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Dice - Eternity's Ocean CD (album) cover

ETERNITY'S OCEAN

Dice

 

Crossover Prog

3.67 | 54 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I have listened to this even more than most of the DICE albums I have devoured in the last 3 or so years, perhaps because it is becoming harder than ever to characterize their sound, even as it occupies the same bathymetric range as their umpteen previous releases, and moves at about the same warp speed. The DICE stock in trade remains elaborate, if not intricate, melodic progressive rock with a song orientation but lengthy track lengths that allow for extensive soloing and ensemble work.

Chronologically, "Eternity's Ocean" slots in right after the "Without/Within Trilogy", and picks up where the final installment left us, extending the freedoms of Jens Lübeck's sax and flute, while offering ever more intense lead guitar options for Peter Viertel. As a result, it seems as though the inmates are running the asylum, which, while musically not always a bad idea, results in the busiest and perhaps least focused DICE album in some time. Here it seems like many of the cuts are simply way too long, particularly the aptly named closer "Falling Apart", which clings pit-bull style to a decidedly pedestrian beat, reminiscent of 80s BOWIE for most of its 10 minutes, and throws in dreadful radio "noise" to boot. Luckily little else here plumbs those depths, although "Secret Harmony" is a bizarre misstep that proves that even shorter material is not safe from the quality control police. From its frantically paced opening there is simply nowhere to go but down, and boy does it.

The rest of the tracks are good or better. I have to specifically call out "The Last Hour" which is blessed by divine flute work that sets off the more restrained but still skilled lead guitar before the sensuous sax has its turn. The pace is more deliberate and unhurried. Nove handles the keyboards, and here his supportive organ work is especially praiseworthy. "Venus and Mars" resides closest to other DICE album openers we have come to love and, while "Following the Wind" seems the heir apparent to its predecessor's "Hold the Spirit" combined with a tickling nostalgia. it also suffers most from Viertel's least subtle work as it draws close to a close. Hopefully in subsequent releases he will be more reined in and the balance between guitars, wind, and keys will be struck.

This release shows a group perhaps unsure of their next move, and, while they are by no means salting away their future, I can't help feel this won't be the DICE album to live on in eternity.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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