Antares - Out Of Sight/Over The Hills

Year of Release: 2002/1982
Label: self-released/Bellaphone
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 68:22:00

First a question - do you miss Genesis? Not the classic Genesis of the 70s, of course (we all do), but the more pop-oriented Genesis of 80s (mainly pre-Invisible Touch)? Well, into that void comes Germany's Antares with the first track "Stay Away," off of their second, and most recent, album Out Of Sight. In fact, what you get with Out Of Sight is an album that feels like a compilation package of all the pop-oriented pieces from Genesis, Yes, Pendragon, Galahad, Peter Gabriel, etc. Yes, vocalist Claus Neide here sounds like a combination of Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Nick Barrett and the vocalist from Formula (also from Germany). On "Lost In You" it's Yes who provide the inspiration, on "Wasting It All" it's Peter Gabriel solo (it has a few what might be termed "third world" elements to it that recall Gabriel's socio-political material ... well, most of it is socio-political to some degree, isn't it? ... ). "Times Go By" is Pendragon... There are points where Neide, who is also the composer, even seems to nick lyrics from his inspriations, including nicking the chorus from Grand Funk Railroad's "I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home." In fact, I thought it was a cover version of the song (uncredited), since the phrasing of the chorus is dead-on, but the lyrics are different, and though the arrangement is funky, it's not Grand Funky. The last track, "You Know" is one of the better tracks, though it is very much like Pendragon, though the instrumentation that begins the piece sounds like The Stylistic's "You Are Everything." The music overall isn't bad, but very, very poppy.

Let's stop here and take a step back. This reviewed edition is a CDR that pairs their first, 1982's Over The Hills with their newest album, Out Of Sight. The mainstay of the line up is vocalist, keyboardist, lead guitarist and composer Claus Neide. The band formed in 1978, comprised of Neide, lead guitarist Ludwig Eilers, and drummer/percussionist Helge Büow. In 1999, Neide started a new project that became Out Of Sight, which also features Ede Brumund-Rüther on bass, Rainer Schöning on sax and Jens Fricke. Because the credits don't indicate specifically which album each performer plays on, and the band's website doesn't clarify this any, I am assuming that those who were part of the initial trio only appear on Over The Hills, and that other than Neide, do not appear on Out Of Sight. Therefore, though Khalid Schröder is credited with drums and percussion for the second album, there is no mistaking the fact that these are digital drums -- there is that synthesized, drum machine feel to the music that sucks a bit of the life out of what would otherwise be very warm tracks. I do love the bits of sax from Rainer Schöning,. Other than the drums, everything sounds good, though everything is very much pop (and highly derivitive).

The first album Over The Hills is more proggy and will probably find greater favour among you readers, though it hasn't lost its feel of familiarity. Neide sounds a bit like Steve Hogarth on the opening, self-titled track and I kept thinking of early Egdon Heath (both anachronistic references). The drums seem more real, and the overall sound has a little more heft. While length says nothing about prog cred, this track is more than 15 minutes long.Think of some of the extended pieces of mid-period Genesis (or at least the impression of mid-period Genesis). Interestingly, this album predates many of the artists that come to mind -Arena, IQ, Pendragon ... at least in terms of the bands being a known enough quantity to have been an influence (Arena formed in 1995, so they certainly couldn't have been). Just when you think this piece has ended, it becomes a spacey synth piece... then we get some Floyd-like guitar soloing (quite good), and then some full band interplay, keys at the forefront. This is quite good and the reason to seek out Over The Hills. It was originally released via Bellaphon. Some of "Back On My Mind" has the feel of a 80s new wave hit at times. The drums and percussion here are more up front, providing "Jumping," for example, a pulsing backbeat. This track is, except for the keyboards, and some of the guitar parts, a bit Crimsonish (Red period). IQ, early Saga, a hint of Styx, Pendragon and Galahad, amongst others come to mind with "Bound" -- though other than for Saga and Styx - the actual influence is unlikely. Interestingly, I would say that had this made a bigger impact at the time, we would have been mentioning Antares right along with IQ, Pendragon, etc. In fact, given the chronology, we might just easily as be saying that Pendragon and Galahad sound like Antares. "The Only Way," is a little more synthesized sounding, down mainly to Neide's keys here (especially on the latter) ... Phreeworld! That's who come to mind, Phreeworld, from their debut EP Boost The Signal (and "Cruising London," specifically). I say this with triumph, only because it's been nagging me who I thought this sounded like, and so there it is. Phreeworld, with a dash of Styx thrown in. But here the keys and drums are very dry (the latter also has that what I find annoying sound of hollow, flat tires). The guitar solo here adds a little bit more life to it, and is the best part of the track. The title track is the best of the album.

Antares are okay, but not great. Of the two albums, their first one is a much stronger and more unique release -- despite it's references. Out Of Sight is just a little too much pop-rock, which might have gone over much better with a real, or real-sounding, drummer. If Neide plans to continue as musician, and I think he's got the talent, he needs to get back to the warmer, real sound of Over The Hills, warm up the keys and drums, and use the influences as a springboard not an environment. With IQ, Pendragon, and Galahad all still very much active, and progressing (to one degree or another), the Antares of today will be left behind and be out of sight.

Out Of Sight: Stay Away (4:07) / Closer (3:50) / Lost In You (3:17) / Wasting It All (3:30) / Time Goes By (5:20) / Free Again (4:16) / You Know (5:30)

Over The Hills: Over The Hills (15:30) / Opening (6:30) / Back On My Mind (4:36) / Jumping (2:27) / Bound (6:39) / The Only Way (4:30)

Claus Neide - vocals, keyboards, lead guitar
Lugwig Eilers - lead guitar (OTH)
Jens Fricke - rhythm guitars (OOS) Khalid Schröder - drums, percussion (OOS) Helge Büow - drums and percussion (OTH)
Ede Brumund-R¨ther - bass (OOS)
Rainer Schöning - sax (OOS)

Over The Hills (1982)
Out Of Sight (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: June 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1809
Language: english


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