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(78:05, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. In Abeyance 13:45 2. The Dark Beyond Our Fears 12:01 3. What If 5:51 4. What If Not 12:21 5. Forgiven 7:43 6. A Mask Behind A Mask 12:08 7. Epistrophe 14:16 LINEUP: t - vocals, all instruments
Prolusion. German project t is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Thomas Thielen, formerly of German band Scythe but now with a solo career that has been ongoing ever since he released his first album using the t moniker in 2002. "Epistrophobia" is his sixth full length production, and was released in 2016 through German label Progressive Promotion Records.
Analysis. Thomas Thielen's venture t have solidified into quite the quality provider of modern progressive rock. His personal take of the genre is one that by and large appears to shy away from the more common conventions, but his tendency to focus on moods and atmospheres will more often than not find him described within a neo progressive general context. Those familiar with any of his previous albums will know pretty well what to expect. The arrangements and structures may differ, some of the elements used may be and sound different, but if you have heard one album by t before it won't take too many seconds to recognize his sound also on this latest creation of his. t's expressive vocals is a key element throughout, where his more frail, delicate and ever so slightly raspy voice gives the songs an instant emotional hook many will find compelling straight away. But also when his delivery is firm his vocals are impressive, and to a standard rather higher than many others out there in the progressive rock universe. On this album we do get to hear his voice a lot, as a story is being told and Thielen is certainly not afraid to use words to tell it. His vocals exist in a universe that art times contains multiple layers of instruments while on other occasions is more of a gentle and occasionally sparsely populated one where the vocals reign and dominate supreme. Wandering plucked and delicate guitar motifs and soft, floating keyboard layers are prominent details throughout, and the bass guitar and drums provide solid foundations or more careful support depending on need. Some passages take on a harder, darker sound that at the most intense comes close to the borders of progressive metal, other sections are delicate in more of a classic Sylvan kind of way. A select few Floydian-tinged, atmospheric laden guitar solo driven interludes appear, other moments have something of an industrial touch to them. Gentle details with a post rock general orientation is a part of the greater totality too, and unless I'm much mistaken a token few nods in the direction of jazz appears here and there as well. A lot is going on at times, even with some noise effects and subtly dissonant tendencies, but the overall focus still comes across as one revolving around moods and atmospheric laden passages that for many will feel natural to place in a neo progressive general context.
Conclusion. Those fond of sophisticated, atmospheric laden progressive rock that, at least as I regard matters, may well be described as a contemporary take on neo progressive rock, those are listeners that in my view should feel right at home with t's CD "Epistrophobia". Existing fans can safely add this one to their collection, new listeners can probably pick and choose freely among all his albums so far for a good impression, this one should be as good as any other to start with if you desire to get familiar with the material of this German artist.
Progmessor: October 28th, 2017
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