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On disc: Sequester



Nameless One EP - Mike Thompson - 9 stars
Shaping Life And Soul - Mike Thompson - 9 stars


www.sequester.ca







Shaping Life And Soul

Shaping Life And Soul
(self-released - 2011)


Last year I discovered Sequester's 2009 EP Nameless One and was absolutely blown away, particularly when I learned that this is a solo project by otherwise unknown musician Ryan Boc. The level of songwriting, musicianship and extremely high class production put many established bands to shame and so I eagerly awaited this next release...and now here it is!
Shaping Life And Soul features eight tracks of, for lack of better definition, progressive metal. I'm not the biggest fan of the progressive genre but the songs of Sequester, much like Pyramaze and Darkwater, are focused on being good, enjoyable listens rather than on complexity for complexity's sake. The songs are generally quite long, although probably about average length for a prog release, with most songs around the six and a half to eight minute mark.
The songs are all varied in tempo and structure from the balls-out opener The Awakening, the opening of which strongly reminds me of Iced Earth, to the slow and passionate Confined To Silence.
Boc's voice was probably the weakest link on the Nameless One EP simply because it was less polished than the other instruments. However, he seems to have improved his singing, which is even more varied and full of emotion than on the previous release.
The inspiration for Sequester's music and lyrics are many and varied but never run-of-the-mill. Ranging from books (Vampiric Humanity) to video games (Bhaalspawn) to television series (This Dark Passenger) to human behavior (Confined To Silence), Ryan Boc approaches each and every subject from an intelligent and original perspective allowing Sequester to stand out from the general power/progressive pack even more. All of the inspiration for the songs is listed on the Sequester homepage.
This album was definitely worth the wait! Easily one of my favorites of 2011 so far. If the excellent music wasn't reason enough to get this album the cover artwork is also phenomenal. Unfortunately Shaping Life And Soul is only available in digital format but you can buy a digital copy from www.cdbaby.com. What are you waiting for?


9 stars

Mike Thompson
 

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Nameless One EP

Nameless One EP
(self-released 2009)


Sequester is the lone project of one Ryan Boc, hailing from Canada, that was begun in 2005. I'm used to one man black and Viking metal bands, most of which are rather shoddy, but a one man power metal band is almost unheard of. The Nameless One EP is Sequester's fourth release, with a back catalogue of one demo, a single and a full length, and I have to say that if the quality of its predecessors is as high as this one I'm going to have to hunt them down.
Sequester plays in a mainly progressive power metal style, drawing influences from many of the established bands in the genre, such as Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Savage Circus and, to my ears, a good helping of Pyramaze. However, the great thing is that Sequester's sound is actually quite unique. Boc's voice falls short of the typical high-pitched power metal voice, having more akin to the rougher tones of singers such as Piet Sielck of Iron Savior, Matt Barlow of Iced Earth and Andreas Babuschkin of Paragon. Sometimes its a little rough around the edges but this will only improve with time.
The lyrics of Paragon generally deal with fantasy themes, drawn from Boc's open love of fantasy literature and video games. However, the lyrics could not be described as cheesy in the list. This isn't Manowar style 'raise your swords and slay the dragon' lyrics but deep and thought provoking lyrics inspired by the subject matter. The lyrics to the ten minute epic, Nameless One, for example, is according to Boc inspired by the video game Planescape Torment, but the lyrics deal with such themes as the nature of man and what defines his character*.
The EP takes a surprising twist on track three, Three Ravens, a song based upon an old English folk ballad. The music on this song has more in common with Faroese folk metal band Tr but is not a carbon copy of that band's unique style. I take my hat off to Boc for showing his versatility with this song, however, I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of this sort of sound so this is the worst song on the EP for me, I must stress that this is down to my own taste rather than a reflection on the quality of the song which is still very good.
This EP actually stunned me when I put it on. The sheer quality of the songs, lyrics and production are just astounding and I highly recommend this to everyone with even a slight interest in progressive power metal.

*www.rockstarweekly.com/content/view/1313/211/


9 stars

Mike Thompson
 

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