CD Review on TheProgFiles.com

TWENTY3FIFTY9 / The Count. Act I. The Soul Of A Prisoner review by DALE JUDAY

Twenty3Fifty9 is from Texas, where other prog bands have emerged (Tuner, Gollum, Hands). Taking their cue from the royal lineage of music, this band knows how to deliver a quality album. Impressive packaging & artwork for their debut release. Chock full of lyrics (although a bit difficult to read as it appears blurry against background art), and a very interesting storyline to follow. The album titled “[The Count, Act I – The Soul of a Prisoner]” is a feat of progressive glory.

The band is tight, the production (as far as instrumentation goes) is superb. They receive glowing reviews for their live shows. I can imagine why, as the music certainly comes across as unique and well composed. I presume the vocalist, who doubles as the band’s guitarist, can pull off the performance live – which would certainly set them apart from other gigging bands who tend to drop the ball on live performance when the pressure is on.

Excellent guitar tone, accomplished musicianship, thought-out structures and a “bigger picture” approach to the music all make for a solid reason not to excuse this band. They even take on the never-before-done task of metalizing Overture 1815. Sounds great right? So why do I give them a 4 instead of a 4.5 or even a 5 star review?

The singer doesn’t fit. Perhaps that’s a bit agressive for me to assert as it is apparent this is in essense his project. As the guitarist, I assume he’s the main songwriter and predominant visionary. His picture appears no less than 7 times in the CD insert and it’s his email and phone number that is given for all contact information. With a person so “in tune” with what he’d like to accomplish with this music, you would think that he’d be well aware of all facets needed to carry out the monumental effort that this otherwise epic album has the potential of being.

Here’s the thing… Although a good vocalist, Beardsley tries a bit too hard to execute Geoff Tate vocal phrasings. He has his own identifiable vocal, so it seems odd that he would resort to imitating another. He is not a Tate clone, but he seems to be struggling for his own vocal persona, and in the meantime has done vocals by the Queensyrche “how to” book, even to the point of being a tad cheesy.

On the topic of vocals, as is also evident with the duet (Believe) with accomplished female vocalist “Kristine Rios“, the production seems to stop short of the vocals on this album. Even getting pitchy in some spots. The rest of the album was obviously a labor of love. The drums have a forefront and resilient sound in the mix. The guitars and bass are tastefully blended. The transitions from parts is very well done by Beardsley who appears to be taking on the reigns of producer and engineer as well… so what happened to the vocals? I understand not wanting to drown a voice in reverb, and this is a strong singer in his own right, probably not needing of massive effects, but unfortunately the other extreme was taken in that the vocals suffer from a very dry and resulting “dead” sound. This suggestion will probably fall by the wayside as I am just one reviewer, and this album is set for release on May 15th of 2009… but this vocal track could go for a revamp. Add some harmony, thicken up the vocal, but above all the charge is presented to the vocalist to just be himself.

DALE JUDAY

Rating: 4 Stars

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