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Ines - Hunting the Fox CD (album) cover

HUNTING THE FOX

Ines

 

Neo-Prog

3.11 | 19 ratings

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The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer
3 stars "Hunting the Fox" isn't exactly a complex elaborated masterpiece of Progressive Rock, but happily, I'm surprised by what I listened to in here. To be the debut album by the German band commanded by talented keyboardist Ines, it shines with a light of its own by being so damn proposing and challenging; it deserves not the appellative of "underrated" but of "overlooked" since the work put together in here sounds differently peculiar with a taste of the "great ones" in Neo prog. By flowing so melodic as compassed, this 1994 production leaves a great first impression inside ones ears, provoking the listener to stick around while the album decides to come to an end. Then, you will be ready to play it again.

Among the curiosities this album's got, I was able to distinguish that it is comprehended in two separate parts. Firstly, I noticed that from "Overture" to "Union part II", is mostly all about Ines showing off her skills on keyboards, proving why she earned the right to name a band after her, and let me tell you, the musical arrogance this woman displays (if I may call it such), certainly pays off pretty well. After the instrumental intro, "In the Distance" breaks into the scene. A well written song by Ines herself and lyrically exposed by Hansi FUCHS (all the lyrics by him actually), that relives the pure essence of IQ on albums like "The Wake" or parts of "The Seventh House". Vocals by Kikko GROSSO and Hansi resemble a little bit to the spirituality delivered by Peter NICHOLLS on "Widow's Peak" or even on "The Wrong Side of Weird".

Harald BARETH follows pretty much the same vocals vein on "Water" and "Mother Moon", but with a very unique style that stands out from the rest of the singers who lent their voices for the realization of this album. "Union Part I" is a beautiful prelude to the sequel, where Massimo MICHIELETTO skillfully plays quite an educated acoustic guitar, turning this strings passage into a delightful moment to ones ears. But with geniality, comes misinterpretation. Maybe that's why I don't give total recognition to this first half of the album, maybe it is too Martin ORFORD and Mark KELLY on keyboards, and due the musical arrangements, the vocals had to be balanced unevenly on it. The resemblance to the top English Neo Progressive bands is unmistakable, so heavily floating in the air, that it sort of blurs the entire and mere intention of the image "Hunting the Fox" tries to picture for us.

Now, moving on to the latter half of this album. The "Hunting the Fox" experience takes a sudden turn when riding on to "In the Dark of the Night". Unrecognizably great to me and to strangers in the first place, the almost ten minute suite carries around the restless spirit of INES. I'd dare to say this is the most representative track not only out of the entire record, but also of the whole connection in between the subsequent productions by the German band. It's like listening to a complete different band from the one you've been paying attention to during the last half hour of running, it's unbelievable. In the beginning, it may sound off quite "pop" and aimless to you, but just let it flow and you'll be amazed like I was the first time I listened to it. "The Inner Flight" follows, so energizing and invigorating, but with less powerful vocalization and unelaborated lyrics. "Earth, Sun and Moon" isn't exactly what you would call "out of this world", it is audible alright, very sassy in my personal appreciation.

Coming up next, "Hold on to Dreams". What is really remarkable here, is that far from relating Ines' performing to a GENESIS sort of vein, her work is simply outstanding. The moody spaces are filled with a nice bass twanging off convincing and soft vocals by Harald BARETH. Apparently, "Meet Me on the Mountain" and "Innocent Girl" bring out the romantic touch of the album, described mushily throughout the lyrics sustaining both pieces and the peaceful guitar interludes. And finally, if there ever was going to be a guitar standing out individually from the rest of the instruments, it was going to be included in "Wasteland". Not elaborated or complicated riffs, just string presence on the track. The self-titled song pretty much wraps this up in a melancholic, introverted mood easily breathed all around the track. Ines wanted to save the best in her for giving the album the perfect, suitable ending.

So, this is one of those albums filled with innumerable contrasts. It can go from outstanding to plain, from provocative prog rock to the burnt out formulas. I seriously considered giving it the almost perfect rating, but since there are some spaces in between and impreciseness, the "good but non-essential" evaluation suits this album perfectly. Despite how contradictory this review may look, it's entirely your call. Whether you're intrepid enough to put up with the comparisons or audacious to completely overlook and disregard what I've just written up above and go for it. I'd do that if I were you on this one.

The Prognaut | 3/5 |

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