On Catharsis, StrangeLand's third album, the local progressive-metal trio shows why it deserves to finally break free of regional status. Original drummer Brad Klotz has returned to the fold, joining guitarist Sean Gill and lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist Chad Novell on an album rich with more melodies, vocal harmonies and musical adventure than the band's previous discs. Heavy crunchers "Asinine (Nothing Better)" and "One Drop of Water" invoke Rush and Metallica, but other songs sound more organic, echoing Kansas and Enchant and bringing a delicate balance to Catharsis.

The album opens with "Prodigo Cras," an acoustic-guitar piece that segues sharply into "The Men Who Spent Tomorrow," a scathing indictment of individuals in political and corporate power. Four more songs, each less than six minutes, follow-complete with forays into moody a cappella choruses and dreamy acoustic arrangements. And it's all capped with the engaging albeit sprawling 25-minute, seven-part title track.

Strange Land performs Aug. 28 at Points East Pub.

By Mike Popke