Baltimore progressive metallists explode into space to explore inner and outer cosmos.
Five albums down the line, this quintet expanded their universe to the farthest philosophical reaches, and “Turtles” aligns it with the actual existence. To what extent the band’s fans are eager to delve into such big ideas remains one of the questions that are out of scope here, where technical prowess meets good melodies and gets the better of them when the bottom end gets fashionably compressed with no celestial gain. Thus, it’s hard to scale the multipart brilliance of 17-minute closer “Box Of Dice (Does God Play?)” that runs in its theatrical complexity in the opposite direction from the atmospheric depth of the title instrumental whose three instalments are scattered around the record.
The twin-axe approach as employed by Matt Brookins and Rick Pierpont serves nicely the folk-tinged reckless reel “Back Where The Daffodils Grow” while “(A Song For) Dragons” highlights the acoustic, strum-and-piano, aspect of the players’ heroism before their riffs rage in “…But What’s The Question?” wherein new singer Dimetrius LaFavors does a stellar job. Together, vocal and guitar harmonies give weight to the otherwise shallow “Insomnia” and, per se, are the saving grace of the album. Groaning under its own heaviness, there’s a lot to enjoy on it – add more immediacy, and it’ll click.