Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, Pop, Rock
Chain's second album "chain.exe" is now upon us. After the work on this CD had to be put on hold for the production of the critically acclaimed "Frameshift", featuring Dream Theater's James LaBrie, Henning Pauly has finish... more »
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Chain's second album "chain.exe" is now upon us. After the work on this CD had to be put on hold for the production of the critically acclaimed "Frameshift", featuring Dream Theater's James LaBrie, Henning Pauly has finished the follow up album. This time around he could gather some amazing musicians to help him make this CD a more impressive progressive metal experience. Among the musicians are Michael Sadler, lead singer from SAGA, and Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Mullmuzzler, Beer for Dolphins, etc.) who lends his voice and guitar skills to the last track on the album. Sadler is singing on an already highly praised cover version of Saga's own "Hot to Cold" together with Chain's lead singer Matt Cash and Maya Haddi, who will also be singing together with Sadler on the upcoming double CD rock opera "Babysteps", which will be released in late 2004.
Chain.exe -- What progressive music is really about
Christina Leschinsky | 10/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
Sure, there are perks like guest appearances by people such as Michael Sadler (SAGA), Mike Keneally (too much to list), and Jody Ashworth (TSO); but flashy names are not what it boils down to. Chain.exe is a much welcomed break in the progressive rock/metal world from the niche many "progressive" bands seem to find themselves in.
Opening with "Cities," a mere 38 minute song, you hear perhaps some of the most innovative music this decade has to offer. And this song has it all. Well-thought-out structure of both lyrical and instrumental melodies leaves one awe-struck at the way vocals blend into guitar solos which, for once, seem like a voice of their own-- instead of mindless shredding. A stunning a capella section featuring five vocalists leaves you practically begging to hear more-- what with some of the lowest vocals ever heard from Ashworth, complimented by the amazing high range that guest artist Maya Haddi infused into that part of the song. Matt Cash, Edward Heppenstall, and Sadler all contribute to the middle range, filling the whole a capella section with an array of vocal tracks that will blow your mind.
"Cities" is an adventure in music. From its opening note until the very end, it takes you through a world of different sounds and time signatures one wouldn't normally associate together. The core theme to the song can be heard throughout its seven tracks, yet it appears in so many styles that you never tire of hearing it. The vocals, singing about worldly experiences, are interspersed with different instrumentation so seamlessly that unless you are paying precise attention, you may just find yourself singing along to instruments rather than the vocals themselves. Everything fits so perfectly that when you get to the saxophone solo, played by Steve Katsikas, you are almost expecting it there.
Once you have made it through the epic opener, you're given time to ingest it all while listening to the lighter, less metal, four minute fifty-two second song "She Looks like You." Apparently you're not supposed to have love songs in prog... but since when were there "rules" to progressive music?
You can hardly expect the rest of the album to consist of short, light songs... and make no mistake, "Eama Hut" certainly assuages those expectations in its first second. This song has a darker side to it, darker than we've yet heard from Chain. Lyrically, it's about the pressures one feels when deciding (not) to tell secrets and fears kept from everyone your whole life. Musically, it's a blistering, fast-paced song with a hard, gritty tone; a harmonizing guitar and keyboard solo; powerful vocals; and an amazing slap-bass ("stunt bass") section by Sean Andrews. It ends, however, with a tasteful acoustic guitar and piano duet featuring the clear, concise vocals of Chain's Matt Cash.
As the second 10 minute song unfolds, the listener is actually hearing some of Chain's earliest ideas. In "Never Leave the Past Behind," the bridge and chorus are the most memorable parts of the song, yet the outro by far is its shining moment. I would say I wish that part were longer, but I think it would lose something if it were drawn out to long. As a whole, the song just doesn't stick in your head-- and that aspect alone makes it the weakest track on the album (although you really cannot call any track on the album weak persé). Starting out with a rather Gregorian chant, the song's multi-faceted aspects go from heavy riffs, to subdued verses, to guitar and keyboard solos that are the "show-off spots" of the album.
Track eleven takes us to a cover of the most notable SAGA song, "Hot to Cold." Originally made for a SAGA tribute cd that was sadly never finished, this song featues Sadler on the vocals with Maya doing back-up. This is a definite must for any SAGA fan, as Henning Pauly creatively changed just enough parts of the song as to make it an interesting cover song... one that many people actually like better than the original.
And finally, the album closes with the track "Last Chance to See." This song is dedicated to the author Douglas Noel Adams (1952- 2001), whose ideas and books have inspired and enlightened Henning's life. Victoria Trevithick opens the song with her vocals, adding yet another amazing guest artist to the list. Following her, Keneally comes in with a masterfully sung verse and a trademark guitar solo that only he could pull off. Matt Cash adds his vocals to the array, and all three close the song in unison in the final chorus. There's also a familiar theme for Hitchhiker's Guide fans that adds the final touch to the song. Without that, the song just wouldn't be complete.
Progressive? Yes. Ecclectic? Yes. Metal? Yes. Melodic? Yes. This album definitely has something for everyone.