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Waken Eyes - 'Exodus' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/30/50/44/waken-eyes-exodus-93-1449260865.jpg Hot

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'Exodus' may well be one of the best Progressive Metal albums in recent years.

Dream Theater inadvertently created a new sub-genre way back in 1989 with the release of their debut album 'When Dream And Day Unite' and took it to an altogether higher level three years later with the follow-up, 'Images And Words', an album which still sets the standard to this very day.

Since then there has been a steady stream of bands all striving to seize DT's crown with the likes of Symphony X, Vanden Plas and Pain Of Salvation all coming close. With the release of 'Exodus', Waken Eyes are now staking their claim to the throne.

While WE may be a new name to most, they do possess a line-up of some considerable pedigree with drummer Marco Minnemann forming a rather fearsome rhythm section with Symphony X's Mike Lepond. Henrik Bath of Darkwater adds the vocals while WE creator and multi-instrumentalist Tom Frelek shows off his talents on guitar and keyboards.

It comes as no surprise that WE have come up with something rather special with their debut release. From the opening instrumental 'Cognition' to the monstrous epic 'Exodus' that clocks in at almost twenty minutes, this is one master-class in how to deliver a Progressive Metal tour-de-force.

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The production is big, expansive and packs a punch while giving the intricate instrumentation space to breathe and weave a multitude of moods and atmospheres. Frelek's guitar work excels. Sure he has the requisite dexterity and lays it on when needed but he also knows how to ease off and some of his melodies are breath-taking. 'Cornerstone Away' is a case in point; it is this ability to embrace the dynamics of the music that really adds to the album.

For Frelek to shine so brightly amongst the stellar cast in the band is testament to his musicianship and his name will undoubtedly become more widely known once 'Exodus' hits the streets. The songs themselves are just that, songs. The musicianship doesn't smother the melodies or become overbearing at the expense of the song structure. 'Deafening Thoughts' and 'Back To Life' feature sky-scraping melodies brought to life by the classy powerful, melodic vocals of Bath.

Needless to say, Minnemann does plenty to show why he is one of the genres finest drummers and at times his performance is just jaw dropping and alongside Lepond there are few who can match them in full flow.

Whether Waken Eyes will remain a studio project or will develop into a full-blown touring band remains to be seen, but whatever happens in the future 'Exodus' may well be one of the best Progressive Metal albums in recent years.

Mick Burgess

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