When it comes to “traditional” prog metal, Dream Theater is the gold standard by which many bands aspire to and ultimately are judged by. Virtual Symmetry are no different. However, they take it one step further by recruiting Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess to play on a track from their new album, “Message From Eternity.”
This is good news and bad news. The good news is that Rudess is allowed to basically do what he does all over the track “Program Error (We Are The Virus).” He plays an apeshit solo at the end of the track that is just amazing. His piano work on it is sublime. The problem is that’s the second track (first true song) and it’s not good to peak that early on the album! The band would have been better served by putting this at the end of the album as the climax.
This also puts keyboardist Mark Bravi in a very tough spot. Bravi is more than capable but he isn’t Jordan Rudess. And unfortunately that works to the band’s disadvantage. Make no mistake, they all can play but at times they seem tentative. There’s an awesome solo section during “Pegasus” where they really cut loose and it feels more like they aren’t worrying about their playing. They are just going for it!
The title track closes out the album at 23 some minutes and while there are some great moments, it winds up feeling like it’s just a little too long. The key to any epic is to make it seem much shorter than it actually is. Guitarist Valerio Æsir Villa does add plenty of quality solos to this song and most of the rest of the tracks. Vocals are very strong but are handled by multiple guest vocalists. Not always my preference but they are quite good!
The mix overall is good but I feel like the drums could be higher up in the mix. Particularly, Davide Perpignano’s snare drum which lacks the power it should have. I also wish there were some faster numbers as well. Each track is either slow or medium slow. Mixing it up would help.
All in all, the songs are what saves the album (as they should). Most of the songs are strong and I assume the band will just get even better with their writing over time. This bodes well for their future. Virtual Symmetry have a lot of potential as does “Message From Eternity.” Had the tracks been sequenced differently and the drums louder, this could have been just amazing. It’s still pretty darn good.
1. Darkened Space
2. Program Error (We Are The Virus)
3. Soul’s Reflections
5. You’ll Never Fall Again
6. Silent Sweetness
7. Message From Eternity