Puppet Show - Traumatized

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Kinesis
Catalog Number: KDCD 1025
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:28:00

I kinda expected Puppet Show to be another Dream Theater imitator, even though a sticker on the shrink-wrap compared them to Marillion. Well, they are right - to a degree.

A symphonic pipe organ intro begins Puppet Show's Traumatized with the 52 second "The King Always Wins," moving into a track ("Relativity") that begins low key with tinkling keys and soft percussion. The keys give way to snare and vocals, but eventually ends up sounding more like ELP playing and embellishing Marillion. Mike Grimes' keys take on a percussive sound similiar to what Emerson used in Tarkus, though for the keyboard solo, take a more symphonic approach, smoother edges.

If there is a similarity to Dream Theater, it is in the sometimes overwrought delivery of vocalist Sean Frazier. However, there are times when Puppet Show make me think of Grey Lady Down and, oddly enough, a softer, gentler Iron Maiden. This latter thought came to me while listening to the intro to "As Ye Hath Sown."

The one track that really stands out, "Marathon," made me think of, even more oddly enough, Sammy Hagar in mid-tempo mode. Yes, part of that is because Frazier sounds like Hagar here, but around that, the instruments fill in the other pieces - except maybe for the middle section.

The music here is pleasant, and interesting to listen to, though far from challenging from a listener's point of view. Vocalist Sean Frazier has an adequate voice, fairly well suited to this type of music, though what I think he's trying for is that same sharp edge Hogarth achieved on Brave in the "Last Of You" section of "The Great Escape." The pace of this track, "Ring," doesn't lend itself to same effect, and thus the seemingly elaborate delivery.

All the tracks here deal with religious themes - "As Ye Hath Sown" almost advocates violence against non-Christians. Of course, the suggestion here is in defense of violence against Christians. Here, as elsewhere, (see Cairo's Conflict and Dreams) the Crusades are mentioned.

It may appear I'm giving short shrift to this release, but there really hasn't been anything to latch onto, to bring the whole thing into focus, though "Marathon" comes close. Frazier's vocals stand out the most.

For now, I can say I like it, and can suggest it to those who like neo-prog. But there are others reviewed here that I'd recommend first.

The King Always Wins (0:52) / Relativity (11:57) / As Ye Hath Sown (6:53) / Marathon (14:01) / In The Heart Of Man (12:05) / The Ring Of Truth (9:38)

Sean Frazier - lead and backing vocals
Mike Grimes - keyboards and backing vocals
Matt Lipford - drums
Chris Osburn - guitars and backing vocals
Craig Polson - bass and backing vocals

Traumatized (1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: January 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.puppetshow.com
Hits: 1152
Language: english


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