"Shifting The Equilibrium" is the latest release from the Upstate New York progressive rock band Unified Past, and the second album I've had the privilege to review.
The last album "Spots" was my introduction to the band, proving to be something of a revelation, as this unheralded band had already amassed a discography of six albums which has somehow escaped my notice. But after one spin around the CD player I was immediately blown away by the tight musicianship and hook laden melodies on "Spots". Making it a musical highlight of 2013.
With the 2015 release "Shifting The Equilibrium" Unified Past takes another giant step forward, catapulting the band to the upper tier of respectability alongside American prog/rock bands like Dream Theater, Queensryche and Spock's Beard.
To my ears the combination of masterful musicianship, complex arrangements, and powerhouse lead and vocal harmonies in conjunction with Unified Past's tempered blending of symphonic metal and melodic cross-over prog transcends the band from the plethora of Dream Theater clones currently populating the genre. Their music comes across as a bombastic version of 90s' era Yes or Downes/Payne era Asia on steroids.
The six songs making up "Shifting The Equilibrium" aren't simply a showcase for ego-driven exercises in speed and manual dexterity - there is a high level of sophistication in the compositions with equal emphasis on melody as well as musical prowess.
Band members include: Phil Naro (vocals), Stephen Speelman (guitars, synths, and MIDI sequencing), Victor Tassone (drums and percussion), Dave Mickelson (bass guitar).
"Shifting The Equilibrium" is highly recommended and should appeal to aficionados of bands like Syzygy, Pravda, Shadow Gallery, World Trade, OSI, Echolyn, Yes, Asia, Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and Queensryche.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on November 25th, 2015