Days of the New

Days of the New, Vol. 3

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Let it never be said that Travis Meeks is not ambitious, nor let it ever be said that he isn't serious. He's as serious as a heart attack, dedicated to the cause of blending the two sounds of Seattle -- namely, the somber grunge of Jar of Flies-era Alice in Chains with the epic, neo-prog sweep of Queensr├┐che. The depths of his ambitions weren't evident when he and his group, Days of the New -- which is basically just him leading a crew of revolving touring bands and studio musicians, although they have settled down a bit around this third album -- had a hit with "Touch, Stand, and Peel," because it fit into the post-grunge murk of the mid-'90s without standing out. By this third album -- like the other two, titled Days of the New; maybe he is taking his cues from Peter Gabriel and not titling each of his records (if he's not, he could at least extend listeners the common courtesy Chicago displayed by numbering his albums) -- it's blindingly clear that he is the innovator and long practitioner of grunge-prog, a previously unthinkable marriage that might have been interesting, either as a curiosity or as an unexpectedly original record, if he weren't so doggedly serious. Some of it is unintentionally silly -- not the least of which is the scary wolf on the sub-fairytale cover, or when a choir suddenly pops up -- but most of it just goes on and on and on, as Meeks intones dreadful premonitions over acoustic guitars, then slams into heavy rock that goes on and on and on, either with solos or jamming on the riffs. Perhaps this will satisfy the diehards, since it does seem to give more of the same (only with a touch of opera), but the rest will wonder why he has diehards in the first place.

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