Time Symmetry - Fate In Gray
Progressive Metal
9 songs (52:45)
Release year: 2005
Time Symmetry
Reviewed by Ken
Surprise of the month

Generally when doing a review I like to talk a little bit about the band prior to discussing the album I’m reviewing. In the case of Time Symmetry it’s easy: they’re from Spain, they’ve been together for four years and they’ve released one EP prior to Fate In Gray. Oh, there’s more to the band than that, I’m sure, but everything I can find is written in Spanish and my understanding of that language consists of recognizing insulting slang words—an ability that doesn’t apply to the lyrics of this album because, oddly enough, they’re sung in English, though everything else in the CD booklet is in Spanish (sans insults).

So let’s get right to it…

Time Symmetry is Spain’s equivalent to North America’s Dream Theater. However, with Fate In Gray only consisting of nine songs the band seems a bit more streamlined and avoids self-indulgent prog benders that sometimes plague certain Dream Theater songs. “The Game” opens the show in grand fashion with acoustics interspersed within heavier riffs, keyboards (even a dueling keyboard/guitar solo in the mid-section) and some very strong vocals from guitarist/percussionist David Rubio; a very catchy chorus tops it off. “When The Voice Is Gone” and “Cold Morning Train”—a song dedicated to the victims of the Madrid train bombings on March 11, 2004—both carry on in the tradition of “The Game,” making for one awe-inspiring opening trilogy. Things slow down a bit quality-wise with “Woman From Loneliness,” a fairly fast and heavy track that brings in some of the band’s heritage with some Spanish guitar mixed in with piano and saxophone. Odd choices of instruments indeed, but they flow together and it works well; unfortunately the song lacks the punch of the first three. “Autumn” once again brings in some Spanish elements, a good all-acoustic track with a subtle hook. “Alone He Wanders” is a heavier number; a good song, but again it lacks that certain quality that made the first three tracks so good.

The final three tracks make up the Fate Of Gray trilogy—which is based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray. A piano intro begins “The Portrait” and leads into a heavy, mid-paced AOR-like track with a simple chorus that works perfectly and gets the album back on the right track. “Sibyl Vane” is a short track, just over a minute long, that comes and goes leaving only an impression of want. It’s set up like a theatrical Broadway number (think latter day Savatage) with back-and-forth male (Dorian) and female (Sybil) vocals layered over piano, bass guitar and some slight orchestral touches. It works well, but it’s over as soon as it begins and only makes me wish they’d extended it well beyond the 77-seconds it is given here. “Naiad” closes and is a mixed bag of what made the first three tracks and “The Portrait” so good, and what left the others a bit on the “Needs Work” side.

Fate In Gray, while not being perfect by any means, could have been a masterpiece. The potential for greatness is written all over this album, and while it is still very good it’s hard to discount that fact, which seems to make it a little more disappointing. Regardless, Fate In Gray is indeed a damn good album. When it’s great, it is really great, and even when it doesn’t work so well it’s not that bad. Hopefully the band will meet or exceed its potential on the next album.

In the meantime they need to improve their website and include an English version, cut down on the load time, kill the annoying crow, and update the media section—which is under construction. A link to purchase the album is the most important, however, and it’s not even in an under construction state, it just doesn’t exist; that's very unfortunate because this album should appeal to a great number of prog-metal fans and there’s no way for them to buy a copy (as far as I can tell). If you can find this album, however, it is recommended if you're a fan of Dream Theater et al.

On a side note, the artwork is excellent. Where a band like Mechanical Poet leans heavily on the Tim Burton style, Time Symmetry have taken a Disney-like approach, only much darker than you’d expect from Disney.

AUDIO: Time Symmetry on MySpace

VIDEO: When The Voice Is Gone (Live on YouTube)

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
The Game, When The Voice Is Gone, Cold Morning Train and The Portrait
Ken quoted 80 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:13 pm
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