Anomaly - Anomaly

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Mandamus Records, Inc.
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

About the only thing that this disc has in common with progressive metal is the progressive part. I want to stress up front, that this is not a metal disc. I'd have to put it in maybe a category called light / progressive / hard rock, with an emphasis on light. So, anyone wondering if this is good 'metal' or not, stop wondering and know that this is hard rock / light rock all the way. With a complement of guitar, bass, drums and vocal, and virtually NO overdubbing, this is a very raw, natural recording, and I'd say that the goal is just that; to hear every instrument as is. No effects, no processing, no overdubs, just raw music that sounds like it was recorded in a room with the musicians in it at the same time. With that in mind, here is the rest of what is contained in this disc.


Melodic hard rock with progressive tendencies. Anomaly includes a cover of Zeppelin's "Rain Song," done well I might add, and this should give you an idea of what direction the band takes its music to. Mixing in some light Zeppelin, with some Pink Floydian melodies, acoustic guitar galore, the word 'heavy' does not apply here folks. It's 4 musicians doing their thing; creating music. If someone asked me to describe this outright, I'd have to say that it's a light version of what Zeppelin would be in the 90's, with a touch of progressive tendencies ... again, with an emphasis on light because of all the acoustic guitar interplay and light electric guitar sounds.


Do the names Sean Malone, Sean Reinart, Jim Studnicki, Jim Dorian mean anything to you ? Well, if not, here is a brief description. Malone just happens to be one of the best bass players in the world. Studnicki is the guitarist and main songwriter. Reinart is the drummer, and Dorian is the great singer in the band. This is a musicians' musicians band; sort of like the light version of what Edwin Dare is. Each musician is a master of his instrument, and like Edwin Dare, the emphasis seems to be on musicianship, and you can easily hear how talented these guys are. However, due to the light nature of the music, you really can't get a total feel for what these guys can really do when let loose. The song structures don't allow for much, if any, improvisation, and the songs are held to basic structures with little allowance for the members to strut their stuff. None of the songs really are geared to showcase the true talents of these individuals, each clocking in at an average 3-5 minutes, and it's a 'song' thing, not a showcase. If you are looking for some letting loose, check out Malone when he was doing Cynic material.


For me personally, this is the highlight of the disc ... I understand that Jim Dorian was once a candidate to fill the vacancy left in Kamelot by Mark Vanderbilt, and I would have really liked to hear him sing in that band than in this one. His voice seems to be a little 'unused' with light music, and I'd really like to hear him rip it up within some good prog metal like Kamelot. His voice is very melodic and pleasant, and the guy could be in just about any band, light or heavy and still sound great. He doesn't get much of a chance to showcase the level and range which he obviously possesses, but he's certainly a pleasure to listen to. His voice is very operatic, sounding like maybe a cross between what Don Dokken might sound like crossed with a young Robert Plant, with the softer tones of Roy Khan mixed in. How's that for a voice? That's a basic description, not to be held to the exact voice of those singers. It's the tonal quality of all three that I'm trying to point out. His rendition of "Rain Song" is outstanding, and you'd think that Mr. Plant himself has returned with a voice from 20 years ago to appear on the Anomaly disc; it's quite a treat.


The disc was recorded at Morrisound Studio, and I'm a bit surprised because the disc is not indicative of sound that normally comes out of that studio. One would think that maybe a Crimson Glory sound, or a Kamelot sound might be pouring out of this disc, but it doesn't. Clarity is in, effects and huge ambient sound are out. The recording is actually quite good, although the emphasis on natural sound, not in creating something artificial. It's obvious that the goal of the band was to capture the sound as it comes from the instrument, not from a mixing board full of effects. The instruments are bright, not boomy. The guitars and vocals stand out the most, with the vocals edging out the instruments just a bit, and rightly so when you have a singer of this caliber. My complaint would be that it really is a bit light on the bass and drums, giving the overall sound a bit of an empty, incomplete void that you wish was filled by some punchier bass or heavier drums. Again, the music is lightweight, so this is probably not a good idea and someone realized this in the recording process. My usual complaint of a hollow snare drum arises once again, as the drum sounds a bit on the tinny side, but, I'm sure this was intentional and naturally recorded. Overall, you're getting what you hear from the instruments; it's clear, it's natural, and it's pretty much effectless throughout. Musicians will be able to appreciate this moreso than the average listener.


I'm not sure how the buzz started going around on this disc in the prog metal world, but be warned, this is not metal in any sense of the word. Maybe because the disc is actually progressive music, that it found a home on the prog metal boards, but I'd say that this music would be more fitting to prog rock fans, who like the lighter sound, and seem to appreciate the musicianship moreso than the songs and song structures that prog metal fans seem to be drawn to. If you're into musicianship, then by all means check it out. If you're into Zeppelin-esque type music (although progged up and light ) check this out as well. However, if you're into prog metal, as in any sense of the word, I would find it hard to believe that you would get much enjoyment out of this one. It's well done, but to be honest, it's ironic that only Zep's "Rain Song" keeps sticking out in my mind, not the original tunes of Anomaly. Obviously the talent is there, it's just a matter of where your taste lies in progressive music, and what you want to hear. Metal heads, stay clear.

Ensnared / Do You Believe? / Iconoclast / Seasons / Wolves / The Second Day / The Art Of War / The Rain Song / Pictures

Jim Dorian - vocals
Jim Studnicki - guitars
Sean Malone - bass
Sean Reinert - drums

Anomaly (1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1082
Language: english


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