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Track List: 1. Marakesh 3:50 2. Touch My Soul 3:41 3. Heavy Tools 3:48 4. Cosmical 6:08 5. Muffle's Shuffle 3:52 6. Devil's Meeting 3:29 7. Eternal Dance 6:26 8. Sunset 4:39 9. Nice to Meet Ya 3:14 10. Happy Metal 3:33 11. Universe 5:08 All tracks: by Achim Von Horn. Line-up: Achim Von Horn - electric & semi-acoustic guitars, (+ balalaika; & vocalize - on 1) Christian Neubert - keyboards; drum-programming Athanasios Karathanassis - bass Produced by A. Von Horn. Recorded at "Virginal Experience" studios, Germany. Mixed & mastered by J. Kirchner at "Dara-Sound" studios.
Preamble. "Nice to Meet Ya" is the debut album by the German composer and guitarist Achim Von Horn. While bassist Athanasios Karathanassis is the manager of the "Red Art" label. He is also a permanent member of the band Maya. If you wish to read the review of Maya's debut album "Extracts", click >here.
The Album. As well as in the case with the new Coinmonster CD, reviewed by me previously, "Nice to Meet Ya" by Achim Von Horn was created not within the framework of a unified stylistics, although Prog-Metal is a dominant genre on this all-instrumental album as well. Only five out of the eleven tracks that are presented here are about a pure Prog-Metal. These are Heavy Tools, Muffle's* Shuffle, Devil's Meeting, the album's title track, and Happy Metal (3, 5, 6, 9, & 10). (*I think I'd allow myself to call it Muffled Shuffle.) The arrangements that are present on each of these five songs consist of diverse and inventive interplay between the heavy riffs and harsh, yet, always virtuosi solos of electric and bass guitars accompanied by solid beats of a drum machine, which, in addition, was programmed just excellently. Here, keyboards were mostly used as a background for the soloing 'battles' between an electric and bass guitar. Although these and almost all of the other compositions on the album are not of a high complexity, all of them feature a wide variety of essential progressive ingredients, including complex stop-to-play movements, frequent changes of tone and mood, etc. All five of the said pieces are, overall, very good. The album's opening track Marakesh (a city in Morocco), which is about Prog-Metal with elements of a guitar-based Art-Rock, contains a few episodes filled with flavors of music of East. All of them are outstanding, and especially a couple of those that feature only the parts of percussion, those of acoustic guitar, and Achim's vocalizes. The latter, by the way, are not unlike those of a Muezzin (a Muslim priest). After the album's closing track Universe, this is, IMHO, the second best composition on the album. The excellent Touch My Soul (2) is the only track on "Nice to Meet Ya", the contents of which, in my view, can't be defined differently than a traditionally classic Prog-Metal with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock. In other words, the keyboard solos, all of which are masterful as well, are here interwoven with 'heavy' textures and sound throughout the piece. Cosmical (4) is another excellent track. Also, this is kind of a stylistic counterpart of the previously described Touch My Soul. It's because stylistically, Cosmical represents nothing else but Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal. Sunset (8) is the only track on the album that is completely out of its predominant stylistics. Overall, this is just quite a quiet instrumental Symphonic Art-Rock ballad, though it features a few changes of musical direction and a few virtuosi interplay between solos of electric and bass guitar and synthesizer as well. On both of the remaining tracks: Eternal Dance and the aforementioned Universe (7 & 11), is presented a rather innovative fusion of Prog-Metal and Symphonic Art-Rock. Apart from varied interplay between the riffs and solos of electric and bass guitar, passages and solos of keyboards, and passages of semi-acoustic guitar, the first of them contains a bright episode with the brass-like chords of synthesizer. However, the somber Universe, filled with highly complex arrangements of a dramatically tense character, is the most diverse, intriguing and, thus, the best composition on "Nice to Meet Ya".
Summary. By most of the compositional and performance aspects of the album, this is a very promising debut. What's central however, is that Achim Von Horn's music is quite original and sounds fresh and tasteful throughout the album. If you miss a truly honest Progressive Rock, which in the case of "Nice to Meet Ya" is, moreover, strong and tasteful, this CD is most likely for you. To check it out from Red Art Records, click on a link below.
VM: November 5, 2002
"Red Art Records":
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