ProgressiveXperience - 'Inspectra'

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ProgressiveXperience - 'Inspectra'

They write decent songs, can clearly play their instruments well yet there's something lacking.

Italian Prog Metallers ProgressiveXperience have been around for a little over a decade and this is their third album after 'X' and '21st Century Brain Damage'.

They remind me of a combination of any number of bands in the genre but specific bands that come to mind are Fates Warning, Kingcrow, OSI, Riverside and Redemption with a bit of RPWL and Subsignal in the mix.

I'll admit that after the first couple of runs through this album left me thinking that PX are okay but nothing special and although that view has softened a little with repeated listens they are far from the finished article, not least because they are crying out for a top-notch vocalist. With so much great music out there vying for our valuable cash and time I'm not sure this album will be high on many wish lists. I can't see it returning to my death deck on a regular basis. That's a bit sad as there's some decent stuff on offer and with some honing it could have been something a rather special.

Just when you think you have their sound nailed they throw in a curveball such as the relatively straight ahead Rock to the opening section of 'San Francisco', before it goes into a pleasant piano refrain which is then followed by them getting heavy and technical. 'Silent Secrets' is an acoustic guitar driven song that shows the band's versatility, but it also highlights Giovanni Valente's accented vocals; something I find particularly distracting and disappointing because these songs deserve a great delivery. He's not a bad vocalist, I've heard worse, but he does get exposed at times as not having the depth of voice to carry off some of the songs convincingly. The production isn't the greatest either, some of the backing vocals sound particularly at odds with the rest of the instrumentation; almost like an afterthought. 'Somewhere In Time' is a fabulous ballad of piano and acoustic guitar, courtesy of Claudio Bianchi and Francesco Munaó respectively. I'd love to hear it sung by a truly fine vocalist. Marco Giovannetti's guitar solo on this track is an absolute delight.

Instrumentally 'Black Clouds' is impressive but again the vocals and drums seem to sit in a different plane to the music, the latter seemingly being high in the mix.

'Cellar Door' is another highlight apart from that accent and the vocals which are out of tune; the instrumental section is quite superb and there lays the issue.

There's a good deal of promise here, they write decent songs, can clearly play their instruments well yet there's something lacking.

Gary Marshall

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