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Sieges Even - Paramount CD (album) cover

PARAMOUNT

Sieges Even

 

Progressive Metal

3.90 | 150 ratings

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1791 Overture
3 stars This is an album of songs, some incredible, some good, and one questionable. I feel a similar effect when listening to this album as with Fates Warning's "FWX" - a late-career decision to dabble in song-oriented modern rock, creating a listening experience that sometimes works wonders and sometimes falls more flat.

The incredible: the two openers, both melodic powerhouses with smart, punchy songwriting. Duende, a winding, exciting slice of unique prog metal, accompanied by an ode to the creative power of art (which the band has dubbed the "permanent disease" of mankind - so true). The closer, the fascinating "Paramount," which makes use of some great dynamics and a stunning chorus like a splash of ice-cold water to the torso.

The good: The middling rest of the album - I had hoped for more instrumental interplay from Sieges even, as well as more compositional creativity; clearly, the approach here is miles away from The Art of Navigating by the Stars. Some parts of "Bridge to the Divine" and "Leftovers" are disappointingly formulaic and tiresome, but they are still solid overall. Lots of crunchy guitar riffs and energetic drums. Oliver Holzwarth's role on bass here is not as prominent as previous releases, but where he is noticeable he shines, as always. Feel free to express confusion over the born-again Christian track, "Iconic," made even more confusing by the fact that Sieges Even previously released a song mocking Christianity entitled "What's Up God?" Maybe Steffen wrote it, since he wasn't in the band for the latter song? Or someone had a conversion? Either way, it's twee and a little bit creepy lyrically, like much of this album, but it's surprisingly well-written nonetheless.

The questionable: "Eyes Wide Open." Eugh. The chorus melody is nowhere near strong enough to build a song around, and the muddy accompaniment makes it sound forced. Overall, not the most pleasant listening experience. Interestingly, this song was originally written for the band Subsignal, then a side-project, yet it's nowhere near as good as the material that the band itself would come to release after Sieges Even disbanded.

And there you have Paramount, take it or leave it. Sieges Even is still one of the only prog metal bands releasing any interesting material by 2007, even if this record has its flaws.

1791 Overture | 3/5 |

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