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TRACK LIST: 1. Blind Man 1:20 2. Roots 4:02 3. War of Worlds 3:20 4. Pre-arranged Overture 5:04 5. This Flickering Light 3:49 6. Thus It Ends in Misery 5:41 7. A Faith Collapsed 5:03 8. The Sacrifice 3:43 9. Circus of Circumstances 4:32 10. The Last Breathe 4:01 11. The Dawn 2:33 All music: by Ozkoc & Conotan. All lyrics: Conotan. LINE-UP: Ogonalp Conotan - vocals Onur Ozkoic - guitars Ikay Ozboyar - keyboards Efe Alpey - basses Emrecan Sevdin - drums Produced by E. Tatoglu, C. Caglayan, & DreamTone. Engineered by E. Tatoglu & C. Caglayan.
Prolusion. Until now (not counting Asia Minor, the well-known French outfit with two Turkish musicians at the helm), I have yet to hear any Progressive Rock that has emerged from Turkey. Furthermore, I have been told that there are no such performers at all. Well, here is a band from that country, DREAMTONE, and their debut album "Unforeseen Reflections".
Synopsis. Archetype: Hard Rock. Benefactors: Blind Guardian and Symphony X. Creed: Neo Prog-Metal. While the band's name immediately arouses associations with Dream Theater, the music, surprisingly, has very little in common with the most influential Prog-Metal act of the present time. (To be frank, I feel very satisfied about that, as there are too many 'Dream Theaters' in today's scene.) The band's principal sources of inspiration are Blind Guardian in general and their best, most progressive albums "Imaginations from the Other Side" (1995) and "Nightfall on Middle Earth" (1998) in particular, and also, but to a lesser degree, early Symphony X. However, these guys aren't blind imitators of their idols. Although the nature of their music's basic direction is clearly evident, most of the tracks on the album feature more of the band's original ideas than adopted ones, and two pieces are completely free of any influences. These are the album's 'boundary' tracks: Blind Man (1) and The Dawn (11). The first is a Classical music-like piece consisting of interplay between piano, harpsichord and string ensemble, and the latter represents a guitar Art-Rock performed without drums. Being rich in the sounds of various chamber, string and woodwind instruments, DreamTone's music is much richer in symphonic colors than Blind Guardian. All nine of the other tracks are about a blend of Classic and Neo Prog-Metal with a pronounced symphonic and, sometimes, even Classical music-like tendencies. Three of them: Roots, The Sacrifice, and The Last Breathe (2, 8, & 10) contain many distinctive features of Neo Progressive, though only Roots is instantly accessible. The other five, including the remaining two instrumentals War of Worlds and Circus of Circumstances (3 & 9), are excellent in every respect. Ogonalp Conotan's pronunciation of English isn't fantastic, but his vocals are original by nature, and they always remain original - even in the parts where the traces of the band's benefactors are especially obvious. Also, he is a real chameleon-singer with a broad voice diapason. The bits of Black Metal appear in the vocal parts only episodically, yet, on most of the tracks here. In short, this is another factor distinguishing DreamTone's debut from those that, generally speaking, form the conception about the average statistical album of contemporary Prog-Metal.
Conclusion. The band's aspiration to play a high-quality Prog-Metal is obvious and must be supported, in my view, although I wonder why they never incorporated their native music on the album. Turkish folk music, as well as classical music, is just amazing and is vastly different from the other kinds of Oriental music, especially Indian and Chinese. Plenty of European and American bands use it in their works, and our heroes are as if have never heard it. I hope the guys perceive this remark as a piece of good advice, and their future albums will be more original than "Unforeseen Reflections", which, nevertheless, is a rather praiseworthy debut.
VM: June 22, 2004
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