I did check out Felony for the first time. Vocally, I didn't have a problem with 'First Works.' The male vocalist sounds very similar to Trent Gardner (Magellan,) albeit with a broader range. The female vocalist is a bit rough around the edges, but I've heard a lot worse.
As far as the 'no-no's' to prog stepping into the pomp territory, I'm one of the extremely few that will call that a 'yes-yes.' Because I'm very biased to keyboards, and that I've found some prog a little too heavy, or too confusing, or just plain bad. I categorize Felony as "Progressive AOR." It's fluffier than prog, but it won't bore me to tears with predictability either. A perfect blend in my book.
There is only major problem I had with this one, and that was the choruses. Felony has the potential to be a great band. But when you write so many choruses that fall flat, it will kill the momentum built in any song.
As far as I can tell, Felony has the potential as a new band to evolve into something special. Possibly improve as greatly as Lunatica did between Album #1 and #2. However, I feel they need to improve on a few things:
1.) Work on the lyrics.
2.) Hire someone to write a bombastic chorus. They need one...BADLY!
3.) Get a beefier distortion to the guitars. As much as I like a keyboard-heavy album, even I draw the line if the guitars aren't doing a whole hell of a lot to support those keys. Get some beefy distortion, even if you have to borrow a distortion pedal from another band.
My Score: 76 / 100
'All these years you spoke me, to my heart, to my sanity. Revealed to me all my deepest fears, and brought me down, soaked in tears.' -- Sirenia