Hourglass Sands Of Eternity - Journey Into Infinity


Year of Release: 2002
Label: Secret Port Records
Catalog Number: SPR004
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:23:00

I actually got this CD by accident from eBay, meaning instead to find a copy of A Journey Into... by the somewhat better-known band Hourglass. I blame the seller who had no picture or much description, and did not reply to my mails asking if SOE was some kind of mysterious eBay anagram. All right, it was my fault, too. However! By the time I discovered the depth of my error, I had also discovered that it was a relatively recently-released album which was in the right genre, so at least I'd get to write a review. But I am off the track.

Despite my being crabby (with the seller and myself, not the musicians) over getting the wrong disc, these young Greek rockers have caught at least half of my ear. Though they still have areas to improve, I'm mildly impressed with Journey To Infinity, which is their first full-length album. There's some good work here, very reasonable musicianship, but there are a few things that spoil it. One thing this album is, is raw, very unrefined and unpolished, which may or may not have been deliberate. I find it a distraction.

I think it is the production to blame, despite their [now defunkt] website's claim that this was recorded in "one of the most famous semi-professional studio" and "has the best production ever had." Even given that I have a fairly amateurish ear when it comes to picking production flaws, I really think they need to improve in this area; if I'm reading their bios correctly, it is self-financed and produced. There are points in this album which have the focus on utterly the wrong line - most often the vocals are too dominant and completely drown the instruments. There are places where otherwise good music suffers, just feeling lacklustre. As an example, the openings to "A Glass Full Of Tears" and "Journey" are really, really nicely written, but they feel so flat and ponderous, just crying out for an injection of some kind of energy.

I'm aware it might be the fault of musicians or instruments, but I'm prepared to throw down a bet that it isn't. With bad enough production, the greatest guitar shredder can sound like my baby cousin plucking on a rubber band, and the best drummer can sound like someone banging on a lot of pot lids with a chopstick. Well, perhaps not quite, but I'm sure we've all heard at least one badly-recorded bootleg of our favourite musicians that can at least partly prove my point. One seems to need these little technicalities, these days, to do one's music justice.

Except for the production (which is a pretty big "except"), there's not too much I didn't like, though the vocals are sometimes shaky. The vocalist displays two different ranges. He has high metal howl, which can be strained-sounding, and deep and dark a la James Hetfield, which is much, much better and something he should stick with in my opinion.

One other thing is that there are no credits in the album's insert, nothing at all except for the lyrics, which was disappointing, as I like to know the names of the musicians I'm listening to. [Which years later I was able to find - PW ed.] Overall I can't strictly recommend the album itself, as it has its definite faults, but this band has some really good things about it which I think could be brought out with the right help. Having heard this, I'd actually be interested to see what they're like live (and hence test my judgment about their skills versus studio engineering), and will be keeping half an eye on them to see what they come up with in the future.

[This review originally appeared July 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Tracklisting:
The Deliverer / The Beast Inside My Mind / Rage For Revenge / A Glass Full Of Tears / Journey / Winner / The Pariah / Hourglass

Musicians:
John Ioakimides - guitars
Theodore Goutsides - guitars
Panos Kontoes - bass
John Chalkides - drums
Vaggelis Panagopoulos - vocals

Discography:
Time's Up (demo) (1998)
The Winner (single) (1999)
Journey To Infinity (2002)

Genre: Other

Origin GR

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Score:
Artist website:
Hits: 831
Language: english

  

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