(All Album Reviews by Sean)
Wouldn't suspect the US south would be harboring many prog bands, would you? But indeed it does. There is a small, but determined prog scene there and every year a few good cds creep out. 2006 saw the release Mobius from Atlanta, GA trio Paine's Promise and has proven to be an exciting release with much potential.
Paine's is named after "Mr Common Sense" himself, Thomas Paine. I like the historical angle. Just learning about the band's name teaches you a little bit of history, provided you were snoozing back in history class. As many were... Or are not up on US history.
Mobius is an exciting release that I think would appeal to fans of rocking prog/metal trios. I hear a strong Rush influence both instrumentally (think Counterparts-era) and vocal melody-wise (more Hold Your Fire). Not to say that they sound like a Rush clone. No, they have a lot more going for them than that. Some vocals remind me of Heart as well, and that's never a bad thing, those girls could SING!
I won't go track by track, but I would like to point out a few that still are with me after several listens. "99 Failures" is one of the more immediate. "Shark" is a catchy instrumental that would have fit nicely on recent Rush cds like Test For Echo. "Awake at the Wheel" has more of a 70s vibe and is equally compelling.
The whole cd is very solid, not a duff track in the batch. This is a nice step forward from their previous EP, though a few tracks are repeated here. It all meshes nicely as a whole album though. If I would offer any suggestions for future cds it would simply be to mix it up a bit more. Bring in some odd instrumetation. Maybe a nice sax solo over some of the arpeggiated sections. A touch of vibes, maybe a dash of sitar, some keys.... I wouldn't mind hearing some vocal overdubs that conjure up an 80s Yes vibe, but maybe that is just the Yes fanboy in me talking.
Overall though, this is a solid release and one of the best proggy releases to crawl out of the Kudzu covered South in 2006! The playing, singing and arranging are water-tight!