Cheope - downlodideas
Bruce Turnbull 19/03/2007
As outlandish as it may seem reviewing a release of this genre for GIITTV, the bold neo-progressive metal onslaught delivered by Italians Cheope stands closer to familiar territory for me. That being said, this isn't exactly what I personally cater for, but it's getting there. Rather interestingly, Cheope eschew all genre classification and try to focus their efforts squarely on walking two completely different paths simultaneously. The left road leads to rather archetypal American-style post-grunge in the mould of Creed, Puddle of Mud and at times Soil; the serrated right hand creeps over ultra-technical prog metal ala Eldritch, Spock's Beard and Dream Theater. So, yeah - quite a musical pickle indeed.
The hallmarks are all there; you have your solid production, challenging instrumentation, fist in the air-metal choruses and some seriously fat riffing. So what's the problem? Well, it's just the particular genres they have decided to fuse. They very rarely work; on the one hand, Cheope's performances ooze vigour, which makes up for the lack of direction - but when they twaddle off into obscure-time-signature-land and try to cram as many notes as their fretboards will allow into two seconds, one has to wonder what the hell these guys are trying to achieve here. The prog metal is good, and the American hard rock is good. But just not together!
In Enrico “Erk” Scutto they have an extremely versatile vocalist, who can not only hit the high notes; he also has an enormously thick middle range that literally bleeds conviction all over the vocal lines - and on the truly amazing chorus of power metal-laced stomper “Leave Me Alone” he cracks the harmony into a multitude of pieces, rendering the listener positively senseless. Amongst the crushing guitars and choppy-double bass drums, there is quite an air of electronica that serves as another piece of this elusive jigsaw puzzle I have yet failed to complete.
Sitting in both camps, I'm not sure which one this will settle more comfortably in. The modern-metallers may find this a morsel too fragmented, whilst the prog nuts (such as myself) will find this a tad too nu-metal sounding. If a more fixed direction were to be pursued, Cheope would find a very tidy place in which to set up shop - until then “Downloadideas” is credible, but lacks the innovation they tried to inspire.