Exposé Online banner

Standing Ovation — The Antikythera Mechanism
((Not on label) no#, 2012, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-03-08

The Antikythera Mechanism Cover art

For some listeners, I suppose, pretty much anything labeled Prog Metal will be attractive, but for someone like me who is outside that group, a prog metal band has to do something special to not warrant dismissal. That being said, I pride myself on being open-minded, and certainly take the time to soak in any music that I'm reviewing and give it a fair chance. Finland's Standing Ovation get off on a good foot with "Scatter," the short introductory track to this album. It features a very nice acoustic guitar part full of interesting chords and phrases; after nearly two minutes, keyboards and other instruments join for a very brief ending, again with inventive chords. Then we jump into more typical prog metal territory, with chugging guitars and pounding drums, but there are some nice touches, like varying time signatures and breaks where the bass or a guitar will toss off an unexpected harmonic flourish. The vocals are snarly, not gruff, for the most part, and don't detract from my enjoyment, though a few moments of awkward English pronunciation break the mood. I haven't delved too far into the subject matter, though there are certainly some dark images (torture, dismemberment, and so on), but they don't seem to involve any fantasy worlds or mythology. And the track "I Have Superhuman Powers" actually seems to be about a sensitive kid who finds comfort in comic books. Throughout, the music is well-played, and there's a good balance between quiet and loud, keys and guitars, and even some passages with very nice backing vocals. There are times when the riffs and fills venture outside the key signature, adding some harmonic interest as well. The album finishes off with the three-part title suite, running about 20 minutes, and while it's musically interesting and varied, I couldn't tell you what it's about, though it seems to attribute some kind of power to the titular artifact. All in all, an engaging effort that reminds me prog metal is not the dead end I sometimes think it is.


Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Standing Ovation

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Frogg Café - The Safenzee Diaries – First things first. This is one of the absolute best sounding live albums this writer has heard, made even more surprising because nearly every track across the 2CD set was recorded at a different...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues