Images of Eden - Rebuilding the Ruins (Nightmare Records)
By: Matt Coe
[7.5/10] Five seems to be a magic number in the Images Of Eden circle. It showcases the number of years between studio releases, with Rebuilding the Ruins their third release and first since 2006’s Sunlight of the Spirit. Not that leader Gordon Tittsworth has been idling his time away - he also performs with two other bands in Dread the Forsaken as well as All Too Human. The act that garners his attention most is this progressive metal unit, and one that matches a lot of the skill set from the bigger bands of this subgenre based on the following 74-minute record.
Gordon tackles lead vocals, bass, rhythm guitar, and additional keyboards and his talent appears to be in sync with much of the late 80’s/early 90’s movement with Fates Warning and Queensryche especially on tracks like “Crosses in the Sand” and “Tribal Scars.” There are times where the mid-tempo or epic material tends to drag a little in terms of riffs that just aren’t exciting, such as “Dreams Unbroken” or “On Elevated Ground,” but there are little flashes of brilliance in terms of the finger tapping solos or spirited drumming from Chris Lucci to at least elevate an eyebrow or two.
As far as being a progressive voice, Gordon prefers to sustain notes in a mid-range to higher pitch delivery, much like older Geoff Tate or Mike Baker of Shadow Gallery on winning tracks like “Human Angels” or the Native American influenced “Native To His Land.” The production values are a touch lower than I’d hope; it feels like the compression during the mastering process causes a lot of the brightness one expects from progressive music to seem lost in translation.
Overall, Rebuilding the Ruins contains all the requisite musicianship interplay and complex songwriting everyone envisions while also remembering to keep the focus from time to time on shorter, catchy choruses and melodies. Probably will gain wider appreciation with the ProgPower crew than with conventional metal followers.
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