Time to End

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S.O.T.E.'s second album for Musea takes the form of a concept album. The ten songs are actually segueing movements of a "progressive rock story" about a man locked in an inner battle with his three personalities. The plot is unimaginative and rather thin; add to that lyrics printed in a tiny, fancy, typeface that makes them unreadable, and you can throw the lyrical concept out the window. The music does stand its ground though. "The Blandness of Being" is alarmingly similar to mid-'70s Rush (the obligatory reference when discussing the group's previous effort Time Re-Arranged), but after that introduction the writing takes off in a more personal direction that still acknowledges Rush's influence, but also evokes early Queensr├┐che, Black Sabbath, and the less pompous side of late '90s prog-metal. Singer Gerton Leijdekker emulates Geddy Lee at times, but not always in a deliberate way -- he sounds like someone who used to sing in a tribute band for a long time and has a hard time breaking down certain habits. Plot oblige, the music is generally dark, with mood swings that characterize the split personalities of the hero. "The Days Fly Past" and the finale, "Time to End" (heavy in bass pedal content as the hero predictably commits suicide), punch a lot of feeling in the writing and stand well on their own, but other tracks would loose their purpose if performed outside of the concept album. Leijdekker's guitar playing is agile and piercing, which helps the album score a few points.

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