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TRACK LIST: 1. Inspiring Confidence 9:56 2. Shadows of a Nightingale 7:16 3. Game Show 6:28 4. The Unknown Soldier 7:43 5. The Old Warrior 4:37 6. The Bridge 9:00 7. Before 5:59 8. Igraine 6:44 9. Take My Heart 9:27 10. Emotional Suicide 9:22 11. Faces To Faces 1:35 All music: by Jack Yello. All lyrics: by Bovensiepen. LINE-UP: Dirk Bovensiepen - lead & backing vocals Lutz Grosser - guitars; backing vocals Uwe Ziegler - keyboards; backing vocals Dirk Hulpert - bass; backing vocals Uwe Poprawa - drums Engineered: by Grosser & W. Pyka in Dusseldorf. Artwork: by Bovensiepen.
Preamble. The 78-minute "Thorns of Anger" is the debut album by the German band Jack Yello featuring the ex-members of Darius. Personally, I perceive it is a double album (LP talk).
The Album. There is no end to the bands playing music that is either influenced or inspired by Marillion. Fortunately, Jack Yello belongs with the latter of them. The music on "Thorns of Anger" is much more original and complex than that of all of the other followers, etc, of classic Marillion in particular and most of the Neo bands in general. In fact, Dirk Bovensiepen's vocals are the only constituent of this album arousing direct associations with Marillion. Indeed, Dirk is really able to make his vocals indistinguishable from those of Fish and sings just like Fish. To be impartial though, he by no means does it continually and not on all of the songs on the album. Stylistically, "Thorns of Anger" is an amazingly uniform album, and even the last song here: the short Classic Art-Rock ballad Faces To Faces featuring only the classical-like passages of piano and vocals, sounds like a logical conclusion of all the preceding musical events. The music on all ten of the other songs here (see track list above) is just great and represents a really amazing fusion of Classic Prog-Metal and Neo Art-Rock, the latter of which concerns predominantly only the vocally instrumental arrangements on the album. As for purely instrumental arrangements, they're not simply highly diverse and complex: they're just fantastic and are done almost exclusively with the use of complex meters. All of the band members are outstandingly masterful musicians. With the exception of those on The Unknown Soldier (4) and the aforementioned Faces To Faces, the arrangements on "Thorns of Anger" are for the most part up-tempo, and the lengthy, highly virtuosi and original, solos of guitar, bass, and (sometimes) synthesizer are among the central hallmarks of the album. The drumming is also mostly powerful and very diverse, and the vocals here are certainly theatrically dramatic in character. Oh, almost forgot: The Bridge and Emotional Suicide (6 & 10) features the music of the East performed outstandingly original and impressive. The passages of semi-acoustic guitar are present on both of the songs that I was just talking about and The Unknown Soldier, and those of semi-acoustic guitar on The Old Warrior and Igraine (5 & 8). Apart from the closing song of the album, the parts of piano play a significant role also on Igraine and Take My Heart (9). The latter song features an episode where Dirk sings only to the accompaniment of piano, and Igraine is marked also with the brilliant classical-like interplay between the passages of piano and those of acoustic guitar. The solos reminding me of those of the Hammond organ are heard on Shadows of a Nightingale, Game Show, and Before (2, 3, & 7). The vocoder was used on the first of these songs, and the latter of them is above all notable for the pronounced solos of bass that are 'at the head' of arrangements almost throughout it.
Summary. Indeed, there are enough of the sights on this album to rouse your interest in it. "Thorns of Anger" comes highly recommended to all those into both of Classic and Neo Art-Rock and Prog-Metal. And by the way, even though there is musically almost nothing common between the music of Jack Yello and that of Dream Theater, the many-thousand armies of fans of this band (and the likes) should be much pleased with "Thorns of Anger", too.
VM: April 25, 2003
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