You wouldn’t expect an insanely talented progressive metal band to hail from Milwaukee, would you? Why? I don’t know. You just wouldn’t. I mean c’mon, the city is great and all (so sue me, I have a soft spot for the Brewers), but it’s not exactly known as a metal hotbed. Plus, if you’ve been there, it doesn’t strike you as a prog-metal type city. Anyway, Milwaukee is exactly where Strange Land is from, and BLAMING SEASON is indeed a display of greatly talented musicians.

Borrowing influences from the more “brainy” prog-metal bands such as Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Enchant, and especially Zero Hour, Strange Land concoct songs that are as dense as they are lengthy. Though they may seem deliberately obtuse at first (let’s face it, song titles like “Obliquity” and “Cause and Defect” have a certain egghead quality to them), the 8 songs offered on this disc eventually win you over with their hidden hooks and overall grooviness. It reminds me of walking into a labyrinth: at first you’re completely lost, but once you find your way, there is a perverse enjoyment in the journey. Things really begin to open up when the band takes pity on you and throws out the insanely catchy chorus of “Alone We Go”.

If you’re the kind of metal listener that can take and album like Zero Hour’s THE TOWERS OF AVARICE and put it on for enjoyment, you will find much to love within BLAMING SEASON. Strange Land is a gifted group that is destined for big things.

Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman
June 2005