Divided Multitude - Inner Self


Year of Release: 1999
Label: Sensor
Catalog Number: SR3004
Format: CD
Total Time: 75:56:00

This is the heaviest band on the Sensory label so far. I'm pretty sure that the band hails from Norway, and I've heard and read many things from people that indicate that the band is a Symphony-X style band with Genesis keys, and I myself at first listen would agree with the statements, but upon many listens it's clear that the only thing the band has in common with Symphony X is the heavy, thundering guitar crunch. The keys could be considered in the Genesis vein, although I think because the band uses lots of organ, the similarities to Genesis emerge. I've had the disc for some time now, and with each listen I hear more and more happening in the music, and being almost a 75-minute disc that is quite understandable.

THE STYLE:

Upon first listen, it's easy to want to compare the band to Symphony-X, but I think that the heavy crunch and similar sounding guitars account for that similarity. My best comparison would be a more straight ahead version of Tad Morose circa Sender Of Thoughts, mixed in with some Mayadome song structures, injected with a hint of hard rock choruses mixed in with the metal base. This strange combination is only one of many that I can come up with, as the band does shift into different gears throughout the disc, but to give an idea of some of the similar bands, I can only think of the above bands and at times I've stated that "this sounds like what Symphony X might sound like if they attempted to go a bit more commercial, and then I find myself saying that the only thing in common is the heavy guitar sound. At any rate, it's a good sign for the "originality patrol" that I can't come up with a single band to compare them to immediately. The influences are wide and vary from song to song. The band does use organ from time to time, something not heard that much anymore in metal, and I'm sure that the Genesis comparison comes from that. Overall, it's the heavy crunching guitar mixed with the laid back, soft, lush keyboards that give this band their signature sound. They seem to bounce around from a power metal style, to a very proggy Tad Morose style, to a ballad, to a commercialized neo-classical style. It's hard to keep up with the band, as the direction changes at every turn, which is why we love progressive music.

THE BAND:

Rayner Haroy / bass
Christer Haroy / guitar, backing vocals
Sindre Antonsen / vocals, guitar
Eskild Kloften / keyboards, backing vocals
Olav Skei / drums

It won't be hard to figure out who stands out in this band, with that heavy, driving, crunching guitar leading the way, Christer Haroy is after the same sound that Mike Romeo, Tad Morose, Bernd Basmer, Wolfgang Kerrinis (Dreamscape) and others have with their super crunch and melodies. The interesting thing is that he doesn't play too many solos on the disc, opting instead to complement the keyboard runs that drive the songs melodies. There are lots of places on the disc that the guitar / keyboard plays off each other as each drive the melodies of each song.

Rayner Haroy has a super charged bottom end that really sounds heavy - when united with the crunching guitar, walls do rattle easily. He is a very progressive player, and his fretwork speaks for itself and can be heard easily in the mix playing aside the guitarists.

Eskild Kloften uses many sounds in his keyboard work, most notably the organ sound which pops up frequently in songs, and gives it that Genesis sound lots of people are hearing. He also uses piano frequently, and strings are prominent as well. Again, there aren't many keyboard solos or runs here, the band is more song oriented than show so the keyboard / guitar complement pretty much stick with creating a similar style and sound together rather than veer off and try to outshow each other.

Interestingly enough, I tend not to notice drummers too much, maybe because I believe that most prog metal drummers are very good to be playing the music that they do. Lately, I've been noticing that some drummers ARE standouts, and that each has his own unique style and sound, and Olav Skei seems to be one of those standouts. It's possible that because the drums sound so good and are up in the mix that I am noticing this, but his use of the double bass is definitely prominent in the music, and I liken his style to that of the Athena, Labyrinth and other drummers who inject double bass runs into passages of music when they feel like it, and at times when you least expect it. His sense of timing is uncanny.

THE VOCALS:

I don't know of anyone besides me that has a problem with the vocals. This is not surprising, especially if you know me by now. The strange thing about it is that Sindre sounds a lot like Tobias Sammett of Edguy, only with less power and deliverance than Tobias. Sindre has that gritty, undisciplined tone only lacking in the emotion that I like to hear from vocalists. The fact that he has a heavy accent might be the cause of all of this, and I do notice that he tends to sing the lyrics quite quickly in his attempt to fit the words into the song, and his accent makes it just about impossible to hear what he is saying. He also stays within a single range, and I would imagine that the tone of his voice doesn't allow him to reach out into an upper level. He does pull what he does well though, and I would guess that many won't have a problem with his voice, especially those who like that unique Tobias Sammett sound. This is really the only complaint that I have with the band as a whole, along with the hard rock-ish choruses that abound, but nothing earth shattering for most, if not all.

THE PRODUCTION:

It's a Sensory production - that should really tell the story about this one. I should go on to say that this is probably the best production that Sensory has come up with, and it's just superb. Every instrument is placed exactly in the mix as it should be, although if I had to find a little flaw, I'd say that the drums were just a bit up front, but in a prog metal world where drums sound like tin cans and cardboard boxes for the most part, having a superior drum sound up in the mix is a welcome pleasure. The drums sound programmed, I believe, but I am not a critic of programmed drums or otherwise, and these sound damn good for programmed drums or not.

The guitars are clean, heavy, and super crunchy. They are also placed well up in the mix and it's good to hear someone who appreciates the crunch and thud of guitars in their sound. The bass is heavy, thick, punchy and clear. I don't usually take note of bass players either, because again, I assume that they are all good to be in a prog metal band.

The sound of the bass as it's own entity is noteworthy, instead of having to think or just know that it's there. You can actually hear the bass note for note on this disc, a feat in itself. The keyboards are just put back a bit in the mix, especially for me who loves keyboards anywhere, anytime. I imagine that this is intentional though, as the key style is a very soft, plush style throughout most of the disc and used to capture atmosphere instead of taking over the sound. The vocals are placed exactly where they should be. If Sindre didn't have an accent, it would be easy to hear every single word he is singing. The vocals are clean, crisp and right in your ear at all times; even with the choruses the voices are never drowning each other out. Another superb production from the Sensory label.

THE COMMENTS:

If you like your prog metal heavy, crunchy, and melodic, then this will be a winner for you unless you have a problem with the singer as I do - but again, so far anyone that has heard this or bought it does not have a problem with the vocals. If you are a fan of Tad Morose, then this band should appeal to you. Along with the great production and 75-minute disc time, this is what lots of people gravitate to in the prog metal world.

Divided Multitude seems to have captured all of our wants and needs and wrapped them all up into their disc, and I would guess that the disc will do well for a debut. My petty complaints about the singer and commercialized song choruses shouldn't and won't stop this from becoming a favorite among prog metal fans, and this is highly recommended to purchase on your way through the prog metal adventure ride.


Tracklisting:
Maybe (4:37) / Streets Of Bucharest (7:06) / Heart Of The Moment (7:01) / Pictures Of Home (4:42) / Inner Self (7:02) / Tale Of Tomorrow (10:16) / Confused (6:16) / Mirror's Eye (8:02) / Solitude (9:14) / Scream in Silence (8:40)

Musicians:
Rayner Haroy - bass
Christer Haroy - guitar, backing vocals
Sindre Antonsen - vocals, guitar
Eskild Kloften - keyboards, backing vocals
Olav Skei - drums

Discography:
Inner Self (1999)
Divided Multitude (2001)
Falling To Pieces (2002)
Guardian Angel (2010)
Feed On Your Misery (2013)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NO

Added: June 1st 2000
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1535
Language: english

  

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