Everybody knows the band Dream Theater — infamous for their lengthy songs and technical guitar riffs and keyboard passages. And usually when the words progressive metal is brought up, Dream Theater is the first (and often only) band that comes to everyones mind. Its a shame that they cast such a huge shadow which consumes a lot of other great progressive metal bands.
One of these bands is Andromeda. The Immunity Zone, the fifth release of this fairly unknown band from Sweden, is definitely a great introduction to fans and newcomers of the progressive metal scene, and to the band itself.
David Frembergs soaring vocals allure the listener into the bittersweet lyrics of each song while the manic rifffest by Johan Reinholdz puts you into a state of wonder. Youll want to grab the nearest guitar just to try playing some of the bands verbose solos and intricate riffs.
Each of the nine songs is lengthy enough to demonstrate all of the bands elements, but at times the tracks seem to be a bit long winded. On average, the tracks run around six to seven minutes with a seventeen minute opus as the final track. The tracks range from very catchy choruses to intense instrumental passages. The lyrics are very powerful and most of them revolve around social issues and political insights, which is a good change of pace compared to most of the more popular heavy metal lyrical content.
Songs that stand out the most on the album are definitely Slaves of the Plethora Season and Veil of Illumination, the final seventeen-minute track full of insane keyboard solos, diverse guitar riffs, and a catchy chorus to boot.
Unfortunately, the songs can be quite hard to get into at first, mainly because of their length. Why progressive metal bands have to make their songs so long and complicated is an unsolved mystery. It definitely will appeal to listeners of progressive metal, but those that are akin to the genre might have a hard time taking in the overwhelming nature of the music. The odd time signatures between the guitar and keyboards, as well as the choice in keyboard effects in some of the songs can be a bit disorienting and might not appeal to everyone.
The Immunity Zone is a vortex of sound from beginning to end. Its an album with catchy songs and inspiring guitar playing all the way through. Definitely recommended for those who want to ease into the progressive metal scene.