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(47:12, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Arabesque 6:51 2. Break What We Know 4:25 3. In-Between 4:19 4. Time Machine 5:42 5. Indentured Pride 3:54 6. Stars Shall Fall 4:51 7. All the Rage 3:11 8. Distant Memories 4:29 9. Take What's Mine 4:31 10. The Blink of an Eye 4:59 LINEUP: Tilmar Fischer – keyboards Ludwig Benedek – drums Matthias Wurm – guitars Frank Fischer – basses Philip Griffiths – vocals With: Martin Griffiths – vocals Timo Wagner – sax
Prolusion. The German band ALIAS EYE has been around for close to 15 years now, and as such they probably merit the description of being an experienced act. "In-Between" is their fourth full-length production, and was released by the US label Progrock Records at the start of 2012.
Analysis. Defining what part of the progressive rock universe an artist and an album belongs to is an exercise that often will be perceived as flawed by many readers. It's not like we're dealing with universal truths however, even if it may appear like that to the eye of certain beholders. Instead I guess that this part of a CD description lies within the realms of rough guides: A basic orientation tool, based on a subjective opinion. Much like what a so-called CD review is in general, a more or less well founded personal opinion about a musical creation. Alias Eye is a band that I have rather enjoyed over the years. Their accessible excursions into the fields of progressive rock have usually been of the pleasant variety, with the occasional gem uncovered on occasion. And in style they continue in a similar manner as before on this production. Short compositions with an emphasis on lead vocals, with more than a few forays into classic rock territories, although, in this case, the gems have escaped them in my opinion, replaced with occasional moments of brilliance. Dampened instrumentation is something of a core feature this time around, giving subtly more space to the vocals than on previous occasions. And while the band still manages to conjure some clever and effective guitar and keyboard constellations, the former providing the dark-toned undercurrent and the latter the lighter toned contrast, they don't make up the core elements of the songs. These passages make frequent appearances, by all means, but it's the vocal parts that are firmly in the limelight, often featuring layered backing vocals of the kind rock fans of the 70's will instantly recognize. And this is where this production will find its main audience too I imagine. Among those with a keen interest in classic rock as it was made in the 70's, perhaps stretching into the early 80's in scope, as documented by Take What's Mine at the tail end of this CD, a track sporting a bouncy piano theme as a core feature, in a manner that will be instantly recognizable by anyone who have encountered Bon Jovi's debut album. Apart from that the title track is a pleasant combination of 70's-tinged jazz rock and slightly more energetic brass rock from the same era, while Stars Shall Fall explores a vastly different approach, a piano ballad given digital symphonic backing, occasional darker toned guitar undercurrents and a token few richly textured, majestic peaks, a creation begging for a full symphony orchestra and a rock opera with an available slot, while the earlier Break What We Know is a tune that appears to be more directly aimed at a 70's interested hard rock audience. This trio of compositions forms some sort of an outer boundary for this disc, with accessible art rock utilized as careful flavoring in some instances and as a dampened, core feature other times, all along hovering on the borderlines between the classic rock and art rock universe, and covering a good distance on it too. Variety is something of a key word, Alias Eye appearing to be a band that needs to explore a diverse range of expressions within their art and classic rock framework. Overall, all these are pleasant excursions with the occasional magic moment or sequence, and a few cases of lacklustre creations where the different elements just fit my personal scope of interesting music. A well made and well performed disc for a select audience, a decent production with slight flaws for others, in my personal, subjective opinion obviously.
Conclusion. "In-Between" isn't a CD I imagine will find much favor amongst those looking for capital P progressive rock. Innovative features are few and far between, and if you love encountering challenging escapades this disc is one you most likely should avoid. But if you tend to enjoy accessible art rock, and especially if you enjoy classic rock and what's commonly referred to as AOR, then this is a band and a CD that might warrant inspection.
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