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Tiles - Fence The Clear  CD (album) cover

FENCE THE CLEAR

Tiles

 

Heavy Prog

3.77 | 48 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars An interesting case of how a band can have so many of the right components for excellence but still fall short because of a lack of emotion in delivery. "Fence the Clear" is a finely tuned machine which sounds, and very much wants to be, interesting, yet ultimately leaves a hollow impression on the listener.

First, it's important to note the good stuff this album has going for it, and foremost among these traits are its excellent musicianship. The instrumental players are first rate, jumping through and between tempo, melodic, and dynamic hoops with ease. "Fence the Clear's" sound is heavy, generally up-tempo, and aggressive in its delivery, and the group comes ready to play. Although guitar-led, the rhythm section stands out as a dynamic and catchy force, performing with complexity and energy. Herin's guitar is a good example of where things fall short though; while technically outstanding, it is bland and emotionless. I'd compare him to Alex Lifeson or Alan Morse, but without either of those player's effortless style and emotion. The result is a boring metalish roar that does little do enamor itself to the ear, despite the dexterity demonstrated. The acoustic sections are even worse, the lack of emotion in the quite moments really showing itself.

This leads to "Fence the Clear's" songwriting, which, while also quite good, makes almost no impact because the performances are sterile, over-produced, and noisy. The melodic hooks come and go without grazing the skin, and the band's ambitious time changes feel contrived and poorly integrated. For example, the extended piece "Jigsaw" really just sounds like 4 other songs crammed together; there are no recurring themes or cohesiveness, just lots of flashy playing. At its peak the group is on par with early Dream Theater (which I think isn't half bad!), but again, these songs are really just a jumble of notes lacking direction.

The biggest strike is the rather bad vocals of Paul Rarick. His high pitched, plodding, inflectionless sustains forced me to turn off "Fence the Clear" early on in my first listen, and even after objective attempts they remain very unappealing. Poorly produced, unambitious, and crammed with dense verbage (either preachy or obvious), they are rotten to the core. "Fence the Clear" is at its enjoyable best when he shuts up and lets the band let loose, which occurs precious few times.

All in all, a dissapiontment. Don't be lured in by comparrisons to other bands; Tiles shows that it takes more than technical pizzaz to be a great band.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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