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Sun Caged: The Lotus Effect
Sun Caged The Lotus Effectalbum new music review

Sun Caged: The Lotus Effect

Progressive Rock/Metal

The challenge of any progressive rock or metal is to be both creatively complex and accessible. Sometimes you need the latter just to get the listener to consider the former. With their third release The Lotus Effect, Sun Caged seems to want the intrigue of their arrangements to persuade you of their accessibility. Or perhaps not. The Lotus Effect will take some work from the listener: patience and attention is necessary to mine its depths.

The formula for the songs of The Lotus Effect seems to be moderately paced, steady and solemn arrangements, marked by springs of keyboard and guitar expressions. This appears in the less than auspicious, rather dismal, beginning of Seamripper. If you hang your interest in this album on this song, you will not get far in your experience. But things improve slowly with Tip-Toe the Fault Line, where you get your first true tasted of the ambitious keyboard and guitar solos. But they are really only the best things about the song.

Though the formula varies ever so slightly, The Lotus Effect becomes more approachable with accessible prog rock of Ashes to Ear, quite nice, and Shades of Hades, with its all too brief rock fusion within. Reductio as Absurdum's flash is the extravagant neo-classical guitar solo. But that seems to be the course of things. These are steady, sometimes heavy arrangements, with bursts of imagination within. Often you feel like your just muddling through, only waiting for those eruptions from guitar or synthesizer. This is certainly true on On Again/Off Again which mimics the earlier Tip-Toe the Fault Line formula, but also on the following and quizzical Lotus.

Finding that fine balance between complexity and accessibility finally comes in the last part of The Lotus Effect. The lengthy Pareidolized comes close, but is mostly that formula of a moderate pace, a touch of heaviness, and interesting solos. The real interest and intrigue comes during Parasol through the closing song Let It Wash Away. Curiously, these are all brief pieces. Yet, Sun Caged packs each with impressive and entertaining music, especially within the straight instrumental Moebius Knot. Taken as a whole, however, (and I believe they are to be linked to the previous Pareidolized) these six songs are some of the best modern progressive metal you'll find. Without dismissing the interest of the rest of the album, my only wish is that this music had come early on.

Sun Caged's The Lotus Effect offers the best of progressive metal expectations: complex and intriguing music that requires equally patient and thoughtful listening. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

Sun Caged's The Lotus Effect offers the best of progressive metal expectations: complex and intriguing music that requires equally patient and thoughtful listening.

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