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Cliffhanger - Not To Be Or Not To Be CD (album) cover

NOT TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Cliffhanger

 

Neo-Prog

3.35 | 35 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

apps79
Special Collaborator
Neo Prog Team
3 stars The most cult among the Dutch Neo Prog bands had already entered their most creative and productive period after ''Cold steel''.They recorded,toured and played concerts in an exhausting basis around mid-90's and even had two live releases,the cassette ''Burning Alive!'' and the self-produced CD ''Live at De Boerderij '',both recorded in 1995.Among these commitments,Cliffhanger found time to enter the studio for their sophomore album ''Not to Be or Not to Be?'',originally released by Musea Records in 1996.

Apart from being an underground band,Cliffhanger were definitely the most complex among all Dutch Neo/Symphonic bands,a thing noticed already from ''Cold steel'',but being presented in an even higher degree on ''Not to Be or Not to Be?''.The album contains four long cuts,with ''Ragnarok'' clocking at 25 minutes, and all of them contains GENESIS-influenced Neo/Symphonic Prog with a high degree of complexity,with many complicated interplays and very dark passages of Classical-inspired material and expressive, somewhat theatrical vocals with a light GABRIEL-esque edge on them.Unlike the mass of Neo Prog bands,the sound lacks in melody and is filled with odd time signatures,sudden breaks,haunting vocals,plenty of dissonant passages and numerous guitar/keyboard battles with even some mellotron appearing here and there.The result is a work,that requires a fair amount of spins to be appreciated, far from the harmonic and melodic usual sound of the Neo majority.There is also a fifth short track at the end,the all instrumental ''Moon'', but anyone expecting a bit of melodic content for the end will be rather dissapointed,this is a piece played on grand piano with a very mysterious and haunting sound.The overall style is not fully conveincing,some parts of the album are really exciting with good connections,others are too excessive for the symphonic approach of the band and do not work really well.

Still,one wonders how a band hunted by numerous commitments managed to produce an album of such complicated,inspiring and ambitious musicianship in such a short time.These guys were really talented,maybe a bit too much for the style chosen,and ''Not to Be or Not to Be?'' ends up as an album of adventurous Neo/Symphonic Prog,which many will like but few will trully appreciate.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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