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Tarantula A.D.
Book Of Sand
Kemado Records

I've waited too long to write something about this, but I'm still undecided as to whether this is a bold and refreshing experiment, or an overwrought failure. Book of Sand has some truly inspired moments; great bombastic swells of Centurion Conquest followed by sequences of interminable boredom. "Conquest" captures the imagination early on, but subsequent tracks follow with diminishing returns. Part of the shtick of this album involves the integration of heavy metal guitars mixed with a Roman Symphonic…of sorts. Frankly, the classical elements of the music stand well on their own, and any attempt to create cross-genre appeal are lost in the clashing cello-guitar moments that mar the experience. Nevertheless, I can see fans of the Pink Floyd concept album finding a place to enjoy in this album; maybe not all the time, but certainly for a good deal of it.

My personal relationship with the album seems to keep getting jerked between summary dismissal and a desire to laud it as the next big thing. One thing's for certain: the product on the whole is in great need of refinement. The concept maintains its stylistic consistency for the most part, but for something lacking in lyrical narration, I think that a video accompaniment to the musical story is certainly in order. DVD is the real medium needed for this music, and with the proliferation of 30GB iPods, we may not be far removed from that day. MTV (rot in hell) may have ruined video, but the key to its revival is in the palms of millions of hands right at this very minute.

On another note, Tarantula A.D. are quite an event to see live. They hold the audience breathlessly captive for nearly an hour with a passion and energy not present on the album. So while the studio offering may not grab your attention, the stage event is certainly worth seeing.


Track Listing:
1. The Century Trilogy I: Conquest
2. Who Took Berlin (part i)
3. Who Took Berlin (part ii)
4. Sealake
5. The Century Trilogy II: Empire
6. Prelude to the Fall
7. The Lost Waltz
8. Riverpond
9. Palo Borracho
10. The Century Trilogy III: The Fall

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