From Endangered To Extinct, embarks the third release of Swedish mastermind Carl Westholm's project Jupiter Society. Known for his keyboard wizardry in his other band Carptree, this is the band/ project where Carl leads his musical companions in a darker, theatrical direction than in the lighter Carptree-darker than the previous Jupiter Society releases as well.
From Endangered To Extinct is a kind of sequel to the previous albums and the apocalyptic story is getting grimmer, darker and heading towards destruction as far as I can judge the music. Listening to the album, it really isn't hard to not make a comparison to the Ayreon albums, with multiple vocalists and numerous guest musicians. The difference with the albums of the Dutch master is that Jupiter Society albums mainly are based around theatrical keyboard lines, whereas Arjan Lucassen shifts from guitar to keyboard based compositions. During the album, the combination of strong male vocals by Mats Leven and Öivin Tronstad and on one song: Leif Edling, together with female vocals from Cia Backman work perfectly and there is plenty of room for strong guitar solos mostly played by Marcus Jidell, known for his participation in Royal Hunt and in Evergrey and one solo by Fredrik Åkesson, who plays in Opeth nowadays. But the man who gets the most and well deserved attention is Carl himself, sometimes playing in service of the composition, other times laying down a perfect fitting solo to a song.
All in all, I did like the album very much, but on the other hand I found it a hard one to crack, as sometimes the vocals are slightly distorted to create a certain atmosphere and the bombastic parts are sometimes too multi-layered, therefore creating a kind of chaos within a composition.
Like I wrote above, this one was a hard one for me for I am totally into this music and I like the participating musicians for their craftsmanship and still,... there is something about the album. To be honest I think on one side it is the dark atmosphere and on the other side the compositional level of the songs. The only song that stayed with me for a while was the final composition Defeat, which I think is fantastic. The rest of the songs seemed just to pass me by. Good songs, perfectly played and nice to listen to, but never reaching the level of someone like Mr Lucassen himself. Still, it's a great addition for those who are into epic stories, bombastic moody melodies and impressive musicians.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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