The Holy Grail
Label: Nuclear Blast
Never shy about wearing out their welcome, these German prog-metal vets start and end this alleged concept album with tracks lasting precisely 9:29, which may well be part of the concept. The intervening über-bombast leans toward long-winded as well. Queensryche-like ballad "Miracle Machine" is the shortest, calmest and most coherent cut, and while most others lack a focused center, the return of ancient gods seems a recurring theme. Brief goth parts -- including co-ed chorus bookends of opener "The Ninth Wave" -- add intermittent moodiness, and "Ashes of Eternity" mentions saints marching in.