I've been reading Jeff Wagner's Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal, a history of nerd metal that starts with Rush and King Crimson and runs through Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater to Cynic, Atheist, and Opeth. It's the perfect setup for listening to this sophomore album from local prog geeks Luminoth, who seem to have absorbed influence from all of the above. The band anchors a fairly accessible set of modern-rock songs with jazzy rhythms, oddball time signatures, and wonky instrumental breaks (like the Zappa-esque guitar solo in "The Journey"). It all fits together surprisingly well—singer Adam Henry seems comfortable with both the emotive X-rock choruses and the band's artier leanings, and the instrumental work (by guitarist Jason Henry, bassist John Springer, and drummer Paul McGee) is as catchy as it is cerebral. The art-thrash of "Serial Crusher Theory" near the end of the disc is a highlight, and suggests Luminoth might be best at a more intense pace than the mid-tempo Tool-style dirges that make up most of Cabal.