This Akron-based prog-metal band aims big on its debut, a concept album about a medieval philosopher who winds up in jail because of his radical beliefs. Before you can say 2112, his apprentice gathers a freedom-fighting army. You'll have to scroll through the lyrics to get to the story, since the caterwauling vocals and heavy guitars on The Blood March are loud and aggressive. The Approach and the Execution have a wild card in keyboardist Julee Peterson, whose operatic voice helps distinguish songs like "The March of the Guillotine (The Blood March)" and "The Plague Knows No Prejudice." Most of the time, the band plays it fast and furious. But when they slow things down — like on "Earth's Final Solstice" and "A Lesson Forever Undone" — they find a sort of inner peace. — Jeff Niesel
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