Parius – The Signal Heard Throughout Space (2022) – Review

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Did you ever hear about the Wow Signal? A limited, short burst of data that seemed to hint at intelligent origins. ET, where art thou, that kind of thing. Well, many of you might not be aware of the story, it all happened back in 1977. And it was very short-lived, too. Somewhat of a microburst that vanished as quickly as it appeared. But it still got the undivided attention of the technician because it truly stood out from everything else.

Funny enough, I just enjoyed a short analysis of the incident on one of my YouTube channels. Their stickiest argument was that detection never got a repeat because the now-defunct Ohio State University Big Ear radio telescope was firmly stuck to the ground. In other words, Earth’s rotation severely limited any attempt to follow a fast-moving signal. Bummer, huh?

Now, Parius here solved that problem beautifully. Their storyline talks about The Signal Heard Throughout Space. There you go, that’s some mighty transmission power at a galactic scale. Only where to turn to when the signal reaches you from everywhere at once? A real source for cosmic headaches for a pained space captain on a quest to solve alien mysteries.

So, do we have a confused Major Tom 2.0 with a broken galactic compass or a new musical space odyssey without the grouchy HAL 9000? Kinda both, I guess.

Some serious erosion of established governance just plagued the mighty RMR Office Tower. These rulez exist for a reason, of course. But sadly, they either will be heeded by the book or brutally ignored.1) Some time ago, RMR management decreed that no Rock Opera-type concoction would hit our review pipe. Yet here, The Signal dangerously sounds like a mixture of Ayreon’s pseudo-scientific musings, Caligula’s Horse, and – for sure – Haken at the height of their progressive prowess. And sure enough, Parius state that they scoured the riches of past rock operas to get to their final product here.

But you won’t get the often overwrought and somewhat stuffy material Lucassen likes to throw at the audience. Instead, the band took a lighter, more refined route. The record overdoses on some true prog geekery, a bit like Lindberg did a few months ago. A tasty mix of the best cuts the genre was able to cook up in the past. Yet again, this ain’t some copy/paste affair, but their own brand that follows the storyline.

That said, The Signal often sports some pretty heavy attacks of djentology – and that’s not really in its favor. Yet again, the concoction nonetheless gorges on oftentimes excellent riffs and solos that suddenly disintegrate into pleasant melodies and harmonies. And whilst the RMR crew would have liked more emotion in those flat-sounding vocals, the drummer truly blew us away. Dan Silver‘s performance truly is this proverbial glue that holds that whole construct together.2) And it’s not that the often pretty neat production pushes the sticks to the forefront too much. Instead, the drums are always exactly where they need to be. Sometimes straight in your face, and sometimes elegantly in the background.

Yet again. At times this whole chebang sounds a bit overly compressed with way too many elements jockeying for attention. True, the bass got a voice for instance, but that’s often to the detriment of the rest. Luckily, they got the vocals more or less up front where they need to be at all times. How would we learn about The Formulator, else?

Ultimately though, it is indeed the sturdy storyline that saves the album’s noisy bacon. Without a well-constructed theme, we wouldn’t be able to make head or toe of our confused space captain’s musings. Thus, The Signal Heard Throughout Space turned out to be a well-concocted and often beautifully arranged space odyssey. On the other hand, a bit more restraint and tighter songwriting might have worked wonders on the waning attention spans of all those galactic fans in attendance. But fatty productions with a tendency to endlessly meander around a gazillion solar systems are the bane of many a rock opera. And this one ain’t no different.

Record Rating: 6/10 | LabelWillowtip Records | Web: Facebook (band)
Release Date: 7 October 2022


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