Phreeworld - Crossing The Sound

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Friends In The Garden Productions
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:39:00

Phreeworld's recent release Crossing The Sound is aptly named. Not because they are crossing any barriers, especially new ones, but rather because they are crossing the sounds of other bands - badly. And not necessarily the sound of progressive bands.

But, they should have named themselves Threeworld. Here's why: "The Chariot," the closing track, is prog metal-like with it's dual guitars, driving drums, keys, giving it an almost Kansas/"Paradox" like sound -- in fact, it almost is "Paradox" (no violins). This is the best three minutes on the the album, hense Threeworld. Too bad, though, that this whole track is 8 minutes.

And yes, I know Kansas aren't a prog metal band, per se, but work with me on this (and yes, I know they're Phreeworld because of the brothers Phraner).

Anyway, having heard their EP Boost The Signal, I was expecting to like this. I don't. Musical choices made shouldn't have been.

There are brief moments when this album is okay, but then it isn't. In taking notes as I was listening to this, I wrote "god this is awful."

"China," which is meant as a statement, turns off with its warped like sound and feel. Only the swirling keys sound okay, but far from original.

While I won't do an in depth song by song (I've already mentioned the highlight), here's what you can expect to hear should you choose to try this yourself.

If you can imagine a Spock's Beard/Porcupine Tree hybrid, then you'd have a good idea of "Perfect Prison," which is among the better of the tracks here. "The Hermit" is Bee Gees with a bass line straight out of Darkside Of The Moon and a 70's vibe - this is just "eh."

"Solar Spectra" made me think of the Beatles' "Across The Universe" ... done badly. I do like the bass and heaviness of it, but that's it.

"Gates Walk" starts out as almost Crosby, Stills and Nashish, becomes heavy and dark like ... well, I thought of the Eagles on Desperado (or maybe One Of These Nights) ... certainly not prog releases or a prog band. But still, this is off just enough to be bad. This track seems to be an anti-MS/Bill Gates rant, and not the usual "you're trying to take over the world" kinda theme, but rather that they work their employees to death. Sounds kinda personal, like it's about someone they know - someone in the band, perhaps? They are based in Washington (state), after all.

"The Empress" - Metallica at mellow speed, say ... "Unforgiven" speed without ... well, yes again bad. If Metallica had an off day - flu, say, or ... ebola.

"War Drums" is heavy 70's rock - I heard a little bit of ... I dunno. The vox would be okay, I guess, in a better setting. Though it's one of the better of the tracks.

The album cover itself is kinda interesting, though, and the background pics in the booklet are rather nice, and good typography.

I cannot, in all honesty, recommend this at all.

Seems I'm alone in this, as other reviews I've read (since writing this), seem to heap praise on this band.

Freeworld (4:42) / China (5:09) / Perfect Prison (3:37) / The Hermit (6:44) / Solar Spectra (3:39) / Gates Walk (5:10) / The Empress (4:12) / Wardrums (5:15) / The Chariot (8:11)

Dave Wheeler - vocals and guitars
Mark Phraner - vocals, guitars, and keyboards
Don Freeborn - drums, and vocals
Brian Phraner - vocals, bass, guitars, and keyboards

Boost The Signal
Phreeworld (1996) Crossing The Sound (1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: September 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 798
Language: english


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