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Natural Tension (USA) - 2000 - "Haitian Holiday"
New Year's Eve 4:47 (J.Crocker) Premature Speculation 3:18 (=) Westernrise 5:29 (J.Mays, J.Crocker) HaitianHoliday 4:15 (=) The Art Song 3:07 (J.Crocker) Terminal 5:48 (=) UnderTurnstiles 3:55 (R.Moor, G.&J.Crocker) MostLikely To... 5:30 (J.Crocker) Halfof Nothing 6:34 (J.&G.Crocker)
Line-up: Jeff Crocker - lead vocals, keyboards; Glenn Crocker - drums & percussion; John Mays - guitars; Rus Moor - bass
Guest musicians: Terri Onstad - cello; Derek Bentley - b/vox; James Terry - b/vox
Prologue. "Haitian Holiday" is the debut album by Natural Tension. This self-released CD has a very good sound quality, and its booklet and back liner are designed excellently. So, all in all, you may consider this CD as the first release of the "Natural Tension" independent label.
The music presented by Natural Tension on their very first album is quite original, first of all. On the whole, all these
8 songs were composed and performed in united stylistics, that actually shows that the guys go their own way in terms of style
already on the debut album. Structurally, they present moderately heavy kind of Progressive Metal, though with some lyrical
and/or 'Art-Rockish' episodes for about two-third of the album, and all these songs are really very good in the 'progressive'
meaning. Lead vocal is excellent almost always, but especially during the very same two-third of the length. Well, myriad of bands
consider an album's opener as the most commercial song, as well as the heroes of these lines. Yeah, this is the right step, but it is
only in compliance with the psychology of most potential consumers, who have little in common with the true Progressive Rock
lovers in majority of cases. (Sorry for a necessary, IMO, tautology, as I mainly mean mature Prog-Heads, since most of the songs
on "Haitian Holiday" I can't recommend to Prog-novices as the first stage to comprehending more complex Prog-Metal structures,
because these songs are already quite complex.) So, New Year's Eve is the most accessible song here, though nice. Charming
with some beautiful melodic lines Westernrise and The Art Song (really, my wife still listens only to them) are just a bit more
interesting pieces than the opener. So, having found this remaining 1/3 just "so-so" from the 'progressive' point of view, we can
now talk about NT and their debut only positively. As for that 1/3, let's consider the guys just wanted to show how masterfully
and originally they could play some commercial Neo Prog-Metal. In reality, I think these very talented musicians are just still on
the way to choose (*exactly*) the Final Form of their structures, according to responses on "HH" from the part of professional
and amateur reviewers on the pages of various webzines and pages of magazines-made-of-paper. IMHO, these latter, despite
the fact they're true professionals, the real Titans of 'penish' work, could be the most dangerous advisers - again, just from the
'progressive' standpoint of view - with their exceptionally bright and very convincing yet with a distinct commercial approach
reviews. Most of the representatives of Progressive Rock sites on the WWW feel themselves totally free to express their honest
opinion, but all of them have different views on Progressive Rock either generally or particularly, as well as amateur reviewers,
lots of those submit and publish their reviews and opinions on the excellent, really popular (in the two basic meanings of the word,
including 'people's') biggest review source on the web
Summary. To be honest, all the six good songs on album, as well as very diverse (and often dramatic) singing of the lead vocalist, on the whole reminds me a bit of the stylistics of my dearly loved Italians Garden Wall, though of course these are only associations. Natural Tension has, as I said, original stylistics of its own, and all they really need is just to complete the Form properly.
VM. October 12, 2000
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