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Altera Enigma - Alteration

You know, I've been waiting for this disc for quite a long time.  I'm a big fan of the work that Jason De Ron and Jefray Arwadi have done in the past.  If you look at the discography on their website of albums they've played on, I own all of them except the first Excision album.  These two guys have been a big part of metal in the past 12 years or so and this album will only continue to solidify their high standing in the eyes (and ears) of metal fans.

So, what will a band that consists of a current member of Kekal and a member of Paramaecium sound like?  Well it's not simple to describe.  One thing you can count on...this isn't extreme metal.  However, metal plays a big part in this disc and while not every fan of Kekal and Paramaecium will enjoy this, you can't say that this is a band that lacks talent, creativity, or vision.

Right from the start you can tell that this disc is different and yet special.  To put a label on this band, the best you could do is to call it jazz fusion influenced progressive metal.  That doesn't really catch everything this album as to offer though as even elements of dark ambient and electronica show up as well.  The huge majority of this album is instrumental, with only a few songs containing vocals.  Most of the time this would be a big turnoff for me, but this stuff is so tasty that I have no complaints about the lack of vocals.   The third track, "Pasivitas Sudut Pandang", is the first to include vocals and they are similar to the strange Kekal clean vocal style that they sometimes use.  The song also includes a small amount of growled vocals as well.  The next song with vocals, "Relating the Transformation" also mixes both of these vocal styles.

The progressive elements of this disc are extremely apparent.  If you are a big progressive metal or progressive rock fan, you should definitely check this band out.  And the lead guitar work...simply breathtaking.  It is sometimes like a vocal itself as it pours so much emotion into the songs.  These guys (which also includes Kenny Cheong on bass) are almost too talented for their own good.  This is definitely NOT an album that you can take all in on the first listen.  It's one that has to have time and multiple listens to sink in.  It's one that you find new elements to every time you pop it in your CD player.  It's dark and yet it's got that feeling of hope to it.  It's very mood oriented and you can easily get caught up in the atmosphere it creates.  It's heavy at times and then it's mellow at times.  It's very cohesive and it never seems to lack for something interesting.

All in all, this is a very good debut for this band of one Indonesian and two Australians.  You can pick this disc up at http://www.soundmass.com .

Rating: 90/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Independent

Total Songs: 9

Total Time: 52:46

Tracklisting: 1. Enigmatic Alteration, 2. The Infinite Horizon, 3. Pasivitas Sudut Pandang, 4. Fading, 5. NGC 3370, 6. Skyward (Outer Atmosphere), 7. Relating the Transformation, 8. Unlimited Reality, 9. Through Glass, Darkly.

Best Songs: Tracks 1, 2, & 5.

Band Lineup: Jason De Ron - Guitars/Bass/Keyboards/Samples/Additional Vocals, Jefray Arwadi - Guitars/Bass/Vocals/Samples, Kenny Cheong - Bass.

Band Website: http://www.alteraenigma.com