Anomaly - Anomaly

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Bee & Bee Records
Catalog Number: BBAN 2000
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:44:00

[Note: this is not the same Anomaly that featured Sean Malone, Jim Studnicki, etc., which may, in fact, have just been an anomaly -ed]

All instrumental prog is back in fashion. The interest in bands like Liquid Tension Experiment, Planet X, NeBeLNeST and Xang, to name but a few, leaves a big impression in the domain of progressive rock. With more of a zest towards fusion and progmetal comes a brand-new, young, Dutch sensation called Anomaly.

All of the compositions were written by the 19-year old (young) keyboard player Ivar Pijper and the Allan Holdsworth deadringer Rory Hansen. Formed in '97, they recorded a tape called The Rorschach Test, which was a nice taster for complicated things to come. Without any doubt fans of Dream Theater will love what they hear but don't forget that there's no singer here, plus the amount of jazz influences certainly has the music leaning towards Kenso and Wappa Gappa as well. Ivar's love for classical composers such as Chopin, Bach, Debussy and Rachmaninov, plus his respect for bands such as Aerosmith and Queen, form the basis on which the technical Anomaly music is hinged.

The rhythm section is a different story. Drummer John-Paul "Animal" Muñoz used to play in a Van Halen cover band and then went on to become the drummer in the band formed around flutist Berdien Stenberg (a female Thijs Van Leer selling bucketloads of albums). He later went on to perform with piano player Jan Vayne (who is sort of a young, long-haired Richard Clayderman and who also plays in the Ian Parry Consortium). In that commercial circuit Muñoz got to know bass player John Aponno and together they form one hell of a combination.

You only need to listen to the opening track "B-yond 2K" to fully understand what the music of Anomaly is all about. Intricate melodies intertwine with hard etched riffs and technical supremacy without going over the top or losing the plot altogether. The Portnoy-esque drum style suddenly makes way to a slower pace where the guitar riff duels with the double bass drum delivering some hammering, powerful breaks as a result. Towards the end of the song Rory demonstrates his Holdsworth-style for the first time and boy what a superb way of playing this is! He continues this outstanding performance right away in "<4TH&X" (it'll certainly give the guys a hard time when they have to introduce song titles like this live!). Again some hard guitar riffs melt together with ominous sounding choir sections before Rory goes up and down the scales at an incredible speed. I also dig the superb Stanley Clarke like playing of John Aponno here.

Ivar's love for the classics kicks off "101101001" giving the intro a medieval feel. Guitar and keyboards go on to play side by side offering an interesting sound. Again the main rhythmic approach is something which sticks to your mind like glue before the intro is once again repeated at the very end. Romantic piano accompanies an equally moving guitar solo in "Xtreme" leaning the song towards a baroque feel. Then the piano takes over only to be interrupted by some fierce guitar playing and loads of rhythmic changes. "MT Chamber" opens with an outstanding fretless bass played with a lot of feeling. A repetitive pattern lies beneath this soft sounding composition which also boosts some superb orchestral arrangements before this song is once again "disturbed" by intriguing interventions. Ivar adds some weird synth sounds to "XS D-nied" and it strikes me how he gets all the necessary space to explore, whilst Rory waits for the right moment to introduce his fabulous guitar playing. The way the rhythm section enhances the rest of the playing suddenly reminds me of Return to Forever.

The longest track on this album comes courtesy of "Vir2al." The dark sounding intro certainly proves that the young Ivar certainly has a bright future in front of him because if you can create stuff like this at the tender age of 19, then I'm convinced many masterpieces will follow! Most of the song consists of Ivar's keyboard playing which reminds me of Jan Hammer. Again some original, unpredictable sounds find their way into the funky "None Of The Above" larded with tons of rhythm breaks.

Compared to a lot of identical bands, Anomaly has the ability to introduce some fine sounding melodies in their music as opposed to being too technical all the time. They also create a kind of music which offers new finds every time you listen to it making it an album you never grow tired of. Anomaly, the Dutch Liquid Tension Experiment? I'm convinced this comparison wouldn't be too far from the truth!

B-Yond 2K (5:35) / <4TH&X (4:06) / 101101001 (4:58) / Xtreme (4:54) / Mt Chamber (4:40) / XS D-nied (5:06) / Vir2al (8:36) / None Of The Above (4:48)

Rory Hansen - guitar
Ivar Pijper - keyboards
John Aponno - bass
John-Paul Mu?oz - drums


Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: April 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 664
Language: english


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