Sun Caged - Dominion

Year of Release: 2001
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 23:06:00

Progressive metal fans are usually attracted not only to a distinguished level of complexity, sharply designed riffs, crushing power chords followed by lightning sweep arpeggios, clear and polished vocals, and a monstrous rhythm section, but also to challenging levels of technique that can be held in high regard and spark heated debates about who plays the most notes in a second. Of course, that is still leaving expectations on the superficial and easily definable side of things, as playing two hundred miles per hour is not going to get a lousy song anywhere, except for maybe the nearest garbage can. That is, after all, what has always lied at the very heart of art in general: the ever-raging battle between technique and emotion.

So where does this leave Sun Caged, yet another organ of the new Dutch prog metal elite seeking to carve its own niche amongst what is rapidly becoming a jaded market? Square in the middle of the battle, acting as peacekeeper, and succeeding in preventing these two foaming berserkers from slaying each other. On its Dominion EP, this quintet has wisely chosen not to forsake technical skill in favor of easy accessibility, but has not allowed such skill to annihilate what sense of emotion is available either. And while the balance does seem to nervously tremble and shift at times under pressure, the band manages to bring the wild beasts under control every time that hell seems about to break loose.

Dominion is not only a matter of accurate balance, however, but also a mission statement that clears up how business is going to be from now on. With vocal melodies and choruses remaining closer to traditional metal, whether progressive or not, and challenging instrumental segments in which former Lemur Voice guitarist Marcel Coenen and keyboardist Joost Van Den Broek challenge each other continuously for the resplendent spotlight, Sun Caged fuses modern progressive elements with both heavier elements, as has been the trend lately, and with a fusion tinge that shines through during moments of "Curiosity Killed The Cat" and the instrumental "Four Guilders."

The EP, however, also shows that there is still room for growth in this promising act, particularly in the vocal department. Not altogether a complete surprise, as singer Sascha Burchardt has been part of the fold for only a short time, but it seems as if though he still has to wet his ears in the Sun Caged world a bit more. It is thus that the vocal melodies on "Curiosity Killed The Cat" and "The Escape" tend to miss the mark or sound too awkward for their own good. Alas, when Burchardt lays it down like he really means it, as he does on "Sides," the result is outstanding. Same goes for the rest of the band, which at times falls into the enticing trap of the progressive metal cliché, but ultimately packs more than enough punch to leave that temptation behind and prove that you better lock up your kids, hide your belongings, and run like hell, 'cause Sun Caged is bound to hit like a hurricane soon!

[After the release of Dominion, Burchardt was out and André Vuurboom in as vocalist. Though available only in MP3 form as a download from their site, the band also have recorded new material with Vuurboom. Sun Caged were at ProgPower in October 2002 - ed.]

Similar artists: Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Magnitude 9

Curiosity Kills (6:57) / Four Guilders (5:03) / Sides (5:53) / The Escape (5:13)

Dennis Leeflang - drums
Sascha Burchardt - vocals
Marcel Coenen - guitars
Rob van der Loo - bass, Chapman Stick
Joost Van Den Broek - keyboards

Scar Winter (demo ep) (2000)
Dominion (demo ep) (2001)
Promo 2002 (2002)
Sun Caged (2003)
Promo '05 (2005)
Artemisia (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 502
Language: english


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