Degree Absolute - _Degree Absolute_
(Sensory Records, 2006)
by: Yiannis Stefanis (7 out of 10)
Who on earth are these guys, and how come I've never heard of them before? This is the very first thought that crossed my mind straight after giving the first proper spin to Degree Absolute's self-titled release. A laconic answer was provided by the band's website, stating simply that _Degree Absolute_ is the band's debut release and that many good things should be expected from them in the near future. Are you frustrated by all this secrecy? Well, I am simply excited.

Even though Degree Absolute should deservedly be classified as progressive metal, one should not expect great similarities with the complex-sounding giants Dream Theater or any such technically complicated outfit. This band's approach is far more straightforward, mixing in their musical melting pot heavy guitar riffs a la Nevermore and melodies deeply influenced by the masters of the genre Fates Warning, thus enabling this album to be both musically challenging and audience friendly.

Songs like "Exist" and "Laughing Alone" will impress with their powerful heavy metal riffs and melodic vocal choruses, with the former borrowing the vibe of most Nevermore compositions and the latter sounding more personal and sophisticated. Even though the band's more technical / experimental side is audible in songs like "Questions" and "Pi", I somehow feel that Degree Absolute's more atmospheric compositions are the ones that bring them closer to their natural music environment. "Confessions" is a beautifully performed emotional composition, with Aaron Bell's vocal performance dominating the interest, while the spaced-out intro of "Ergo Sum" builds up an interesting tension towards an emotional ending which will leave the listener with the best of impressions.

It is quite refreshing to see that there are still bands out there like Degree Absolute capable of producing such impressive debut releases. Even though there is nothing quite original presented in this nine-track album, the music is beautifully performed and all of the band's musical influences cleverly used. Is this another progressive metal star being born? I definitely hope so -- let's wait and see.


(article published 18/1/2007)

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