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TRACK LIST: 1. The Blandness of Being 4:49 2. Morning Session 6:15 3. Jack's a Friend 3:41 4. The Days Fly Past 7:19 5. Something Building 6:24 6. Fire Incarnate 5:09 7. Bitter 3:32 8. Victim of Circumstances 6:33 9. A Different Sensation 9:31 10. Time to End 6:22 All music: by Lijdekker & Boer. All lyrics: by Boer. LINE-UP: Gerton Leijdekker - - electric, baritone, & acoustic guitars; guitar-synth; - lead vocals; keyboards; MIDI-processor; programming Peter Boer - - fretted & fretless basses; synthesizer; backing vocals - MIDI-processor Emile Boellaard - - drums & percussion; synthesizer; backing vocals - MIDI-processor With: Menne de Vries - drums; backing vocals Produced by Boer & Leijdekker. Engineered mainly by Leijdekker at "Slatter II".
Prolusion. Songs Of The Exile (SOTE hereafter) is a band from the Netherlands, which made its debut in 2000 with the "Time Re-arranged" album. "Time to End" is their second official release.
Synopsis. I am not acquainted with the first album of this Dutch band, but I've heard that it's about a cross between classic Queensryche and Rush. Well, there is nothing concerned Rush on the second SOTE album. As for Queensryche, after the first listening to "Time to End" I have 'found' a lot of that band's influences here, and I had to listen to it again to understand that apart from vocals that are often really not unlike those of Geoff Tate, there is little common ground between these bands. Furthermore, some of the songs here are completely original and don't arouse associations with anything. However, I'll start with those tracks from the album that feature the themes at first reminding of those in Queensryche. These are Blandness of Being, Morning Session, Jack's a Friend, Fire Incarnate, Bitter, and A Different Sensation (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, & 9). After paying more attention to them however, it becomes clear that the slow, both heavy and fluid, guitar riffs used by SOTE concern Progressive Cathedral Metal, and not a traditional Prog-Metal, like those on the classic Queensryche albums. What's most important however is that even on these tracks the music of SOTE is more symphonic and, simultaneously, more atmospheric than that of the band, the name of which I put here already so many times. Stylistically, the said tracks are about either Progressive Cathedral Metal with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock or a blend of both of these genres. The music on the remaining four songs: The Days Fly Past, Something Building, Victims of Circumstance, and Time to End (4, 5, 8, & 10) consists of mixed electrically acoustic textures and represents a guitar Art-Rock with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock and Cathedral Metal. All of them just shine with originality and are definitely the best tracks on the album.
Conclusion. It may sound a bit strange, but the evident stylistic inconsistency of "Time to End" bears a highly positive character. It indicates that SOTE are still in the search of their distinct sound, and the four gems I've described last show that the band is on the right way. While the Classic Prog-Metal purists will certainly remain indifferent to the album, it should please anyone into a guitar-oriented Art-Rock, most of the lovers of Cathedral Metal, and some of the adherents of Symphonic Art-Rock, too.
VM: October 1, 2003
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