock (M.A.R.S., Impelliteri) and Dream Theater's James LaBrie, though somewhat more relaxed.
Talking about Dream Theater, I do think that this band has made considerable impression on bandleader/songwriter Eduard Hovinga, something that clearly shows in a track like 'Cover My Eyes' (that shares a thought or two with 'Images And Words'). Add to this the aforementioned Cacophony influences ('Beyond Fear', 'Insomnia', 'Part Of Creation') and just a slight hint of Ayreon ('Introspective') and the result is a fresh sound (especially in this day and age), poured into strong songs, both musically as well as instrumentally.
In conclusion, everybody who loves progressive metal is obliged to check this one out. Honestly, you'll be missing out on a lot of fun if you don't, take my word for it! I mean, if there was only one CD I was allowed to recommend this month, 'Apathy' would be the one.