Reviews August/06

Ten / The Twilight Chronicles / FR PR CD 299


Ten - Gary Hughes and Ten back with a Cinematic album! Tracklisting:The Prologue (The Elysian Fields part 1); Rome, The Chronicles; The Elysian Fields; Hallowed Ground; This Heart goes on; Obllivion; The Twilight Masquerade; Toniquet; Born to the Grave; When the Night is done; The Epilogue (The last Moments before Dawn).

British symph-rockers Ten has always been a favorite of mine since the band released their first albums, but in the last couple of years i haven't been paying too much attention, i must admit... Their previous album "Return To Evermore" went over my head, and their two recent compilations got mixed reviews in the music biz. The idea of re-recording their best songs didn't turn out to be the big a success... especially the production wasn't at its best. So with "The Twilight Chronicles" Ten has to make up for several years ignorance.
And Gary Hughes, Chris Francis (guitar and bass), John Halliwell (guitars), Paul Hodson (keys) and Frank Basile (drums) starts out very well - "The Prologue" can not be nothing else than a pompous intro, and it is! Orchestral, dramatic and pompous - almost everything that is required for a Ten intro. The second part of the track one is "Rome", a "real" song and actually a very solid Ten song with all its trademarks like pompous, grand and magnificent. But the band shows that they are more up to it this time by including tracks like "The Chronicles" which is a more straightforward guitar-driven hard rock track, with a very good chorus, again very Ten-ish. Of course Mr. Gary Hughes can't stand the temptation by making a beautiful ballad "The Elysian Fields" which contains all the qualities to expect by a symphonic heartwrenching classic ballad. I have to mention "When the Night is done", too. This track is my favorite - a highly melodic power ballad as it should be written.
I have to say that "The Twilight Chronicles" may not be the best Ten album of all times, but it is a step in the right direction for Mr. Hughs and Co. The tracks may be a little too long - but hey... Hughes has written rock operas and you don't buy a Ten record to listen to 2-minutes top-of-pops-tracks, huh? Great job and a good record, welcome back among the ranks of melodic-rock trendsetters!

Lunatica / The Edge of Infinity / FR PR CD 300


Lunatica - Swiss symphonic rock at its best! Tracklisting:Introduction; The Edge of Infinity; Sons of the Wind; Who you are; Out!; Song for you (feat. John Payne); Together; The Power of Love; Words unleashed; Emocean; Emocean (feat. Oliver Hartmann).

Lunatica are one of those acts that you eiter love or hate - you have to be into their vibe to be into the album - and many other reviewers see them as a low-budget Evanecence and/or Nightwish-clone.
The bands own feel about is very authentic, i think. There is a big inters for European melodic symphonic rock - and i think they sound for real... Lunatica has taken steps in the right direction to become a household name in the genre. I'm not a fan of every track on this record. The band - which is: Andrea Dätwyler on vocals, Alex Seiberl on keys, André Leuenberger on guitars, Sandro D'Incau on guitars, Emilio Barrantes on bass and Ronnie Wolf on drums - need to work a bit on the guitar riffs before conquering my heart totally;-) The album "The Edge of Infinity" has been on and off on my CD-player for the last weeks, and i must say, that it turns better and better on every spin. It starts out with a "classic" intro and then the title track followed by one the best tracks "Sons Of The Wind" which has a powerhouse arrangement, dramatic vocals and some dramatic symphonic passages of music. The rock ballad "Who You are" written by Swedes Carl Falk and Sebastian Thott features some enchanting vocals before crashing into something larger than life – this is perhaps the album stand out and definitely the albums most radio-friendly track. "Out!" is darker and more edgy and reminds me of Evanescence. In fact, comparisons to Evanescence and also Nightwish are inevitable given the band's style and their female lead vocalist. My favorite track though is the duet "Song for you" with former Asia frontman John Payne - this is heartwrenching - and i caught myself crying after the second listen! But also Oliver Hartmann appears in a duet on a refrain of the closing track Emocean. However, the same song twice in a row diminishes his contribution and I would have dropped the initial version entirely in favor of the one featuring Hartmann. The last guest to appear is the cult-frontman from Yello Dieter Meier, who reads the opening lines... All in all the album features a big production sound and great attention to detail during the symphonic passages. The guys (and girl) have lifted their game from the debut – all areas have been improved on, but there are still "room for improvement". A very strong first half of the record fades a little during a less memorable second half - but Payne and Hartmann lifts the album a bit.

Fair Warning / Brother's Keeper / FR PR CD 297


Fair Waining - back as a four-some! Tracklisting:Don't keep me waiting; Genearation Jedi; All of my Love; Rainbow Eyes; Push me on; Wasted Time; The Cry; The Way; Once bitten twice shy; Tell me Lies; In the Dark; Still I believe; All I wanna do.

Fair Warning is back... the band returns after a break I thought was permanent. The band broke into two side projects a couple of yers ago – Dreamtide and Soul Doctor, and I must admit that i only heard the latter;-( Soul Doctor was a bit blusier, but as i read it Dreamtide wasn't that far away from the "classic" Fair Warning-sound - German melodic rock at its best, I think!
But like in the food business people alwas want "the real deal" and I think the band: Tommy Heart (vocals), Helge Engelke (guitar), Ule Ruitgen (bass) and CC Behrens (drums) has really picked up where they left off with this comeback album "Brother's Keeper". The band hasn't changed a thing in their overall sound - except being a bit harder, maybe?. "Brother's Keeper" mixes the best of "4" and "Rainmaker" and sees the band use the same guitar sound, vocal style and production feel as on their previous records. Everything that the band is known for is back - the guitars are big, the keyboards swirl in the background, Tommy Heart is back with his German-sounding voice in better shape than ever and the overall production has that typical epic feel. "Don't Keep Me Waiting" kicks off the album in fine style - uptempo track which for me is classic FW. But also "Generation Jedi" and "Push on Me" are great rockers. Of course there are sentimental ballads, too. " All Of My Love" is the first - "Wasted Time" is the next, albeit a rocking one. My favorite though is the more bluesier "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" - maybe inspired by Heart's Soul Docter-periode? But it is a nice change in the album's general formula. But don't shot down your CD-player before you've heard "All I wanna do" - and i mean heard till the end... after almost 6 minutes of silence the track blasts through with a 30 seconds-encore!!!
A strong German/European melodic piece of melodic hard rock - and a very solid comeback for this band - which is very dear to me. The album come with no surprises attached - but on the other hand... This is exactly what I expected, Great! "Brother's Keeper" is purely and simply 100% classic Fair Warning.

© Steen Elstrup Pejtersen 1999-2006