Inner Resonance - Solar Voices

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Descant Records/IR
Catalog Number: IR-99001
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:20:00

Inner Resonance are a duo of Peter Orullian (vocals and keyboards) and Jeffrey Ryan Smoots (guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums). The music on Solar Winds falls squarely in the progressive metal camp, though an acoustic based track like "Ember" bucks that trend --they sound a bit like Shadow Gallery here; a sugar-free Shadow Gallery, of course. It also has an air of familiarity about it that I can't precisely place but Dream Theater comes to mind. Orullian does reach a little bit on the high notes, which is a criticism throughout. The worst example is during "One More Summer," which is otherwise a rather nice track (again, a lot like Shadow Gallery). His voice is fine when he doesn't reach too high, though - a bit of a mix of Mike Baker, James LaBrie, Geoff Tate, and other warmer voiced vocalists. He sounds most like Tate on "Solar Wind" which also features one of many searing guitar solos by Smoots.

Musically, comparisons can also be made to Dream Theater and other prog metal bands, though Smoots' bass work is more reminiscent of Geddy Lee's, at least tone wise. There is a guitar part, a quick succession of notes, in "The Drum" that echoes Lifeson's in Rush's "YYZ." There are moments during the opener "Icarus" when I thought of Metallica's "Don't Tread On Me," because there is a similar guitar tone throughout that has a tinge of the Middle East about it. "Desire To Believe" is almost a straight-ahead arena-rock song, until Smoots' guitar comes in with a metal crunch to it.

The common theme running throughout the album is light, as a metaphor for God, or perhaps something not quite as concrete as that - faith. In "Solar Wind" a man contemplates suicide, reflecting upon his life: "He thought that if he never tried/That he could never fail." A voice on the wind interrupts him and makes him see "the light." Ironically though, you know he isn't going to jump because he wasn't until that point a risk taker, a that would be a big risk; so was the voice he hears truly external, or his own subconscious backing him away from risk? He does have a foot off the ground, ready for that leap when he hears the voice. None of this subtext is actually intended in the song; maybe I'm too much of a cynic. In either case though, he realizes failure is in not taking risks. My first thought was that he jumped anyway, but what kind of message would that be? 'Course, I read the lyrics again and see this is clearly not the case. He turns away from the edge to start living his life.

"Wanderlust" is the tour-de-force instrumental where Smoots really lets loose on the fretboard. This is hands down the overall best track on the album, "Solar Wind" comes a close second and is the best vocal track. Orullian's voice soars without straining. The song is tight and compact. "Open Eyes" contains some beautiful piano-like keyboard parts and this is their most Queensryche-like moment.

Overall this is a good album, with the exceptions noted above. It's somewhat amazing that it's just two guys, as it sounds like a full band - there are great dynamics at play here. The album is its strongest from track 5 on and the closing track "The Drum" has some memorable melodic lines. This is their epic track at close to 10 minutes (only "One More Summer" comes close to it in time at 9:12). It is the choral refrain that sticks in my head long after the disk ends, as Orullian's voice soars such that would make the likes of La Brie and Baker proud.

Icarus (3:31) / Winter's Dream (5:09) / One More Summer (9:12) / Ember (4:30) / Wanderlust (3:54) / Solar Wind (5:01) / Desire To Believe (6:53) / Open Eyes (4:13) / Broken Stone (6:59) / The Drum (9:58)

Jeffrey Ryan Smoots - guitar, bass, keyboards, drums
Peter Orullian - vocals, keyboards

Solar Voices (1999)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: May 13th 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1139
Language: english


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