Affector: Harmagedon

Super debut from new prog supergroup.

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There are innumerable so-called prog ‘supergroups’ in existence who, with a few very notable exceptions, tend to merely produce both an income for the members and often pretty charmless, generic music. So it’s perhaps surprising that Affector – featuring Symphony X bassist Mike LePond and current Spock’s Beard vocalist Ted Leonard – have bucked that trend and created a debut of immense balance, poise and originality.

Perhaps the most striking attribute of the album is that despite their noticeable technical chops they don’t stumble into the trap of producing gratuitous, widdly-widdly excess. Yes, there are plenty of blazing riffs and agile key changes, but they’re only used when needed and are always counteracted by mellower, evocative interludes.

The originality and high calibre of the album is shown in unexpected places. There’s a track here with the clichéd title of Overture that’s split into two parts, its lyrics consisting entirely of bible passages. Yet Affector are far from a prog Stryper, and here as well as the tender Cry Song and the soaring New Jerusalem they have a confident swagger. They’re a supergroup worth keeping an eye on.