2001 on Relapse Records
This album is a step away from their early albums. It replaces the thick death metal sound with a more progressive rock and roll sound. Fans of Muse, Purcupine Tree and Dredge should like this. Especially Dredg because guess what, there is a saxophone on 5 or 6 tracks. They are most similar though, to the band Katatonia not only in sound but in musical progression. Both bands began at a sort of progressive death metal and molded into a progressive rock. The difference? Katatonia is better. But still, this sounds really great. It has a radio-friendliness to it that is mostly because of the production. It seems to have a few too many effects. The writing has some really great parts too but some are lacking. It seems to be a bit of give or take. The one terrible production fault is fade-outs. Not normal fade-outs but warp speed ones that sound like someone just turned down the volume. Those fade-outs lower the ranking by at least a .5, maybe more. Often times it seems like the tracks are just cut short because the fade-out isn't in a logical spot.
The singer's voice is one thing I really like. It has almost no metal in it because the old singer quit. Another thing I like is how there are lots of effects but not because of constant sampling by the producer, the keyboardist takes care of it. The guitars are often though, over effected. To the point where they are simply making keyboard sounds which is cool sometimes and necessary in a band without a keyboardist, but seems to happen a bit too often. They also though play some great classic rock and roll riffs. The guitars are the place where one can best hear the metal roots. The pinch harmonics and rare solos are the best evidence.
Overall, this album is not great, but worth a listen. I'd first recommend albums like Elegy and Tales from the Thousand Lakes.
Recommended tracks would be Too Much to See, Drifting Memories, Crimson Wave (funny 80's easy listening section at the end), The Night is Over
Recommended Bands (for this album only) - Dredg, Muse, Porcupine Tree, Katatonia