Gone - Weakness Within Living Memory


Year of Release: 1997
Label: n/a
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:00:00

It's one of those years, when bands just pop up out of nowhere and blow you away. Not only by the fact that no one knows about them, or has ever heard their music, but just the fact that bands like this exist period, without any recognition whatsoever. This is what "discovery" is all about, and why it is that I get so excited about these bands. Somewhere out there, are more bands like this one, just waiting to be "discovered," and this is where I get my enjoyment out of collecting as much music as I do. Of course, it's the "heavy hitters" that you sit around in anticipation and indulge in all of the buzz that precedes their releases, but it's when discs like this one come up and bite you in the ass that you get that real rush from the music we all love.

This is one time that I won't ever complain about a CD cover having some funky artwork, and basing a disc on that. You can't tell what the artwork represents until you put the cover near some light so you can see, or try to make out what the picture is on the front, and continued on the back. Not only that, try reading the song titles from the back of the disc. It's nearly impossible, with the black font on top of a black and dark blue background, and the strange picture facing you from behind the dark colors. Even the inside CD booklet coloring is black, and if it weren't for the white fonts that make up the text, you wouldn't be able to read the lyrics either.

What's the point of all of this? Well, if you are thinking DARK, then that's a starting point for this incredible band. Without even putting the disc in the tray, you have either deduced that someone has poor taste in CD covers, or that this band is DARK. If you can imagine the dark emotions on some of the Tad Morose discs, then you have a pretty good idea of where these guys place their emphasis on. Out of nowhere comes this brilliant, dark, heavy, melodic, atmospheric beast, and I wonder what bands like this must think when they can't even get anyone in their own land to hear what they have to say, much less a continent or two away. Emerge from the darkness, Gone. Their name certainly indicates where this band may end up if things don't get moving for them, and I do understand that they only pressed 500 copies of this gem, so I am hoping that somehow, word gets out about this band, and they can see fit to press more copies so that the whole prog metal world can hear what this band is all about.

THE STYLE:

If you can imagine a combination like this, you'll have a great idea of what this band sounds like. Take the dark, atmospheric gloominess of Tad Morose, throw in some Superior-like riffs and crunches, add in the epic glory of Threshold circa Wounded Land (I'm talking "Days of Dearth" in particular), lace it all with cold-yet-warm sounding keyboards, give it a worthy singer, dump in the best production this side of Images And Words, and, well you get the idea. The sum total of all these aspects add up to one, melodic, atmospheric disc. The music is almost downright doomy in it's own way, but I'd rather use the word "gloomy" here rather than "doomy," as this is very far away from doom stylings. Tad Morose circa Sender Of Thoughts keeps popping into my mind with each song, except for a song or two that remind me of an acoustic version of Vanden Plas. I'll throw in another band for you; Twilight. If you've heard of Twilight, you know of their plodding, atmospheric, crunchy melodies, and this is about what the approach is that Gone takes. This is one to listen to without the lights on, and you can almost envision this band recording this thing in some barren, gloomy, bat-filled cave complete with wall drippings into small ponds, cobwebs, boomy echoes, and the like. It's that dark, yet never loses track of the warm melodies. Only Tad Morose could be so dark and cold and yet manage to somehow maintain some sense of warmth throughout as not to turn off the listener with complete coldness. It is possible to encapture the warth and emotion of music, yet still portray it in a cold, gloomy way, and Gone succeeds in doing this in a most unique way.

THE BAND:

A 5-piece, consisting of vocals, drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards. The emphasis is on BEAUTY and EMOTION, not in trying to show off their talents. You won't find any guitar shredding, no blazing keyboard runs, and not too much complexity. You will find some great songs, laced with emotion, warmth and coldness. You will find some neat double bass runs from the drummer, and you will also find a ballad or two complete with acoustic guitars and strings. The band uses the sum of their sound to bring this music to us, not just one individual sound. The guitar and keyboards work in unison (much like Ivanhoe) to complement each other, while the guitar is crunching away, the keyboards are laying down nice string, synth and piano sounds as background. If some of you hear some semblance of DT's Awake, I'll buy it, but in only bits and pieces. Some of the slower, keyboard / acoustic passages do remind me of Awake for some reason, but that quickly fades with each song that turns into Gone's own style of prog metal. One interesting thing about this band is that you will hear many chimes and bells along the way. I envision a graveyard, or a cave that this band recorded in each and every time I hear those bells. They are an evil delight. I also hear Threshold's "Days Of Dearth" in some places, so if anyone is a fan of that band, or disc, this is the ticket to the show.

THE VOCALS:

I had to reach back in my mind to pick out these guys, and I don't want the names to turn you off, but fact is fact. Martin Simon sounds uncannily like a combination of Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Gregoor Van Der Loo (Lemur Voice), a bit of Sting maybe, and some Steve Perry as well. If you've heard any of these singers, you know that they have a natural, pleasant sound to their voice, and this is about the best examples I could think of. Martin rarely ever wanders out of his range, but he does get a bit agressive in a few passages. The guy obviously sound like he is feeling the music as well as singing it, and to my ears it sounds like he is trying as hard to bring his sound to the music at about the same level as the other instruments. He sounds so convincing and serious, you can't help but think of some off-the-wall place that these guys recorded this disc because he sounds like part of the music, rather than complement it. Sounds a bit strange, but when you hear the vocal melodies, they are just as dark and evil sounding as the music itself. Want to hear what a German singer sounds like without an accent? Give this guy a listen.

THE PRODUCTION:

I defy any band to record a disc that sounds like this. Especially one in which the band records the disc themselves. The sound on this one gives Dream Theater a run for their money, I kid you not. The credits state that Gone produced and recorded the disc at Simon Studio. Could this be the singer's home? Is this a studio owned by the singer, Martin Simon? Or is it just coincidence that he has the same last name as the studio. Whatever the case, someone sure knows a hell of a lot about sound, and how to capture the best of each instrument. For the record, this is one the best sounding discs I've heard in a long time. I'd have to say that it probably surpasses Vanden Plas' The God Thing, and you know what that disc sounds like. The most noticeable sound comes from the drums. One word: huge. This is the kind of drum sound I die for. Big, boomy, reverb-laden, clean and polished. Again, I imagine this band recording this disc in some dark, dingy, cave with an echo chamber the size of New York. Massive punch, depth and clarity mark the sound of this kit, drummers take notes on this sound please.

The guitar sound is heavy, crunchy, and clean as a whistle. To repeat, Twilight comes to mind; those melodic thunder boomers they call chords mark what this guitar sounds like. The bass is DEEP. Do not use a subwoofer with this disc. I did at first, and I almost cracked the speaker. This is bass heavy folks, get ready for some wall shaking. The vocals, filled with tons of reverb, are right up front, exactly where they should be. Every word can be heard that Simon is singing, and the great recording only adds brilliance to his voice.

The keyboards are thick, rich and totally evil sounding. I keep hearing those evil chimes, presumably made by the keyboard, and the other evil synth sounds complement this band superbly. Some piano, some strings, tons of synths, and a deluge of chimes round out the great sound of this keyboard player. No soloing here, no showing off, just pure atmospheric sound that reminds me a lot of the way Ivanhoe uses their complement.

THE COMMENTS:

Am I excited about this disc? It's not hard to hear the melodic brilliance in this gem. I'd love to sit here and think that the band wrote this disc with me in mind; I can hear it now, how do we write this music so that Larry digs it to the max? Well, make it some of the best melodic prog metal to come out of Germany in a long time, make it sound worlds apart from many prog metal discs, throw in a great singer, make it sound cold-yet-warm, tons of keyboards, crunch, and might as well throw in the kitchen sink for the hell of it because that's the only thing they left out on this one folks. Did I throw in the obligatory complaint yet? Ok, here is one; the disc is way too short at 42:00. Is there anything else? No way. This is what all melodic prog metal lovers look for in prog metal; and the added treat is that it is dark and gloomy without turning the listener off. I'm not sure what they put in the water in Germany, but that country just keeps turning out the best prog metal in the world, and if they keep in putting out bands like this one, Sweden may have something to worry about. Buy or die.


Tracklisting:
Face To Face / Still Know The Day / Silent Memories / Thoughts / Out To Be Free / Wings / One Of My Last Tears / Rain

Musicians:
Frank Diener - bass, acoustic guitar
Michael Diener - drums, keyboards & programming
Lars Plagmann - keyboards
Martin Simon - vocals, acoustic guitar
Peter Schwarzkopf - electric guitar

Discography:
Weakness Within Living Memory (1997)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1965
Language: english

  

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