[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Nightmare's End 8:56 2. Light Hope 4:55 3. Inside Out 7:24 4. A Dream Within a Dream 7:37 All tracks: by Bergseth & Utby. Arrangements: by Tammatoys. LINE-UP: Kjetil Bergseth - vocals; keyboards; programming Oystein Utby - electric bass; vocals Thomas Knutzen - drums & percussion Ornulv Snortheim - electric guitar Espen Rui - keyboards Produced by Bergseth & Utby. Engineered by Knutzen.
Prolusion. The 29-minute "Within a Dream" is the second album by the Norwegian band TAMMATOYS. Their debut "Circles" (also an EP) was released in 2000.
Synopsis. Archetype: Progressive Rock. Benefactor(s): uncertain. Creed: Neo Symphonic Art-Rock. Well, this weekend is somewhat a Neo feast on Progressor. I don't remember when I have ever received such a large number of Neo-related CDs together as I received last month. Although "Within a Dream" lacks two or three minutes to be regarded as a full-length album, it is noticeably better than any of the other of its 'brothers in style' that I've reviewed for this update. The main virtue of this Norwegian quintet is that they are the adherents of a complete creative independence, which is always beyond praise. The first three tracks: Nightmare's End, Light Hope, and Inside Out are songs with English lyrics, each representing an exceptionally original Neo Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal. Yet, this definition is imperfect as such. To be precise, it would be inadequate without mentioning that most of the instrumental arrangements playing separately from the vocals (and these cover about a half of each of the songs) concern the classic manifestation of the Art-Rock genre. The principal soloing instruments are bass, Hammond, synthesizer, and electric guitar, and the parts of Hammond and bass, as well as various interplay between them, are especially masterful and inventive. Generally, the instrumental parts on the album are highly progressive in character and are filled with everything necessary to satisfy even purists of a classic sound. There is another vintage keyboard, the wonderful Mellotron with its immediately recognizable 'dramatic' sound, but, unlike Hammond, it was used only on Nightmare's End unfortunately. I suppose that the instrumental piece A Dream Within a Dream (4) is also inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's eponymous short novel, but it has nothing in common with the opening track of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" by The Alan Parsons Project and anything else in general. Mainly piano and string ensemble-based, this piece turned out to be completely out of the band's usual style and is about something average between electronic and light Classical music. It is less impressive than any of the songs, but is good anyhow and is on the right place standing at the end of the CD.
Conclusion. Taking into account the current situation with Progressive Rock, the band's tendencies to perform a more accessible music than before is understandable, of course, and Tammatoys indeed has a chance to join the so-called mainstream. In the light of all of this and in comparison with many other bands trying to go this way as well, the highly original "Within a Dream" can be regarded as a really excellent album.
VM: June 18, 2004
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]