Visionary - Visionary

Year of Release: 1996
Label: Nightmare-Records
Catalog Number: NMR-81762
Format: CD
Total Time: 36:10:00

For the most part, Visionary are a Queensryche influenced band, though I wouldn't say the vocals sound exactly like Geoff Tate. There is a certain phrasing that is Tate-like, and along with the arrangements to most of the music, you will think of mid-to-late period Queensryche. "Another Time, Another Place" wants to be a harder edged version of "Is Anyone Listening?" (from QR's Empire). Not just because the repeated refrain here is "can you hear me?" but because there comes a point in the arrangement where the sequence and tone of the notes is almost exactly the same as in the QR tune -- a slow build up just before the chorus explodes. This is a pretty good example of where this band is at; meaning, if you think of early 90's QR, you'll be right on the money. Oh yeh, there's a song called "We Fly" - I couldn't but help but think of QR's "Some People Fly" (Hear In The Now Frontier). This song doesn't really sound like the QR-tune - though it does sound like QR- nor does it share anything thematically.

The bass (Jason Fivas) sounds a bit hollow on the opening track "Enigma" ... or rather that he was playing in a hollow, but dampened tube, making the sound a bit compressed. A track like "The Angry One" seems to smooth and pleasant for the topic, as you'd expect many more rough edges to the music and especially to the vocals. But they get this balance right with "Diggin' Your Own Grave" which is very classic-Metallica like in it's execution - speedily chugging guitars, demonic vocals, all song with a catchy chorus -- for those familiar with Metallica, think of "Master Of Puppets" with softer edges.

"Eulogy" opens with a nice piano-like keyboard intro that seems lifted from (or at least influenced by) Al Stewart's "Year Of The Cat" before it gives way to a bass line and drums. The song will alternate between the two, though overall it ends up sounding more like Guns N' Roses' "November Rain," most specifically the latter part of that track with the guitar solos, etc. I think the "November Rain" comparison is apt, as at least there is some similarity between the lyrics of "Eulogy" and the GnR video for their song. The keys reappear on "Only One," the mid-tempo ballad, which also has a very classic sound to it that I wish I could describe. While it is clearly a metal-ballad, the dark tones of music that link the bits of the chorus together sound so hauntingly familiar, as from...well, it's just out of reach, but it's a song that wouldn't have seemed out of place on a Journey album, say, or Kansas. The keyboard tone is a very warm and rich, very piano-like (if not actually a piano). Towards the end, we hear a bit of strings added.

Acoustic guitars open "Friendly Fire," and the arrangement here is reminiscent of Dream Theater, even down to the vocal delivery. Two vocalists are credit on the album, so I'm sure if one is lead the other backing, or if they share duties. The Tate-ness is still present, here. This is the most musically interesting song here, though each really can be said to be musically interesting. This has a little extra, that really makes it standout on the album. As I said, two vocalists are credited; ditto the guitarists with Steve Yeates and Dawayne King both sharing acoustic and electric duties. With a dark, sad theme, it ends the album on a very somber note. Though, to be honest, the rest of the album isn't light and bright. There's an illustration by Lincoln Wanlass in the centre of the booklet, depicting an adobe-built fortress (with vaguely Middle-Eastern accents). A group of shrouded persons carrying a banner with a skull on it -- well, both on it, as there's one that is riding atop the crosspiece, but also emblazoned upon the fabric as well, this one stylized.

This is a very good album and one won't be bothered by how much or little the band sound like Queensryche. There are hints to their music, but nothing that could be said to be a clone or rip off. Despite dark themes, the music is engaging and I've rather enjoyed listening to this CD -- good performances, good vocals, good music...good CD. Recommended.

Enigma (4:35) / Another Time, Another Place (5:14) / The Angry One (4:20) / Eulogy (5:37) / Diggin Your Own Grave (3:46) / We Fly (4:26) / Only One (4:11) / Friendly Fire (4:01)

Kyle Morrill - vocals, drums, keyboards
Tony Horstmanshoff - vocals, drums
Steve Yeates - electronic and acoustic guitars
Dawayne King - electric and acoustic guitars
Jason Fivas - bass

Visionary (1996)
Strange But Familiar Shores (2002)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 31st 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 739
Language: english


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