Review Summary: There’s more than enough room for another band in space
The Internet can be a wonderful place sometimes. Thanks to its existence, word of mouth spreads a lot quicker these days than it did in the past. In all fairness, it isn’t what I'd call a foolproof system, as many less-than-adequate artists find themselves seeing a massive wave of viral success because of it. At the same time though, the Internet is a tool that makes for a much easier way to find great music. No longer are you dependent on your local scene to break out of your comfort zone. Not to mention, there’s a good chance that without the advent of the Internet, a band like Germany's own Time, the Valuator wouldn’t have reached the position they are in now. Due to them combining the melodic flair of acts like Hands Like Houses with more progressive writing similar to acts like Lithium Dawn and Periphery, their style is a tad easier to digest than the average prog-metal act.
How Fleeting, How Fragile
shows an immense amount of potential for a debut, with its wonderfully crafted soundscapes being of particular note. Singer Phil Bayer delivers an excellent performance, one that would turn out to be his last with the band since he left not long after its release due to mental health issues. Songs like “Elusive Reasons” and “In Control” lie closer to the playbook of bands like Emarosa and The Afterimage, while “Terminus”, “Fugitive” (which features Mattéo Gelsomino of the band Novelists), “Starseeker” and “Onryo” run a lot closer to the heavier, more technical wing of the album's influences. Guitarists Rene Möllenbeck and Cedric Dreyszas add quite a bit to the overall depth of each song, as thanks to modern technology and multitracking, they were able to layer multiple intricate guitar lines on top of each other and create a “bigger” feel to the music.
Along with being stylistically diverse, the band proved their lyrical chops as well. “The Violent Sound” in particular is an attack on greedy political leaders that send their citizens to war for their own personal benefit, and “Onryo” is a more ambiguous take on government corruption. Other songs such as “Heritage”, closer “How Fragile”, and “When I Met Death” show the men in Time, the Valuator at their most emotionally substantial, pondering human existence from a more reflective position. While it’s admittedly not the most original album in a thematic sense, as other bands like Periphery and Northlane already explored the topics expressed here, there’s a level of conviction that’s hard to deny; on “Fugitive”, the writer feels as if his very existence on Earth is like a prison, possibly due to the aforementioned mental health issues. Much like the usual fare from Periphery, this band’s debut seeks to mix their conceptual writing style with lyrics more personal in nature.
Time, the Valuator are a unique band within the realms of progressive metal, and their eclectic debut should serve as evidence to that statement. The cosmos may seem crowded as a result of their more space-rock tendencies this go around, but there’s more than enough room for another band in space. Lithium Dawn took a similar trip last year with Gravity Waves
as well, but considering they were going along with a more futuristic narrative than what this band had to offer, it’s unlikely that they crossed paths during their expedition. The four guys in this band didn’t specify a timeframe, so it’s possible they would be trekking into the unknown in present day instead. The future is unclear for the band thanks to Bayer’s departure, but one thing is clear as day: How Fleeting, How Fragile
is a wonderful mix of multiple different styles that ought to be heard with your own ears.