The fourth and final part of the re-releases of Ian Parry's Consortium Project came out shortly after number three. Children Of Tomorrow completes the remasters of this series. Together with the earlier released Species (see review), the fifth part of the story, Ian Parry has ended one of the boldest concept stories in the progressive power metal genre, which took over twelve years. Originally released in 2007 Children Of Tomorrow became the heaviest album in this series.
Again the line-up has made their marks on the music of the fourth album. This time Parry had chosen his musicians a bit more in conformity with his own roots. Besides Parry two band mates of Elegy joined him: Henk van der Laars, who is Elegy's lead guitarist, and Joshua Dutrieux returned after the third album, not only on keyboards, but he also plays some guitar parts. Lou St Paul (Wintersbane) completes the guitar trio. Marcel van der Zwam, from Parry's solo band, plays the bass guitar and Ivar de Graaf (Kingfisher Sky, ex- Within Temptation) handles the drum sticks. The female choir exists of Erna Auf Der Haar, Rosita Abbink and Judith Rijnveld (Kingfisher Sky).
This energetic album contains Middle Eastern influences for example in Nowhere Fast in which the heavy guitars perfectly agree with the eastern melodies. Another noticeable influence is the music of Ayreon. On previous albums the similarity with the Dutch master was rather obscure, but on Children Of Tomorrow the Ayreon-sound is undeniably present. It's not bad at all, but Ian Parry doesn't need this because his music has its own characteristics. Enigma − which has the most harsh guitar sound of the album − Made In Heaven and Neverland are very aggressive tracks with male and female choirs adding heavily to the concept. Ian Parry's vocal style is clearly built on the power metal approach: forceful and slightly similar in style to that of James LaBrie (Dream Theater). New is the use of spoken words by Kyra Dutrieux which gives the compositions some extra. My personal highlight is the sentimental ballad Let The Wind Carry You Home on which Parry shows his sensitive side. As a bonus this song can also be heard as a stripped down version at the end of the album.
I think the high quality level of music that reached its peak at the previous album has not been equaled or surpassed by the number four album in line. Although it starts very powerful and the compositions are great, towards the end it seems that the songs are repeating themselves a bit. However, Children Of Tomorrow is still an impressive progressive power metal album, but not consistent enough to overthrow Terra Incognita.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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