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(59:19, Gentle Art of Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Place in the Sun 6:11 2. Blackened 5:44 3. What If 6:24 4. Not Going Away 7:32 5. Never Escape the Storm 8:20 6. Tears and Laughter 4:47 7. Hear My Voice Out There 5:56 8. Quiet Anger 6:31 9. Speak the Truth 6:54 LINEUP: Kalle Wallner - guitars, bass, keyboards, programming, vocals With: Arno Menses - vocals Erik Ez Blomkvist - vocals Aaron Brooks - vocals Sebastian Harnack - bass Ralf Schwager - bass Heiko Jung - bass Michael Schwager - drums
Prolusion. German project BLIND EGO is the creative vehicle of RPWL guitarist Kalle Wellner, a venture that saw the light of day back in 2007. Three studio albums and one live album have been released under this moniker so far. "Liquid" is the most recent of the studio albums, and was released through German label Gentle Art of Music back in 2016.
Analysis. Well, this is one of many albums I should have taken on long before I did. But when life throws a good few spanners in the works, there things one cannot accomplish as quickly as hoped, and in the case of reviews this is one of many that have suffered from it as far as gaining coverage from my pen and my mind. A curious opening for a review perhaps, and it is something of an apology I guess. As this is an album that most certainly deserves more attention thatn what it has gained, and I would really have liked to be one of the voices singing it's praises early on rather than at a belated point in time.It isn't like this is a masterpiece though. Few albums are, as a matter of fact. But this is a good album, a well made production on all levels, and one that in a perfect world should have been widely exposed as it has all the qualities of being an album that will be enjoyed by a fairly broad range of people. The music itself is probably best described as hard progressive rock, bordering metal at times, but it is a take on it that shies away from emphasizing the progressive all that much. At the core these are nine compositions that explore a sophisticated variety of hard rock, alternating between gentler and harder sections, using those contrasts to create and maintain tension and nerve in a very natural manner. Sometimes with more of a guitar driven flair, or even swagger at times, at other times using the trusted old partnership of guitars and keyboards to create arrangements with more of a massive, rich and majestic feel to them. On a similar note, the gentler parts feature both guitars and keyboards as standalone or combined features, often with subtle additional guitar details hovering above, beneath or beyond. Aside from the token instrumental, the various guest vocalists do a stellar job in adding additional life and nerve to these songs, and while the music as such is rather different than the one explored in Wallner's main band RPWL, there are occasions where one can hear and identify similarities. The use of nervous, subtly psychedelic instrument textures in a few of the calmer passages for instance, and in the case of Not Going Away there is a small recurring detail that comes across as something of a copy from the most excellent RPWL song Swords and Guns. Here used in different circumstances, and most likely a similarity that is accidental rather than planned. Still, it is one of those details that adds a sheen of familiarity to a song and to an album, which isn't a negative thing at all in my book.
Conclusion. Those with an interest in the harder aspects of progressive rock, and then an accessible and compelling variety of it at that, should find Blind Ego's third album to be an interesting one to explore. Much the same goes for those fascinated by bands bordering the dividing line between hard rock and metal, be it progressive or not, as this is an album that, at least in my view, should have an arguably stronger appeal outside of a progressive rock environment than inside of it.
Progmessor: February 27th, 2018
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