Titan - Sweet Dreams
Relapse Records
Progressive Rock/Metal
11 songs (38:13)
Release year: 2010
Titan, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Here is a pleasant surprise: I had received this album from Relapse several months ago and it has remained gathering dust, because I needed a break from doing the sludge and grind releases they were sending out very regularly. It’s only now that I’m going back over things in a bid to get key 2010 albums reviewed whilst it’s still 2010 that I realise how stupid that was, because this is nothing of the sort. Titan are a (mostly) instrumental quartet from Brooklyn, playing an energetic, characterful, and sometimes confusing amalgamation of psychedelic proto-metal, progressive rock and whooshing electronica.

The opening title track is a fiery statement of intent, retro and evocative in inspiration but with a flamboyancy that makes it seem cutting edge. It screams of organ-heavy Uriah Heep classics like Look at Yourself, or perhaps one of Deep Purple’s faster numbers, with vibrant keys mounting a galloping hard rock riff. There are no vocal melodies here, though. Instead, we are led through an exuberant labyrinth of baroque riffing as organ lines and guitar licks intertwine. This, however, segues into the odd Synthasaurs, as the title suggests, a keyboard voyage into the spacey territory currently inhabited by acts like Relapse labelmates Zombi. It feels like we’ve strode a decade forward in time.

That’s an outlier, though, and Wooded Altar Beyond the Wander largely returns to the ground covered on the opening track. It has a slightly more modern metallic edge to its guitar tone, though, and the vocals which appear for the first time hint at a Mastodon chorus. In fact, that seems to set it on a trajectory: Highlands of Orick or closer Maximum Soberdrive would fit quite nicely on Crack the Skye, though the raucousness of their synths may cause Divinations or Oblivion to edge away uncomfortably.

This is an immensely enjoyable album which takes timeless hard rock elements and gives them a modern prog-metal sensibility. Improvements could be made: personally I would like to see more of a jam mentality. Songs are extended and given room to breathe but there is never quite the feel of spontaneity or anarchic virtuosity you might associated with the classics. Still, certainly recommended for fun-loving prog fans.

Killing Songs :
Sweet Dreams
Charles quoted 80 / 100
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