JACOB'S DREAM
"Drama of the Ages"

(Metal Blade)

01. Drama of the Ages
02. Keeper of the Crown
03. Spinning Leaf
04. Stand or Fall
05. Tempest
06. Third Way
07. Forever Winter
08. Drowning Man
09. Deceiver of the Nations
10. Cutting Words
11. Victory
12. At the Gates

RATING: 7.5/10

Here's one for the dyed-in-the-wool classic metal fans who expect melody, a vocalist with range, involved arrangements, and plenty of guitar solos. At 71 minutes, JACOB'S DREAM feed you a meal o' metal that'll bust a gut on "Drama of the Ages", the Columbus, Ohio band's third full-length release.

More proggy than the average melodic metal album, "Drama of the Ages" is not a shred fest nor is it an exercise in mind-numbing compositional excess. Every note has its place. The music is well thought out and the melodies are infectious (though not power metal whiny), but it's the guitar work of Jon Noble and John Berry that really shines. The solos are passionate and often mesmerizing, while the twin leads are woven into the rather epic arrangements in a purposeful way that fits the song structure and never sounds forced. New guy Chaz Bond is a solid vocalist in the Geoff Tate mold and his lower, more sinister-sounding parts bear a slight resemblance to Warrel Dane. He's got a good sense of patterning (soaring, mid-range, gritty, etc.) that keeps the sometimes overly dramatic parts from becoming irksome. Sound-wise, the group's self-production gets the job done, even if the guitars seem a tad muffled and the bottom end could use more beef.

The disc takes a listen or two before you can really appreciate it. There's a lot to sink your teeth into here and while most of these tracks are not intended for the three-minutes-of-ear-candy crowd, there are plenty of memorable choruses (the title track probably the most obvious one). There's a good balance between the relatively stripped down fare of songs like "Stand or Fall" with its cool circular riff and old school QUEENSRŸCHE vibe, the more majestic and moody fare of "Spinning Leaf", and the tougher metallic moments of "Tempest", "Forever Winter", and "Third Way". Also worthy of note is the hidden track, a tasteful instrumental that is a good distance from filler material.

I've not heard the previous releases, so I can't say anything in the way of comparison. I can only point out that "Drama of the Ages" is a classy and intelligent work that packs a healthy metallic punch. It also sounds like an album created by a band with a passion for its craft. Maybe not one to knock the masters off their perch, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.