Timescape - Two Worlds


Year of Release: 1997
Label: Nettle-Space Productions
Catalog Number: NSP-AA001
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:38:00

I've had to spend more time with this disc than most other prog metal discs to absorb and understand what this is about. Quite honestly, I still haven't figured out exactly how to describe or classify this one, but I am pretty much saturated enough with it to comment. Those of you who are familiar with Timescape, they released a demo awhile back that was not met with good reviews and comments, especially in the vocal dept. So they changed their singer and recorded this full-length disc. I have this sneaking suspicion that this band wants to intentionally make listeners scratch their head in wonder as to what this type of music is all about. Also, I'm not sure if this is part of the confusion, but the lyrics are impossible to read, as they are yellow, small, and the font is fancy placed on a light blue background complete with pictures of the band and water scenes. Take out your magnifying glasses if you really want to delve deep into the lyrical content of this disc.

THE STYLE:

In short, this is semi-complex, melodic prog metal with modern day prog rock tendencies. What does that mean? Well, on occasion, the band can be very heavy and crunchy, and on others they can be quite passive. However, the interaction between those changes is pretty consistent and they swap styles frequently. Take a nice crunchy guitar riff, which at times reminds of a bit of Queensrÿche style, and then suddenly stop mid-stream and mellow out totally with soft passages, then build it back up to a semi-complex chorus, and you have what direction this band wants to go in constantly. You can pretty much forget trying to follow each song and its contents, because this band doesn't stay still long enough to allow this. Thus, you have progressive metal/rock, with semi-complex structuring. It would be hard for me pinpoint another band that I can compare this one to, so I'll try to avoid this part. For the most part, this band doesn't really take their cues from many, if any other bands. It would be a matter of opinion as to who they take their influences from, and I'll give this band much credit for staying out of the norm in this area. Pure prog heads will eat this approach right up and praise the band instantly for being themselves for the most part.

THE BAND:

The familiar complement of guitar, bass, keyboards drums and separate vocals. However, this is a very musically talented band, with several of the members given credit for playing other instruments on the disc as well. For instance, the drummer and keyboard player are brothers, or at least have the same last name. The drummer is given credit on songs for playing drums, keyboards, programming etc., etc ... the keyboard player is given credit for playing keyboards, programming, backing vox and guitars. So, it's quite obvious that the band is multi-talented and capable of playing their instruments and others as well. The music is not geared to make one certain instrument stand out. There aren't any blazing guitar solos, drum extravaganzas, or other stand out instruments throughout the disc. Sure, there are some short guitar solos, but nothing that will make you go back and play it over and over again in amazement. The music is structured so that each instrument has its role in providing the most music that it can in the allotted time slot of the song. At times, it will appear that the guitar is off and running with the song, as it actually opens up quite a bit of the songs, but then as I said earlier, goes off on a mellow tangent and then over to a complex sort of arrangement. The guitar parts range from crunchy, to soft and almost jazz like. It's definitely what the term progressive means musically. To be playing music like this, there is no question that the band has to be talented enough to handle the confusion that is injected into each song. If I am making this music sound technical, I don't mean to. I'll use the word complex, but I won't use technical as I believe there is a difference.

THE VOCALS:

This is one of the areas I am having a problem with and I would imagine others would to. I've heard this band's previous singer, and they definitely needed a change. While this singer is not as bad as the previous, I am having a hard time enjoying his voice and the lines that he is singing. First off, he has a nice tone to his voice, but occasionally he goes off key and it is quite irritating, but I believe that this is due to the music being structured the way it is. As the music changes throughout each song, it becomes harder and harder for the singer to stay in key because of the quickness of the changes, and basically the music leaves him in a different key while he tries to hold that note. I've heard this syndrome in other bands that I won't mention, and it drives me crazy. When he sings in a softer tone and the song stays in a certain key, he sounds good. When the music gets more confusing, they pretty much leave the singer in a different key, and it's easy for any ear to hear this and detect it. It is quite annoying. Fortunately, there are people out there that don't mind this, and I'll never figure out how. To give an idea of who he sounds like, try taking the new singer's tone from Treasure Land, making it less melodic, adding in a bit of a whiny drone to it, and you pretty have this singer. Unfortunately, he tries to hit a few high notes and it's painfully clear that it's just not happening. Definitely a weak part of this disc.

THE PRODUCTION:

All too clear, and that's a good thing. It's got more of a raw sound to it than a polished sound. The music is basically in your face, with each instrument standing out loud and clean, with everything placed way up in the mix, including the vox. If I'm not mistaken, I believe the band put this out themselves, and they did a great job. Every single instrument is loud, clear, clean and the separation is superb. This is not a polished sound like say, a Reading Zero or a Royal Hunt sound, but it's a more raw, in your face sound overall that still stands out regardless. Every now and then, the band throws in some strange sound effect, as in the opening song, which is actually some sort of African type music, and along the way I hear strange sounds that I can't identify and it sort of takes away from the music. There is some vocal processing, and coupled with the fact that his voice is not the best around, this tends to make things worse in the long run. If you start adding up all of these little tidbits of annoyance, you will soon find that the disc is full of them and start to get turned off by it fairly quick.

THE COMMENTS:

This is certainly out of my league and what I normally listen to as a rule. I would only recommend this disc to true prog heads, defined as those who basically listen to progressive music for the sake of the many time changes, strange tempos, and anything else that a band can throw onto a disc to make it sound original and different. This disc is all of those things, but it is definitely quite hard to absorb and enjoy at the same time. I've tried to memorize at least one song, and it's almost impossible to do because of the many changes throughout. I forgot to mention that there are quite a few jazzy interludes, if you will, along the way, if I can use that term. The music takes on a jazzy sound during some of the softer passages, and you'd never know that this disc was deemed or ever meant to be a prog metal disc. The band is obviously talented, and loves progressive music. With a better singer, more direction, and better songwriting, I'm sure that they could create some prog metal of contention. But for now, it appears that they will appeal to a smaller audience than the prog metal community already is, and in this day and age, that's not always a good thing. There's cult following, and then there's obscurity.

Also released by Record Heaven (RHCD9)


Tracklisting:
Free Wild Life / Silent Room Of Time / Whispering Shadows / Caught In Reality / My Lonely Stare / Colors Of The Fall / Two Worlds / Wild Free Life

Musicians:
Johan Berlin - keyboards, rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Anders Berlin - drums
Johan 'Erik' Erixon - bass, backing vocals
Kerim Kalkan - lead guitars
Mikael Moberg - vocals

Discography:
Two Worlds (1997)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

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

Artist website: www.nettlespace.com
Hits: 755
Language: english

  

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