Label: Point Music Distribution - 10206 • Format: CD Album • Country: Germany • Genre: Rock • Style: Art Rock, Prog Rock
At the same time however the album suffered from too many ideas being cramped into one little silver disc, resulting in an overdosis of tempo and melody shifts that were, even for a seasoned prog rock fan like me, a bit hard to digest. Ideas were rarely fully developed and on top of that the band even sounded a bit pompous and pretentious at times with sections that were maybe a tad to classical or lacked catchy melodies.
As such, tracks like Essence of Life and sections of the title track were not the Dont Touch Her - Smokin Joe Kubek Band* Featuring Bnois King - Got My Mind Back easy tracks to listen to. Nevertheless, the band really proved that they had great potential. And in October the full fledged result of that potential saw the light of day with their new album Artificial Paradise.
Wrapped in the loose concept of casino's whose sound can be spotted several times on the album the songs on Sylvan's new album deal with deceitfulness, superficialty and the ups and downs of life and the human nature. One of the trademarks of Sylvan is the blending of different styles in such a seamless way that their own unique sound develops.
At times the band might be compared to Marillion or IQwhile at others they come very close to the prog metal genre, without ever losing their grasp on good melody hooks. This album even sees them venture into territory previously ruled by bands like Spock's Beard Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise Faith No More!
But more about that later. All of the musicians of Sylvan show their best sides on Artificial Paradise. After the opening Among The Ruins - Ross The Boss - Hailstorm sound effects, Deep Inside is a very worthy opener of the album and one of the best tracks on Artificial Paradise.
It is a fine example Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise what Sylvan has to offer on this album; great vocals, catchy rhythms and melodies, fine tension building and climaxes, nice sound effects, surprisingly Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise quality English lyrics considering this is normally not the biggest strength of German bands and fine solos.
It is also a tune that once again shows that smart usage of drum computers can actually strengthen the tension building of a good prog rock tune. Bands like Marillion and Spock's Beard have used the same technique recently. That's Why It Hurts and Human Apologies are two other fine examples of the quality of composing and performance to be found on this album, ranging from sad ballads to agressive rock songs.
Timeless Traces is another highlight and might well be the most beautiful and emotional ballad I've heard this year. It's got one of those guitar solo's which bring tears to your eyes, vocals at times sweet and soothing and at times strong and emotional and basically all of the ingredients and structures to make a classic song.
Absolutely brilliant! Around the World turns out to be a very catchy tune with some of the quirkiness which once was the trademark of Spock's Beard just listen to the guitar - keyboards 'dialogue'. The CD comes to a close with the brilliant title track Artificial Paradisewhich consists of unnamed sections. The epic starts with an instrumental part which reminds me of Voilet District 's album Terminal Breath and then moves into a vocal section with fine melodies, which will return near the end of the track.
The middle section is one of the most surprising parts of the album and consists of two related segments. The first of these introduces a Porcupine Tree like bass riff and mysterious vocals while the second uses a variation on the same riff for Halloween In Ostberlin - Silly - Hurensöhne and guitar and develops into a fine grungy rap-style which reminded me a lot of Faith No More.
After a reprise of the earlier vocal section the Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise ends with several minutes of casino noises and ambient synths, helping you to catch your breath after almost 70 minutes of splendid music. Best moments: The brilliant compositions Deep Inside, Timeless Traces and Artificial Paradiseby themselves almost 40 minutes of material.
Weakest moments: very, very few. The only really weak spot was the silly 80s kraut-pop keyboard ditty at the start of the otherwise fine Human Apologies. The backing vocals in Strange Emotions could have been a bit better as well.
For some reason I find them slightly annoying. The page booklet is beautifully designed with lyrics and photographic artwork supporting the meaning of the lyrics.
All in all this album is a near masterpiece and one of my favourites ofproving that nowadays some of the best prog rock comes from Germany with bands like Sylvan, Alias Eye and RPWL. What are you waiting for, check out some of the samples of the tracks yourself! Conclusion: 9 out of Ed Sander Marillion - Singles Box vol. As you can read in my review I didn't feel it added much to one's collection, and only diminished the value of the original singles.
Now, two years later, fans can once again dig deep in their pockets to complete their collection with this box, which features all the Hogarth-era singles released between and Like the Fish Box it contains 12 singles packed in individual sleeves with their original artwork, including all the different tracks that had been released on the different formats.
Unlike the Fish-era box, I feel this box-set does have a bit more added value over the original CD-singles. This due to the fact that in Abby Go Go, Carnivores - Untitled nineties, in an attempt to score a hitsingle through the loyalty of the fanbase, singles were released in many different formats, all with different b-sides.
Dry Land was released as a 7" single, a 10" single, Its Your Sweet Love - Jimmy Bo Horne* - Dance Across The Floor 12" picture disc and as a 5" CD single, all of which included different acoustic live tracks. Alone Again was released as both 7" vinyl and 12" picture disc, as well as two different CD-singles, all with different b-sides which comprised of both studio tracks from Brave as well as live tracks recorded during the Brave -tour.
Both singles now include all those tracks, giving both a respectable playing time with 49 minutes Alone Again now has the length of a conventional LP record! Another improvement is the fact that a bit Competition Is None - Various - 100% Rap care has been Banana Republic - The Boomtown Rats - Live Rats 2013 (London - Roundhouse - 26.10.2013) in recreating the singles.
Whereas some of the artwork of the singles in the Fish-era box had been reduced so far that credits were not legible anymore, with this box all artwork has been re-created from scratch, thus ensuring all print can actually be read.
This recreating of the singles has however also resulted in some discrepencies when compared to the originals. Plenty more tracks appear in a slightly different version or mix, making it fun for the anoraks to do their nitpicking on the Marillion forum.
One more improvement Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise the previous box is the inclusion of the single The Great Escapewhich was not released in the UK. With the Fish-era box non-UK singles were left out, yet at least this box is complete. In the end some of the criticism I had with the previous box remains: It is expensive, it's a collector's item targeted at the hard-core fans only, and very little of the material has never been released on CD before.
But at least this time round the whole thing has been done with a bit more care and a bit more heart. Conclusion: 7 out of The proceeds from the sale of the CD are to benefit the victims of the catastrophic flooding that affected much of Eastern Germany in Augustit is estimated that overpeople lost their homes in some of the worst flooding for over years. Each of the twelve bands featured making their own contribution, via the sale of this album, to the disaster fund.
The CD comes with an eight page booklet, offering photos and info on all of the bands who have participated [unfortunately for me, in German]. Prog Fever contains over an hour and a quarter of good progressive rock, covering many Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise styles within the genre and thus making this an interesting and listenable collection of songs.
A great opener with its mixture of gentle timbres, eerie atmospherics, driving rhythms and strong melodies. The track would have featured on Violet District's second album, had it been completed - although it should be noted that Tempus Fugit released a compilation of the bands material in The longest piece from Prog Fever and features the Jon Anderson esque vocals of Mischa Schleypen and accompanied by the themic and stylised guitar of Karlheinz Wallner.
Following on from this is the rousing At the End of Lifethe strong and driving guitar riff is nicely complimented by the catchy keyboard synth line. A distinctly melodic and heavy rock song, but without losing sight of its prog roots. The keyboards and guitar form the musical structuring of the piece, Εφιάλτης - Various - 1999 - Fm Records as with the previous track, the vocal melody line is strong, with an infectious chorus hook line.
Cromwell provide the album with its first anthem like track. These two songs in themselves make the album worth having Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise there is still much good music to follow. A similar format but with a completely different approach as Zhorn open with a strong keyboard synth line, on this occasion the instrumentation being less aggressive. The acoustic guitar forms the driving force for Of Swords and Kisses as the track moves along at a brisk tempo, and with the keys, electric guitar and drums punctuating the vocals.
Yet again we have memorable and accessible themes and vocal melodies - worthy of note perhaps that the lyrics for all the songs are in English. This song will feature on the new Zhorn, "Z comes first" album. Poor Genetic Material take up the gauntlet next, with an alternative mix of The Lady Standstaken from their Leap into Fall album released early this year. The Lady Stands opens their album and forms part of a lengthier piece Rush of Ages.
The track remains in keeping with the rest of Prog Fever as again the Flammenmeer Teil 1 - Deichkind - Bitte Ziehen Sie Durch melodies are rich and lodge easily in the memory.
Like all good albums variation is the spice of life and on this ocassion events are taken down by the gentle and haunting melody from Sunstream. Cinnamonia combine electronic keyboard sounds and textures as a back drop to Sandra Werner's pleasant and ethereal voice. Taken from their debut CD, The Scarlet Seaan album well worth checking out and offers an almost folk-like quality to the predominately electronic sound. The closest I can offer is perhaps akin to some of Enya 's material.
Check out O'er the hills and far away which is downloadable from Cinnamonia's site. Following on from this is the middle section Dark Room taken from the Slipping into the Unknown album see the review below.
Those familiar with the Ines Project 's previous three releases, will know roughly what to expect, however this is a difficult one to deal with in one paragraph so a visit to their site might be on the cards. Dark Room opens with gentle guitar and an infectious vocal passage developing and building from start to finish.
Two prog metal tracks ensue, the first from Dreadful Minds - Lost in my Heart previously un-released and the second taken from Anguish 's recently Grip - Expire - Suffer The Cycle album Symmetry. Two relatively short and concise tracks and with all the elements present in abundance - huge guitar riffs, big drums, polished arrangements and strong hook lines in the chorus sections.
Not known for my great love of prog metal, however these two tracks would certainly fall on the more positive side. Symmetrythe longer of the two tracks is the more interesting, having more time to develop some of the instrumentation - with shades of Dream Theater and Queensryche. The heavier A Change Is Gonna Come - Paul Johnson - The Other Side Of Me continues with High Wheel 's contribution to the Prog Fever album with Something in Youslightly more restrained with a classic rock riff this time.
The track drives along well, with its rising and falling tension and interesting vocal harmonies. Their song is not really long enough to make any great further comment. Shades of Silver from T is in demo form onlya fairly long track made longer by the fact that, although pleasant enough initially, goes nowhere. Jangly guitars over a backwash of strings and accompanied by melancholic vocals - sorry not my cup of tea. As we draw to the closing two tracks from the album we are presented firstly with Zenobiaoffering us a live "un-plugged" version of the Power from Withinan interesting piece in a structured song format.
For the finale to the album we have another un-released track this time from ChrassDiscoverywith its gentle timbres throughout the piece.
Incorporating some interesting keyboard sounds, acoustic guitar and percussion, to supply the great majority of the instrumentation present within the song. Although there are some moments of inspiration and Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise quiet sections, the track never quite makes it for me - a little too meandering. Reminiscent at Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise of early Moody Bluesbut without the depth of vocal harmonies.
We can only wish Quixote Music every success in the sales of this release Timeless Traces - Sylvan - Artificial Paradise commend all the bands involved for freely giving their services to the CD. Prog Fever is a good album in its own right and as an overall comment, the stronger tracks are to be found towards the first half of the album, but that is to be expected. Having said this much of the material is previously unreleased, or offers an alternative arrangement or mix, to that which appears on the respective band's albums, therefore you are not merely buying a collection of tracks available elsewhere.
An excellent opportunity to hear twelve of Germany's more interesting progressive rock acts. Conclusion: 7. Ines states "When I compose, I follow images which I try to realize in a musical way
Duvet (Cyberia Mix by DJ WASEI) - bôa - Tall Snake EP, Sounds For Sid - Cannonball Adderley - Cannonball And Eight Giants, Moon Song - Fred Hersch - I Never Told You - Fred Hersch Plays Johnny Mandel, Carry On Wayward Son - Dream Theater - A Change Of Seasons, Fairport Convention - Gladys Leap & Expletive Delighted