Of course, my first reaction to the name of this band was that it was some sort of Dee Snider tribute band. However, deep down I knew that nobody would form a Dee Snider tribute band. Strange Land is a progressive metal band. This is a band for people who like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Savatage, Queensryche, Rush, Kansas and Triumph. The label "progressive" hardly seems appropriate for a band that sounds like they are still in the 80s, but insofar as they have pulled off almost every progressive rock cliché, I have to give them credit as a bona fide progressive rock band.
Strange Land is a good band and, although they are a little rough around the edges, they have put out a really good album. Anomaly is a full-length CD with twelve tracks and is almost 70 minutes long: that's less than six minutes per song. I guess no one told them that Dream Theater writes 40 minute long epic songs. Thank Satan! Strange Land actually tries to write catchy songs. Yes there are lots of parts in odd time signatures and lots of long scalular guitar passages. There are also lots of clean electric and acoustic guitar passages, clean vocals and lots of keyboards. The only prog trick they didn't try is quoting a Stravinsky lick.
Strange Land managed to avoid the most common problem with bands that put out their own CDs, which is to make a really bad CD. Often bands do not have enough material to fill an album or do not have enough time and money to properly record all the songs. Overall, Anomaly is well recorded and well produced. Upon my second listening, I begin to discover some quality musical moments. I might even go so far as to say, I like this CD.
Although I generally prefer my progressive metal to be more progressive and more metal, I like Strange Land. In some ways Strange Land is a Dream Theater Lite, which I think would appeal to people like Abyss who claims he would like Dream Theater if they played shorter, catchier songs.
On the other hand, some people might be turned off by Strange Land's less
aggressive sound and style. I think Strange land still has lots of room for
improvement but are on the right path; they write catchy songs that are
musically interesting. I hope that they continue along this path.
Average Rating: 5/5