The debut by Texas-based, Lebanese brothers Mathew & Christopher Aboujaoude, this concept album is the tale of an old man’s discovery of a journal of his previous trials and tribulations. The soaring guitar work may betray the brothers’ influences, Pink Floyd & Rush, but it would be unfair to say this is a Floyd copy. The brothers have their own style, which includes, unsurprisingly, middle-eastern touches. The vocals have an earnest, longing quality which tell of the old man’s journey through his life, with all its emotional highs and lows. The guitars and keyboards are well structured and the drumming is excellent.
This emotional journey is highlighted in the section containing Behind My Wall, Your Possessor and Lock Thyself, the second of these being my choice for the album’s highlight. These are followed by the heavier and rhythmically technical Enigma with its staccato guitar and keyboard duelling.
The album closes with the title track Ashes Of A Diary and Final Page. The same earnest, longing vocals and graceful guitar work that epitomise the rest of the album continue in shovelfuls in these final tracks. I’m sure I recognise parts of the guitar solo in Ashes Of A Diary, but I can’t for the life of me recall where. I wished the ending could have been a little more of a climax, but perhaps this would have been out of character.
This is an excellent album, and quite outstanding as a debut. In hindsight, I wish I’d poured myself a big glass of red wine before listening to this release.
Next time, I will!