Chrome Shift - Ripples In Time


Year of Release: 2003
Label: DVS Records
Catalog Number: DVS008
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:47:00

Denmark's Chrome Shift were formed in 1999 by guitarist Otto Schütt and bassist Christian Nelson; they soon recruited keyboardist Jakob Paulsen, drummer Poul Terkildsen and vocalist Rasmus Bak. Ripples In Time is their debut CD, and though you will find elements of various well-known progressive metal bands in their sound, it is good, strong debut. This stuff is right up my alley ? great vocals, performances, interplay, and a style and presentation that draws you into their music. In the press release, it reads, "The band wants to play music for the body and soul?" and there is such a sense of warmth here that I verily say they succeed. I'm quite impressed with Schütt's guitar playing, as he hasn't eschewed emotion for technique. What often plagues progressive metal bands is how the keys are placed in the mix. Often the keys, at least to me, seem too offset from the main mix. That is not a problem here for the most part, "Le Temp?" being the exception. This being the case, it allows Chrome Shift to have a full and tight sound. Another thing I've noticed, especially in Vanden Plas' releases, is that some of the drum sounds are heavy, but hollow. Here, even those are solid. The mix is terrifically balanced, a credit to producer Jacob Hansen.

This is a band that uses such a broad and expressive palette that calling them simply a progressive metal band overlooks some of the progressive rock elements of their sound. That they are a progressive metal band is apparent in the tracks "Nightmachine," the instrumental "Kosmonaten Er Død," and "Le Temp Des Assassins." But the band mix that up with the lovely piano interlude "Shadowsong" and the prog rock like "Full Moon." All of these elements come together in the centerpiece suite, the 4 part "Ripples In Time" (I think "Part 4" is divine). It explores a sci-fi theme (at least in part). Here you will hear all the hallmarks of what makes progressive metal what it is. But alongside the expected Dream Theaterisms, and there are few, I also hear a bit of Iron Maiden. Maybe this is drilling down too much, but Bak's phrasing of the title in the chorus during part 1 sounds to me a like Maiden's "Somewhere In Time" (and not just because 2 of 3 words are the same). But, this is the only time when British heavy metal comes to mind, as, being a prog metal band, Chrome Shift mixes everything up a bit more.

As I was listening to this, what came to me was a mix of Symphony X, Vanden Plas, classic Landmarq, and -- well, I'd have said Ayreon, but listening to "Full Moon" especially, it is of Star One that I think instead. This essentially means the metal aspects of Ayreon; however, interestingly enough, like Ayreon one can detect a Pink Floyd influence, too, however small here. For example, the above mentioned "Nightmachine" has mixed its metal throb with a hint of Wish You Were Here-era Floyd, at least during the intro (though a bit heavier). As well as bits of Floyd, I hear small bits of Rush in the mix, too. Nothing so concrete that I can put it into words without setting the "microscope at 1000X" or something. It is in "Full Moon" that I hear a smidgen of Rush, and bit more of them in "In My Own Dream." "Sorry" is a little more arty and atmospheric, before it leads into first an emotional guitar solo from Schütt then a slightly-too-shrill keyboard solo from Paulsen. This piece is, in part, a power ballad, but unlike most, there aren't overly syrupy sentiments.

Ripples In Time is a very strong debut and I'm hard pressed to find anything they should do different next time ? stylistically, production-wise, etc. Of course, we wouldn't want them to repeat themselves, but I can't find anything which makes me say, "next time they should?" It is an impressive and exciting debut, causing me problems in the "favourite tracks" department, because each are filled with signature moments that make me say, "ah that's the one." Is it perfect? No, but few albums are perfect, even those that get five stars, as I'm giving this one.


Tracklisting:
Nightmachine (5:24) / Full Moon (4:45) / In My Own Dream (4:13) / Shadowsong (1:07) / Through (5:54) / Kosmonauten Er Død (3:56) / Le Temp Des Assassins (3:47) / Sorry (4:39) / Ripples In Time I (5:16) / Ripples In Time II (5:31) / Ripples In Time III (4:41) / Ripples In Time IV (4:27)

Musicians:
Otto Schütt ? guitars
Jens Christian Nielsen ? bass
Jakob Paulsen ? keyboards
Poul Terkildsen ? drums
Rasmus Bak ? vocals

Discography:
Ripples In Time (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DK

Added: March 24th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.chromeshift.dk
Hits: 759
Language: english

  

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