Franklin-Neumann Project, The - Dreams Of Infinity

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Fossil Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:19:00

Dreams Of Infinity is the second release from The Franklin-Neumann Project - that being Gary Franklin and Bill Neumann on guitars, keyboards, and vocals as well as sharing arrangement and orchestration duties. The album kicks off with the short screaming guitar piece "Reckless Abandon," which is aptly named. Though it starts off in a classical manner, the braying guitar sends us galloping out into the wide open. The lead guitar comes here courtesy of Jim Reindel of Reindel. And short it is, lasting a mere 1:50; it ends all too soon.

What follows is a selection of various styles of guitar based hard rock and metal all with a strong Queensryche influence and very annoying production. The sound is acidic, fuzzy and raw, but not at all in a pleasant way - at least not to me. It's as if you are trying to listen to a radio station that you are only getting marginal reception from. A little harsh perhaps, but then so is the sound. But, there are some interesting ideas here and some interesting material otherwise. And the fact that some instruments in some pieces come through crystal clear leads to me believe the production issues aren't budgetary but by design. For instance, the strummed and plucked guitar that opens "Distancia Eterna" is quite clear, if a little tart. Fuzzed guitar, and an awkward arrangement moments in weaken the piece. But some things improve quite a bit for another Reindel guitar solo, and I must say that is one element that consistently comes across well track after track (and listen for the restatement of the braying guitar from "Reckless Abandon").

Material-wise we get the slow-burning bluesy, heavy, epic "Partitions Of Time." This moves into the spacey Dream Theater/Queensryche-esque "The Portal," which features another lead guitar spot from Reindel. The sound on this particular track is a bit muddy, which only compounds the problems. But, if you take the slinky guitar style of John Petrucci circa Images And Words, mix in some vocals that recall Geoff Tate in Queensryche's earlier days (pre-Operation: Mindcrime say) then you'll have a good idea not only of what this piece sounds like, but a good bit of the rest of the album.

An exception is "Olympiacademy," where the sound production improves and which begins with the tinsely "Minuet" (which sounds very Christmasy in tone) that moves into the darkly, swirling Rush-like section "Waltz" that at times sounds like the furies of hell all are screaming for release. "Labyrinthe" has a variable bass arrangement that reminded me of Berlin's "The Metro" and the synth riffs here only reinforce that new-wave 80s sound. Aside from this synth sound sounding a little "cheap" (as in inexpensive), I'm not complaining about the style - I did listen to quite a bit of "new wave" at the time. But when you compare it to the warm, tinkling piano sounds on "Night Of Sorrows" - a piece where you do hear wheezy keyboards in the background that are set against that piano - you realize just what's missing, and only makes those synths sound even more hollow. A nice guitar solo from Reindel can be heard here, however. Some brighter sounding keyboards do trade the solo spot with Reindel and sound quite good.

The bouncy "Prophecy," which reminded me of some of the quirky things that 80s-period Genesis came up with ("Dodo Lurker" for example), is otherwise fairly annoying with its acidic opening guitar. Once vocals kick in, things improve, recalling many a metal band, including QR.

"Finite Child" actually works the best, the sound is a bit cleaner though the acidic patina can still be heard. It opens with some breathy, organ and choir like keyboards that lead into an easy, loping beat with a slightly acidic guitar sending out sharp tendrils of sound. It is a piece that made me think of a strange Jethro Tull/Queensryche/power progressive metal hybrid. Maybe the best track on the whole album, after the fiery "Reckless Abandon."

Musically, Dreams Of Infinity is far from bad, but it isn't to me something that will find a permanent home in my player. Nothing but a solo here, a phrase there, an idea somewhere jumps out and demands constant attention. In the end, at least for me, while there's a lot going on, it just seems a little? ho-hum (and it's not saying much for the duo that I'm mostly drawn to Reindel's solos). My reaction to their debut, Machinery Of The Gods was much more enthusiastic. There are ideas here on Dreams Of Infinity, but they get lost in the acid wash.

Reckless Abandon (1:50) / Partitions Of Time (5:06) / The Portal (5:18) / Olympiacademy: Minuet (1:43) / Olympiacademy: Waltz (2:11) / Deepest Chamber (3:25) / Labyrinthe (3:56) / Night Of Sorrows (4:25) / Prophecy (8:40) / Distancia Eterna (5:16) / Finite Child (5:26)

Gary Franklin - guitars, keyboards, vocals, arrangements, orchestration
Bill Neumann - guitars, keyboards, vocals, arrangements, orchestration


Jim Reindel - lead guitar (1, 3, 8, 10)

Machinery Of The Gods (1999)
Dreams Of Infinity (2001)

Genre: Various Genres

Origin US

Added: November 16th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 618
Language: english


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