SceneS - New Beginning/Understanding

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 27:14:00

These discs were sent to me some time ago by Hubi Meisel, who sang on Dreamscape's last disc called Very. Prog metal fans were generally delighted with this disc, given the band's fondness for Dream Theater-influenced prog metal done German style with a massive amount of keyboards and an unknown, very underrated guitarist leading the way. Hubi added a soft touch to the sound with his unique voice and style of singing, yet approached the music in an aggressive manner when called upon to do so.

Hubi has since left the band and has sung for a variety of band projects, released his own solo disc, and is in the process of writing a rock opera for the year 2002 with Gary Wehrkamp of Shadow Gallery.

Hubi cut 2 discs with Scenes, with New Beginning being a 4-song demo EP averaging 7-8:00 a cut. Understatement is an 8-song disc, although I only have the CD-R of the disc. If I'm not mistaken, this disc was never released officially.

New Beginning is pretty much in the same vein as Dreamscape music, minus the dramaticism and heavy keyboards that Dreamscape is known for. It's very melodic, progressive metal, and has many shades of Dreamscape and early Dream Theater laced into the music. They use twin guitars for more crunch, strings, and tempo changes galore to create instantly likeable prog metal. Hubi sounds great as usual with this band, especially since they do come awfully close to sounding like Dreamscape very much, which is not a bad thing. I can also cite some early Mayadome sounds in the music as well for those looking for a comparison in the sound dept. There is much happening in the music, yet it's so melodic that it's warm and easy to follow despite the tempo / mood changes along the way. Acoustic guitars and piano also round off the melodies throughout the disc.

The production is where the problem lies. I believe that this was a demo for the band to shop around for a label, and the sound is very tinny in the drum dept, and doesn't have much bass to lend a hand to the emptiness. The heavy, crunching guitars try to make up for this, but with the shallow sound of the bass and snare drum, there isn't much to work with here. For those who recall the German band Atmosfear, who released a 4-song EP many moons ago, they put in some serious attention to their sound, which I wish most bands would when creating a demo for labels, mags, and reviewers. Obviously money is a problem at this stage of the game, and the hope that the music will catch the ears of many is the focal point; it's just a shame that incredible music like this has to fall under these restrictions. With a production like Dreamscape's Very, and 4 more songs, this disc would have rivaled that disc easily. In the meantime, if you can find this disc somewhere, Hubi Meisel & Dreamscape fans will love the hell out of it.

Understatement. This is the disc that New Beginning wanted to be and I'm not sure which disc was released first, but just by listen it's easy to hear that the band cranked up every aspect of their playing and song writing, including the production. Once again, fans of Dreamscape and Hubi Meisel need to get their hands on a copy of this disc at any cost. This is high quality, super melodic progressive metal with crunching guitars, swirling keyboards, variety, tempo changes galore and the high soaring vocal style of Hubi Meisel, who actually sounds a lot like Geddy Lee at times on this performance. He really uses his range on this disc, and I think that he really shines when he singing progressive metal than he does in any other style. His voice was born to sing progressive metal.

The only slight drawback to the entire project is the somewhat tinny snare drum sound, which I've complained about in any band who chooses this sound over a more fuller, thick snare drum sound. The crunching guitars need a good bottom end to complement them, and a tinny snare drum sound just takes away from that heaviness in my opinion. The recording is a bit high in the treble, but a turn of the button will take care of this slight problem.

The unfortunate part about this disc is that it wasn't officially released, or was about to be and the band ran into problems with the label or something to that affect. This is absolutely essential melodic progressive metal - try to get your ears on this one at all costs. There are people out there who have this, and maybe someday this disc will get the recognition and praise it deserves.

NB:: Mysterious Bird (7:59) / Display (6:04) / Pain Is So Close To Pleasure (7:45) / Away (5:18)

Hubi Meisel - vocals
Viktor Schonfeld - keyboards
Eddy Nowroth - guitars
Chris Lorey - guitars
Jan Ebert - bass
Hendrik Edelthalhammer - drums

A New Beginning (demo) (1999)
Understanding (never released) (1999)
Call Us At The Number You Provide (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: February 8th 2002
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website:
Hits: 418
Language: english


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