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Sleepy Hollow - 2004 - "Going Over"

(42 min, 'Sleepy Hollow')

TRACK LIST:                    

1.  Broken Water 1:27
2.  Seedy Sales 3:54
3.  F.A.T. 2:12 
4.  Bad Reflection 2:09
5.  Blast Off 2:55
6.  Collapse 3:56
7.  Farewell to a Friend 2:14
8.  Broken Wings 0:40
9.  Pay the Price 4:07
10. Under the Ground 4:30
11. 90's Child 5:00
12. Mare Crastinum 4:50
13. Rock Hard 4:25 


Matt Schwarz - guitars; vocals; flute; harp
Joe Dell - keyboards; vocals; boparine 
Frank Melick - drums; vocals
Dan Castiel - bass; vocals

Prolusion. SLEEPY HOLLOW was formed in 1999 in the American state of New Jersey. "Going Over" is the first full-length album by the band, following their eponymous EP from 2000. The quartet is currently halfway through recording their new CD tentatively entitled "Sarabande". Singer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Schwarz also has one solo CD to his credit, "The Lost Way" (2003).

Analysis. The album is made up of thirteen tracks, the first eight of which are subsumed to a unified lyrical design and are united under the title of Going Over, the entire thing (I don't think the concept of a suite is applicable in this particular case) exceeding 19 minutes in duration. The first and the last part of the heading composition, Broken Water and Broken Wings, are the only instrumentals on the entire CD, the former being my favorite track despite its shortness. This is a beautiful, touching, dramatic interplay between acoustic guitar, flute and boparina evolving to the accompaniment of gently marching drums with an amazing sense of Renaissance music widespread throughout. Broken Wings is just a harp reprise of Broken Water. Unfortunately, the flute and harp are absent on the other tracks, and only one of them, Mare Crastinum, features acoustic guitar as one of the primary soloing instruments. The music is the interchange of organ- and acoustic guitar-laden softer arrangements and those based on the crunchy electric guitar riffs with quite unexpected theatric vocals. Inasmuch as all the band members combine their duties as instrumentalists with those of singers, I don't know which of them takes the lead on Mare Crastinum, but I'd rather he'd sung everywhere on the album. By the way, all four of the musicians alternate each other behind the microphone on Rock Hard, which concludes the CD. Almost in everything - from the guitar riff construction to the distinctive 'barking' chorus - it reminds me of AC/DC with organ. Very primitive and tasteless alike. Collapse and Farewell to a Friend are better and are structurally closer to Mare Crastinum. All the so-far-unnamed songs are basically harsh and heavy nearly throughout, the organ in most cases being the only instrument providing the music with genuine diversity, although three of them, Bad Reflection, Blast Off and Pay the Price, contain either very few keyboard patterns or none, referring to early Heavy Metal (think Judas Priest circa "Sin After Sin"). The other four are more colorful - an understatement. Seedy Sales, F.A.T. and 90's Child are vintage organ-driven Hard Rock much in the vein of Deep Purple, except for the vocals, which are quite inexpressive. On Under the Ground, the band enters an area of dark symphonic Doom Metal rooted in early Black Sabbath ("Vol. 4"), although the presence of raw, at times sinister vocals suggests some names of later proponents of this style, such as Tiamat or Paradise Lost. "Going Over" comes with a bonus disc, which includes a "movie version" of the eponymous 'suite' where there is nothing new but the spoken dialogs etc verbalisms.

Conclusion. There is not too much on "Going Over" to afford you aesthetic pleasure if you're a progressive music lover, while those exclusively into proto-progressive Hard Rock and Heavy Metal might find the CD worth a listen in its entirety.

VM: May 23, 2006

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Sleepy Hollow


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