Various - Progressive DisDRUPance Vol 2


Year of Release: 1999
Label: DURP
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:29:00

DURP (Die Ultimative ReviewPage) is [was] a web ezine site based in Germany that produces a compilation album of "the best underground progrock and progmetal bands" - this is their second volume, compiling material sent to them in 1998.

The review of the disk itself is all positive; I think DURP have taken a good selection of stuff, appealing to a variety of tastes. If this is the best, however, I'd hate to see what didn't make the cut. Not that this stuff is bad, mind you, but little of it is going to set the prog metal or prog rock world on fire (though maybe that's not necessary). Certainly not the prog metal, as so little is actually metal. The majority of the metal has neo-prog leanings. But it's things like this that can bring all of the music wider attention.

This comp opens with Flamborough Head from the Netherlands, where so much prog is coming from these days - next to Sweden. Their sound leans more toward the neo-progressive realm. The track "Heroes" opens dramatically with keyboards, soon joined by harsh, grinding guitars. Musically, think of Arena or Pendragon (guess it's a Clive Nolan thing they've got going) versus Marillion, with perhaps a dash of Saga. The guitars take on a metal like crunch without the metal like power. There are tempo changes here on this all instrumental track that make for an interesting, diverse listening. It has an epic quality that I quite like, meaning this is one band I'll explore further. Good stuff.

Mayfair's "Trip" is a quirky techno-metal sonic assualt. Add in a bit of Nirvana brand alternative, more in the lyrics than in the sound. This sure is a trip, as you can imagine having taken some bad acid (man) and finding not bright psychedelics but dark colours and odd shape coming at you. This might go well with a VW Bug advert. It's a little too strange for me like it immediately - if ever.

Dionysos is up next, with "In My Sight/Take My Time" - this sounds like a combination of Marillion, Epiloque, and Jump. The mixing on this is very bad (perhaps it is a demo). The vocals and instruments are up front, which is fine, but the backing vocals that echo the chorus are too far back in the mix. I'd have left them out, or mixed them up in the mix. The vocalist doesn't have a great voice, but quite typical for this kind of music. Nothing very original, and one would be better served by getting the stuff that has obviously inspired them - namely Marillion. The guitarist tries for those lovingly played notes that Rothery does, and he does this well. The best part of it is the guitar playing.

Dark churning bass opens Third Voice's "From Where You Stand," soon joined by keys, then guitar. This has a very pleasant sound ... and sounds a bit like Tristan Park. But there is also a metal edge to their sound - quite nice. Some good guitar playing, and average vocals that manage to avoid the DT influence. In fact, this one of the few new prog metal bands where DT doesn't seem to be an influence. I'd like to hear more of Third Voice.

Blank charges out of the gate with crunchy guitars and pounding drums with their entry "Perfect Illusion" The vocalist here doesn't have a great voice, but he doesn't seem to stretch into places it won't go. It's voice you can get used to, slightly off key, but he mostly avoids trying to hit the notes he knows he can't. Guitars churn in the middle section, not unlike in many a prog metal track before it. I do like this though ... as there seems to be influences outside the prog metal realm - a hint of the same well Spock's Beard draws from. The production balance on this is a little off - a little flat, but everything up enough in the mix to be heard.

"Blinded" by Twin Age is next - great sounding vocals, but have sound typical of progressive metal ... good prog metal, thankfully, and yet this track never quite reaches true metal, so maybe they're not metal at all, and more neo. Whatever ... I love it. Emotional playing, vocals - this is what I love in music, prog or not. What I have gleaned is that this is a duo of Swedish proggers who were once a Dream Theater cover band. Their sound doesn't reflect that, as this is a keyboard led piece, little percussion except symbols, a bit of guitar ... good stuff. Beautiful guitar solo interupts the beautiful keyboards - this is what I like. Gives them a slight neo-prog sound Looks like this is from a demo, if so, I can only imagine how a full release would sound. Another band to seek out.

Moonlit is prog metal, beginning with a DT inspired sound, merging into a dark feel. The deep voiced vocalist who sings in a rather labored way ... reminding me of someone I can't quite name at the moment. On the one hand, I don't particularly care for it, on the other, I do. I can't explain that. Maybe it's because I like the vocalists' tone, but the not the pace he's singing at. Sort of like Geoff Tate in the lower ranges. But, I would be interested in hearing the whole album. (Read Larry D's review of their album Elements)

WW is a Collins' lead Genesis-like band, in that this track "Wanna Know" has that kind of quirkiness that "Who Dunnit" (Abacab) has ... or somewhat like Grace. Very neo-like, as the vocalist has moments where he sounds like Steve Hogarth. It's okay, enough that I'd be hearing interested in hearing the whole album, but overall they sound to be a fairly average band.

"Life Will Live On" might make you think that this is a quasi rendition of Celine Dion's titanic hit, but no. Moondaze are a metallic band, not quite as crunchy or hard to be truly called prog metal. Sharper sounding prog rock might be best - there's a edge to the sound. The drums are up front in the mix, almost edging out the vocals and guitar. Poorly mixed, well played prog rock. Again, vocals are average, tolerable. I find the guitar tone a little too ... tinny, I guess is the best way to describe it.

Listeing to Winterland, I thought of current Genesis, with the keyboard swells, but this band play prog that is just this side of true prog metal. There is quite a bit of dynamics in their music, textured drumming, whaling guitar.

"There is a house, in New Orleans..." No. But the first few notes of Esthetic Pale's "See You There" made me think of the Animal's classic "House Of The Rising Sun." As the rest of the track vears away from that, the comparison isn't really apt. Keyboards take the lead on this track, which soon taken over by a female vocalist. The music is very good, folk influenced rock. Actually, very, very good. I love the guitar playing a few minutes in. The vocalist then comes in, with a voice that will remind of Annie Haslem. And, given the arrangements, you'll swear it's a second coming of Renaissance. The vocalist here isn't on key as often as Haslem, but she has the same tone. This is a live recording, and the separation is a bit muddied, given it a sound as if it was recorded inside a glass, or so it seems. The lack of acoustics just flatten everything. Interesting, worth investigation.

So, there's quite a bit to explore out there. We'll try to track down the full release of those that peaked our interest and give them full reviews. The DURP comp is well worth picking up however.

To order this compilation, either visit http://www.durp.com to order online, or see the contact info below (and DURP is still looking for new bands and, they say, prizes for the contest). [Well, that last bit was true at the time; DURP expired though their reviews are still up -ed. Dec 2005]


Tracklisting:
Flamborough Head - 'Heroes' (7:53) / Mayfair - 'Trip' (4:23) / Dionysos - 'In My Sight/Take My Time' (5:53) / Third Voice - 'From Where You Stand' (6:03) / Blank - 'Perfect Illusion' (6:09) / Twin Age - 'Blinded' (5:59) / Moonlit - 'Followed By A Memory' (5:21) / WW - 'Wanna Know' (5:02) / Moondaze - 'Life Will Live On' (6:28) / Winterland - 'Under The Flood' (7:01) / Esthetic Pale - 'See You There' (10:15)

Musicians:
Flamborough Head
Mayfair
Dionysos
Third Voice
Blank
Twin Age
Moonlit
WW
Moondaze
Winterland
Esthetic Pale

Discography:


Genre: Various Genres

Origin VA

Added: October 4th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.durp.com
Hits: 683
Language: english

  

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