I Am One - The Gates Of Industry

Year of Release: 2003
Label: LaBraD'or Records
Catalog Number: LBD 040014S
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:36:00

Most of the time my first encounter with a brand new album starts in my car when I drive to work. Here I'm all by myself and don't get disturbed by my wife or children. I was surprised at what I heard, yet, as I had put several new discs into my player, I didn't know who it was I was listening to. I was so curious that I parked my car in order to get the disc out, noticing that it was the debut by this new Dutch band (I Am) One. New isn't exactly the right word as they have been together since 1997. The opening chords and arrangement immediately made me think of Saga. In other words this band perfectly fuses prog elements with a more catchy, more contemporary approach. True, opener "The Arena Of Time" contains parts that could be seen as damn good AOR. The guitar that opens the second part to me sounds a bit like Jadis' Gary Chandler, which certainly is a good reference. Comes "Osiris Arises," which is what you would get if you were to fuse Scorpions and Toto, I guess. Actually this song together with "The Ship Of Re" make up a 21:35 long epic called "The Gates Of Industry." The second part opens with some brilliant acoustic guitar, whilst the rhythm incorporates electronic percussion as well. It's very original and effective, larded with astonishing guitar solos.

With band members that have played in all kinds of bands, needless to say this fivepiece knows what they're doing in order to deliver great compositions with the right amount of virtuosity without going over the top. So please welcome "Hold On," one of the shorter songs on this disc that could do rather well on radio. Also, in "Running All The Time," you can hear that this band has a lot of experience in delivering yet another catchy song, although I would have loved to hear a real steamy Hammond here instead of the organ sound they use. Also I wouldn't mind the lyrics to be a little more interesting. A sentence such as: "my neighbours live right next door" surely is way below par! The people that live next door are always your neighbours! With the name Bon Jovi strongly mentioned in the band's biography I don't think the band should be too serious about their link with AOR as their music is far removed from anything Bon Jovi has ever done. Just listen to "Not Good Enough" as an example. Especially the vocals are a bit hard to digest here when they try and reach the higher regions.

It's like the band is at its very best when they play the longer songs where they have plenty of time to experiment. So my enthusiasm cools down a little as the album evolves. The final song "Silence Of The Universe" contains some experiments with multi-layered vocals which don't work all the time. Also the beat is too predictable which I don't really like. So in the end it's as if (I Am) One is like a two-faced monster. On one side you have the pure proggy bits that can be situated inbetween Saga and Jadis, whilst on the other side there's the more direct sections with which the band tries to obtain a place amongst mainstream US-hard rock bands. I guess as a debut album this certainly is a fine album, yet for a second album these guys will have to choose which direction to take. However if you look at the site of the band's bass player Jo Jansen you will see that he currently plays for no fewer than six bands that all play completely different music. It certainly won't be an easy decision to make!

The Arena Of Time (9:15) / The Gates Of Industry (21:35) / Hold On (4:43) / Running All The Time (3:57) / Not Good Enough (3:01) / Silence Of The Universe (5:58)

Robert Loozen - vocals
Richard Ramaekers - guitars, vocals
Erik Stals - keyboadrs, vocals
Paul Heuts - drums, vocals
Jo Janssen - bass, keyboards

The Gates Of Industry (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NL

Added: May 18th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: szwitch.to/one
Hits: 867
Language: english


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