When it comes to progressive music, lengthy runtimes alone are often enough to ward potential listeners off. Let's face it: sitting attentively through pieces that run upwards of ten minutes in length isn't always an easy feat. Opting to write at more conventional lengths without sacrificing much of their progressive metal might has set Guelph's Mandroid Echostar apart from their peers within the genre for years.
Nearly six years since their inception, the band achieve this pleasant balance on their debut full-length, Coral Throne. A number of tracks that don't crack the four-minute mark, such as "The Lotus," "Sacred Fire" and "Metatron," leave their mark with memorable hooks and powerful choruses, at times leaning more towards hard rock than their genre of choice. Giving these composition wings with which to soar skyward is vocalist Michael Ciccia, leading the charge with his expressive delivery and extensive range, Claudio Sanchez comparisons be damned.
And while accessibility is indeed one of the record's key strengths, there's enough prog metal muscle on display for those impressed by technical skill, too. The crew shifts time signatures and dynamics with ease on driving first single "Paladin" and the aforementioned "Lotus," showcase some brilliantly written guitarmonies on "Iron Hands," and hold nothing back on the lengthy blowout finale "Zelos." Six years in the making, the Guelph sextet are at last kings of their Coral Throne. (Distort)