NewBreed: NewBreed

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NewBreed: NewBreed
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New Breed: New Breed
Progressive Metal
Metal Mind Productions
August 9th, 2011
Release length: 45:43
Myspace
Website
NewBreed is a Progressive Metal act that has existed for quite some time now. Formed back in 1999 in Poland, the group has earned a good deal of respect in the Progressive community throughout the years, though only having issued two full-length albums, two EPs and a DVD. Four years after their second rather successful effort titled Child of the Sun, NewBreed returns with their third studio album, simply titled NewBreed. Being issued through Metal Mind Productions, the band’s latest effort is one that many fans of the style have been waiting for, though as been kept more as an under-the-radar release then anything due to the band and previous labels really making a strong push of the group in the past. Will NewBreed be enough to earn enough respect to sort of pull them out of the Progressive Rock/Metal specific circles of the world, or does this self-titled effort mean a dramatic change in the band’s sound that hurts the group?

The production quality is pretty good, having a modern stylish sound to it while still being heavy and having a strong edge to the music. The guitars hammer away with a good sharper edge while the bass pulsates behind it to often catch the hook or groove the band’s music gives off. The drums sound great and are performed with a good amount of restraint with a solid vocal performance that shows a great amount of range, though mostly sticking to clean singing. This works well for the group’s final product, but the music being played is often not that great. Tracks like “Safety” do have a strong, solid performance behind them, but there’s no denying a stronger Groove Metal influence to the sound then Progressive Metal this time around. “How it Was to be” comes in pretty atmospheric, but when the music kicks in it immediately shows signs of music similar to Meshuggah, though with a little more of a Progressive touch to it and a richer sound, making it more then your basic Groove Metal approach of today, but still not quite as unique an experience as the band can give off later on in the album.

The music on NewBreed can, at times, kind of conflict with the vocals being performed. THe main focus point of the vocals is to have them performed as clean singing, though some tracks like “After All This Time” do have some higher falsetto vocals going off, but they are more like background vocals then anything else. But this isn’t anything negative since many of the songs later on still have a bit of a Groove Metal vibe to them, but far from anything bad or horribly clashing with the vocals. Infact, some songs like “Safety and “Long Time Desired” suit the vocals well through heavy-sounding music, though the first is a much slower track then the latter and has a stronger atmosphere to it through some more technical riffs. Of course, “Safety” is the first song on here that really does come off as rather boring. While the technical music and clean singing often work hand-in-hand, and the shifting of music throughout the song makes for an interesting Progressive Metal effort, one cannot help but find the singing on this track to be bland and a bit off key at times, really making for the track to sound energetic musically, but offering nothing too spectacular in any department outside of that energetic performance. There’s also “When I Admire the World”, which is another strongly atmospheric track which uses more Industrial elements to set up a desolate, rather space-driven atmosphere to it. The song makes a suiting follow-up to “Safety”, and for that atmosphere it’s quite impressive, but it’s another song that really isn’t one that you’ll find yourself wanting to come back to after a few spins of the album.

The main hang-up about this release is the way the vocals are handled throughout the release. The music is often quite heavy and very energetic, and then you get vocals on some songs like “Safety” and “After All This Time” that make you cringe with how little effort it feels like is being made, coming off more as something you might hear on a Pearl Jam album, not having much enthusiasm and sometimes coming off like the lyrics are being mumbled. There’s also the Jonathan Davis of KoRn style vocals that hit on “How it Was to Be” and you cannot help but feel somewhat let down due to how random they feel in the song. This isn’t every track though, as songs like “The Forever spring” and “Long Time Desired” are monumental tracks with a suiting vocal performance on each that are rather enjoyable, and those monotone singing vocals work for “When I Admire the World” and it’s rather subtle atmospheric performance. There’s also “An Answer Without Any Words” that really shows a strong performance all around, having a strong Progressive Metal sound from the band and plenty of heavy energy while the vocals are handled with a much more enthusiastic approach.

Overall, NewBreed is a solid, heavy album from start to finish with a few rough patches. There are some tracks here that are not the most inspiring, and it seems to start, as well as end, with a strong Meshuggah-esque approach to the guitars. But, when the more unique material does hit, it’s often a lot heaving then those more basic-sounding compositions, and a lot more heavier and enjoyable. The vocals do tend to be a problem throughout, often being to the point where they feel like mumbling and just performed not caring of the outcome. But, there’s no denying the strong, more modern sound NewBreed incorporate into this release through their music and even the production quality of the album. NewBreed isn’t that bad a release, and in fact has a good amount of material that is well worth coming back to again and again, but those potholes throughout the album do wind up leaving you a bit leery about going back for future spins, keeping yourself ready to hit the skip button. Fans of Progressive Metal will undoubtedly like the direction NewBreed goes in, and it’s well worth checking out even if you’re not the biggest fan of the style due to it’s heavier Groove Metal sound infused to it. It may not be a strong enough album to pull the band out of the Progressive circles they linger around in, but they do show that what they bring to the table can be, and definitely is, heavy enough for the Metal world to take notice.

01. How it Was to be – 6:31
02. The Forever Spring – 4:03
03. Safety – 5:26
04. When I Admire the World – 3:33
05. After All This Time – 3:33
06. Long Time Desired – 4:42
07. An Answer Without Any Words – 4:29
08. In a Better World – 5:30
09. Another Home in You – 2:19
10. Hope That You’re Alright – 5:37
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by Metal Mind Productions.