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(40:16, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. My Love 2:39 2. Passion 4:45 3. Dream of Eternity 4:39 4. My Heart Bleeds 4:54 5. No Reason 5:14 6. Hopeless 4:37 7. Without You 5:38 8. My Story 4:57 9. New Day 4:51 SOLO PILOT: Vinc – el., ac. & bass guitars; drums; keyboards; lead vocals With: Domitille – cello (2, 3, 5, 7, 9) Tim – violin (2, 3, 5, 7, 9) JP – vocals (2, 4, 5, 8, 9)
Prolusion. Musical outfits using “project” as part of their names have been springing up like mushrooms in the course of the last decade, and I think no research laboratory can nowadays vie with the progressive rock movement in the number of those, to put it in a generalized way. Vincent Zermatten, from Switzerland, could have not invented anything better than the VINC PROJECT as a vehicle for expressing his songwriting and performance ambitions, though it’s the lyrical, melodramatically-saccharine, filling of his first release, “My Story” (just look at the titles of its tracks), that is especially trivial, if not repellent in a way. On the other hand, who I am to reproach the musician for having a want of imagination? As any cobbler should stick to his shoes, I’d better proceed to describing his creation – by taking it as a combination of its vocal lines and instrumental canvases, without paying attention to the lyrics.
Analysis. When listening to the opening piece, My Love (where there is only piano, synthesizer and the sound of rain, and which reminded me of Planets from Tiamat’s “Wildhoney”), I had time to become inspired with its mysterious atmosphere and forget what worried me prior to taking on this “Story”. But when I began playing the second track, I instantly recalled that the album got the title it did because it bears an autobiographical character, and so should be song-based, with the emphasis on its lyrical component. Soon, however, it became clear that the vocals-laden and purely instrumental arrangements are well balanced here, their quantity being approximately equal on the other five songs as well, besides which two more tracks turned out to be free of singing at all. What is more, I found that all eight of the other compositions have something in common with the aforesaid Swedish group’s work as well, all revealing more similarities than differences between them. Some of those, however, are woven primarily of airy, fragile sonic fabrics, whilst the others are dominated by what in most cases comes across as a truly full-band sound (please note this), which after all pushed me to divide them into two categories. The twin acoustic guitar leads that run all through Hopeless and New Day, in combination with the pieces’ general largely acoustic nature, make these two strongly related to each other, even though the first of them (the only track where Vinc deploys a machine instead of playing acoustic drums) is fairly groovy at its beginning, while the latter additionally contains vocals as well as some violin and cello passages. Compared to these and all the so far unnamed songs, the remaining instrumental, Without You, bears a transitional character, since it begins and develops as an interaction between acoustic guitar, piano and synthesizer, but later on takes the shape of what is yet to be described. Like any of their neighbors on this disc, the songs, Passion, Dream of Eternity, No Reason, My Heart Bleeds and My Story, all also savor of that Gothic aura which personally I always associate with Tiamat, though these are already creations of symphonic Doom Metal, no matter that their basic genre ingredient is not striking everywhere, in places seeming to be changed beyond recognition. In its, say, canonic shape the style dominates on My Heart Bleeds and the title track (both of which are the most diverse and progressively saturated tracks here), while otherwise it can also appear as an acoustically-driven art-rock-like motion, such as on No Reason, or even as an atmospheric landscape, yet retaining its characteristic fragrance in all cases. As I am, okay, an ignoramus in so-called Gothic Rock and other similar styles that have originated from the aforesaid genre, one might say that I take a narrow view of the essence of this album, but anyhow I believe most of those who are well acquainted with the Swedes’ “Widlhoney” and “A Deeper Kind of Slumber” will share it. By the way, Passion and Dream of Eternity both remind me in places of the title song of the latter recording – Tiamat’s last progressive effort, almost free of heaviness, but then rich in diverse chamber colorations.
Conclusion. The music here is for the most part instantly accessible, being at times overtly simple to a prog mind, and yet it begs to be liked, almost throughout. The point is that Vinc pays a lot of attention to diversity of melodic lines, eschewing the many banalities typical of one-man acts, let alone unison leads and so on. While it’s clear that his main performance role is a traditional six-stringed rock instrument player, Vinc succeeds in fulfilling the entire task he entrusted himself with, meaning as a multi-instrumentalist, more or less convincingly coping even with the drum kit, his vocals as such well suiting the style. Nevertheless I don’t think this CD will satisfy many prog lovers, regardless of any epithets and favorable comparisons made.
VM: September 29, 2008
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