After a decade-long break, Tomorrow’s Eve is back with the third chapter of its Mirror of Creation trilogy, Project Ikaros. The entire album is a dramatisation of a Utopian world created by “Project Ikaros”, which seems like something straight out of futuristic science fiction writing, like Minority Report.
The album listens like a musical soundtrack. Opening track Welcome to the Show feels like an overture from its dramatic piano introduction to the heavily syncopated guitar riffs to the driving vocals that invite the listener to “witness the drama you’re about to see”. The intensity of the opening gives way to a piano/vocal interlude about halfway through before ramping up again for the instrumental section and a return of the chorus, finally ending with piano/vocal textures again.
Perhaps my favourite track is the second one, Morpheus. It picks up with a variant of the opening track guitar riff that threatens to completely overshadow some really nice bass figures if you don’t pay attention. The verses paint a picture of a little girl who is afraid to go to sleep because of her nightmares. These are accompanied by keyboards and cymbals with a few bass drum and bass accents. The guitars emphasise the unsettling nature of her dreams.
Bread and Circuses is an intense track with swirling keyboard and guitar riffing that lyrically dwells on the idea of the frivolous as a distraction from the serious issues in our society, asking if it is too late to change our course. The notion of bread and circuses refers to the idea that the ‘powers that be’ keep the population docile and complicit through superficial nourishment and entertainment. It hearkens back to the fall of the Roman Empire, thus making the implicit connection that our society is poised for a fall because we have allowed ourselves to be distracted from what really matters.
Imago is driven by low, dark riffs and lyrics that seem to personify the distractions from Bread and Circuses. It leads into The System, which draws on some early-prog sounding keyboards, seeming to reflect back to the sounds used in the ’80s to denote technology. The message is that “the system is your friend”, keeping us safe and promising freedom from the dangers of our past. It closes with a gentle piano outro and a final iteration of the words “But we are safe now”. Next is Law and Order, in which the narrator of the tale decides to remind the “inmates of the show” what life was like before Ikaros and why Ikaros is important. It opens with a clean guitar that builds to the distorted riffing and keyboards that dominate the soundscape of this album before returning to a mellow piano and synth pad accompaniment. Following the second pronouncement of Ikaros being our savior, there is a guitar solo that builds to the moment of resolution — destroy Ikaros and take back control of our lives.
Dream Within a Dream opens with synth and drums before introducing the guitar riffs. The lyrics speak of life within Ikaros as a dream within the collective dream of the Utopian society. The protagonist sees himself holding the keys to the freedom of society. After a brief instrumental interlude, there is a tonal shift reflecting the hopefulness of his mission for the lines “If there’s no liberty, no freedom of decisions, what else than rebels are we meant to be?” The sudden shift back to the original tonal scheme reflects the daunting task of taking down Ikaros. The song ends with several repetitions of the refrain “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”
Terminal begins with a very synth-heavy intro, again alluding to the technological world our protagonist enters. The heavy guitars reflect the build to the climactic confrontation with Ikaros. The instrumental interlude about halfway through seems reminiscent of circus music that plays during feats of daring and skill to build up the suspense. Again, the fact that the music relies heavily on synthesizer sounds situates the story within a computer world. The ending of the song, featuring an acoustic piano sound, seems meant to represent the passing through a door into the next room.
Inner Sanctum opens with a sense of arrival and resolve before the bass solo gives way to the guitar riffs and keyboard stabs. The melodic vocal passages contrast with the aggressive instrumentals. This is the moment of truth in the story, the protagonist entering the shut down code and shouts his victory over the system: “It’s your final curtain, Big Brother is not watching anymore.” It ends with the ominous sound of Ikaros responding to the kill signal and rebooting (with a synthesized voice of course).
Somnium Ex Machina opens with the peaceful sounds of acoustic piano and synth pads before introducing a fuzzy guitar riff. The vocals are doubled by a electronically altered voice, lending a feeling of uncertainty to the lyrics — did the attack work? Is Ikaros offline or did it reassert control? The lyrics return to the ideas of Dream Within a Dream, as the protagonist concludes that he has failed and asks again “Is all that we see or seem but just a dream within a dream…?”
The final track, Gods Among Each Other returns to the story of Morpheus and uses similar music. The lyric revolves around the idea that we are all living in a collective dream in which we are all actors and in control of nothing. It wraps up by dropping the curtain on the drama. The final chord crossfades with the sound of an alarm clock ringing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this album. Some of the tracks went on a little long and some of them were rather formulaic, but the musicianship is excellent and the story is compelling.
01. Welcome to the Show (6:16)
02. Morpheus (7:08)
03. Bread and Circuses (5:07)
04. Imago (5:47)
05. The System (6:00)
06. Law and Order (8:44)
07. Dream Within a Dream (5:43)
08. Terminal (5:01)
09. Inner Sanctum (4:40)
10. Somnium Ex Machina (6:22)
11. Gods Among Each Other (7:59)
Total Time – 68:47
Martin LeMar – Vocals
Rainer Grund – Guitars
Oliver Schwickert – Keyboards
Mike LePond – Bass
John Macaluso – Drums
Record Label: Dr. Music Records
Country of Origin: Germany
Date of Release: 25th May 2018