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Tracklist: 1. Fields of Names 4:52 2. Pre-mortal Dance 5:13) 3. Wasteland 5:26 4. Just Another Tragic Song 6:17 5. Driven 7:49 6. River Running 6:21 7. Hybrid 4:04 8. Mystery 3:32 9. The Readiness Is All 5:19 10. An End In Itself 5:11 Line-up: Philip Griffiths - vocals Vytas Lemke - keyboards Matthias Richter - guitars Frank Fischer - bass Ludwig Benedek - drums
Prolusion. I didn't cast lots, so please regard the fact that the number of the review (third) I'm writing on the following "DVS" release (which is also a third one) as just a chance. This fact would become obvious to you, too, if you take a look into Prologues of the two previous reviews on the two other ProGductions of the Dutch "DVS" label - see Into Eternity and Sonic Debris. So, here are my thoughts on Alias Eye's "Field of Names" album (DVS-003).
Analysis. It seems everything in the CD booklet indicates that "Field of Names" is the debut album of Alias Eye, while, looking at the band's photograph on the CD's back sleeve, I see by no means young guys, but five adult musicians whose faces look as grown wise with Rock Music experience for many years. Once again, it turned out that the music of Alias Eye fully justified my supposition of it. "Fields of Names" is, in my view, the strongest among the first three albums so far released by "DVS Records". Crafted by mature, true professionals, filled with intriguing and very bright songs, this album sounds great from the first to the last note. Being a citizen of an Eastern country, I'm especially touched with the album's title track, full of those colours that are typical only for Eastern music, whose specific intonations are obvious even in vocal parts. It doesn't matter that much, however, because, as I said, all the ten songs that feature the album are excellent. Despite the fact that the music of "Field of Names" is really bright, each song on the album contains approximately as many different themes and instrumental arrangements as both the albums do, recently released by "DVS". Thus, the only more or less noticeable difference between the "Into Eternity" and "Velvet Thorns" albums on the one hand and "Field of Names" on the other is that all structures, arrangements, etc of the songs of the latter are as if ethereal, thanks to the mastery of this remarkable quintet. In terms of quality (only, as "Field of Names" is free of any direct influences), I can compare this album to Pallas' "Beat the Drum" (1998), which was created by musicians who have been working together since the beginning of the 1980s. That's why each time I listen to "Field of Name" I get an impression these guys have gathered together more than once before finally forming Alias Eye. While wonderful vocalist-Englishman Philip Griffiths, who's also one of the band's two main composers and lyricists, is an ace of trump for the band, all the other members are aces-musicians in the same pack of cards called Alias Eye. Such an excellent union of various talents, raised to the power of real professionalism of The Five at Alias Eye, makes the release of the "Field of Names" album one of the most significant Prog events of the year, at least.
Conclusion. Peter Griffiths and another band's mastermind, keyboard player Vytas Lemke, with the help of their colleagues, very talented musicians, have created an album unique in some ways. Call it Neo Prog-Metal or Classic Progressive Hard-Rock, "Field of Names" is an album of such high quality that, given a proper distribution, it will not only (yet obviously) make a lot of Prog-heads all over the world happy, but also, thanks to such specific nuances as a structural haziness of the album as a whole, bright and very tasteful themes, not too complex yet really ingenious arrangements, wonderful and diverse vocal parts should find a good response with a big audience. Sure, if "Field of Names" had been released in the middle of the 1980s, Alias Eye would've attained the same respected status as the bands like The Mission, Magnum, Pallas, and even Marillion had at the time, that were all great bands, based on major labels. In my view, Alias Eye is one of those several contemporary Prog bands that have a potential to become fresh and, the main thing, alive entities of already completely dead contemporary mainstream music.
EK: February 17, 2006
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