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Byron Nemeth Group 

The Force Within (Pacifica Records)

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Prog is quickly becoming the new corpse paint in metal. Bands like DragonForce are blowing up, mixing new metal ideas with the kind of '80s power metal/technical thrash favored by the Byron Nemeth Group. The Cleveland quartet could try and cash in, but it admirably prefers to keep its progressive concepts pure, which translates into instrumentals with 97,000 movements and endless soloing. The quartet keeps it so real, in fact, that it commissioned Hugh Syme, Rush's cover artist, to design the jacket for The Force Within.

Although Nemeth pompously pulls off every six-string trick known to gear-endorsing virtuosos, most of the album's tracks lack the melodicism needed for a memorable listen. The band is at its best when cranking out mindless good-time '80s shred like "Frankenstein's Lullaby." But chances are you won't give a shit, unless you took music courses at Cleveland State like Nemeth.

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