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Powerful progressive metal with a discernibly darker edge can be found on the debut 13-track affair from Sweden's Nation Beyond. This act employs both a male and female vocalist, a setup which yields many intriguing dimensions to the quintet's music on tracks like the heart-tugging ballad "Soulmates". Swapping symphonic metal with straight up theatrical devices ("A Rainy Day in Hell") while blasting out full power metal might when the time is right ("In the Ashes"), this concept album has its share of peaks and valleys to overcome, but after a few listens, anyone that enjoys the grandiose level of histrionics associated with the power metal genre would be hard pressed to not keep this disc in heavy rotation.
- Mike SOS