ImproVision - Energy

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 21:12:00

ImproVision are a Norwegian progressive rock band with progressive metal elements to their sound. In that respect, they sound like a lot of other progressive bands of late. There is a vague Dream Theater influence that may have more to do with genre than actual style.

From the bio we learn that ImproVision was founded in 1994 (then known as Innerst Inne or "Deep Within" in English). The core line-up remains from that time: Tor Ola Svennevig on vocals, Dylan R Hopkin on guitars, and Pål Svennevig on drums. Over the past five years or so, the band has recorded a number of demos, including this disk, Energy. Additional musicians on this set are Bjorn Thomassen on bass, Magnus Østvang on keyboards, and Henning Ramseth providing loops and samples.

Vocalist Svennevig has a voice that is balanced on the edge of good and bad?just when you think that it is going to go off into "off key and nasally" territory, it doesn't, coming back to true. In other words, not a great vocalist, but not a bad one either. As most of us know, bad vocals tend to spoil otherwise great albums. That isn't the case here, as Svennevig's tone fits the music. You will notice, however, the decidedly strong accent, which shouldn't be viewed as negative criticism at all.

"Ageing Years" begins Energy with a light, repeated keyboard phrase that sounds more popish than proggish. It is immediately joined a pensive bass for a few measures. The guitar and percussion chug along in slow motion, beneath a restrained vocal delivery, giving this track a great deal of tension. "Ageing Years" also has a very nice and melodic chorus and a beautiful guitar solo reminiscent of mid-period Marillion, without Hopkin sounding Rothery-esque.

Percussion and guitar lead off " Where Are You Now," which has a more open feel about it, the chugging guitar punctuated by scattered keyboard notes. Again Thomassen's fat bass lines contrast nicely with Hopkin's higher toned guitar lines. The track really opens up during Hopkin's solo, where keyboard washes provide a calming backdrop.

The arrangements are quite diverse, allowing for a wide variety of textures. There is a bit of that jazzy style heard in Italian and French prog, heavy guitar signatures characteristic of metal, keyboard pieces and vocal deliveries out of UK neo-progressive, and the bass heavy funk of, say, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Oh, and you'll hear a little bit of King Crimson, too. Diverse. A little "something for everyone."

The highlights for me are Hopkin's guitar and Østvang's keys, but this is one of the few disks I've heard where the entire range of instruments can be heard. The mix on this disk is great; the right elements take centre stage at the right time.

ImproVision are a band well worth checking out?hopefully they'll be able to get beyond the demo stage and get a full fledged disc out.

Ageing Years (4:35) / Where Are You Now (6:52) / Think (5:10) / Fate Controller (4:35)

Tor Ola Svennevig - vocals
Dylan R Hopkin - guitars
P?l Svennevig - drums
Bjorn Thomassen - bass
Magnus ?stvang - keyboards
Henning Ramseth - loops and samples

Energy (1999)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NO

Added: December 13th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1026
Language: english


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