Time Machine - Eternity Ends


Year of Release: 1999
Label: Omega Records
Catalog Number: OM 981102
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:30:00

The boys are back, and in top form on their newest disc, which hasn't left my CD player since its arrival. After putting out an EP that didn't do much for their reputation, called Shades Of Time, they've fired back and have released one of the better symphonic prog metal discs to start off 1999. Time Machine is probably one of the more progressive Italian bands on the circuit today, and most will remember their controversial-yet- incredible concept disc called Act II: Galileo which was met with as many negative responses as positive ones, although I agree with all of the arguments for both sides. Along with some of the more controversial religious bashing going on in the lyrics, most either had a problem with the tinny production or the dark, brooding atmosphere of the music, which to a prog lovers delight, never stayed still or consistent for a moment.

Hoping for something even more tantalizing, we were treated to a less-than-welcome EP called Shades Of Time which showed some lineup change, most notably the Act II singer, and a new style with the band trying their best to a Fates Warning imitation that failed miserably. It didn't stop the band from bouncing back and releasing a long awaited monster of a disc.

THE STYLE:

If you were expecting Act III:Galileo, you will be very disappointed. The music is worlds apart from that particular style, yet somehow the band manages to capture the moody, dark atmosphere and some of the softer passages remind of Act II, but for the most part, the band has gone into a more melodic, catchy, riff happy style, and they throw in some interesting prog moments using Spanish style acoustic guitar work, congas, even some saxophone along the way. It's a great mixture for those who like their prog, but like it melodic and atmospheric at the same time, and I can't think of an Italian band that does it better then this band. One moment the band is making it's way through some quiet, soft, acoustic-with-strings passage, and the next moment the band is starting off with a familiar but killer riff to signal the start of the next song. To be so bold, it almost sounds like some 80's style melodic metal mixed in with signature Time Machine. The riffs are super melodic and catchy, yet the atmospheric / symphonic keyboards that hold the base sound together sound super gloomy at times, and you don't know whether to feel good or feel bad about the music, it has a two-way effect on the senses. The band also makes good use of bass pedals to enhance the lower end of the sound, giving the overall sound a huge bottom end that will shake some walls during those passages (subwoofer users beware). For me personally, this is the ultimate in Italian Prog Metal sound; the band has an uncanny way of fulfilling everything about melodic prog metal that one can ask for; melodies, accessible riffs mixed in with progressive maneuvers, low bottom end, gloomy yet epic keyboards, straight ahead metal, soft acoustic passages, excellent lyrics, convincing vocals, this disc has it all .........

THE BAND:

Joe Taccone / Guitars
Nick Rossetti / Drums
Nick Fortarezza / Vocals
Lorenzo Deho / Bass
Stefano Della Giustina / Keyboards, sax

Comparing the lineup from Act II: Galileo, the band has dropped one guitarist, and held onto Joe Taccone, a wise move indeed. Joe is one of more "contemporary" Italian prog guitarists. He sounds like he wants to really rip it up on the fret board, and he does, except that the production holds him back just a bit as we will see later on. Overall, he has a similar style many German guitarists who play melodic metal in modern day prog. Lorenzo Deho is back on bass, and holding down the low end in a most interesting fashion; he is one of those bassplayers that can hold his own side of the band down without having to follow the guitarist note for note - kudos to Deho who writes most of the music, giving himself some great bass chops along the way which you can hear clearly. Up next is Rossetti, who has replaced the Act II drummer. The Act II drummer, Antonio Rotta was a very capable progressive drummer; having to keep time to Act II was a feat in itself. Rossetti is a more straight ahead drummer, as the music dictates, and through his more proggy parts shows himself to be more than a competent counterpart. Giustina has replaced Deho, the current bass player who handled keys on Act II. Used more for background and atmosphere, Giustina treats to a host of string, piano, flute synth, and other keyboard sounds to create the gloomy, atmopheric base that adds a great sense of depth and size to the music. Nick Fortarezza, the singer, gets his own section below.

THE VOCALS:

Stop here and move on to another disc if you don't like singers with accents, especially Italian singers with accents. Nick Fortarezza has a particularly thick accent, and either can't hide it or chooses not to, but I will say that I am a big fan of accents in my prog metal, and have no problems with them as long as they sing well and with conviction, and Fortareazza does both. He has a mid-range voice, and it sounds like he has a natural high tone to his voice as he pretty much stays within a mid-range throughout the disc. He goes high just a couple of times, but when he does, you can hear the limitations of his voice, but never detracts or leaves you feeling irritated. The guy sings with as much conviction as any Italian singer I've heard; you can feel that he feels the music, the atmosphere, and with the lyrics being such as they are (I'll allude to that later), he needs to sound convincing and he does. He does some vocal harmonies here and there and blends well with himself. Overall, a very competent and commendable job bringing this great music and story forward - and in the end, it's the conviction in his voice that wins me over.

THE PRODUCTION:

I like most parts - I dislike some parts. On the whole, it sounds great, but when I listen to the individual pieces, I wish for a bit more in the tweaking of the buttons on the sound board. The drums sound good, just a bit back in the mix, and even the snare drum sounds believeable, which always brings a smile to my face. The keyboards are well done, too, placed just right in the mix and sounding clean and convincing. The vocals could be brought up just a bit but sound good as is, considering that the guitar and bass are a bit out of sync with the rest of the sound. It won't be wasy to understand every word that Fortarezza says, and it's not because of the production, but because of his accent mixed in with some of the stranger vocal lines. The guitar sound is a bit muddy, and holds back Taccone from sounding the way he obviously wants to. While you can "hear" the guitar, you can't "feel" it, and you are feel left trying to turn up the volume a bit, but it just won't cut it - someone needed to add some substance to his bottom end to give him that believability that he is a contender guitarist - and he is - he was just shortchanged on some of the sound, and with a more ballsy, crunchy push, this disc might have even appealed to most pure metal heads. Prog heads are used to this syndrome, and even though we don't welcome it, we love it for what it is...... my biggest problem comes in the bass dept. Deho wasn't shortchanged for sounds, he was actually given a bit too much - as in if you use a subwoofer like I do, forget it. The bottom end is so muddy, the low sounds just spill out into the room and covers the entire sound of the music. It acts more like a blanket than it does an enhancer - those sounds are left to the bass pedals, which actually do sound great when the walls are rattling, although you probably won't get to do that much because you will want it turned off during this disc. The bass itself coming from your speakers will do the trick nicely, and it's less exciting when you have to "tone it down" in order to get the accuracy, but nonetheless, I miss the subby..... It is just not an accurate, solid bottom. Other than that, the disc does sound very good and it's worlds above acceptable.

THE LYRICS:

I never go here ...... this is the most subjective and self-interpreting aspect of music, so I never go in this direction; however, given the nature of them, I thought I'd say a few words as I know there are many who take their lyrics seriously and those who will shy away from certain lyrics if the right subject comes up. The disc has a VERY religious theme - not in the preachy sense, but they do deal with how Jesus felt as he was being crucified, as in his personal thoughts to mankind, how futile his attempts to save man were because of our ignorance, how he questions his own existence in having to save man in the first place - it's a very sad, convincing story that might offend some if you question their interpretations of how Jesus felt at the time of his death. His pain, his suffering, his thoughts, his attempt to carry on are all part of the story line - so be forewarned.

THE COMMENTS:

I can't get the damn thing out of my player - it warms my heart to see a band come out and kick some serious prog metal butt after putting out what many believe to be a masterpiece, Act II: Galileo..... I thought all hope was lost after their EP Shades Of Time and I'll admit I was weary of buying this blindly. Always having faith in prog metal, I plunked down the cash and the disc has gotten more than it's share of the value at this point and it still stays in my player and is played daily. Anyone into Italian, symphonic prog metal will drool all over this disc - it's played with so much conviction, you wonder what the hell goes on between the scenes while bands like dormant for so long. If you're looking for Act III, forget that, but do not abandon this disc because of that. The disc still has it's Act II darkness and quirkiness, but melodic metal has been put in front as the driver of this sound, and mixed in with the Time Machine signature symphonic sound, they have created one hell of a disc, and I highly recommend this disc to anyone who loves melodic prog metal........look for Andre Matos (Angra) to appear in credits on the writing of one the songs..it even has that Angra feel to it........

This album also released by Lucretia Records, cat no: LU98041-2; and by Rock Brigade, which adds three bonus tracks. I have seen different tracklistings as well that don't include the first two and last tracks ... typos? Alternate versions? I don't know.


Tracklisting:
End Of Darkness (1:26) / Falling Star (1:47) / I, The Subversive Nazarene (5:35) / Hidden Pain (6:04) / Eternity Ends (5:13) / I Believe Again (5:51) / Desert Of Souls (5:35) / Behind The Cross (9:33) / Sphynx (The Witness) (5:25) / When The Night Surrounds Me (1:48) / Pilatus (6:27) / Dark Again (0:20)

Bonus tracks on the Rock Brigade version: Never-ending Love (1:49) / I Believe Again (6:27) / Sphynx (demo) (0:21)

Musicians:
Nick Fortarezza - vocals
Lorenzo Deh? - bass
Nicola Rossetti - drums
Joe Taccone - guitars
Stefano Della Giustina - sax and keyboards

Discography:
Project: Time Scanning (1993)
Dungeons of the Vatican (1994) (Japanese ep)
Act II: Galileo (1995)
Shades Of Time (1997) (ep)
Secret Oceans Part I (1998) (ep)
Eternity Ends (1998)
Secret Oceans Part 2 (1998) (ep)
Hidden Secrets (2000)
Aliger Daemon (2001) (ep)
Evil (2001)
Reviviscence (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

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

Artist website: www.timemachine.cjb.net
Hits: 732
Language: english

  

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