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No Brass (USA) - 1999 - "The Drowning of the Sun"
(54 min, "No Brass")


*****

1.  The Drowning of the Sun  4:24
2.  The Castle Dweller       5:31
3.  Around the Corner        6:08
4.  A World Within           6:07
5.  A Star to a Star         7:20
6.  The Love Song            4:13
7.  Roll On                  5:34
8.  The Death of a Drone     6:48
9.  True Passion             7:48

Mike Kovacs   - drums & vocals
Dave Kovacs   - bass (2,5,6,7,8)
Erol Sommer   - bass (1,3,4,9)
Dave Zupert   - lead (2,4,6,7,9) and rhythm (2,4,5,9) guitars
Steve Ronyak  - rhythm guitar (1,3,6,7,8)
Dirk Garman   - lead guitar (1,3,5,8)

All music and lyrics by Mike Kovacs.
Produced by Mike Kovacs.

Prologue. Another one excellent debut from Ohio: "The Drowning of the Sun" is the very first No Brass album. It consists of the nine songs recorded at various times and places by the talented drummer, vocalist, composer and lyricist Mike Kovacs with the help of his friends.

The album. On the whole (except for track 6 - read lower), "The Drowning of the Sun" is based around the heavy guitar riffs led the basic themes into the accompaniment of really incredible interplays between Mike Kovacs' drums and Dave Kovacs'/Erol Sommer's bass guitars. I think, the drums/bass "duels" on this album is some of the best rhythm-section work in recent years. Mike is an impeccable drummer (and vocalist, though!) whose proffessionalism and virtuosity draw from the best of Bill Ward.

The major influence at work is Black Sabbath in the second phase of their early period (1971-1973), though there isn't the silly fantasy themes that occasionally gets in the way of Black Sabbath music (e.g. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath") at times. There are no keyboards and the arrangement focus is on the diverse guitar solos and interplays with some distinct progressive influences.

Titles such as The Castle Dweller, Around the Corner, A World Within, A Star to Star, The Death of a Drone, and True Passion highlight the intence hypnotic Metal (such an optimistic kind of Doom metal) of all lead, rhythm and bass guitarists furious playing against a powerful backdrop of excellent drumming and singing from Mike. Songs like the titletrack and Roll On indicate the direction of traditional Heavy Metal, though their instrumental arrangements are done icredibly. The rest track The Love Song is the only more or less mellow composition on the album: this is quiet heavy ballad with a strong blues influence.

Summary. I have no idea what the other reviewers could say, in my opinion "The Drowning of the Sun" is probably the best Proto-Prog Metal / Progressive Hard Rock album released in the second half of the '90s years. While Mike's vocals are well done, I find the instrumental structures composed by him even far more interesting. As drummer Mike Kovacs is definitely Ward's equal. His complex virtuostic playing keeps my interest strongly. Incredibly done solos and instrumental parts. If you have a taste for metal, if you are looking for something different than the traditional Prog Metal sound, go for it. If you like Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica (only in the '90s years!), you'll go crazy over these guys. Buy this album: it will help open the way for other excellent independent Prog Metal bands!

Here is the easiest way for anyone wishing to order the CD: http://www.cdbaby.com/nobrass
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VM. February 4, 2000


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