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Sunpath - Under Ice CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.09 | 4 ratings

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3 stars Sunpath - Under Ice

It's been a while since we heard from Sunpath, album-wise at least. However, in January of this year, Rafael contacted me and sent me a copy of their latest effort. Unfortunately, I'm not as active on ProgArchives as I used to be, so my review got delayed for a couple of months - for which I owe Rafael and friends an apology, which is hereby offered.

The album, or EP, is suddenly another step for the band - but I'm not certain it really is a step forward. Where the band really grew from their debut Acoustic Aphasia to Night Dream Call, in the sense that they developed their own sound and moved away from Sieges Even influences, I see less improvement from that last album to this Under Ice.

Where the opening (and title) track Under Ice immediately attracts attention with a strong riff, it is also the only track that has this effect on me. The continuous movement through metal riffs and more 'symphonic' parts is well executed (and yet again a bit late Sieges Even like) and shows that we have five fine musicians in this band. The screaming vocals in the metal parts also show that Ralf really is a great vocalist with various qualities. The track is followed by This is the River. Again, a song that starts out as a symphonic rock piece (without keyboards that does require something on the part of the guitarists!). Half way, we move to metalland again, according to one of the guitars. However, somehow the guitar seems out of place in that spot, because the rest of the band tries to keep up the more melodic part. It creates tention in an interesting way, but I keep feeling it is (only just) not right. The guitar solo later in this 7 minute track fits more nicely, but this track may be an example of trying a little too hard. You never know the Truth the is a track that is more in the vein of the longer, more atmospheric tracks that Marillion created in their first three albums with Steve Hogarth - not musically, but where the feeling is concerned. At first the track seems a bit boring, but it grows on you after a few listens. Not the best, not the worst on the album. Father is another example of an attempt at a more symphonic track without keys, that alternates between that mode and full metal riffs. This track keeps giving me the feeling that something is missing. The idea is not bad, musicianship is ok, but the song misses something that really gives it an edge. Imagine Shadow Gallery's Queen in the City of Ice without the keyboards and the backing vocals, to get the idea: the base is there, but something is missing, which prevents it from being the 10 minute epic it could be. The closing track, Wonders, makes up for that a bit, the sound of the picked (acoustic) guitar that kicks in every once in a while does bring that edge. A pity it can't cover for what I miss in the rest of the album.

Overall, I still think Sunpath is a great band, with great musicians. With jobs on the side I fear the full potential will not show easily when it comes to compositions - no matter how skilled these musicians are on their instruments - economy can kill art I guess.

Angelo | 3/5 |


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