“Becoming Aware” by Paradigm Shift seemed like an obvious album for me to like. For starters it was mixed by the great Rob Aubrey and mastered by Acle Kahney from TesseracT. Both are very good. For the most part, the music is good. However, the album misses the mark otherwise.
For starters, the album wants to be heavier than it really is. The guitars are heavy and distorted but are hidden behind a piano. Pianos can be used in a “heavy prog” manner and have been by others. Here, there is just too much damn piano. That’s not to say that there are some other keys on the album but the songs really have no punch because they are so dependent on the piano.
The opening epic “A Revolutionary Cure” is the perfect example. Six minutes in, there is this really cool guitar solo and the keys very tasty as well. The problem is up to that point, the song is just Coldplay doing prog. Maybe that’s harsh but it’s just not dynamic when it really needs to be. There are some moments on “An Easy Lie” that are indeed dynamic but the album runs out of gas as it goes along.
Another problem for me is the vocals. I didn’t notice but the keyboardist Ben Revens is also the vocalist. He has a solid backing vocal type voice but lacks dynamics to be a really great lead singer. The good news is that guitarist Reuben Krendel can really rip when given the chance. I wish he was given more moments like that.
If you love piano led prog or pine for Yellow Brick Road era Elton John, “Becoming Aware” is something you will probably enjoy. I think many people will enjoy it for those reasons. If you were expecting a truly heavy prog (not metal) rock album, you might be as disappointed as me. There’s even a moment where Revens runs his hands down the piano’s keys. You know that move you learn when your a kid that everyone does? I think that was the exact moment I became aware that this was not for me.
1. A Revolutionary Cure
2. An Easy Lie
3. The Void
4. The Shift
Label: Bad Elephant Music