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Ageness - Songs From The Liar's Lair CD (album) cover





3.79 | 94 ratings

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4 stars As witnessed on the new international anthology Decameron Pt. III (that I reviewed yesterday), the neo prog band Ageness still exists. The group was the central Finnish prog revivalist in the 90's, but Imageness (1998) remained their latest album for over a decade. The frontman Tommy Eriksson told Colossus prog magazine in 2009 that practicing sessions were little by little replaced by booze-filled, loose meetings. They never stopped gigging for good but the activity was notably on a lower level in the beginning of this Millennium.

The initial recordings of the comeback album featured also Matti Kervinen (Pax Romana, Kataya, etc... plus a producer and a record company man) who had distributed Ageness albums in Finland. A guitarist and an organist had departed. Guitarist Speedy Saarinen had guested on Rituals (1995), now he completed the new quartet line-up and also took care of mixing the new album. Compared to earlier stuff, Songs from the Liar's Lair feels somehow more mature. Perhaps it demands more time to sink on the listener, and the highlights don't stick out as instantly as before , also because this is more even in quality. -- Hey, wait a minute, the final track ended long ago but the CD keeps spinning... A hidden track, what else. I can't say I'd enjoy this habit a lot (the worst case must be on Marillion's This Strange Engine) and I bet I won't care to wait for this one, an energetic rocker, on later listenings.

The relatively quiet and brief opening instrumental suddenly bursts into powerful, almost attacking 'Martial Arts'. It's the longest track at nearly ten minutes but not among my favourites. The title song -- by the way lyrics mention the X-File agents Mulder and Scully -- is pretty gorgeous with several [neo] prog hallmarks, wide dynamics, solo parts and, most of all, lots of emotion. These elements are present throughout the album. The production (by the band) is very good if slightly on the dark end of the spectre, and and there are no weak tracks. Recommended if your'e into bands such as PENDRAGON and IQ, even if the early Ageness have disappointed you with Genesis-imitations and the nasal vocals of Eriksson, which aren't as nasal any more.

Matti | 4/5 |


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