American prog metal veterans Fiction Syxx have put together a very well thought out, superbly executed set of tracks on new album Ghosts of My Fathers Past.

Spurning out and out bombast – though there are many moments throughout the record where sheer pomp metal majesty does win the day – in favour of old fashioned concepts like songwriting smarts and sheer talent, the band have created nine thoughtful, often poignant cuts built around the superb vocals of Mark Lanoue and the excellent guitar playing of JK Northrup.

Tracks like Caught Up In The Moment offer up ear-jerking joy to the discerning music lover, as muscular guitar, swirling keys and soaring vocals combine to create a maelstrom of mellifluous melodic rock rarely seen around these parts in 2021. And though the band are ostensibly a metal/hard rock outfit, their attention to detail on more balladic material such as the astounding Waiting, Wondering connects them to progressive rock titans such as Kansas or Dream Theater. Which obviously is no bad thing in the eyes of Sentinel Daily… this really is rock music from the top drawer.

Lanoue gives a spine-tingling performance on this track, backed by some superbly emotive keyboard work from Eric Ragno, and the pair combine to roll back the years to a time when tracks like this were on the radio all the time. If you’re not blubbing like a child by song’s end, or at least holding a lighter aloft and staring wistfully into the middle distance, there’s a fair chance Fiction Syxx aren’t the band you’re looking for.

But joking aside, Ghosts… is a superb album from top to bottom, easy on the ear yet packed with the sort of slick performances only the best musicians can deliver. They might make this look and sound easy, but there are years and years of blood sweat and tears taken to get to the point where standout cut Innocence or closing track Beyond the Shadows gets the hairs on the back of the neck standing to attention. You won’t hear us say this very often – but this is essential listening if progressive metal is your bag.

Ghost of My Fathers Past is available digitally now, with a physical release to follow on September 28.