The Quiet Room


Introspect

The Quiet Room - Introspect ©1997 Metal Blade
1. A Different Scene
2. Grudge
3. Second Time Around
4. Altered Past
5. Drowning
6. Laughing At Your Expense
7. Holding On
8. Extramental
9. Suspended Seconds
10. Undetermined

Take the angst-ridden passion of Nevermore's Politics of Ecstacy and mix it with the precise progressive sound of Fates Warning, and you have this disc from The Quiet Room. If Nevermore were to release a progressive disc, it might sound very much like this one does, driving, passionate and alive with raw power.

The band has a heavy, driven dual guitar approach backed by aggressive keys that really works well. The sound is powerful and melodic. It doesn't have the antiseptic feel that some progressive bands have, but manages to be warmly precise. The musicians are very adept at what they are doing. The vocalist is outstanding on this disc, reminding me of Triumph's lead singer in his ability to reach for the starts without seeming strained in the least. He sings with enthusiasm and spirit, really adding a lot to the impact of the songs. The lyrics are thoughtful too. Usually when someone gets introspective, they become maudlin or pompous. Introspect does neither, taking a course that is angry and scornful at times. The aggressive lyrics match the music in the songs note for note. The combination makes for music that is not heavy just because they can be heavy. The heaviness of the sound has a purpose. The emotion of the lyrics would fail in a song that was less heavy. They would also fail in a song that was heavier. The group has found the right level for each tune and stays within the bounds. For a debut disc, this is a remarkable amount of maturity and discipline. I appreciate the restraint shown by the band in this manner. As debut discs go, this one is a winner.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 01/2001

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Reconceive

The Quiet Room - Reconceive ©2000 Metal Blade
1. Suffercation
2. Choke On Me
3. Your Hate
4. Reason For Change
5. Realms Of Deceit
6. Controlling Nation
7. Room 15
8. Less Than Zero
9. Face Your Judgment
10. This Pain
11. Two Minutes Hate

One of the more remarkable bands I've come across lately, The Quiet Room's melodic, technical thrash should strike a chord with fans of Meshuggah and Fear Factory. People familiar with Christian metallers Tourniquet's more melodic sound may also appreciate fellow Christians The Quiet Room's music, which draws on keyboards to provide a more organic counterpoint to the sterility of its syncopated drum/guitar staccato assault. In a role reversal, the higher melody holds a steady, straightforward beat while the more intricate guitar rhythm commands the listener's attention - in this sense the music resembles early jazz. The vocals, which can range from spoken-word to a harsh roar to an early-Anathema-esque "clean" style, also help to keep the music somewhat focused, despite the apparent polyphonic complexity. On the other hand, the lyrics, many of which are subtly Christian, range from the preachy "Your Hate" to the deeply personal, angst-filled "Realms of Deceit".

"Suffercation" begins with the keyboards and guitars harmonizing for a few measures before breaking into a section where a slower, more atmospheric keyboard complements the faster-paced, highly syncopated guitar and drums. In this particular song the rhythm stays fairly constant throughout, even as the melody changes with the verse. A more rhythmically "regular" chorus and a solo guitar section in the middle of the song also warrant brief mention. The harsh growls on "Choke on Me" sound a bit like the style used in many nu-metal bands, while a distinctively Eastern flavor and a Crowbar-like chugging moment give this song and the album some individuality. Perhaps the best song on Reconceive, "Your Hate" begins with a lone, soft piano line that becomes interrupted by guitar/drum staccatos, evoking a tension between the idyllic and the mechanical. The melody develops nicely before abruptly returning to the opening piano. "Reason for Change" has a nice buildup and a couple guitar solos in it, the first one accompanied by piano, and the second accompanied by both a piano line and a rhythm guitar. The piano here can be rather jazzy, while in the succeeding track, "Realms of Deceit", the synths tend to be more dancelike. Sometimes, the music approaches more traditional thrash, as is evidenced by the catchy choruses on "Face Your Judgment".

The album's oddball tunes are "Controlling Nation" and "Two Minutes Hate". The former is strange because of singer Pete Jewell's power metal-esque style and the music's compound metrical pattern, while the latter is an ambient track consisting of a beautiful piano melody over feedback and spoken word. A sad, melancholy song, the message is both prophetic and apocalyptic. I personally would like to see from the band members a side-project revolving around songs like this last one.

Ultimately, the tension between man and machine revealed here is extraordinary, and Reconceive is a highly original, engaging work that is heartily recommended and deserves the attention of all fans of "technical metal."

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 03/2000

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