March 2, 2021

The Spectre Beneath is a new band put together by guitarist Pete Worrall in Cheshire in 2018 and is an ambitious project that is a fusion of progressive and power metal that is post-modern in outlook and concept. They released their imaginative and brilliantly titled debut, The Downfall Of Judith King, also in 2018 and have now followed it up with the equally enigmatic The New Identity Of Sidney Stone. The band seems to delight in progressive metal concepts with storytelling at the very heart of their music. Guitarist Pete Worrall is a man with a vision and an eye for a special metal project with him being involved with Bleak Exist and Plague And The Decay and he always seems to want to create something special and he has done that exceptionally well with the unique The Spectre Beneath.

Worral is an extraordinarily prodigious and eclectic guitarist and his individual axe work is writ large over this quality progressive metal album made all the more remarkable by the incredible delicious singing of L Lockser, a woman with a great vocal delivery and an adaptable vocal range that is most pleasing. Worrall also plays bass with Consta Taylor on drums and there is some additional input from Vini Assis on guitar, Martin Worrall on keyboards and additional vocals from Katy Lennon. The story reads and plays out something similar to the great Operation:Mindcrime classic with vocal segments between the songs to enhance the story line which is a tale concerning the darkness in all of us in general and specifically the absorbing tale of the betrayal of Sidney Blake, a master criminal and the unfolding pieces of his life and story arc. Heavy and intense, the music is driven by the incredible playing of Worrall, a guitarist who can riff with the best and his lead breaks are blistering and his rhythm guitar is thrilling when either complex of simply basic but all with total conviction and passion. The songs contain many hooks that keep drawing you back into the music and the interplay between the guitar and the sublime vocals of Ms Lockser are simply amazing. This is not a conventional progressive metal album as there are so many styles and flavours of rock involved but it is a most superior work and it is another that reveals more with each play and it is true that the more you put in then the more you will get out. In truth, there is very little to compare it with and the publicity states that it will appeal to fans of Unleash The Archers, Megadeth, Queensryche and Nevermore. I see what they mean but that is only half the tale. Because of the feel of the work the Queensryche comparison works best but you really need to listen to it to make up your mind. Give it several plays and you will be rewarded many times over.

Incredibly, this is a self released album as the band is not with a label and this is simply criminal. Any record executives out there should be contacting Pete Worrall with cheque book in hand. A different take on progressive metal for sure but this is a damn good, rewarding and truly exhilarating album.

The New Identity Of Sidney Stone track list

  1. Clockwork Heart (4:57)
  2. Voice In The Static (4:53)
  3. Broken (5:25)
  4. Have You Waited For The World To Change? (5:37)
  5. 20 Shillings A Town (6:00)
  6.  The Last Light In The House (5:08)
  7. The Criminal (6:34)
  8. The Funeral (5:23)
  9.  The Premature Burial (8:24)
  10. The Phone Call (2:39)
  11. The Exhumation (6:15)