A number of years ago I was handed the album Magnetic Force by the Chicago born Swede Johnny Engstrom and his band. (2011, see review). An album that sounded quite promising, but Magnetic Force was not able to open doors to the larger companies. A few years later, the Johnny Engstrom Band changed their name to Dead End Space and released their debut Distortion Of Scenes in 2013. An album I missed, but today I get another chance when I get to listen to Dead end Space's second effort The Resistance. Just for the record, from the first Johnny Engstrom album until now, the band's line up has remained solid, consisting of the afore mentioned Johnny on vocals, guitar and keyboards, bass player Niklas Högberg and drummer Galle Johansson.
The Resistance is another solid progressive rock and metal album, vocal wise; Johnny seems to be the lesser god in the line of Geoff Tate meets neo progressive rock. His bombastic style is something you have to like, and I can imagine you have to listen a few times to get into his distinguished voice. Musically Dead End Space combines nice melodic parts, but also the powerful riffs prominently present. During the long tracks, like The Silencers, Butterflies and Paradigm Shift, the band tends to embed long atmospheric parts. Nicely done, but in a way they take away the continuation of the composition. Taking away the listener's attention too often. Shorter tracks, like The Watchtowers, Concept Of Space or the smoother The Warrior, still close to seven minutes are able to keep the listener focused on the quite interesting music. Nice choirs and heavy riffs go along with melodic keyboard sections and designated drums.
Since my first acquaintance with Johnny Enstrom's music, years have passed, but musically Dead End Space remains on the same level as I wrote about in the Magnetic Force review. A bit of a lack on progression, I could say. Still the music is quite interesting, but in a way my expectations on a successor of the 2011 album were a bit higher that the outcome that is called The Resistance. What remains is a dead solid progressive rock album; you might want to check out. No bad songs on the album, but also no tracks reaching for the stars and able to blow your mind.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen
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