Review by Krys on March 28, 2003.
After Andromeda's progressive/metal "Extension of the Wish" the time had come to move on into a more progressive and less metal field with "II=I". I won't lie to you, after their mind-blowing debut I was waiting for another dose of killer riffs and youthful aggression and "II=I" caught me by surprise with a more mellow and complex approach. Surprise, that after many spins turned into amazement and admiration for unlimited musical and composition skills of Johan Reinholdz and Co.
"II=I" is not an album you'll fall in love with after the first spin, much more complex and harder to understand than its predecessor "II=I" takes many spins to get into every detail. Multiple layers of progressive arrangements, broken rhythms, pentatonic scales and jazz-like musical solutions can commence the war in your head and leave you frenzied. This disc is definitely not for fans looking for in-your-face guitar assault or straightforward blast beats but if you love technical side of music then "II=I" will deliver more than you can handle.
Johan Reinholdz is one of the most gifted guitar players that the music world has to offer right now and if he won't waste his talent in years to come he has a chance of becoming a guitar genius having his name mentioned next to the biggest names of this instrument. If progressive music is not your cup, "II=I" is worth its price simply for inspiration value for young musicians. The skills and musical precision presented on this album may overwhelm the casual listener and staggers professional musicians and I don't mean just the guitar alone. Thomas Lejon and Martin Hedin are maniacs on their respective instruments and David Fremberg's wider vocal range is a welcome addition to this multitalented band. Before I conclude this review I have to calm down any skeptics already thinking of another Dream Theater clone. Andromeda is not a copycat of above-mentioned; they have enough fresh ideas and skills to make it on their own and if anyone has to worry it'd be the current progressive music world cause with the tempo those guys are maturing as musicians Andromeda might be very hard to top in years to come by any prog band.
Bottom Line: If you look for a superb songwriting and world-class musicianship "II=I" is a safe bet but for music fans hunting for pure aggression and with no interest in guitar masturbation I'd suggest to look somewhere else.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.6 out of 10