At War With Self returns with a third album called ‘A Familiar Path’, which was released in the later part of 2009. It would appear that the band is still in a ‘duo plus format’ with Glenn Snelwar taking up all the instruments except drums, which is provided by Manfred Dikkers. Glenn’s wife Maggie is featured on “Ourselves” providing backing vocals.
One of the amazing things about this band is that Glenn likes to keep progressing and never repeats himself. This is especially true with ‘A Familiar Path’, while guitar oriented, it‘s fresh in instrumentation. At War With Self could be classified as technical or progressive metal but to do so would limit their possible future. Just like ‘Acts Of GOD’, the addition of vocals helps keep the music fresh. Glenn’s vocals remind me of Kevin Moore approach on the O.S.I. albums.
Opening up the album is “Reflections” which features acoustic instrumentation by way of mandolin on top of an aggressive metal foundation. The second track "Diseased State" and “Concrete and Poison” are the most aggressive songs on the album. The former has some tasty acoustic guitars blended in and the latter contains a slight oriental feel within the metal confides.
The title track is the epic of the album and is the most somber piece. It also features Glenn’s vocals. This is also my favorite track and one of the highlights of the album. I read somewhere that it has been called Porcupine Treeesque, which is a pretty close description. “Hope” concludes the album on a somber note with the emphasis on acoustic guitar which has a slight Fripp sound.
Glenn as in previous releases, brings something new & inventive to the mix. A Familiar Path is one of my top 40 favorite new releases of 2009 and gets a high recommendation especially for the At War With Self and the aforementioned bands.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on March 20th, 2010