Monday, April 11, 2011

Creation’s End—A New Beginning (Sensory)

I looked up “Prog/Power” in the OED (it’s been added to the latest edition, I swear) and it said “See Creation’s End.” Which means (a) the OED knows its metal, and (b) if you want some fine prog/power metal, Creation’s End delivers it, straight-up, with no discordant King Crimson moves, no jazz fusion tangents, and no zany circus-music fluff (thank Christ for that). They take a stab at exoticism with some extra percussion in a couple spots, which doesn’t mesh well, but it’s harmless. Creation’s End are a project band assembled by guitarist Rudy Albert and drummer Dario Rodriguez. Everybody’s “ex” this band or “of” that band. They chose well, especially in the singer department. Mike Dimeo (ex-Masterplan, ex-Riot) has lungs of rawhide and brings some essential grit to the enterprise. Albert and Rodriguez put him through his paces, especially on “Hollow,” where a key change pushes him near the breaking point. You’re not sure he’ll get to the end, but he does. With such talent in place, it’s a relief that the songwriting is a cut above as well. Most of the songs begin by establishing quality choruses and effective hooks before they (inevitably) get all tech and paradiddly between minutes 4 and 7, only to have the catchy elements reappear towards the end as if to say “Remember us?” to which I reply, “I absolutely do—welcome back!” All the trappings of power/prog are present, including some way-OTT keyboard solos and songs about war, justice, and religious hypocrisy. It’s stern stuff, powered by brick-shithouse guitar tones and a Neil Kernon mix that’ll put hair on your chest. Everyone involved has obviously poured a lot of love and enthusiasm into A New Beginning. Nobody’s phoning it in. If there’s meat ‘n’ potatoes on the menu in prog metal’s opulent dining quarters, then Creation’s End will serve it up on a heaped platter. Tasty, if familiar, fare.

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