"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Suspyre - "When Time Fades" (CD)

Suspyre - "When Time Fades" CD cover image

"When Time Fades" track listing:

1. Possession (5:34)
2. Evolutions (6:11)
3. Lighted Endrhyme (7:40)
4. Maniac Manic Point Check (1:53)
5. Siren (One Last Breath) (10:16)
6. Reign (7:46)
7. Fallen Stars (3:42)
8. A World With No Measures (6:16)
9. The Light of the Fire (8:56)
10. Apparitions (6:10)
11. Let Freedom Ring (The Heart of It All) (11:12)

Reviewed by on July 16, 2009

"'When Time Fades…' strikes an amazing balance between traditional metal, off-the-wall prog, acoustic sounds, and power metal. "

New Jersey’s Suspyre has released a new gem that will find itself fitting in nicely in the collections of prog and power metal fans. The band’s third full-length album “When Time Fades…” strikes an amazing balance between traditional metal, off-the-wall prog, acoustic sounds, and power metal. While any album that combines so many different styles is going to have a few segments that won’t appeal to everyone, overall the disc sustains itself as a near-masterpiece from start to finish.

The basic sound of the music has a power metal edge, with the higher pitched clean signing and impressive guitar acrobatics. In a manner very similar to the prog act To-Mera, Suspyre frequently changes the specifics of any given song while still keeping the overall sound unified. Although the changes don’t occur nearly as frequently as they do with To-Mera, each song goes through several distinct changes that prevent it from ever sticking entirely to one single style.

What’s most impressive about the songs is that even though they head in so many different directions they never actually lose focus or fall apart. The music repeatedly shifts without skipping a beat between melodic, uplifting, menacing, and depressing. While the changes might come off as schizophrenic or lacking a central theme from other bands, Suspyre keeps the songs long enough that the progression is more natural. Although there are two short tracks present, most of the songs range from between six and eleven minutes long.

With only a single brief bout of growling on “The Light of the Fire,” the vocals on “When Time Fades…” stay exclusively on the clean end. Suspyre’s vocalist has got the kind of voice specifically crafted for this style of music. His voice has a deep and rich quality, not to mention an exceedingly wide range, that makes the vocals stand out as an instrument that is absolutely essential the music. The clean vocals broaden the appeal of Suspyre, letting people who don’t normally enjoy screams and grunts get a full dosage of metal. Keyboards also play a huge role in “When Time Fades…,” as they frequently set the pace of the music and then let the guitars and drums follow. The perfect meshing of the keyboards with the other instruments, without going off the deep end and losing the power of the music, is another aspect of the album that makes it a cut above the competition.

There are few minor flaws that keep “When Time Fades…” from realizing absolute perfection, but they aren’t big enough deterrents to prevent anyone from listening to the album. The ending of the song “Evolutions” uses a mechanical filter on the vocals to give the impression of a futuristic robot. There’s no question that the effect was done well, and definitely could have been a real disaster if it had been mishandled, but the very idea of a stereotypically monotone robot talking in the song is cheesy on its own. Depending on how much leeway the individual listener is willing to give a band, it could come off as an interesting segment or as something that may illicit unintentional laughs. The song “Fallen Stars” may also have much less appeal to metal fans, as it has a very mainstream sound that flirts with the line between music that is heavy and music that is radio friendly.

Suspyre is a rising star in the progressive metal realm, and with any luck “When Time Fades…” is just the beginning of what they have to offer. Any metal fan who enjoys prog or power metal should pick the album up at the earliest possibility.

Highs: Great prog aspects, amazing vocals, superb meshing of keyboards with guitars

Lows: One song is much less heavy and almost hits "radio friendly," one of the sound effects doesn't work very well

Bottom line: An amazingly executed progressive album with heavy power metal elements

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)