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Inner Circle Of Reality
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  • Time Requiem: Richard Andersson.
  • Additional personnel: Jonas Reingold.
  • Twenty seconds of atmospheric synths and a quick bit of guitar noodling to warm up those digits and they're off! Frenetic first number "Reflections" makes it clear that it's another day at the races for the musical thoroughbreds behind neo-classical metal masters Time Requiem and their second, technically dazzling power metal opus, 2004's The Inner Circle of Reality. But wait! Is this a 12-minute title track we hear next, pushing the envelope of prog-tastic ambition to new heights of indulgence? Why indeed it is, and, though its multi-part sections and individual solo runs often recall the work of American proggies Dream Theater, Time Requiem display such mechanical, super-human speed and precision in songs like "Attar of Roses" and "Quest of a Million Souls," that one is left wondering if this is actually the work of men, not some Roboto-like automatons. Indeed, if ever a band embodied the famous lyrics, "My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain IBM," this pan-European assemblage is it. Not even the emotive wailing of operatically gifted singer Apollo Papathanasio can impart much humanity to the band's excessively compressed, hyperactive, and, ultimately, soulless execution. With his exception, the concept "feeling" is jettisoned so entirely from their performances, that one wonders why it is listeners should be moved to care? One thing is for certain, when machines really do take over the planet, Matrix-like, this will surely be the soundtrack that accompanies them. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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