Communic

Conspiracy in Mind

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It would be wrong to label Communic a progressive metal band simply because they write exceedingly long songs -- which they do, but by methods far too straightforward and arrangements much too accessible for one to even dare compare them to true proggies like Dream Theater. Rather, with their low-flash, song-oriented approach this Norwegian trio takes the exact inverse route, merely extending certain riffs and melodies a little longer than one might expect, and coming up with a style that more closely resembles the metal-gone-prog of Queensrÿche or Nevermore. The results are a bunch of continent-sized heavy metal singles such as the seven-minute "History Reversed," the ten-minute "They Feed on Our Fear," and the furiously paced, eight-minute "Communication Sublime" -- all of them awesome creations smartly contrasting soaring and evocative atmospherics with bludgeoning metallic interplay between guitar and drums. On these standouts, singer/guitarist Oddleif Stensland often recalls Geoff Tate to great effect with his crooning lower registers, but struggles somewhat in both his higher reaches (portions of "Silence Surrounds") and when attempting a robotic vocal à la Burton C. Bell (see the title track). But even though a few additional song transitions aren't all that smooth (notably the unusually throwaway "Ocean Bed"), the bulk of the band's material definitely winds up in the winning column. It may not qualify strictly as progressive metal or traditional heavy metal (certainly not power metal!), but there are enough elements of both to satisfy either camp while hopefully opening everyone's mind up to what is possible when chances are taken and stereotypes broken.

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