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CD Review: A.C.T. – Silence

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a.c.t. silenceA.C.T. is probably closer to rock than metal, but open-minded folks seeking more than the newest br00tal band would do well to give it a listen. This Swedish group plays melodic progressive rock with crunchy chords and chops that are definitely metal-caliber. Listen closely, and you'll hear the occasional palm-muted riff or fleet-fingered solo. Imagine Dream Theater minus the Metallica fetish (give it up already, guys), and with a penchant for '70s progressive pop (think Supertramp).

This may sound like the recipe for pretentious cheese, and indeed much of this album, the band's fourth, is like the "rocking out" sections of musicals. But once one shifts one's yardsticks from "brutal" and "heavy" to "well-written" and "well-played," the album makes much more sense. What stands out is how perfect everything is. Songs go through smooth chord changes and key modulations with not a note out of place. Instrumental performances are flawless, with keyboard/guitar interplay that rivals any Children of Bodom. The production is pristine, with beautiful separation between instruments and rich vocal harmonies. "The Voice Within," in particular, is a master class in recording keyboards and guitars with a wide range of tones.

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If you own a Yes CD, think Europe's "The Final Countdown" is the definition of awesome, or find yourself tapping your foot to Between the Buried and Me's cover of Queen's "Bicycle Race," then this album may be for you. And if you dig it, delve into the catalogue of its label, InsideOut, whose roster includes O.S.I., Derek Sherinian, and The Devin Townsend Band.


A.C.T. on MySpace
InsideOut Music

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