Epilogue - Hide

Year of Release: 1994
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 010
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:43:00

We all have various ways of hiding from the world - some of us are better at it than others. Epilogue take this as their lyrical theme (and album title), and follow it through nearly every song. The temptation here is to review the album based on song topics, which is a tendency I have with all these reviews (if you haven't noticed already). However, perhaps the first observation that should be made is that there are prog purists who will call this pop. Or, grudgingly, neo-progressive.

Comparisons can be made to IQ, Pendragon, Iluvatar, Galahad, and, of course, Marillion. Epilogue's sound on Hide actually owes a lot to Marillion without sounding particularly like them - oh sure, there are those Rothery-esque guitar phrases, and there are passages so very reminiscent of Clutching At Straws. To wit, there is one passage in "In The City" where I half expect the lyric to be "It was a wedding ring, destined to be found in a cheap hotel..." (if you aren't a Marillion aficionado, I apologize). So yes, many of their dynamics are Marillionesque, but if you are going to be influenced by someone and call yourself progressive, you'd best not sound like New Kids on The Block.

A very popish tune, "Swords and Knives," starts off the album with a shimmering guitar intro reminiscent of later day Pink Floyd. But this is mostly a keys/drums led track, with a very simple drum rhythm. But, given the drummer is also the vocalist, this doesn't entirely surprise me - I imagine it's rather difficult to sing and play a percussive instrument simultaneously. Didn't dear ol' Genesis add a touring drummer to assist Phil Collins (at least at some point)? (I'm sure someone will find counterpoints, or disagree) Actually, I'll beat them to punch by saying that this observation isn't true for the entire album, as there are some interesting, if not particularly intricate, drum rhythms.

There is a strong sense that this album was recorded live in the studio, which gives it's some immediacy, and suggests to me that vocalist Shaun Lowe was singing and drumming . But that same live feel also means the production is muddy for much of the album.

This album doesn't shine like it should. I would love for this album's dynamics to shine through with dynamic production. Vocalist Shaun Lowe handled the production duties, and for a self produced disk, it isn't bad. There are some top drawer artists, with major-label releases, with much worse production (but I won't name names here).

For all it's pop-ness, this isn't a light weight album when it comes to song subjects. Following a theme set forth with the reviews of both Queensrÿche's and Midnight Oil's latest releases, the beginning track tackles the current state of human affairs. Certainly their focus is the state of the UK, but the themes are universal. There is a suggestion, too, that the "powers that be" in the UK are...um..."hiding" from their obligations.

The title track, despite a heavy bit of percussion at the end, is a very gentle song. Oddly enough, the observation here is that one is hiding from one's demons, from one's feelings, from one's self, even - not facing up. And yet, the later track, "In The City" seems to concern the opposite - facing your demons and letting them win. As I said, we all have different ways of hiding, some of us are better at than others.

While I won't run down track by track, "Living A Lie" could be considered the "full on rocker" falling into the "Hooks In You" category - not thematically, but as the track out of the pattern. Well, that and the electric guitar intro.

"Lie" treats the subject of "hiding" from yet a different point of view - observing someone who has stopped hiding, but is very much in danger of slipping back into old habits.

I keep coming back to "In The City" because this could be the centrepiece to the album, being the longest track at 12 minutes. This is actually a very eerie song, far more eerie than Queensrÿche's "All I Want" [on the above reference album]. It begins as most of the songs on this album do, with a quiet intro passage, but a minute in, kicks in with a keyboard progression, which seques into a tempo change. This does fit the lyrical arc of the song, as the screws are being turned for the character of the song - that slow build up.

I wish I had the room to reprint the lyrics, but, in lieu, the track can summed up thusly: Man loses everything, including his sanity. Kills a woman (ex-lover, prostitute?), and ... um ... retains her corpse. Shades of Psycho in some ways, and a million other references that I can't quite recall enough to cite.

The more I listen to this album, the more I like it. If you like neo-prog, you should like this. Shaun isn't the best vocalist out there, and there are elements that suggest this is a debut (it's the only release I've ever seen), but you could do worse.

[Editor's Note [1997]: turns out this is their second release, their first, eponymously titled, is on cassette only.]

Sword and Knives (5:03) / Hide (5:27) / Wheel of Love (3:00) / Living A Lie (5:33) / Travelling Man (12:26) / No Sign Of Life (4:41) / Into The Clock (8:13) / Matthew (4:37) / The Flame (5:58) / [Unnamed] (7:45)

Gareth Evans - guitars
Chris Frost - keyboards
Scott Evans - bass and bass pedals
Shaun Lowe - vocals, drums and additional instrumentation

Epilogue (cass. only)
Hide (1994)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 4th 1997
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1972
Language: english


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