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TRACK LIST: 1. A New Atlantis 4:54 2. Tartaros 8:12 3. Devil Song 3:40 4. Gangsters 6:54 5. The Drowning Man in My Hands 7:37 6. Hide Inside 5:05 7. Clock Hands Heart 14:21 8. New Day 13:18 All tracks: by The Amber Light. Produced & engineered by T. Untweht. LINE-UP: Louis Gabbiani - vocals; keyboards; guitars Jan Sydow - guitars Rabin Dasgupta - basses Peter Ederer - drums
Prolusion. The German band AMBER LIGHT was formed in 2000, and their first recording experience was a 4-track demo mini-CD released in 2002. "Goodbye to Dusk, Farewell to Dawn" is their first full-fledged album.
Synopsis. This album is full of surprises. They 'lie in wait' for the listener almost at every turn here. Fortunately, most of them turned out to be positive and even highly positive in character. All of this begins from the very beginning of the album, regardless of any tautologies that you may find in the beginning of this review. The first song, A New Atlantis, has just amazed me with its dramatics and almost magical attractiveness. (If I were a physicist, I would've said "attractive power".) The music is a rather non-typical Symphonic Art-Rock where all the vocal parts are both low and very touching and are accompanied only by quiet passages of electric piano and acoustic guitar, and the purely instrumental ones represent the band's joint performance. Being the work of full-blooded Symphonic Art-Rock, the following number Tartaros is much more complex and intriguing than its predecessor, but what is laid in its compositionally stylistic basis is recognizable immediately. These are the textures of Marillion's brilliant "Brave" with Hogarth's distinctive, amazingly touching depressive way of singing. However, Tartaros is by no means just a mould of Marillion. I'd say that here, the band very well blended their own ideas with those, which made "Brave" one of the very best works of modern Symphonic Progressive, strikingly distinguishing it from anything created within the framework of traditional Neo. (The active use of vintage keyboards, such as Hammond and Mellotron, on the majority of tracks is much of help as well.) All the same words are topical regarding Devil Song (3), although it features only vocals, passages of classical guitar and those of Mellotron. If you're sitting on a chair while listening to the album, grip your hands round the arms of it before the fourth song: Gangsters begins, as really stunning events are waiting for you here. This is a unique, wonderfully inventive and intricate composition with original vocals and large-scaled, hard-edged, completely unpredictable instrumental arrangements. The style is magnificently united Symphonic Art-Rock and Jazz-Fusion plus some quantity of Prog-Metal. Among the many highlights of the song are the rapid improvised solo of Hammond and mind-blowing interplay-duels between heavy, aggressive guitar riffs and wild solos of saxophone. To tell the truth, I expected to hear the further development of this wonderful music on the following tracks. Alas, when the song is over, 'Gangsters' dissolved in the air like ghosts. But while on The Drowning Man in My Hands (5) the band is back to that full-blooded Symphonic Progressive, which I depicted above, this song, and also Hide Inside and New Day (6 & 8) are much more original, heavier and 'meatier' than Tartaros. Unfortunately, the longest track on the album, the 14-minute Clock Hands Heart (7), turned out to be pretty disappointing. Although largely instrumental, it is too monotonous and predictable, as this is nothing else but an overextended and, simultaneously, simplified version of the song, which has given a title to Marillion's first album with Steve H at the microphone.
Conclusion. One of things I disliked regarding this CD is directly linked with the abuse of its spaciousness. It's a pity that such a talented band as The Amber Light made such a gross error as the inclusion of such a barefaced plagiarism as Clock Hands Heart to such a noteworthy album as their debut, which, moreover, would've been 50 minutes in length without it. Nevertheless, I would have acted against my conscience if I were about to finish the review with these lines. The album has plenty of magic moments and has enough of the other values to consider its flaws being reduced almost to nothing. Recommended.
VM: April 29, 2004
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