Clepsydra - Fears

Year of Release: 1997
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: CCD 4410
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:55:00

Summary of history:

The third album of this Swiss band. I've heard some good and some more negative things about this album so no wonder I was very curious.

The album:

The album consists of five longish (over 8 min) and five shortish tracks (under 6 min) and clocks in little over one hour. After the opening Gregorian chants we get a nice fluent melody on the guitar and very clearly played. Obviously the music is in the Pendragon/Marillion style with some very familiar soundingkeyboards/acoustic guitars (the "I'm under water" part), but the band pulls this off very well with a few emotional outbursts, at times loose percussion, plenty of melody and mood changes and not forgetting the dripping water in the background. As always with this kind of music the guitar is the main instrument and in this song deservedly so. The guitar sounds high, fluent and plaintive. The vocals of Maggini are certainly not without accent, but he's a reasonably good singer although a bit high and thin. But he can sing with emotion and nuance. The song closes with the bad weather that accompanied the first notes. We now go to "The Missing Spark" that by the way had the same length as the previous track. After an anthemic opening, we get a softly sung part with lush keyboards. The chorus is a bit mellow and afterwards some more recent Marillion like elements can be heard as well as an extended full-blown guitarsolo. After these very strong tracks the music becomes a bit less interesting."Into My Cartoon" is a plaintive song. The song is not very complicated and does not enjoy that much breaks. The vocal melody reminds me of something definitely, something from the nineties and neo-progressive, but as usual the name won't come. "The Age Of Glass" opens with clavecimbellike keys and sounds rather orchestral. then we get a more part where the vocals are supported by a heavy guitar. The song closes with clavemcimbel reminding a bit of the instrumental parts of the first "Strangers On A Train."

"Fearless" is an up-tempo rocker with pronounced repetitive keyboards and heavy guitars. Maybe Clepsydra attempt to "Hooks In You" or "Garden Party" (the way the keys sound). After the (mostly) acoustic interlude "Daisies In The Sunshine" offers its welcome reprieve, we come to the "Cloister." The chorus of this song is really very nice with a very memorable and attractive vocal melody with quite heavy guitar added. After opening a key solo and opening the door to the next part of the track, we get a spooky and misty part with lone vocals, after which we get an up-tempo part with xylophone-like keys (or are they real?). We move right into the third long track, "The Nineteenth Hole" with playing children, acoustic guitar and a soft carpet of keyboards. Then we get a dramatic change, into a part sounding like the end of Pendragon's "Circus". The song ends in a sax solo by the guitarist.

After a delicate, melodic song, "The Smell Of Wood", we come to the title track which opens with a nice guitar solo. The singer overdoes it a bit in this track. After an interlude with playing children, the song sinks in a little, but at the end manages to climb out again. The album ends with Gregorian chants; the way it started.

Unfortunately the lyrics were not with this promo so I can't really tell anything about this. I've heard sentences here and there and they seem to be in the general mold. Opening with birds in the trees.


Some people describe this band as average and their problem probably is that they sound so typically like the Marillion type prog style (some call this neo-prog but personally I reserve this for Saga/Rush derived music). This is not so surprising and some aspects of the music seem to come directly from the Hogarth-era Marillion and early Pendragon. Quite often I hear things that sound familiar, deja-entendues, but this is a good exemplar of the style and the quality of the music and the full sound should make sure that no fan of the style should leave this album unheard and outsiders might want to try it as well as a (possibly) succesful initation. In case you're going to listen, remember the longer tracks are the better ones (of which "Fears" seems to be the weakest).

This review is courtesy Jurriaan Hage of Axiom Of Choice and was originally republished by AudioVision which PW acquired in 1999 - ed. Jan 2006]

Soaked (9:03) / The Missing Spark (9:03) / Into My Cartoon (4:09) / The Age Of Glass (5:53) / Fearless (3:59) / Daisies In The Sunshine (2:32) / The Cloister (5:46) / The Nineteenth Hole (8:45) / Sweet Smelling Wood (2:47) / Fear (10:56)

Aluisio Maggini - vocals
Marco Cerulli - guitars, saxophone
Philip Hubert - keyboards
Andy Thommen - bass
Pietro Duca - drums, percussion

Hologram (1991)
UGUM Part II* (1993)
More Grains Of Sand (1994)
Molecule* (1995)
Fears (1997)
Sysyphus Vol. 2* (1998)
Alone (2001)
3654 Days (2014)

* compilations

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CH

Added: July 1st 1999
Reviewer: Jurriaan Hage
Artist website:
Hits: 1904
Language: english


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