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   ANDROMEDA
II=I
2003
New Haven Records
http://www.andromedaonline.com


rating: 4/5

1. Encyclopedia
2. Mirages
3. Reaching Deep Within
4. Two Is One
5. Morphing Into Nothing
6. Castaway
7. Parasite
8. One In My Head
9. This Fragile Surface
This is the second album from this rather unique-sounding Swedish prog metal band and as always one listen is certainly not enough to get into Andromeda's world. Whereas the debut album "Extension of the Wish" was basically Johan Reinholdz' solo album, this one features the whole band taking part in the songwriting process. I don't know if it's fair to say this but it feels like they have matured a bit on this album, but at the same time lost a bit of the edge of the healthy insanity that was audible on the debut album, although there are still plenty of those weird, weird moments on this one too. Pretty much everything that is needed for a high quality prog metal album is available here: excellent musicianship, beautiful melodies, unpredictable turns, technicality and the song structures are really complex at times, but Andromeda have blended also some groovy passages in the final mix. The music changes quite easily from really heavy to beautiful and mellow. Eventhough there are lots of memorable melodies this won't work as background music, simply because this is way too demanding an album to be listened to that way.

The former singer Lawrence Mackrory has been replaced by David Fremberg and eventhough both are great singers, I think Fremberg's voice suits Andromeda's style a bit better. All the musicians get to show their talent and skill, but luckily the album isn't just a display of skillful musicianship. All in all the playing is tight and exact, as expected. Still, at times it feels like they've tried to do things in a too complex way and due to that the final outcome suffers a little.

The album was produced by the band's keyboardist Martin Hedin and the final result is very clear and bright. Absolutely nothing to complain about. As a keyboardist Hedin manages to create some weird atmospheric parts but also really shines with his solo parts and naturally same goes for Reinholdz' guitar work. There certainly is enough variation in the sounds for just one album. I can imagine that both arranging and producing this album must have been one hell of a task to do. Although there are moments when you feel like you're as lost as grandma in a supermarket, there's a hook behind a corner that takes you safely back to the surface. Highly recommended for any fans of prog/melodic/technical metal.


submitted by Aleksi 01.05.2003

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