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Touchstone - Oceans Of Time CD (album) cover

OCEANS OF TIME

Touchstone

 

Crossover Prog

3.59 | 25 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band TOUCHSTONE has been releasing new material on a fairly steady basis ever since they crafted their initial EP "Mad Hatters" back in 2006, and have since then issued a full length live album and four full length studio productions. "Oceans of Time" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through the Hear No Evil label in 2013.

Touchstone' choice of label may not be all that obvious to those familiar with Touchstone as a progressive rock band, as the label does appear to specialize in the more mainstream oriented parts of the hard rock and metal sphere. To my ears this appears to be a natural fit though, as Touchstone to my ears do come across as a band with a potential to reach well outside of the arguably limited spheres of the progressive rock universe. Limited in the sense of a buying audience I might add, as everyone familiar with progressive rock are fully aware that there are few if any limitations to that genre in terms of musical expression.

Strong selling points for Touchstone is that they have a compelling lead vocalist in Kim Seviour, and that they explore a type of music that fits her vocal talents very well. Alternating between fairly soft and smooth verse constructions with harder edged, metal-oriented chorus sequences is a specialty of this band judging by this album, and they are not afraid to craft choruses with strong sing-a-long sensibilities either. Compelling bass lines sets the mood and spirit more often than not, a firm and often fairly hypnotizing core foundation in most compositions at hand on this occasion. Keyboards are used to contrast and complement the guitars as well as being the key element when creating richly layered, majestic arrangements, and when exploring gentler territories frail guitar and piano notes are used to good effect for the subtler effects too.

There are many fine songs on this easily accessible piece of AOR-oriented progressive rock with metal edges. Personally I find Touchstone to be least interesting when exploring the more AOR-oriented parts of their repertoire. Well made music, but somewhat lacking in identity as I experience those songs. But whenever they add a few subtle additional touches the end result becomes all the more compelling for it as I experience this band, with title track Oceans of Time and Fragments as the songs I'd highlight in this context, the latter of them most of all and a clear album highlight for me.

Accessible hard rock with half a foot inside heavy metal is what Touchstone provides on Oceans of Time, a production that can be regarded as both of the above, as well as AOR, progressive rock and perhaps even progressive metal. It all depends on the listener, and what frames of reference you want to emphasize. An album that merits a check by those fond of easygoing music that resides in the borderlands of the five genres mentioned, and especially if you have a soft spot for bands of that kind sporting finely controlled, female lead vocals.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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