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Metamorphosis - 2009 - "Dark"

(61:48, Progrock & Galileo Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Song For My Son 8:25
2.  The Fight Is Over 7:51
3.  Hey Man 9:56
4.  I'm Waking Up 7:14
5.  Knowing All I Do Is Worth Ending 8:42
6.  You 6:33
7.  Where Do We Go 9:51
8.  Dark 3:16


Jean-Pierre Schenk  vocals; keyboards; bass; drums
Roger Burri  guitars 

Prolusion. Swiss outfit METAMORPHOSIS started out in 2001, initially as the band-project of composer and multi-instrumentalist Jean-Pierre Schenk. Eight years down the line this outfit now comes across first and foremost as a solo project, with the guitars being the only instrument handled by other musicians. "Dark" is the fourth album released under the Metamorphosis moniker, and was issued early in 2009 by Galileo Records in Europe and Progrock Records in the US.

Analysis. Previous albums by this outfit have been described as being pretty close to Pink Floyd in sound. And this is very much the case for this excursion as well, with the late 70s variety of their output as arguably the main influence for this production, but also borrowing select elements from the neo-progressive side of the art rock catalog at times. The overall sound is derivative, and while original explorations are few and far between you'll have a hard time spotting any replications as well. The album opener, Song for My Song, is one of the exceptions on this production though, as Black Sabbath-inspired riffs kicks off the proceedings in a tune where spacey synths and symphonic elements are added in to create a sound closer to an act like Porcupine Tree in overall sound. The following five excursions head straight back into more familiar territories for fans of this act though, where a mellow opening is carefully expanded, built upon and evolved into majestic, pompous creations where floating, fluctuating synth layers, organ and carefully crafted guitar patterns form a space-tinged symphonic landscape rich in mood and atmosphere; with airy guitar solos placed in the back of the mix heralding the influence from neo-progressive rock, the organ highlights the influence from the likes of Pink Floyd and the various synth layers point back to both of these influences. Where Do We Go is the lengthiest affair on this disc, and another exception in the overall sound explored. For this composition there are stronger similarities to the late 70s productions by the German band Eloy, blended with toned down riff patterns with a distinct progressive metal tinge to them, coming across as pretty similar to vintage Dream Theater but in a highly dampened manner. The final track Dark returns to the style dominating this album, but this time around in a short track, the only one not hitting the 5 minute mark on this affair. A general characteristic of this production, besides some obvious influences, is that the compositions are relatively simplistic in expression. Quirky instrument patterns, disharmonies and dissonant elements are hardly ever used. Multiple layered sonic tapestries are the tool of choice when there's a need to create segments with embellished features, and the creation of distinct atmospheres is favored over the construction of challenging themes.

Conclusion. Despite the overall derivative sound found on this recording, it is a well made and well performed affair; the compositions evolve nicely but somewhat predictably and although the music explored hardy can be said to be unique it never appears to be a blatant replication of other works either. Those who prefer their music to be challenging and truly progressive will probably not find this album to be highly interesting, but those who enjoy the most symphonic and easily accessible version of Pink Floyd's discography as well as those fond of symphonic prog of the neo-progressive variety might find this disc to be a charming acquaintance.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 15, 2009
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Progrock Records
Galileo Records


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