Limb Music
Release date: March 12, 2002

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Archetype define themselves as a Progressive Metal band, even if the material on their long play CD debut, Dawning, hardly fits such a definition (at least in the most common understanding of the concept). Still, Archetype is an interesting hybrid of genres. There are elements of Power Metal, Punk, Speed Metal and Latino Rhythms, just to mention a few. Sometimes their influences are pretty obvious, and that’s when they sound far from unique and rather ordinary. But other times their influences are more subtle and refined, and that’s when the music turns alive and becomes much, much more enjoyable. And one thing is for sure: they have an extraordinary attention to detail, and perhaps that’s their most Progressive property on this album.

Archetype is a powerful quartet from Ohio, USA, although they sound like a quintet (at least!). The fact is that the singer on the album, Greg Wagner, is no longer with band. New singer, Les Paul, is supposed to have joined them already. Making up the rest of the band is Chris Matyus (guitars), Jamie Still (bass), and Keith Zeigler (drums).

Some of you may have heard of the album Dawning before, as it was released on Lucretia Records back in 2002. This 2004 version is a re-release containing the same 11 tracks, plus 2 bonus tracks that are 1998 versions of “Visionary” and “Hands Of Time”(both in 2002 versions among the original 11 tracks as well).

Looking at Dawning, track 8, “Arisen,” is the first highlight, although the transition from acoustic to electric guitar is far from smooth (ouch!). The song reveals a vast understanding for merging the complex and simple musical elements. Sadly, the lyrics fall somewhat short of the musical standard, but …

“The Mind’s Eye,” which is the next track, is also one that stands out from the crowd and again signifies a band with exceptional musical skills, both in composition and performance. This is an instrumental, and that’s a relief, because Wagner’s voice gets a little tiring in the long run.

With the intro of “Years Ago,” guitarist Matyus gets to display his true profession: classical guitar. The rest of the song is maybe a little uneven, but it grows on you and ends up being the best track of them all … the ending is especially magnificent! What’s puzzling, though, is their choice of including yet another track after this one. Nothing is wrong with the concluding instrumental “Reflection,” but in just a few bars it totally ruins the mood they spent more than 12 minutes building up in “Years Ago.” Pity …

Other songs worth mentioning: “Final Day” for kicking it all off, “Dawning” for making the guitar sound like a piano (very impressive technique!!!), “Dissension’s Wake” for a firing main riff and a killer tempo, “Inside Your Dreams” for it’s rare acoustic intro and a beautiful guitar solo, and “Premonitions” for it’s insane ending (release the hounds!). Common for all these songs are one or more outstanding elements (riffs, themes, arrangements, etc.), but they all lack the glue needed to unify and complete them, thus they remain elements rather than songs. As far as remaining tracks are concerned, they have even less to offer and could safely have been omitted in favor of an all over stronger album.

As you understand, Archetype delivers quite a promising “debut,” 7 years after they first started. They show creativity, boldness, and a general respect for the complex nature of music and the sources of their inspiration. Still, with sometimes up to four guitar voices, it’s hard to imagine a live reproduction of their material. Also, the lyrics and vocal performance keeps them from matching up to leading bands in the Progressive Metal genre, or whichever other more appropriate genre they might fit into. Finally, the production quality is often sadly static. No matter how well they play, it often sounds mechanical and pre-programmed, rather than vital and energetic. Arguably, this is intentional, but when listening to the glittering and sparkling freshness found in “Arisen” and “Years Ago,” one begs to differ.

All in all, this is definitely an album worth checking out, if not just for the sake for future reference, as Archetype has a good chance of making it to the top … and from that aspect, well done!


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.