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Ticket To The Moon - 2016 - "Ae Sense of Life"

(55:51, ‘Ticket TTM’)


1. Intro 2:02
2. The Call Within 8:11
3. Patient 730100: Conformism 4:41
4. Patient 730100: Resurrection 7:03
5. Father 2:01
6. Foetus 10:31	
7. Perpetual- I 7:22
8. Perpetual-II 6:28
9. Interlude 1:56
10. Hynkel 5:36


Matthias Zwick – synthesizers, piano
Andrea Portapia – vocals; guitars
Guillaume Carbonneau – basses 
Danny Gosteli – drums; vocals

Prolusion. The Swiss band TICKET TO THE MOON was formed back in 2003, with a firm line-up stabilizing in 2007. They are an active live band as well as recording artists, and so far they have two albums to their name. "Ae Sense of Life" is the most recent of those, and was self-released in 2016. Yeah, the band’s name nstantly evokes the song of the same title from the ELO album ”Time”.

Analysis. A not uncommon tendency for the last 20 years or thereabouts have been bands that explore a style of music that has its core foundations somewhere inside the progressive rock universe that also opt to include some details with more of a progressive metal oriented touch. Ticket To The Moon is a fairly good example of just that, and their slight twist to this variety of progressive rock is to also include sequences of a more cinematic nature. Which, I might add, they accomplish in a generally compelling manner. "Ae Sense of Life" is a thematic outing, where most of the songs flow into each other, resulting in the album actually being one composition divided into ten parts rather than ten compositions that in sum constitute an album. Those fond of concept albums should find this particular feature to be a positive one, I imagine. As far as the music itself is concerned, it tends to navigate between what I'd roughly describe as later day Pink Floyd-inspired territories over to vintage progressive metal oriented landscapes, frequently seguing over to gentler, cinematic passages from both of these main expressions. Careful, plucked guitar details with and without careful keyboards in support are a staple for the former sequences, while darker toned, gnarly guitar riffs, most often combined with keyboards of some kind or other, are the most frequent combination used for the latter of the two dominant aspects of the band's sound. The ambient and cinematic sequences tend to have a bit more variation to them, from delicate to firmer standalone piano passages, purebred cinematic interludes with sounds and effects only, as well as the former or latter with some careful, delicate instrument support used to enhance the moods and atmospheres explored. By and large, the material is compelling and well made too, apart from the second track The Call Within, which comes across as a tad clumsy at times, in the manner in which it moved from one expression to another, as well as the harder edged arrangement on this part of the production generally coming across as too busy for my personal taste. This production has many fine moments and quite a few truly captivating ones as well, but it does suffer from something of a major flaw, at least as far as gaining widespread interest is concerned: the lead vocals is of a kind and nature that will limit the overall appeal of this production. One aspect of this is a rather distinct accent, another is mispronunciations of the kind that will be noticed, like the word reef turning into riff as one specific example from one of the songs. At last the voice of Andrea Portapia isn't the strongest one to begin with either, with some subtle off key details here and there emphasizing this. It is not on the level of being a fatal flaw, but it is a detrimental aspect of the album experience, and one that will limit the overall appeal of the disc.

Conclusion. Those fond of concept albums of the kind where the entire album plays out as one composition rather than as a collection of songs should find many interesting points to this second album by these Swiss proggers, and then especially those who tend to fancy a band that, roughly speaking, moves back and forth between later day Floydian landscapes and territories closer to progressive metal of the Dream Theater variety. The vocals are something of an acquired taste however, so those who know they are sensible to the quality of the lead vocals might approach this one with some caution. But apart from that aspect this is a fine album within this subset of the progressive rock genre.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 16, 2017
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Ticket To The Moon


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