STRIDE – Imagine

STRIDE - Imagine


Laser’s Edge/Sensory
Release date: November 8, 2005

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Since their 2001 instrumental debut, Music Machine, Stride found a singer worthy of their standard set in 2004, and created quite a buzz when opening the 2005 ProgPower VI Festival in Atlanta, USA. Their 2005 album, Imagine, was therefore met with high expectations in the world of Progressive Metal.

The Music

There is no doubt where Stride belongs. Their Progressive nature is exposed in their instrumental proficiency and showmanship, along with intricate time measure shifts and extensive arrangements. The Metal nature is found in Rick Flores’ pompous keyboard atmospheres and solos, Joel Gregoire’s pounding guitars, and the soaring vocals of Gary Belin. The bridge from Progressive to Metal is supported by the dense and dynamic interplay between drummer Matt Kanzler and Mike Martin on bass.

Further, they keep it melodic, heavy, and appropriately pretentious, at least as far as lyrics are concerned. But, unfortunately, some lyrics leave an embarrassing smell of taking the “easy way out” compared to the “no compromise” fragrance of the music. This is particularly apparent in the concluding track “Time.” Even if the other songs hold a higher standard than “Time,” they never quite reach the impact of the album’s two instrumentals: “Endeavour” and “Ion Drive.” An exception from this is perhaps “How Far,” despite the disappointing fade out at the end.

The Band

One might ask if the instrumentals are superior due to a weak singer, but that is not the case. Singer Gary Belin proves worthy of the Stride standard, even if his identity might suffer from the slightly anabolic production. The remaining four all leave no doubt of their instrument handling abilities. It is, however, a pity that showmanship sometimes is at the expense of the music.

The Verdict

It takes a lot to make a noticeable Progressive Metal album at the end of a fabulous year like 2005. Stride has made it in the sense that Imagine is loaded with ambition and talent in the technical domain. However, they lack some finesse in the musical and lyrical domain, which will hopefully be taken care of by the next time.


  • 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.

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