Reconceive

The Quiet Room

Metal Blade Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/21/2001

It has been nearly four years since The Quiet Room graced these pages with their disc Introspect. In that time, a lot has changed, both within the band and in the genre of heavy metal. Where this Denver-based sextet once earned comparisons to Queensryche, they now would be lumped into the heading of "prog-rock" that our parents, raised on a diet of ELP, Yes and Gentle Giant, would not recognize.

Part of the style change for The Quiet Room is due to the fact that half of the band who recorded Introspect are gone. New vocalist Pete Jewell helps lead The Quiet Room into a more progressive vein on their latest disc, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Reconceive, and the change isn't necessarily for the better. Where they were once innovators, they now are just part of the sled dog team. (You know the old saying: If you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.)

What's interesting about this album is that it almost begs the listener to read the lyrics while the disc is playing. On its own, the 11 songs on Reconceive have moments of greatness but eventually fall a bit flat, their messages lost in the ozone. But one read of the lyric sheet, and you'll learn there's some substance to the music. With subjects such as racism ("Your Hate"), improper control ("Controlling Nation" - though it's left to the listener to decide whether the band is talking about a country's leader), answering for one's life decisions ("Face Your Judgment") and the destructive power of anger ("Less Than Zero"), The Quiet Room dare to make the listener think. This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing at all.

What the band needs, though, is a more powerful musical vehicle to back it up. This is where the differences between Introspect and Reconceive are the most clear. Jewell is a decent enough singer, but he doesn't seem like he's the perfect match for the more cerebral style of songs the band is writing. Maybe that's the disappointment I have with Reconceive; there is so much promise this band has to offer, and they just weren't able to live up to those expectations this time around.

Special mention should be given to the instrumental track "Room 15," giving an almost Dream Theater-like feel to the band. Their moving towards prog-rock isn't necessarily the problem, and this particular track shows they can handle the genre well.

Reconceive is an album that seems to promise much from The Quiet Room, and they don't quite make it to the finish line. I said four years ago that this band had a good future ahead of them, and I still believe that. But they do need to find the right chemistry if they want to keep slugging it out in the prog-metal genre.

Rating: C+

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© 2001 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 Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.