HolgDale - HolgDale

Year of Release: 2002
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:43:00

Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe. Give a poor kid an electric guitar and he'll be in a rock band in no time. Give a talented musician a synthesizer and he'll be recording keyboard-driven progressive rock faster than you can say "Rick Wakeman." Unfortunately for the universe, however, synthesizers are not accompanied by intensive courses on musical coherence and focus, so that key-pressing vigor is often lost in a flurry of nonsensical self-indulgent notes that serve to please none other than the aforementioned musician and perhaps a couple other human beings. It is thus that every time an instrumental progressive rock album is released by a keyboardist, some sort of universal choir breaks out in prayer hoping that the artist responsible for the release has remembered to actually do something interesting with one's fingers instead of pulling out the old random tone generator.

Well, the prayers were answered this time around by a German lad who goes by the name of HolgDale. At least for the most part, his self-titled album goes far beyond the amateurish appearance of its cartoon-drawing cover and delivers instead a surprisingly intense concoction of sharp synthesizer runs and fleeting guitar licks topped by a dramatic sense of grandeur that performs some chillingly excellent incursions along the way. Not that there aren't a few bumps to be grounded out for this young virtuoso in order to start a truly aggressive incursion into the fields of synthesizer forces to be reckoned with, but HolgDale is certainly a fine way to start. Not only that though, but with just a tad bit more filtering this guy could actually be demanding the attention of every single keyboard-drenched prog aficionado out there soon enough.

Because when HolgDale and guitar colleague Albert Mamsto decide to let go, the sparks can really fly. The approach in itself is nothing wildly different from what one could expect out of a flashy progressive metal synthesizer record, driving riffs, solidly constructed mood shifts, and tons of daring soloing abounding, but it is also crafted to provide every tingling pleasure to the ears possible. "Cosmic Light" jumps from theme to theme with convincing attitude; "New Rock" coasts in its synched keyboard-guitar runs before diving into an excellent chromatic exercise of a driving riff; and "Music Revival" steals the show with its melodramatic breadth, culminating in a series of short fugues that makes the hairs on one's back stand up and remain so for what seems like a deliciously enjoyable eternity that in truth is nothing more than a few seconds. In fact, the stuff is sometimes so enjoyable that the album's production shortcomings are soon lost in oblivion.

Unfortunately, however, the same cannot be said for HolgDale's low points, which do actually take away from the general impact of the record and stain an otherwise quite bright experience. And the effect is to be blamed particularly on "Summernight," a rather bland ditty that recalls piano-based elevator music suited instead for the dull background ambience of a moderately elegant restaurant and brings the record's pace to an abrupt and inopportune halt. So much indeed that "Fear Of One's Life" starts off half-dead before managing to actually kick in correctly. And then it's off to closers "Friends" and "Planet Dance," which are not quite so awful but rather just hover in an uninteresting point that is not really too original or too becoming of their better counterparts either, so that the album closes on a less-than-impressive note.

Truth be told, however, it would be impossible to write off this album merely on basis of such hindrances, and one would have to be deaf in order to do such a thing. Instead, HolgDale is a record that should be much more remembered by its strengths and the great potential that its creator holds in his hands, head, and heart, as well as its being one of the elemental stepping stones that perhaps will lead to that potential's full realization one day.

Similar artists: Jordan Rudess, Soniq Theater

Intro (3:09) / Cosmic Light (8:04) / New Rock (4:37) / Summernight (4:34) / Fear Of One's Life (7:48) / Music Revival (6:06) / Friends (6:17) / Planet Dance (3:52)

HolgDale - keyboard, piano, synthesizer, drums, bass
Albert Mamsto - guitar

Impressions (2000)
HolgDale (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.holgdale.net
Hits: 695
Language: english


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