Hillward
(Flies In Amber Stones)
2015
Turn this to 5.5 of 11
Genre:
Progressive rock
Sounds Like:
Porcupine Tree, Ty Tabor, Blackfield
A trio from Canada playing progressive rock and metal melodic passages? Very intriguing, we could not be more optimistic putting this one into heavy rotation. The three members who include David Lizotte (vocals,guitars), Jean-François Boudreault (Bass), and Antoine Guertin (drums) started off as a side project of the progressive rock band Southern Cross.

The trio meld some earlier metal influences with a predominant melodic progressive rock feel. Hillward’s overall sound, which is not all too uncommon within the genre, features precise vibrant guitar licks, intelligent percussion with subpar lyrics. The real letdown here, however, is the meek vocals that pack absolutely zero range or punch. Lizotte’s soft and often off key vocals tire quickly significantly overshadowing the quality instrumental work that ‘Flies In Amber Stones’ delivers.

Track Listing:
1. Flies in Amber Stones 4:37
2. Alive 5:15
3. One Goodbye 3:48
4. The Missing Link 5:02
5. Entropy 2:12
6. When It All Comes True 6:50
7. Quiescence 4:54
8. Quantify The Abstract 3:43
9. Walls of Apathy 5:09
10. The End of Logic 6:02

Ultimately the album kind of muddles along during the first seven tracks and clicks a bit too late. "Quantify the Abstract" is clearly the best track on the album providing some unique guitar rhythms and quite a few impressive changes-ups. Both "Walls of Apathy" and the closer "The End of Logic" meld acoustic guitar along with some style and entertaining introspective.

While ending on a high note, it is clearly a futile effort after a very flat first thirty minutes. We have said it time and time again, lackluster vocals will destroy good instrumental talent. Our advice for Lizotte is to seek a new vocal style and perhaps get out of his comfort zone a bit. The alternative is to simply hire someone who can sing. His affinity for Steven Wilson’s sound is way to apparent here.  While Wilson has that similar soft meek style, his prowess is built around an an intangible and in-tune quality that lifts spirits. Hillward on the other hand drives us to take a nap. - 12/16/2015

Standout Tracks: Quantify the Abstract
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