The Dutch outfit Sun Caged is presenting their 3rd album, again it took about 4 years to present the follow-up. It seems that guitarist and mainman Marcel Coenen and his pals take their time to present a perfect album every and each time. Sure, not everybody will understand their musical vision and the album needs a few spins to show all it's beauty!
A clock is ticking, some strange noises lead you into The Lotus Effect with Seamripper (& The Blanket Statement). Then heavy riffs and fast double bass drumming take you into a instrumental frenzy. But when singer Paul Adrian Villarreal joins in they step back and present a catchy, piano-based prog rocker. A sonic roller coaster ride with a dash Dream Theater and some Oriental sound elements. More heavy riffing leads you into Tip-Toe The Fault-Line, but this time they don't head into some wild progressive passages, the song is easier to access. Partly they use distortion on the vocals and it's Paul Adrian Villarreal's melodic vocals which make this one a catchy prog metal tune. Reminds me a bit of Sieges Even's Paramount - vocally.
The opening passage of Ashes To Ear is a bit Savatage-sque, it's the keyboard and as soon as the others join in this feeling is gone. A melodic progressive metal tune which is ennobled by Villarreal's voice and Coenen's guitar play. At Shades Of Hades they one more time use distorted vocals, but it's the tribal drums and slap bass which makes it stick out. Then a keyboard dominated passage where the guitar riffs attack you from different side, later on they use multiple vocal harmonies. Very cool.
Slowly they kick off Lotus, but soon the tune becomes a heavy but balladesque prog rocker with multiple vocal harmonies towards the end. Another one based on heavy riffs is Pareidolized (The Ocean In The Shell), but then there are piano-based melodic passages which feature Paul Adrian Villarreal's vocals. Enchanting vocal line! Great lead guitar play! A real treat. Another highlight is Parasol, a balladesque prog rocker which is followed by the up-tempo rocker Wave The Banner. The last tracks are a suite and melt into one. They close the 3rd chapter of Sun Caged with Let It Wash Away (The Lotus Effect), a track which kinda sums up what Sun Caged present on The Lotus Effect.
This is no easy-listening, but nobody would expect Sun Caged to release a mainstream album - even if they present a lot of great melodies on this one. The Lotus Effect is a walk on the razor's edge, for some the progressive excursions might be too much, but you should give the album a chance!