Introspect

The Quiet Room

Dominion Records, 1998

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quiet_Room_(band)

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/05/1997

These days, it takes a lot of guts to be a heavy metal band. The genre which was quite popular in the early- to mid-'80s has fallen out of favor with mainstream radio, and maintains a core base of fans.

But the day that metal makes its comeback (as it eventually will, as all forms of music do), then count The Quiet Room as a serious contender for the leader of the pack. Their third release Introspect (which was re-released by Metal Blade in 1998 - ed.) is a pleasant mixture of crunching bar chords and softer, melodic moments, and was a pleasant surprise when it arrived at the doors of the Pierce Memorial Archives (now serving espresso latte in the folk music area).

This Colorado-based six-piece has a sound which owes a lot to fellow metal band Queensryche - in fact, seeing how the previous albums of the latter band tanked, one could say that The Quiet Room has beaten Queensryche at its own game. Lead singer Chadd Castor has a set of pipes similar to Geoff Tate's, though he doesn't resort to the high-pitched wails, and instead concentrates on delivering a powerful vocal. Smart move.

The two-guitar attack of George Glasco and Jason Boudreau are a big key to what separates The Quiet Room from other axe-slinging bands. The fact that they are more interested in crafting a melodic groove for a solo rather than seeing how many notes they can play in a second is impressive. Rounding out the band's sound are keyboardist Jeff Janeczko (who also provides a unique touch to the sound), bassist Josh Luebbers and drummer Mike Rice.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Introspect kicks off strongly with "A Different Scene," which packs a powerful punch without being too flashy. Keeping the listener on their toes, The Quiet Room often changes the time signature of the song - and though it takes a few listens to follow the changes, the complications of the song are what make it stand out. It is also here that one appreciates the fact that Glasco and Boudreau aren't mile-a-minute guitarists. Other songs like "Grudge" and "Second Time Around" emphasize the relationship to Queensryche, both in vocals and in the use of Janeczko's synthesizer work.

It is the second half of Introspect that makes it stand out for me. From the acoustic-based "Holding On," the band proves they can be powerful without pushing the volume into the range of deafness. And just as they prove the breadth of their work, Castor steps aside to let the band show off their instrumental chops; "Extramental" is a killer work. The album closes with the softer bridge "Suspended Seconds," which eases into "Undetermined," a number which features The Quiet Room putting everything they have into crafting a all-encompassing metal song. Fortunately for all of us, they pull it off with flying colors.

But for all the strengths The Quiet Room has, there are two minor weaknesses heard on Introspect. For the first half of the album, all the songs seem to be in exactly the same vein - in turn, they all sound the same. I had a hard time differentiating many of the tracks, and had to listen to the album about five times before I could separate tracks like "Altered Past" from "Grudge." Second, from time to time, the lyrics tend to dip into the silly range; thankfully, there aren't many lines such as "Scraping you off the concrete with a shovel / Would make my day" on this one.

For such a young band, The Quiet Room shows a lot of musical maturity; if the mass market ever embraces metal in any way again, it would be a crime if this band weren't given a chance to hit the big time. Introspect shows a few areas that need an extra coat of paint, but they're not big enough areas to take away from the overall intensity of the album. This is a band from whom I think we'll be hearing a lot more from in upcoming years.

Rating: B+

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© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dominion Records, and is used for informational purposes only.