Inquire - Inquire Within

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:34:00

Several weeks ago I reviewed Inquire's latest, The Neck Pillow; at the same time, the band sent to me their previous release Inquire Within. This is a more consistent album than their follow up, even the multi-part suite hangs together better, following a more cohesive narrative track. The elements that made up The Neck Pillow are here - Marillion and Pink Floyd, plus a few not-so-surprising additions.

The album begins with the instrumental "The Inauguration Of King Kong" which is a dark, atmospheric, gothic, and cinematic mainly keyboard piece - the occasional percussive heartbeat underscores the tension, a brief guitar solo setting the mood. Titled anything else, and you'd suspect that it would signal the beginning of a murder-suspense film. There are sound effects both at the beginning - what I believe to be from a submarine control room - and throughout - growling sounds that can only be King Kong.

"Kongfrontation" is quite different in that it has a prog metal edge to it - a powerful attack, driven by the percussion.

While there are vocals on this album - Dieter Cromen could be described as a German-accented Fish - it is mostly instrumental.

The bulk of the album is the 7 part suite "When Darkness Turns To Light", a 26-plus minute journey into and out of madness. Well, in one interpretation; the voices he hears may be imagined but whether it is the voices of those around him "echoing" (in other words, remembered voices) or voices he's just hearing is left somewhat ambiguous. While the underlying musical influence seems to be Marillion, there are enough other elements - a harder edge, some Floyd-esque guitar-scapes, etc that suggest other influences at work. "Depression" (segment 3) sounds closer to Pendragon; at nine and half minutes in (during "Leaving Darkness"), I thought of Arena, most especially the guitar solo, but the whole percussion heavy arrangement, too. Keys parp in a Nolan/Kelly like way here, too. Later, in the last segment "Light," the instrumentation is sparse, the arrangement reminiscent of late-80s Floyd - keys and guitar share light lead lines over a synth-wash. This builds to a 90's Marillion-esque mid-tempo denouement.

The album ends as it begun - with deep, dark, ominous tones. These are their strongest moments as they well capture the atmosphere they're trying to create. Except for a few passages here and there, this sense of tension was unused where it would have made quite an impact - on "When Darkness Turns To Light." This is never more realized when after the suite has ended and light has been found ... we get these portents of doom ... quite chilling. We do get some dark moments on "When Darkness..." but they are, comparatively, brief.

The Inauguration Of King Kong (3:36) / Kongfrontation (7:08) / Kindergeburtstag (6:47) / Maze Of Despair (8:26) / Der Mann (6:14) / When Darkness Turns To Light (26:35) The Hill - Creatures Of The Dark - Depression - Leaving Darkness - Don't Believe In Miracles - Metamorphosis - Light

Dieter Cromen - guitar and vocals
Michael Eckert - bass
Thomas Kohls - drums and percussion
Robert K?hler - keyboards

Inquire Within (1999)
Neck Pillow (2000)
Melancholia (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: November 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1024
Language: english


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