Andromeda - II=I

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8082-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:20:00

On the band's debut album Extension Of The Wish, released in 2001, Swedish prog metal outfit Andromeda mainly was an instrumental brainchild of guitarist Johan Reinholdz to which they had added vocalist Lawrence Mackrory in order to make it sound more like a true band. You needn't to have been an expert to hear the band was capable of better things if only they could work with a permanent singer as opposed to the odd guest that only joined the band in the studio. Next to Reinholdz' melodic death metal band NonExist, surely Andromeda is his main band on which he tries to focus, so the band can develop towards a well deserved place in the prog metal world. Contrary to a lot of "ordinary" prog metal outfits, Andromeda experiments with not so evident soundscapes, as is apparent during the crossover between opener "Encyclopedia" and "Mirages."

With the arrival of singer David Fremberg it looks like the band is finally complete; that is, his presence fits the music of Andromeda best and he can be used as a complimentary "instrument" if you like in order to develop the band's music even more. Nevertheless it will still remain the instrumental sections that will pull the fans massively towards Andromeda. Especially, the "fights" between guitar and keyboards sound legendary. In most cases once you see the label "prog metal" pop up you kind of think you know what to expect. In the case of Andromeda, luckily this isn't the case, as one surprise follows the other in order to thickly underline the word "originality"! Would any band in its genre dare to deliver a pure ballad as does the band here with II=I (Two Is One), yet, after a while, it changes towards authentic prog metal few bands are able to deliver. Certainly a fantastic "tour de force."

With the instrumental "Morphing Into Nothing" Reinholdz perfectly illustrates his excellent skills as a guitarist, whether it's inhumanly fast or extremely powerful. As done so many times throughout the music of Andromeda, he often gives the solo spot to keyboard player Martin Hedin who blends ever so well within the fast and furious playing. During "Castaway" he even delivers something that comes close to a classic piano concerto. In fact he repeats this classical influence during the intro for "One In My Head" in which he spices up the rhythm by means of staccato organ followed by wild synths. As the album evolves it becomes clear that Hedin sometimes gets a bigger slice of the cake than Reinholdz himself! It also becomes clear that the vocal harmonies are screaming for a choir which would most certainly give the music an extra dimension. With the final song "This Fragile Surface," the band proves once again that it has risen to take the place amongst the world's very best in the domain of prog metal. Now that they have found their ideal line-up, they can start building a large following, as from now on all they need to do is make one extraordinary album after another, which they certainly will!

Encyclopedia (7:08) / Mirages (5:42) / Reaching Deep Within (4:50) / Two Is One (9:05) / Morphing Into Nothing (7:35) / Castaway (6:17) / Parasite (6:55) / One In My Head (8:03) / This Fragile Surface (8:05)

Johan Reinholdz ? guitar, bass
David Fremberg ? vocals
Martin Hedin ? keyboards
Thomas Lejon ? drums

Extension Of The Wish (2001)
II=I (2003)
Final Extension (2004)
Chimera (2006)
The Immunity Zone (2008)

Playing Off The Board (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: September 27th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Language: english


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