Althea
Eleven


3.4
great

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
April 15th, 2014 | 28 replies | 3,151 views


Release Date: 03/11/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What you'd expect from early 2000s Dream Theater or Porcupine Tree, both good and a little bad.

Haven't you always wanted just one more track out of your favorite early 2000s prog metal album? One more bonus track from In Absentia or Scenes from a Memory? Then read on.

Italian prog metallers Althea openly draw comparison to prog hybrid outfits like Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, and Fates Warning and it's apparent from the very beginning of Eleven that the comparison is well-warranted. Flaunting catchy, soaring vocals and hooks to complement their suitably "experimental but not too experimental" variations on rock and metal, Althea skirt a fine line between influence and unabashed idol worship. But when the results are positive, what's there to argue with?

"Just a Man" draws immediate and just comparisons to Porcupine Tree with an intro riff that sounds like it was ripped directly from "Shallow" only to be complemented by whispy synths and prominent bass work a la In Absentia. Combine that with a musical soul that's an even and delightful mix of most of the elements of Deadwing and enviable vocal hooks that would easily suit Steven Wilson and company and you've got a winning prog rock formula. Not falling far behind, the same can be said for follow-ups "1.000 Storey Tall" and "Lies," both of which resemble a synth-heavy, wank-lite Dream Theater.

All three of these tracks tread that fine line between carving a new image in a similar style and mimicking the original image entirely. Yet if each track is only a nod or a bow to its respective artist, they are so masterfully crafted that with only a few minor tweaks, you'd have a hard time believing the counterfeit isn't the real deal. While the obvious influence may pose a bit of a moral dilemma to some, the appeal of the material is undeniable to fans of those bands Althea draw influence from.

In all fairness, I'd even rate Eleven a bit higher if ballads like "Silence," "I Can't Breathe," and the start of "Dreaming Veil" didn't stuff an unappealing cheese into the album's runtime. Perhaps the nostalgia factor runs just as deep for some in tracks like these, but, to me, they represent wasted space when we could be listening to another "Just a Man." After all, given the choice between Sonata Arctica's "My Dream's But a Drop of Fuel for a Nightmare" and "Deadwing," who'd pick the former?

Despite close comparisons to obvious influences, Althea prove that they have uncanny chops and the capacity to make a phenomenal progressive metal album on Eleven. "Just a Man," "1.000 Storey Tall," and "Lies" all have that spark needed to light a fire under prog fans old and new and burn for days on repeat. The question for the future of this quintet moving forward will simply be whether or not they can shuffle just a bit further from their influences while maintaining that instantly recognizable sound that will pull in a well-established fanbase without a problem. In the meantime, fans of the genre should all eagerly await the answer and enjoy the stellar standouts of Eleven.




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user ratings (2)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Doesn't work for me as a whole album, but listen to "Just a Man," "1.000 Storey Tall," and "Lies." There is some gooood stuff here.

LordePots
April 14th 2014


6577 Comments


Review Summary: A few of the best new tracks Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree have to offer.

Haven't you always wanted just one more track out of your favorite early 2000s prog metal album? One more bonus track from In Abstentia or Scenes from a Memory? Then read on.


stopped

Digging: Alt-J - This Is All Yours

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

You don't like that stuff anyway so...

LordePots
April 14th 2014


6577 Comments


well yeah, exactly...

but i also think thats a very awkward summery and way to start a review. maybe its just me but yeah, very off-putting regardless of who the bands you listed were.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Disagree, but whatevs.

It's informal, but so is this review. The fact that you stopped actually indicates to me that it did its job in telling you very quickly that it's an album you're not interested in.

LordePots
April 14th 2014


6577 Comments


The fact that you stopped actually indicates to me that it did its job in telling you very quickly that it's an album you're not interested in.


you know what, good point, fair enough.

however, like i said it would have been a turn off even if u were referencing bands i like. its just kind of convoluted like when i came here i didn't know if i was looking at some sort of porcupine tree dream theater superband or a cover band or just a band that blatantly rips off their styles, and non of those 3 things are particularily appealing regardless of the artists that they are from/covering/ripping off (i've yet to find a cover band, supergroup, OR blatant rip that i enjoy).

but yeah just my criticism, i felt it was pretty ineffective way to start a review and almost condemns the music to being passed over but we will see, maybe its just me.

LordePots
April 14th 2014


6577 Comments


now that you point it out i do appreciate how immediately you summed the album up tho, a lot of reviews don't give you a clue about how the album sounds until the last paragraph or not even at all. so thats good i just feel like it could been executed better

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Point taken on the summary and adjusted a bit there. Not sure if it's any better or worse, but maybe a little less misleading.

As for the music... well, it is what it is and I feel the first paragraph is a pretty fair indicator of what it is.

LordePots
April 14th 2014


6577 Comments


Yeah, that's a lot better i think! but yeah, again, i do appreciate how quickly and clearly you gave the viewer an idea of what the album sounds like. thats always helpful.

there's nothing worse than say, reading an electronic review where it literally tells you nothing other than that it is some kind of electronic.

seems like this happens all too often on sput, whether it is due to fear of deviant 'lol'ing' at the selected sub genres used or just general lack of knowledge of the kinds of electronic but yeah, shits frustrating sometimes.

Gyromania
April 15th 2014


15679 Comments


seems like this happens all too often on sput, whether it is due to fear of deviant 'lol'ing' at the selected sub genres used or just general lack of knowledge of the kinds of electronic but yeah, shits frustrating sometimes.

haha i think it's the former and i've noticed it too.

potsy made some good points, but the review decent, despite missing punctuation and such throughout.

Emyay
April 15th 2014


5952 Comments


i don't get it when people compare DT to PT. They don't sound anything alike. I will check this though. Hoping it leans more to the PT side but I doubt it. Much easier to rip of Dream Theater

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2014


15997 Comments


"One more bonus track from In Abstentia"

god no ! haha, still ill give it a listen

oh its absentia you got an extra T in there

Digging: Hominido - Estirpe Litica

Davil667
April 15th 2014


407 Comments


Really caught my attention here somehow. Lies is pretty solid, will check out the rest soon.

LordePots
April 15th 2014


6577 Comments


haha i think it's the former and i've noticed it too.


or maybe a sound combination of the two haha

also yeah, what happened to the bands name? wtf?

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

oh its absentia you got an extra T in there


Deeeeerp. Fixed this.

I have no idea what's up with ant the kitchen. Only thing is it looks like the Althea band page got
deleted somehow.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

i don't get it when people compare DT to PT. They don't sound anything alike. I will check this though. Hoping it leans more to the PT side but I doubt it. Much easier to rip of Dream Theater


To be honest, "Just a Man" feels more PT to me while the rest sounds more DT. The two don't intermingle that much, but both distinct sounds are present.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


2674 Comments


Some douchebag edited the Althea band page as his own. All fixed.

LordePots
April 15th 2014


6577 Comments


Damn, how did that even get approved Jom, long weekend?

Jom
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


2674 Comments


I'm not the only one who approves things, you know!

This is pretty neat. "1.000 Storey Tall" is quite good, but the synths are a bit distracting. I forget what they're called off-hand, but it sounds like those plastic toys that are a cross between a clarinet and a trombone - you know, the bwee-ooo-ooop! things. Sigh.

LordePots
April 16th 2014


6577 Comments


kazoo ? or that tube thing with the thing that you pull in and out that makes silly sounds



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