Talk about wearing your influences on your sleeve! Brazil's Khallice make no bones about their love of Dream Theater on their Magna Carta debut The Journey, an otherwise fine album of melodic and technical progressive metal. The first thing that hits you is the strong lead vocals of Alirio Netto, who sounds eerily similar to James LaBrie, and once you have gotten past that the intricate guitar, keyboard, and rhythmic intensity slams right into you. Not lacking as far as melodies and instrumental fireworks go,
The Journey features one mini-epic after another, all highly progressive and heavy, but not overly so. While the guitar riffs of Marcelo Barbosa have a rough edge, he never dives into excessive riff-o-rama, instead dropping in the riffs when necessary and relying more on wild melody lines and groove-laden hard rock passages. Keyboard player Bruno Wambier keeps pretty busy himself with lots of synth, piano, and organ textures, but sadly is buried somewhat in the mix in spots. It's when he comes to the forefront for a scalding duet with Barbosa, like on "I've Lost My Faith", that he really stands out.
Progressive metal fans will love the intelligent and dramatic "Spiritual Jewel", which contains some great guitar parts to go along with Netto's soaring and screaming vocals. The bombastic prog of "Wrong Words" is supplemented nicely by bubbly keyboards and the tight rhythm section of bassist Michel Marciano and drummer Cesar Zolhof, and overall this piece has an appealing Rush-meets-Dream Theater feel to it. Other high energy numbers include "Prophecy", "Thunderstorm", and the wild "Vampire". Plus you can't go wrong with the driving and highly memorable title track, which also is filled in with plenty of crazy solos spots from Barbosa.
Along with the latest from both Age of Nemesis and Anthropia, Khallice's The Journey is proof that Magna Carta is back on the map when it comes to symphonic progressive metal.