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(58:20, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Skeletons 0:22 2. The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss 3:58 3. Li'l Mary 4:39 4. Man With the Evil Eye 4:02 5. Flowers in the Asphalt 3:01 6. Reflections From the Sun 3:08 7. New Values 2:36 8. Success 4:57 9. Son of the Syringe 4:36 10. SOS. 2:01 11. Household Glove and the Lord Above 2:16 12. Neon Lights and Transvestites 3:56 13. Jimi Is Dead 5:03 14. Therapy 3:11 15. Make up Dreaming 3:41 16. Playground Revisited 0:53 17. The Great Escape 5:49 18. New Message 0:11 LINEUP: Klaus Bastian – vocals Kristian M?ller – bass S?ren Lindberg – guitars, bass Klaus Herfort – drums; sampling
Prolusion. The Danish band TINKICKER appeared more or less out of nowhere back in 2008, signed to the Russian label MALS Records which issued their debut album "Soliloquy of the Transparent Boy". Three years down the line, and Tinkicker is back, sporting a new bassist and a new full length production, the title of choice for their latest creation being "The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss".
Analysis. Tinkicker is a band that seems to have a thing for quirky titles and concept albums. Both their CDs are quite a handful as far as album names go, and both of them are conceptual productions. And unlike most artists that explore story-based albums, they opt for social realism rather than fantasy or science fiction as far as the thematic setting goes. Musically, they have chosen a path not too heavily explored either, and while most likely to be described as progressive metal it is of a kind rather far removed from the core of this genre. In fact, the stylistic foundation this time around would appear to be a blend of 80's traditional heavy metal and early 90's doom metal, with a fair few nods in the direction of Candlemass, at least in terms of certain aspects of the guitar riff arrangements. Drawn-out, massive riffs are a key feature throughout, with occasional riff patterns adding a bit of variety, backed by steady rhythms, powerful lead vocals with a typical (but dampened and melodic) metal delivery and most often a dark-toned, thundering bass line. A few elements do remove these compositions from the mainland of the metal universe. Subtle, dampened keyboards are sparingly but effectively utilized throughout to add a certain emphasis to the general atmosphere, and drawn-out, light-toned guitar textures hovering above are utilized in very much the same manner, while the contrast department is catered to by wandering acoustic and undistorted guitar textures, adding a fragile nuance to the songs. Atmospheric and occasional dramatic inserts into the songs themselves are an effect frequently used to break up compositions otherwise rather straightforward in structure, and the occasional use of structural prologs and epilogs appears to have a similar function. And to emphasize the conceptual nature of this disc, a few brief tracks and atmospheric interludes have been included too, which is why there are 18 items on the track list. Tinkicker has yet to uncover the formula to craft a true-to-life stellar CD in my opinion. This is a fine CD with many pleasant tracks and a few gems here and there; the grimy, grinding riff-dominated Therapy being a clear highlight as far as my personal taste goes. But from what I hear, this is a band still discovering where their greatest potential is, and perhaps struggling ever so slightly with the task of fulfilling their ambitions. They have opted for a sound closer to traditional metal on this disc, and it is when they are closest to this territory I find the band to be most interesting this time around. And, as such, those who like their progressive metal to be challenging in terms of instrumental performance, technique or genre conceptions won't find too much here to cater to their needs. This one is of a different nature altogether. It is a dark and brooding creation, however, in terms of concept, story and music.
Conclusion. Tinkicker is a band hard to pin down in terms of genre definitions, and on this occasion they reside on the borders between traditional heavy metal, early doom metal and progressive metal. And while fans of the latter genre might find this CD to be appealing, I would imagine the band’s core audience this time around being older metal fans, who have a taste for the more advanced bands of that kind – alongside those who enjoy acts such as Candlemass, Cathedral and – obviously – Black Sabbath.
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