Alias Eye - Field Of Names

Year of Release: DVS003
Label: DVS Records
Catalog Number: 2001
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:04:00

Aaaaahhhh, those fabulous 70s. I remember them well. A time like no other in the era of (prog) music. And to bring it all back to me is a new band from Germany called Alias Eye. Borrowing heavily from the 70s in style, yet with modern day recording precision, the band straddles the boundaries of rock and prog. Because lead vocalist Philip Griffiths sounds just like dad (Martin Griffith, singer for the first incarnation of Beggar's Opera - and who also guests on track 9!), it's hard not to think of Beggars Opera when you hear this CD. However, rather than doing keyboard-driven prog, the band chooses to explore the more accessible areas of 70s rock; proggy in places, bluesy and pop infected in others.

"Field Of Names", track one, is a riffy little number that utilises accordion and an Eastern-tinged lead guitar. It's not the best track on the CD but it encapsulates the adventurous, yet tight sound found in early 70's blues based rock. "Premortal Dance" follows. First released on Alias Eye's EP and the stand out track there, this song is improved by better production and arrangements. It's a flowing, sometimes soaring track with a nice foundation of Hammond, a scorching extended guitar solo, and very nice chorus. Again, the tight mature instrumentation of the band is showcased.

"Wasteland" takes us back to the 70s again, sounding definitively like a mountain of UK rock acts from the time. I hear a riff straight out of Beggar's Opera on this one. There's a nice mellow change halfway through where Griffin's voice languidly steers us around some relaxed electric piano.

The band begins to expand and breathe on its next three tracks, all clocking in at roughly seven minutes. "Just Another Tragic Song" begins inconspicuously with a nondescript melody, but soon evolves using a wide spectrum of instrumentation including plucking violins, honky tonk piano and virtually every guitar sound you can imagine. The changes in mood and heaviness are many. "Driven" is perhaps one of the most commercial songs, sounding very AOR in general. But like all of Alias Eye's songs, there's some pleasant surprises along the way. In this case another tasty guitar solo Matthias Richter who sounds unbelievably like Michael Schenker during his UFO days.

"River Running," "Hybrid" and "Mystery" all showcase further proof of the band's mature sense of composition and excellent musicianship. But the real reward on this CD is when you get to track 9. "The Readiness Is All" begins with a languid, lazy guitar. Immediately, we get into a duet vocal exchanging verse between Martin and Philip which, as an absolute Beggar's Opera fan is exciting to hear. It's been decades since I've heard anything new from Martin and he and son pull out all the stops. Some more great piano from keys meister Vytas Lemke and the song soars, occasionally falling back into a 70s riff groove. The extro is an absolutely brilliant Latin break with saxes and salsa-esque rhythm. I love it. This part should have gone on for a couple of minutes longer.

"An End In Itself" closes things off in a proggy note. That "Strawberry Fields" mellotron sound forms around a powerful melody. Here, in subtle fashion, all the members of the band comes together to create a final triumph of their borrowed, yet entirely Alias Eye sound.

Final word should be made about the packaging. While the general trend in indie releases today are less lavish, more pragmatic packaging, DVS records has allowed Alias Eye the luxury of a Pink Floyd style no-expenses spared booklet extraordinaire. Individual artwork for each song lyric page makes this a disk worth owning for the packaging alone.

This is the first of many great releases from a band to be reckoned with.

Field Of Names (4:52) / Premortal Dance (5:13) / Wasteland (5:26) / Just Another Tragic Song (6:17) / Driven (7:49) / River Running (6:21) / Hybrid (4:04) / Mystery (3:32 ) / The Readiness Is All (5:19) / An End In Itself (5:11)

Frank Fischer - bass
Philip Griffiths - vocals
Ludwig Benedek - drums
Vytas Lemke - keyboards
Matthias Richter - guitars

Beyond The Mirror (ep) (2000)
Field Of Names (2001)
A Different Point Of You (2003/2004)
In Focus (2007)
In Between (2011)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: July 18th 2001
Reviewer: RIPZ

Artist website:
Hits: 1487
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]