(All Album Reviews by maribor)
Aragon are supposedly a trio from Australia but after listening to the interview at the end of this album it became pretty obvious that the singer isn't Autralian but Scottish. But what do nationalities matter anyway. It's the music that matters.
First, to the concept of this concept album. It's pretty much a cross between The Lamb and IQ's Subterranea. It's about a man who gets trapped in another dimension. There are all sorts of dangers lurking at every corner (someone tries to cut his face off, someone tries to pin him on sharp glass fragments,...) but the protagonist manages to escape them all with the aid of a female guide (obvious Dante reference). At the end of the story, he manages to overcome the machine that controls this dimension and is free.
The storyline is basically full of metaphors. The whole story could represent the path of a musician on his long road to artistic independence. The female guide is his muse but when she dies he does not lose his artistic abilities for she lives inside him. All the obstacles and traps symbolise the traps of the music industry that tries to lure musicians into its clutches and make them give up their ideals.
While being very impressed by the storyline and the lyrical content, the music also grabbed me. It's a kind of combination between early Marillion, early Arena and IQ (Subterranea). The keyboards are very tastefully done and used mostly for supplying the melodies, while the guitarist does most of the soloing. The sound they produce is close to neo, so fans of neo wait no longer. The drums are programmed and the bass line is played on the synth but I actually didn't even notice it that much. The vocalist is a cross between Fish and Geddy Lee - not amongst the best vocalists but I don't mind his voice.
So, those of you who like intriguing and gripping storylines and a neo sound should buy this album. I myself am not a big fan of the neo genre but this album really grew on me quite fast.
8 out of 10.