Anthropia

The Ereyn Chronicles: Part 1 - The Journey of Beginnings

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The Nirvana/Pearl Jam/grunge/alternative rock upheaval of the early '90s didn't obliterate all types of '70s and '80s rock, but it did marginalize many of them in a big way. And if you were the sort of progressive metal artist who enjoyed writing about dwarves, fairies, dragons and pixies, your lyrics became very anachronistic in a world where alternative rock reigned supreme. But anachronistic or not, fantasy-based prog metal never disappeared; it flew under the radar but maintained a cult following well into the 2000s (especially in Europe), and fantasy is definitely the name of the game on Anthropia's science fiction-drenched The Ereyn Chronicles, Part 1: The Journey of Beginnings. Lyrically, this very conceptual effort is as stereotypical as it gets; blacksmith dwarves, nymphs, a succubus (no, her name isn't Ann Coulter), dragons and a talking horse are among the characters who appear in this epic tale. And not only is this French prog metal act oblivious to alt-rock lyrically; they are oblivious to it musically as well. The influences on The Ereyn Chronicles, Part 1 range from Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Manowar and Yngwie Malmsteen to Rush, Yes, Kansas, Genesis and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and there are Euro-classical overtones as well. No listeners will actually relate to the lyrics; again, Anthropia are -- like so many '70s and '80s bands -- selling pure fantasy and total escapism, and they are good at what they do. This is a likable, generally well-crafted disc -- a bit uneven, but well done for the most part. And while music this fantasy-based and sci-fi-minded is not everyone's cup of tea, The Ereyn Chronicles, Part 1: The Journey of Beginnings is worth hearing if one is a die-hard prog metal enthusiast in search of pure, unadulterated escapism.

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