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Cliffhanger - Hope And Despair CD (album) cover

HOPE AND DESPAIR

Cliffhanger

 

Neo-Prog

3.05 | 8 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Entering 1998 Cliffhanger had to deal with the departure of Gijs Koopman.Koopman went on to form a new group named ''Android'' and he was soon joined by Dick Heijboer.This fact would lead to Cliffhanger's first dissolution during the second half of the year.However a posthumous live album was released by LaBraD'or Records, entitled ''Hope and despair''.This one contains mostly previously officially unreleashed pieces of the group's early years and the vast majority of the included material comes from a 94' live performance of the group at the Chateau Studio in Tilburg, originally being part of the cassette album ''Cliffhanger live'' from the same year.

At this premature point of their career Cliffhanger actually sound like being heavily influenced by the British Neo Prog bands, especially IQ and PALLAS, throwing a new dimension to the old-school GENESIS stylings of Symphonic Rock with heavy use of flashy synthesizers, melodic guitar parts and emphatic vocals, although Rinie Huigen's voice does not belong among the best of the league.Even if failing to come up with a strongly personal character, their music was more complex than most of the bands of the style at these early steps, featuring dramatic instrumental parts, complicated keyboard pyrotechnics, plenty of surprising breaks and varied rythmic lines.The sound quality is acceptable and the performance of the band is kept at high standards.Cliffhanger always had a tendency towards long, rich arrangements with extended instrumental moves and this is still the case here with the GENESIS similarities being the driving force along with some pompous YES influences.The compositions are mostly nice, even if the band seems often caught in its own labyrinth of complex and adventurous ideas, and the addition of some scarce organ and Mellotron samplers show their love for Classic 70's Prog, leading to grandiose symphonic themes with a beautiful atmosphere.

Excellent document of Cliffhanger's early years.Not entirely convincing, but definitely a good example of dramatic Neo Prog with a nice sense of melody and plenty of variations.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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