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Reviews in this issue:


Pallas - Beat the Drum
Pallas - Beat the Drum
Country of Origin:UK
Format:CD
Record Label:-
Catalogue #:-
Year of Release:1998
Time:71:58
Info:Pallas

I'm not very familiar with the previous Pallas material, to be totally honest. I heard the Knightmoves to Wedge album a couple of years ago and remember not being very impressed by it. There were some songs which were nice, but overall it did not really appeal to me. Also, I've never been a big fan of Alan Reed's vocals. So to sum it up, I didn't really have high expectations when I received the rough mix of the album on CDR. Boy, was I in for a suprise.

Call to Arms (6.31) opens the album. It's a powerful rock track with a nice break. A good but rather straightforward track.

Beat the Drum (9.15) is one of the best tracks on the album. This song, which could already be heard on the April tape, has a wonderful quiet opening with just piano, string keyboards and vocals. After two and a half minutes a powerful second half starts. The title track features a very powerful bass line and good melodies. A thunderous drum sequence gives the finishing touch.

Hide and Seek (4.41) is a very accessible uptempo song with a catchy melody. It also features a Yes-like bass solo.

Insomniac (7.38) starts with spooky keyboard and sound effects. Very atmospheric. The powerful second half is based around the bass and guitar riffs. After various tempo and theme changes the song ends with a computerized voice (like in Pink Floyd's Keep Talking). Another highlight !

All or Nothing (4.39): another straightforward rock tune with a chuncking bass and good use of backing vocals.

Spirits (5.40) is another favourite of mine. It starts as a quiet ballad with vocals and keyboard effects, accompanied by wonderful percussion. The climax of the song is very majestic and features bagpipe samples and snare drums playing a march rhythm.

Man of Principle (5.37). You've guest it, a poppy uptempo song with a catchy melody.

Ghosts (8.14) starts with vocals and keyboard effects. Bass and percussion join in after a while and soon the tempo increases and the song gets a more grungy rock feel, with some wonderful riffs.

Blood and Roses (4.49) was also featured on the April tape and has become a beautiful ballad. Halfway through the song a string arrangements comes in. The song ends with the whole band playing and a beautiful guitar solo.

Wilderness Years (5.57) is my least favourite song on the album. The first part has a slow rhythm and the backing vocals make this sound like a militairy marching song. The rest of the song is quite good though, with some nice guitar solos.

Fragments of the Sun (8.19) starts with a reprise of the Beat the Drum theme, but this time with a completely different drum rhythm and a Floydian guitar solo, which eventually evolves into a new emotionally charged tune. A perfect closing of a great album.

The album has a perfect alternation between more commercial rock tunes (Call to Arms, Hide and Seek, All or Nothing, Man of Principle) and atmospheric symphonic prog gems (Beat the Drum, Insomniac, Spirits, Ghosts, Fragments of the Sun).
This is definitely a great piece of work ! Production and compositions are splendid and the booklet features all lyrics against nice backgrounds. One of the highlights of 1998 !

Conclusion: 8.5 out of 10.

Ed Sander


Marillion - Piston Broke
Marillion - Piston Broke
Country of Origin:UK
Format:2CD
Record Label:Racket Records
Catalogue #:Racket 9
Year of Release:1998
Time:130:56
Info:Marillion

After the 'This Strange Engine Tour', Marillion asked their sound engineer Stewart Every to compile a live album with tracks which had never or rarely been released in a live version or had been played in a special version. He eventually used songs from 5 different concerts to fill the double CD which was released on Marillion's private label, Racket Records.

Here's the tracklist:

Disc 1 [71:25]

01. Man of 1000 Faces [08:14] 19-May-97 (B), Gent "Vooruit"
02. Hard as Love [05:27] 19-May-97 (B), Gent "Vooruit"
03. Gazpacho [04:53] 19-May-97 (B), Gent "Vooruit"
04. Afraid of Sunlight [07:06] 19-May-97 (B), Gent "Vooruit"
05. Eighty Days [06:29] 20-May-97 (F), Paris "Bataclan"
06. Estonia [08:49] 19-May-97 (B), Gent "Vooruit"
07. Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury [06:37] 23-May-97 (NL), Geleen "Hanenhof"
08. The Space (acoustic) [02:38] 19-May-97 (B), Gent "Vooruit"
09. Easter [06:22] 23-May-97 (NL), Geleen "Hanenhof"
10. Brave [08:42] 20-May-97 (F), Paris "Bataclan"
11. The Great Escape [06:08] 23-May-97 (NL), Geleen "Hanenhof"

Disc 2 [59:31]

12. This Strange Engine [19:40] 20-May-97 (F), Paris "Bataclan"
13. Sugar Mice [06:22] 14-Oct-97 (D), Hannover "Capitol"
14. This Town / 100 Nights [11:25] 13-Oct-97 (D), Hamburg "Docks"
15. The Bell in the Sea [05:46] 23-May-97 (NL), Geleen "Hanenhof"
16. Hope for the Future [06:49] 23-May-97 (NL), Geleen "Hanenhof"
17. King [09:29] 23-May-97 (NL), Geleen "Hanenhof"

Given the mission of Stewart to use songs which have not yet been issued as a live version before, I can't really see why King, Afraid of Sunlight, the songs from Brave and Easter are included on this CD since they were also present on the Made Again live album and aren't special versions either. Nevertheless, they're good songs of course.
Basically, most of the album contains the standard setlist for the first part of the tour (Man of a Thousand Faces - This Strange Engine) plus a selection of encores and tracks from the second part of the tour.

The second half of Man of a Thousand Faces doesn't even come close to the majestic climax of the studio version, but still makes for a good song. Hard as Love goes straight into a shorter version of Gazpacho, which misses the ending of the album version. I was disappointed not to find this song on the Made Again album, so this version makes up for it, to a certain extent.

The Space is a spontaneous acoustic improvisation when the audience keeps on shouting for this song. Don't expect a well arranged and rehearsed version though.
The first verse and refrain of Easter are sung by the crowd.

The live version of This Strange Engine is from the same gig as the one which is on the Eighty Days CD single, but this time it features Peter Trawavass' wonderful bass solo intro as well.
It's good to finally have a live version of the This Town-trilogy. Unfortunately, the quality is not the best compared to the songs recorded at the other gigs. Especially the drums sound a bit dry and flat, which is a shame because the Rakes Progress section features drums in this version. The closing section of the album version is missing from this live version.

For those of you who don't know The Bell in the Sea yet, it was the B-side of the Uninvited Guest single and became very popular as a live song during recent years, which isn't strange because the song is far too good to be put on a B-side.

Hope for the Feature is extended and features a snippet of Hogarth singing Kayleigh in the intro.

All in all a nice live album, although I think there are some other songs which were played during this tour which might have fitted the 'rarity' tag a bit better, like Accidental Man, Freaks, Warm Wet Circles, That Time of the Night or One Fine Day.
On the other hand, the tracklist of this album will probably result in this album occupying my CD player much more often than the Made Again live album or the new album
Radiation.

The sound quality is good, although there are some slight difference in quality and the mix of the various instruments between the various concerts. The packaging was once again done by Bill Smith, so you'll probably like it when you're an admirer of their work - which I'm not. Strange enough it lacks source dates for the various tracks and other liner notes.
The price of the CD is quite reasonable and it can be mail-ordered through Racket Records.

Conclusion: 8 out of 10.

Ed Sander


EyeRhyme - Soul
EyeRhyme - Soul
Country of Origin:Canada
Format:CD
Record Label:Small Dog
Records
Catalogue #:ER 1222
Year of Release:1997
Time:45:36
Info:EyeRhyme

EyeRhyme is a Canadian three-piece band which was founded in 1993. Since then they've become popular in Mexico and Japan. They also broadcasted a couple of their concerts live on the Internet. They recently released their second CD, Soul.

This is a CD doesn't really fit into the 'progressive rock' genre as we would describe it. Eye Rhyme's music is more straightforward hard-rock with short songs and an emphasis on the guitars. The album does feature keyboards but normally only in a supporting role. The few keyboard solos are not very special.

The various short tracks (3-5 minutes) show a lot of variation, from straightforward rock songs like Surface, Spaceman Serenade, Fragile and Nobody's Perfect to ballads like Journey and more radio-friendly songs like Electricity and Distant Light. The title track is the heaviest song on the album and features a break with acoustic guitar. More acoustic guitar can be found in the instrumental Mist. Stab 'Em All was choosen as a single but strange enough is one of the weakest songs as far as I'm concerned. It does however feature nice heavy electronic drums.
Dying Hope opens and ends with the same hospital intercom sample as opens Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime. This might be considered plagiarism but I've also heard that sample in various TV series, so I assume it comes from a 'public' sound library.

EyeRhyme clearly do their stuff quite well. Vocals and instruments are very good, lyrics are rather simple. The booklet is an 8-page fold-out paper with all lyrics and band member pictures.
The CD has also been enhanced with a multimedia program which features the video for Stab 'Em All (which is a bit anti-climatic and rather boring), some samples from their first album Life Control and other bits of information.

If you're into hard rock, you might want to give this one a spin. It's definitely no prog rock though.

Conclusion: 6.5 out of 10

Ed Sander

According to Ed, EyeRhyme doesn't play progressive rock, although a couple of songs can be related to prog. Ian Graham [EyeRhyme's vocalist, bass and keyboard player] told me that their new stuff is more in the prog scene so that's the reason why they asked us to review their latest album (originally released in 1997). Their style is described as independent rock. I'm not so familiar with independent rock so it is hard to compare EyeRhyme with other bands, the only thing I can say is that I like the album myself. More than Ed does, that's for sure, but I think that's because I am more in prog metal.

The music of EyeRhyme is dominated by raw guitar playing, and that's what I like about it. For those of you who like progressive hardrock/metal, I think EyeRhyme can be interesting. People who's favourite music is progressive and/or symphonic rock can forget this CD. But it's always a personel taste, I like the album and will rate it with 7.5 points out of 10. I'm curious what EyeRhyme will bring us on the next CD, because that will be more in the prog (metal?) genre. Decide for yourself.

Rene Janssen


Turtle Om - The Festival of Fish
Turtle Om - The Festival of Fish
Country of Origin:UK
Format:CD
Record Label:Oblong
Catalogue #:OBL 0032
Year of Release:1998
Time:73:04
Info:Click Here

Turtle Om was formed in the early ninities as a four piece live band. They gradually went from space rock oriented music like Hawkind to more a more progressive style like Yes, Genesis and King Crimson.
After some line-up changes they also shifted their attention from live performances to recording their music on 8-tracks and later directly to hard disc, mixing MIDI and live instruments with close harmony vocals.

Their debut album was called Utopia Planitia, and now their second self-released album has seen the light of day; The Festival of Fish. This concept album concerns a bizarre story about a French fising village where, after some strange occurences, the inhabitants change into giant space travelling eels. (Pardon ?)

Neme Wasi (The Arrival of the Four) (5.41) is an instrumental tune which starts with a remarkable rhythm followed by melodies on keyboard and guitar. After some vocoded spoken words the track proceeds with a different rhythm. This is one of the better tracks on the album, although it lacks a good melody.

Moon (including: Breathing in/F of F) (23.33) is a very long track that can be divided in three sections. The first one features a vocal part with a reasonably enjoyable melody (although the vocals are not really something to write home about) and goes through many changes in rhythm, tempo's, solo's and melodies.
After the first vocal section the guitar starts playing a part which sounds like a slower version of the end of Starship Trooper (Wurm).
After a long (and actually very good) instrumental section the initial melody returns and the vocals come back in.
After this vocal section the music changes some harp-like noises and a more up-tempo rhythm starts the second part, which is called Breathing In. The vocals in this part can only be described as 'horrible', especially when more vocals (overdubs ?) join in for a 'not-so-close harmony'. The David Gilmour imitation on the guitar cannot save this part. I found it unbelievable that a band would want to include such a amateuristic track on their CD. But there was more to come ....
After the 3-minute horror of Breating In the long track ends with a section called F of F (Firth of Fifth ?). It starts with atmospheric keyboards, but before long a drum computer and guitar take over. The solo bits from the keyboard sound like they came from a childs toy. The guitar is good but, once again, the song misses a good melody.

After some more vocoded spoken words Deadmen On A Cosmic Wave (5.17) proceeds as a quite piece of music with Yes-like influences. Just when you start enjoying the wonderful atmosphere, the drum computer comes in again and the track becomes a reasonably good uptempo tune in the same style as The Knife, though the guitar solo at the end is more like Yes.

Observations From A Cliff Top (Unobserved) (6.35) starts with applause, but this is definitely faked, since the biography of the band states that they have never played live in their current line-up. The ambient intro includes - you guessed it - vocoded vocals, after which another uptempo song starts with bad vocals. The band sound more like a punk group then a prog band in this one. Skip please ...

Dereks' Invasion Of Earth (Part 3) (7.26) sounds rather jazzy. The song really lacks melody, all instruments and vocals seem to do something different. It seems like the band wanted to write something 'difficult' and ended up with a very inaccessible track. The only enjoyable part about this one is the instrumental second half, which is quite good. More vocoders in the closing section.

The Dance Of The Undine (4.03) is a very ambient piece which starts with acoustic guitar and atmospheric sounds. Nice percussion follows. The track also features morse-code sound effects (where have I heard that before ?) and fretless bass. Not bad !

The Festival Of Fish (Is Rising) (14.21). Mellotrons straight ahead ! The basic idea of the start of the song is not bad at all, but like elsewhere on the album, the actual (vocal) performance is far from perfect.
The middle part is free jazz on a piano, not my cup of tea at all. More experimental freaky stuff follows until the song returns to the melody which started the track.

Hey There! Lets Evolve (6.08) closes the album with as a peacefull ballad with old-fashioned close harmony vocals. When the rest of the instruments come in, there's a strange unnecessary (computer) drum pattern which ruins the track.

The CD ends with one of those useless hidden tracks, which is a bit of carnival music combined with .... guess what ?

Unfortunately the band has choosen to use a multitude of vocal effects like vocoders, voice samples and distortion. This is nice to hear now and than but it's really taken over the top on this CD.
Although this self-produced CDR is better than others I heard (for instance Fireaxe) the quality is still inferior. At times the mixing is so bad that you can hardly hear certain instruments and there's absolutely no depth in the sound (especially on ... Cliff Top). It all sounds very flat.
The various tracks also sound very different. It's very difficult to work out if the instruments which are playing are real or if you're listening to drum computers, synth bass, etc. Since there's no information in the booklet or on the web site about 'who does what' within the band, I haven't really been able to figure it out. Anyway, certain parts sound very artificial.

I cannot say I really enjoyed this CD. The album has its moments, especially the instrumenatal parts, but every track has something which spoils the fun, whether its very bad vocals, a lack of melody or a bad production. The vocals are absolutely horrible at places and some compositions are well below par.
Nevertheless the band certainly shows that they have the ability to write a good prog rock song. If only they would get in a good vocalist, improve their writing skills a bit (or be more critical about what's good and what isn't) and have the possibility to do more professional recording and mixing. Check out some of the samples on Turtle Om's Homepage.

The booklet of the CD is quite impressive. Printed on sturdy paper, it includes the full story of the album (not that it makes any sense though), information about other releaseas and several water-colour illustrations. The tracklist in the CD clearly shows the typically English sense of humour of the band; it's presented as a restaurant menu card.

This year Turtle OM will record their new album called Dancers At The End Of Time which will feature three long tracks based on novels by Michael Moorcock.

Conclusion: 5.5 out of 10

Ed Sander


All Too Human - Forever and a Day
All Too Human - Forever and a Day
Country of Origin:USA
Format:CD
Record Label:R/R Records
Catalogue #:ATH-0189-RR
Year of Release:1998
Time:46:29
Info:Click Here

All Too Human is a prog metal/rock band from Texas, influenced by bands like Rush, Queensryche, Dream Theater, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. There are four musicians in the band: Chris Lucci (drums & percussion), Chris McIuan (guitars), Maurice Taylor (bass) and Paul Vender (vocals).

All Too Human recently released their self-produced and self-financed debut CD Forever and a Day. Some of the material on the album originated in an earlier band of Maurice and Chirs called Muzix. In April 1995 Chris and Maurice began planning to record an album of original music and the band went into the studio in June 1996. In August 1997 the band changed singers and Paul came into the studio to record the vocals. In May 1998, the album finally saw the light of day.

I'm very impressed by the album, which sounds extremely well for a self-produced recording.

What Do You Call Me Now ? (7.10) starts with a simple but catchy riff which immediately reminded me of Queensryche. When the vocals came in I had to double-check the cover to see if this wasn't indeed a Queensryche album; Paul sounds extremely much like Geoff Tate (which, by the way, is one of my favourite vocalists). This fantastic rock song immediately hooked me and at one time I couldn't resist getting out my own electric bass to jam along.

The next track, Intro / Forever and a Day (8.25), starts with an atmosperic intro on keyboards. The melody line is soon taken over by the guitar and the songs proceeds as a semi-ballad. When the first guitar solo arrives the song speeds up a bit to an uptempo tune, once again very much like Queensryche. The song also features a bridge with good use of backing vocals, after which the songs ends (a bit too sudden for my taste).

Life Begins Anew (3.16) is a more accessible track with a Rush-like feeling to it. The best part of the song is the guitar solo. The song has a bit of an identity crisis as if the band didn't know what style to use. Not one of my favourites.

Although the next song is called An Untitled Masterpiece (4.00) I wouldn't describe it in that way. It's a nice song nevertheless, leaning more towards regular heavy metal, although the middle part and ending are definitely more prog rock.

The instrumental A Walk Through Iowa Park (2.11) is a little semi-acoustic ditty. Owing to a lack in melody the song doesn't seem to go anywhere and the soloing guitar is too much in the background to add more depth to the track. If there are people out there who have heard David Gilmour's demo version of Comfortablu Numb; it sound quite a lot like that.

Souls On A Mortal High (5.14) is a beautiful ballad which starts with acoustic guitar and a bit of bass, before the vocals join in. The 'floating' backing vocals in this track give it a certain sixties feeling, not unlike the early Yes material. I could have done without those but I'm certain some of you will like it. The melody is good anyway.
I think the song might have been better if a guitar with a more acoustic sound would have been used.

After a couple of samples, the instrumental Dismal Array (2.32) starts with dark keyboards and mysterious sounding twanging on a guitar. The song sets a good mood for the cross-over into the next song, however there's not enough going on to really keep it interesting the full two and a half minute.

Like I said, The Limits of Man (4.33) emerges from the former track and proves to be a good rocking track, maybe the heaviest one on the album. It also features the fastest and sharpest guitar solo on the album. The song, which reminds me of early Queensryche material, ends suddenly when the vocalists shouts out the last lyrics ('fade away !') and the music is faded away in a matter of seconds. Couldn't a better ending have been written ?

Camel's Revenge (9.08) starts with dark keyboards and a menacing bass. The vocals have got the same defying and agressive tone as that tune from the Godzilla movie (Come with me ?). There are Arabian influences in the guitar and the ending is very much like the second half of Porcupine Tree's Signify.

Most songs are build around simple but very effective bass and guitar riffs. Various tempo changes and arrangements make the songs even better. Highlights are What Do You Call Me Now ?, Forever and a Day and Camel's Revenge.
The band clearly proves what their abilities are and I think they can even take this a step further if they improve some of their compositions, arrangements and choices of instruments a bit. The - slightly poetic - lyrics are very good.
Fans of Queensryche will probably like this album a lot.

The packaging of the CD is a bit disappointing. The booklet is just a folded piece with four pages, without any lyrics. The cover is nice though and features the remarkable All Too Human logo. Nevertheless I don't consider it to be a wise decision to exclude the name of the band from the cover when you're still unknown to the public.

The band sells copies of the CD for $ 14 through their web site, which also features some samples of the album. All Too Human continues to write music and hopes to record new work in 1999.
I can hardly wait.

Conclusion: 8- out of 10

Ed Sander


Threshold - Clone
Threshold - Clone
Country of Origin:UK
Format:CD
Record Label:InsideOut
Catalogue #: 
Year of Release:1998
Time:58.34
Info:-

In 1993 I immediately bought the debut album of Threshold (Wounded Land), because I was familiar with the music of Karl Groom and Damian Wilson. After the first listen there was only one thing sure for me, this will become a famous band. A couple of weeks later I read a review in a Dutch magazine and this guy said that "...not everything in which Karl Groom is involved is good!". I thought this guy was crazy and read the review again. Nothing was wrong with my eyes, I think only something was wrong with the ears of that person! Maybe I was a little bit to optimistic. 5 years later, Threshold is a well-known band, but not that famous band I had expected. But it's never too late, they'll get a new chance with their latest CD Clone!

Clone is the 4th studio album of Threshold and again a we hear a new singer. On the second album (Psychedelicatessen) we heard Glyn Morgan and on the third album (Extinct Instinct) 'Damain Wilson returned. But Damian decided to leave the band again because he has some other musical goals now. The band started already writing new music and in the meantime they were looking for a new singer. They finally found the perfect guy for this job, Andrew McDermott, an Englishman who was the lead singer of the German band Sargant Fury. With Andrew the band started recording the new album and the result is finished: Clone.

The first track Freaks (5.22) opens with some heavy guitar parts in combination with the drums. The new singer Andrew McDermott jumps in and after one minute you've already heard that Andrew has a great voice. In the middle of the song you'll hear an instrumental part, that gives you immediately the feeling that you are listening to Threshold. The typical double guitar sound is so recognizable, great! Andrew McDermott does already a great job on this song and for me it is for sure that Threshold has found the right guy. After some great guitar playing the song ends with the chorus.

Angels(6.42) opens with some quiet keyboard playing after the rest of the band starts. This song is very accessible and the song is varied by some instrumental parts and a nice chorus. Again the song ends with the chorus after you've heard an instrumental part dominated by keyboards and guitars.

One of my favourite songs of the album is The Latent Gene (8.00), a song that can be compared to Sanity's End from the debut album Wounded Land. The song opens with great guitar playing. Andrew MacDermott shows in this songs his talent, especially in the quiet part of the song. In this part his voice reminds me on a famous singer, but I cannot remeber his name. One thing is for sure, Andrew has a great voice and fits perfect in the music of Threshold. After the quiet part the band shows us some heavy parts and this song is played in the best Threshold tradition. Great opening followed by some heavy guitar parts, a quiet part in the middle of the song, ended wit again some great guitar playing. You'll definetely like this song!

The next 3 songs, Lovelorn (5.42), Change (4.33) and Life's Too Good (5.27), are the shorter songs on the album. Lovelorn and Change are the more quiet songs while Life's Too Good is one of the heaviest songs on the album. If progressive music was popular enough to play on the radio stations, Change was a very optional single. The 3 songs will prepare you for the next part of the CD, Goodbye Mother Earth and Voyager II, over 15 minutes of the finest prog metal I've ever heard.

Goodbye Mother Earth (7.57) starts with a quiet guitar part. You'll hear a voice that will countdown to zero, after Threshold start with their typical heavy guitar sound. The song remains me sometimes on their previous album Extinct Instinct. The first part of the song contains a very nice chorus. After a couple of minutes the music will be more quiet and Andrew McDermot plays the leading part. This quiet part is followed by the best instrumental part of the CD. This is prog metal at its best! The song is ended with the nice chorus and after you've heard one of the best songs of the CD, sit down and listen to Voyager II, because that's even better!

The best song for me is Voyager II (9.04). I can write so much about this song, but you have to hear it yourself. If Threshold will play this song live, I am sure it will be one of the highlights of the concert. Therefore I don't say anything about this song. Just sit down and enjoy!

Also in the best Threshold tradition the CD contains a semi-ballad, this time at the end of the CD. Sunrise On Mars (5.50) gives you the time to recover from your voyage. The song starts very quiet and it will end more heavier. Also a good option for a single, but at the moment the radio stations are not interested in this kind of music. Unbelieveble, but true!

I think you can understand that I really enjoy Threshold's new CD Clone and for me it's the best CD for 1998, together with Salem Hill's Robbery Of Murder. Threshold is a very talented band, the only problem they have had so far is the change of their singer on every album. If Andrew will stay with the band, I still believe that Threshold will become a much more famous band. Where bands like Dream Theater and Shadow Gallery sometimes go too far in the technical skills of all their musicians, Threshold always tries to find the perfect balance in their music. With this new album they will reach a lot of new fans while their old fans will still love their music. Compliments for Andrew McDermott, the perfect replacement for Damian Wilson. The upcoming reviews in the magazines and the tour next year will show if I am right, I'm sure I will be!

9.5 out of 10, because I always hope they will improve it on the next CD and therefore I'll never give 10 points!

René Janssen


Treasure Land - Gateway
Treasure Land - Gateway
Country of Origin:Sweden
Format:CD
Record Label:Modern Music
Records
Catalogue #:FGBG4252AR
Year of Release:1998
Time:47.44
Info:-

I've first heard of Treasure Land when I updated the release list for DPRP early last year. I listed the debut CD of these Sweedes and told they play progressive rock. Wrong! 2 days later I received an email from Jonas Hörnqvist who asked me to change the style into prgressive metal. No problem I said, and he was so happy with that he send me a copy of the debut CD entitled Questions. When I listened to it I immediately liked this band. I asked them if they were interested in an internet page for Treasure Land on DPRP. From that day on I have some good contact with these crazy guys! Last year they send me a video as a wedding gift. They recorded some shots at the rehearsel room during some jam sessions for the new album. What I heard was very promosing so I was really happy when they finaly finished the new CD : Gateway.

I will not describe the CD song by song, but I would like to give my comments on the complete album. The CD contains 9 songs, including 2 instrumental tracks. The instrumental tracks are not my favourite, although on one of these songs Treasure Land let us hear that they exist of some very talented musicians. For the rest, this album contains a lot of heavy guitar parts in combination with drums and excellent keyboards. As I listen to some of the quiet keyboard parts, I have the idea to sit in the church between my parents just like in my early years! Great! All these quiet keybaord parts are interrupted by some heavy guitar riffs, and this is just what I like so much on this CD. The guitars are dominating over the complete album, but there is also a lot of space for the drums, bass and the keyboards.

On this album, Treasure Land present their new singer Jakob Samual, former lead singer of Talisman and Jakcyll 'n Hyde. The debut album of Treasure Land received some good reviews, but a lot of people had some problem with the singer. I didn't agree with this and think Zenny Gram did a good job on that album. But Zenny Gram choose to quit the band and he returned to his former band Destiny. I think Treasure Land found a very good replacement for Zenny. Jakob probably belongs better to the technical music of Treasure Land. I can't hardly describe the way he sings, I think it's better you listen to the album yourself.

In general I must admit that Gateway is a great album to me, but I think the band can do better! They haven't reached the top with this CD, that's for sure. This band has a lot of talent, sometimes they go too far in this! That's the only problem I have with this album, the band is still searching for the perfect balance between all the musicians. Gateway is a very interesting album for those of you who are interested in some techinical progressive metal of a high level. Give it a try and decide yourself. I give it 8 points out of 10, because I think this band can improve their music more and I hope they will reach 9 points next time!

René Janssen