At War with Self

Torn Between Dimensions

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In an age where major labels are looking for the quickest hits and most commercial sounds possible, music lovers should be grateful for true visionaries -- or totally nutty, self-indulgent musicians, take your pick -- like guitarist Glen Snelwar, world-renowned bassist Michael Manring, and drummer Mark Zonder, who find explosive joy being At War With Self. Fans who lament the '70s when prog rock and hardcore fusion ruled will love this power prog trio's blistering blend of explosive guitar crunch and subtle new age ambiences. The project is the brainchild of Snelwar (best known for his work with Gordian Knot), who also plays mandolin and keyboards; his intention seems to be opening doors to listeners who may be unfamiliar with progressive rock, classical guitar, or metal. The title cut epitomizes the essential approach -- dreamy and trippy, mandolin-laced atmospheres building steam to Snelwar's scorching explosion, followed by subtler acoustic elements and back. Not much to grab onto melodically there, but for those in need of that, "A Gap in the Stream of Mind, Pt. 1" has a more accessible, rock anthem-like vibe. This is one best enjoyed by lovers of loud guitar rock that takes no prisoners and gets weird more often than not.

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