Arch / Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance

Ok, some of you probably know that the term “true“ has become sort of a laughingstock, especially in underground circles, but this term is exactly what I am going to use in order to describe the greatness I deal with in this review. That’s right, Arch / Matheos is definitely the best TRUE progressive metal album of the year, so far.

Although the duo worked together on the first three Fates Warning records and on Arch’s solo work A Twist of Fate (2003), that was by no means their most mature, most engaging and most successful collaboration. In the year where progressive metal brings both disappointments and ardour, it’s pretty clear where Sympathetic Resonance stands.

With new albums by Symphony X (average incarnate), Pain of Salvation (long time no prog metal), Leprous (a most pleasant suprise), Dream Theater (comeback album?) and Opeth (free of any pressures) – Arch / Matheos sneaked all the way between all of the mentioned giants and is a serious threat for a takeover.

Anyway, with Sympathetic Resonance, Jim Matheos seems to do things quite systematically. First of all, the new Fates Warning was announced quite some time ago and is due to be released sometime in 2012. At the other side, his other project featuring former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore is currently in the works and this release is expected for the January 2012. If some of you thought that this year is about to become renaissance period for progressive metal, be careful – Jim Matheos could hear you.

But enough with empty talk, we have THE BEST progressive metal release in 2011 and we all have to deal with it. The album is divided in six pieces – odd numbers are epics clocking over 10 minutes each and this is where the duo, followed by excellent musicianship of Joey Vera on bass (Armored Saint, Anthrax, Fates Warning, Seven Witches), Bobby Jarzombek on drums (Halford, Fates Warning, Sebastian Bach, Riot, Spastic Ink) and Frank Aresti on additional guitars (Fates Warning), is glaring in all its power and glory. What originally had to become the upcoming Fates Warning album, but due to Ray Alder being unable to commit to a record at the time, Matheos approached Jon Arch and Sympathethic Resonance was born.

The album kicks off with Neurotically Wired, a piece which develops from an introducing acoustic line into a real cannonade of blazing riffs and Arch’s voice which goes from low to high tones. The fusion of technicality and melody is like you’ve never heard before. If you think that Arch / Matheos is only John Arch and Jim Matheos, there jumps in Bobby Jarzombek who makes a big difference by providing a masterful job behind the drumkit. Midnight Serenade fades in and creates a very catchy tune with a memorable chorus.

Stained Glass Sky opens up tempestously from the beginning and stays pretty much in the same rhythm throughout the entire song, although the band is wriggling through in a “calm-hard-calm“ mode. Somewhere in the eighth minute an acoustic chord voices together with electric guitar solo and Arch’s voice creates a two minutes break which pushes the song into another riffing cannonade. After an easy start, On the Fence goes uptempo, relying most on the time melody reached out through Arch’s high pitch vocals. At the other side, Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me) could be described as showcasing riffs through its melodiousness.

Incense and Myrrh is a semi-ballad, closing this almost 55 minutes long achievement in a grandious way. The quality of the record reaches from the every possible angle, long after it is gone, the echo in your ears will remind you of the melodies Sympathetic Resonanse is made of. With hope that this will turn in a long in a long-term collaboration, enjoy the progressive metal album of the year.

The album is out on September 13th on Metal Blade Records and can be pre-ordered on http://www.archmatheos.com/

Tracklist:

01. Neurotically Wired
02. Midnight Serenade
03. Stained Glass Sky
04. On the Fence
05. Any Given Day (Strangers Like Me)
06. Incense and Myrrh

Line-up:

* John Arch – vocals (former Fates Warning)
* Jim Matheos – guitars (Fates Warning, OSI)
* Joey Vera – bass (Armored Saint, Anthrax, Fates Warning, Seven Witches)
* Bobby Jarzombek – drums (Halford, Fates Warning, Sebastian Bach, Riot)
* Frank Aresti – additional lead guitar (Fates Warning)

Links:

http://www.archmatheos.com/

Buy album from:

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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