Frameshift - Unweaving The Rainbow

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Progrock Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 79:30:00

Similar to Jeff Hodges (Man on Fire), composer Henning Pauly has a wide experience in many music styles, including film music. Last year he released Reconstruct, with the band Chain, an album that had been written years before but never recorded. And he started working on two other projects, both concept pieces, one of them being Frameshift (the other one is a musical in the vein of Trans Siberian Orchestra, called Babysteps) and it turned out James La Brie (Dream Theater) was very interested, so he got involved. The story of Unweaving The Rainbow is based a book by Richard Dawkins, a writer on evolutionary biology.

In Frameshift Henning Pauly not only mixed traditional progressive rock with film score elements, he also wrote the music with La Brie in mind and managed to use La Brie's voice in many different ways. Together the truly created an album unlike any other. Besides Pauly and La Brie, the line up is completed with Nik Guadagnoli (bass and Chapman stick) and Eddie Marvin (real lastname is Pauly, and yes he is the brother of) on drums. After the first track, "Above The Grass - Part I," which is more an introduction to the album, "The Gene Machine" immediately shows this innovative style of music, with lots of electronic sounds, loops and fast drums. Pauly's heavy guitar is omnipresent on the album, but there is room for some vintage sounds, like in "Message From The Mountain," where the intro reminds me of early Genesis work. Another thing I like is the bass sound of Guadagnoli, which is not too upfront, but definitely present and at times it gives the songs a warm sound.

The press release mentions both Pauly and LaBrie are huge fans of Queen and Spock's Beard, and it will be no surprise elements of these bands are found in the music. In "Spiders" LaBrie is also doing backing vocals and his vocals are layered to create a spacey effect, a bit in the vein of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Besides the heavy guitars and electronic loops, there is room for some acoustic work, like "Your Eyes" and "La Mer," which are among the most beautiful songs on the album. As I said, this is an album unlike any I've heard in a long time and there is much variety in the compositions, like "Nice Guys Finish First," which has more Spock's Beard influences and a melody that has a hint of the Caribbean in the beginning.

OK, I'll tell you about one more song?"Arms Race." Why? Because this is another example of progressive song writing! This track opens with a short but truly shredding piece of metal, followed by haunting vocals, something in the vein of the recent work by Pain of Salvation. Powerful drums and a fabulous guitar solo top this one off. Of course there is much more to tell about this album, as just about every song is so different from the other and shows more of the unique talents of Henning Pauly and James LaBrie, but I can only urge you to listen to it yourself. That is the only thing that will do justice to this album.

If there has been one album, released in the past year, that truly deserves to be called progressive and innovative, but still created with love and passion, it is Frameshift. Although there are influences, hints and references to other bands, it is very hard to compare Frameshift with any other band. First class music, great production and lasting compositions from a man, of whom there should be many more, Henning Pauly. Similar to Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), he knows how to get the best of out other musicians, as shown here by James LaBrie (who later this year will also appear on the new Ayreon album!). Very highly recommended, although it will need some time to grow on you and reveal all its secrets. But still, highly recommended.

[This review originally appeared January 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Above The Grass - Part 1 (0:43) / The Gene Machine (5:32) / Spiders (4:13) / River Out Of Eden (5:40) / Message From The Mountain (9:56) / Your Eyes (2:56) / La Mer (5:54) / Nice Guys Finish First (5:43) / Arms Races (8:33) / Origins And Miracles (5:06) / Off The Ground (5:49) / Walking Through Genetic Space (4:07) / Cultural Spaces (4:23) / Bats (3:58) / Above The Grass - Part 2 (6:51)

Henning Pauly - guitars, bass, piano, B3 organ, synthesizers, Warr guitar, banjo, hand percussion, programming, orchestration
Nik Guadagnoli - guitars, bass
James Labrie - vocals
Eddie Marvin - drums

Additional musicians:
Shawn Gordon - keyboard solo (7)
Steve Katsikas - saxophone solo on

Unweaving The Rainbow (2003)
An Absence Of Empathy (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin VA

Added: November 26th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 764
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]