Twilight Kingdom - Adze

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Siegen Records
Catalog Number: SR001
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:52:00

After many long years, Twilight Kingdom has finally released their long awaited disc. I've been especially excited about this release after being so lucky to have had their 1995 demo disc called The Guardian. This demo was one of the more exciting and most played demos I had ever received. The music consisted of what I call a mixture of melodic prog metal and New Age keyboards. At some points, I likened the music to a progressive metal version of a New Age Triumph, if you will. This is due mostly to the New Age, plush, atmospheric style of the keyboards, mixed in with the Rik Emmett-like vocal style of Chris Bedell. I then heard some demos of new music called Bell awhile after, and although I wasn?t as excited about the new music as I was the older material, it was winning material any way you looked at it. The new music was heavier; more aggressive and used less plush keyboards then the previous demo. Still, the thought that both demos would soon be recorded into one disc was more than worth the wait after hearing the talent of this band.

Twilight Kingdom plays a melodic, with an emphasis on melodic, prog metal utilizing pretty, lush, atmospheric keyboards. The band?s sound is driven by the incredible drumming and vocals of Christopher Bedell, whose voice more than resembles that of Rik Emmett or Gil Moore of Triumph fame. It's an interesting coincidence that he does sound like Moore, who did his share of singing with Triumph while drumming as well. Unfortunately for Chris, the style of progressive metal he plays would probably make it most difficult for him to do both in a live setting. He has a very pleasant, higher pitched voice that can really soar when he wants to. From quiet, beautiful intros to mean aggressive passages and onto high pitched harmonies that remind me of Midnight (ex-Crimson Glory), Chris can do it all. His drumming complements his vocals nicely. It?s this combination that really defines the Twilight Kingdom sound. Add in the intricate guitar work, and the lush keyboards, and this music is definitely hard to beat.

Unfortunately for the band, things did not happen for quite some time after these demos were made, and no labels picked up on this great talent either. Years in the making, Adze was finally released on Siegen Records. The band re-recorded every song from The Guardian demo and the Belldemo, and I'm guessing that due to the lapse in time, Chris was prompted to do this to make the music sound fresh after the 5 years it had been lying dormant.

With this release, Twilight Kingdom to the new listener should sound fresh and interesting, with the mixture of the beautiful Guardian style songs, to the more aggressive, in your face Bell style, there should be something here for every die hard prog metal fan. Of note, on The Guardian demo, there were several quiet, New Age passages in between songs that have been left out here, most likely due to time limits ? there were some beautiful keyboard solos and guitar solos in between songs that melted the ear with beauty. Some of the samplings from the demo are still intact though. The first time listener will hear quality melodic prog metal, driven by all instruments ? each as if they have their own place in the music, separate from each other, yet coming together wonderfully in the end. Again, the quality vocals and song writing will easily grab prog metal fans right in from the opening notes.

The disc, however, is not without it's shortcomings. I had heard early on that the production of the music had been suffering from the beginning, and it was sent back for repairs. Now that I own the disc, I can say that the disc still has its problems in the sound dept. Whether this is intentional or not is unknown; to the listener though, it will matter. The vocals are up front in the mix, where a voice like Chris' should be. The drums are up in the mix, but sound a bit on the tinny side, especially the snare drum (where my biggest complaint all the time lies). The keyboards are about the only thing that I can find noteworthy outside of the vocals. They are well placed and sound wonderful as they did on previous demos. The guitar and bass are where the main problems lie. It is hard to determine which is which - one of the instruments is drowning out the other, and in addition, the guitar has a very grungy, distorted sound which makes my speakers sound like they are ripped. There isn't much clarity on the guitar sound nor is there any bottom end in the bass, which easily takes away from the overall enjoyment of the music.

Still, I'm not one to recommend discs with bad production, but at this point in time, with Twilight Kingdom having had so many problems in the past, I wonder if there will ever be another disc from this band. I do recommend at least getting this disc just to hear what quality prog metal sounds like, and how much talent one person can have without being recognized publically (Chris Bedell). How or why this band hasn't been signed to a label is way beyond me. If I were in a band looking for a singer, drummer, or any other players, I'd be ringing Bedell's phone off the hook, as well as any of the other members here in this band. It's a shame that more hasn't happened for them, and without knowing the full story, I may be chewing my foot here. If you like quality, melodic prog metal that can only be compared to DT a tiny bit of the time, and don?t mind less than stellar production, I'd have to recommend this disc based on performance alone. Top-notch song writing, great musicians, less than stellar production, you choose???

Dreams Of Osiris (2:25) / Adze (6:57) / Shadow Troops (6:28) / Bell (5:20) / Awakening (9:13) / Savior (7:55) / Forever Sacred (5:33) / Escape (9:38) / Angel To No One/March Of The Guardian (18:20)

Christopher Bedell - lead vocals
Thomas Rice - keys , vocals
Trey Hoad - all guitars
Keith Menser - bass

Adze (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 1st 2000
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1418
Language: english


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