Sunblaze - Illuminating Heights

Year of Release: 1997
Label: n/a
Catalog Number: 08397
Format: CD
Total Time: 24:19:00

On my first listen to this, I'll admit that I was more impressed with the classical, acoustic parts than the metal parts. True for the second and third listens, too, but here on my fourth or so (maybe fifth) - it has suddenly clicked for me. There are parts that will keep from saying this is the best album I've ever heard, but perhaps could be classified as the first classical-neo-prog-metal release.

It is a better than average release, and seems to get stronger with each listen. Maybe its the juxtaposition of those classical parts with the metal parts ... more so than I've heard, or recall hearing, before.

Because there are vocals here, they draw the focus where they appear. I didn't at first care for Matthias Pfaff's voice, but I realize that's because I wasn't really listening. It isn't a great voice, mind you. I'll say it again, I'm not sure who does have the perfect singing voice, or whether I'll even know it when I hear it. Besides, vocalists who sound good on disc may not have the goods live. There isn't anyone in particular that I can point to and say he sounds like - it's a high voice, clear, slightly accented.

I think my initial raction, despite the review we've already published (republished) here, I was expecting something more on the classical side and less on the metal side.

The more one considers this album, the more and more it opens itself to the listener - and frankly, that's what an album should do. You should find something new each time you listen, you should listen expecting to find something new. So, maybe it's getting closer to great.

Larry talked in depth about this album, so it would be silly for me to do the same. But, there is some impressive guitar work here by Martin Enke, sizzling violin by (then guest) Elizabeth Ramirez, some good bass work by Michél Kalifa ... I see this growing on me as I write this.

My final verdict is this: overall a very strong release that will appeal to fans of both progressive metal and progressive rock (maybe more so the latter), with this drawback: It's way too short. Recommended.

Sunblaze: Origin - Alive - Sea of Silk - Scent of a Blossom - Illumination (14:09) / Distant Reaches (10:06)

Matthias Pfaff - vocals
Martin Enke - guitars
Mich?l Kalifa - bass
Jochen Donauer - drums
J?rg Enke - keyboards
Elizabeth Ramriez - violins
Carsten Donauer - clarinet and sax
Barbara Wagner - flute
(other guests...)

Illuminating Heights (1997)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: September 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 910
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]