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Man On Fire - The Undefined Design CD (album) cover

THE UNDEFINED DESIGN

Man On Fire

 

Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 23 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Stormcrow
4 stars What amounts to essentially a two man band, MAN ON FIRE put out one of the more interesting albums of 2003 with "The Undefined Design". This is a dense, catchy, lush, often crunchy affair without being either metal, pop or symphonic. This album falls quite fairly into the "art rock" category. Showing influences from everyone from QUEEN to GENESIS, STYX (their good stuff) to RUSH, KANSAS to perhaps tiny bits of QUEENSRYCHE and PINK FLOYD.

Jeff Hodges provides all keyboards, samplers and vocals as well as producing the effort. Eric Sands plays all bass, fretless bass and guitar parts. The musicianship of both is uniformly excellant and Sands occasionally approaches brilliance playing his fretless. Hodges' singing is clear and interesting, his voice reminding me overwhelmingly of Nik Kershaw on his early efforts. Hodges production is quite good; clear with nice headroom, giving all instruments their due in the mix at the right times.

One might easily fear that a two man band using loops and samples would succumb to the temptation to employ a drum machine, but thankfully that isn't the case here. Percussion is handled by three different session musicians on various tracks. There are no Buford-Palmer-Peart drum pyrotechnics here, but all drummers are competent and the album completely avoids the "canned" sound that drum machines so often provide.

Also appearing is sometime KANSAS member David Ragsdale playing violin on three tracks, further reenforcing the perception of KANSAS influences.

Often heavy and dark, the music lyrically explores such diverse subjects as cruelty to children and the search for spiritual understanding, but avoids being "preachy".

A worthy effort and a very solid four stars.

Stormcrow | 4/5 |

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