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The good news is that the Swedish prog band A.C.T. does an excellent job of giving its fan base the elaborate virtuosity, vocal bombast and pseudo-classical structural complexity that it demands, while at the same time keeping things tight and tuneful enough to make their music pretty much listenable to all but the most impatient mainstream rock fans. The bad news is that, like most Swedish bands, they insist on singing in English, and while their grammar is quite good and their accents not terribly distracting, their limited vocabulary and loose grasp of idiom lead them into dead-boring verbal meanderings like this (sadly typical) example: "If the path where I walk isn't safe I will send someone out to explore/When the outcome is hard to predict I will leave, the chance will be lost." Is there some great guitar playing? Of course, and it's mostly sharp and tightly disciplined -- notice the lovely (and brief) solo on "Out of Ideas," a song that also introduces a welcome blast of funk to the proceedings, and the machine-gun licks that pile up at the beginning of "Millionaire." Those interested should note that the second half of this album is a sort concept EP, a nine-song suite titled "(The Long One) Consequences." As you might expect, that section ups the operatic bombast factor by a notch or two. (And what is "long-gone consequences" supposed to mean, anyway?)

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