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Amaran's Plight - Voice In The Light CD (album) cover


Amaran's Plight

Progressive Metal

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5 stars Once every decade or so an album comes along that perfectly combines story, melody, harmony, and musicianship. Amaran's Plight's recent release "Voice in the Light" is such an album. Produced by Gary Wehrkamp of "Shadow Gallery" fame and released by progrock records, this CD is a revelation. Based upon a novel by John w. Crawford, the album follows the life of a man who is touched by friendship, love, a near-death experience, and a miracle that changes the course of human history. As the story unfoilds, the music displays a keen understanding of the emotions within each song. Voice-overs are mixed throughout and incredibly stand on their own as written within each song.

D.C. Cooper's (Royal Hunt, Silent Force) vocals reach new heights and is one of the major strengths of "Voice in the Light. One moment he reminds us of Pink Floyd, the next Iron Maiden, Rush, and finally we realize his vocal talents exceed others we have come to know and love. He clearly owns every song he sings. Of particular importance is his unusual treatment in "The Viper", his soaring angst on "Betrayed by Love" and his dark countenance on "Shattered Dreams".

Gary Wehrkamp produced, arranged and composed (D.C. Cooper co-wrote some melodies) this nearly flawless journey of classic, symphonic rock. His influences are felt in every song: Floyd, Rush, Yes, Boston, Kansas, and more. We smile as we name the bands beause Gary Wehrkamp takes their best moments and tweaks them, enhances them, and molds one into another in a seamless fashion. His guitar solo on "Shattered Dreams" is over five minutes of powerful energy and flight. He is breaking out of his Shadow Gallery box and testing his own musical limits. There may be no finer composition that fuses melody, harmony, counterpoint, and progression than "Revelation", the final movement in this powerful musical drama. With each listening, its richness envelopes us, we move woth the music towards its conclusion. Also of major importance are "Incident at Haldeman's Lake" and "Betrayed by Love", "Coming of Age", and "Turning Point".

Add to all this the excellent bass work from Kurt Barabas (Under the Sun) and the impressive performance by drummer Nick D'Virgilio. Nick is a significant part of the progressive rock band Spock's Beard and has played for Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, and Tears for Fears. Nick's drums are another highlight of this composition and nearly overtake the music and vocals withina bright, sonic performance that adds a powerful punch to the music.

These four musicians, Gary Wehrkamp, D.C. Cooper, Kurt Barabas, and Nick D'Virgilio, have come together to create a gem of a musical experience. Amaran's Plight will be spinning on our CD player for a long time to come.

Report this review (#128149)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review, though I have been a lurker here for quite some time.

I will start by saying that this is my favorite release in 2007 so far. I am a huge fan of symphonic, prog metal, power prog (or whatever you call the crossover between the two), and neo-prog.This album showcases the talents of musicians from different parts of these genres and they really shine together.

I am a big Spock's Beard fan, especially the Neal Morse days, and Nick D. is one of my favorite drummers (along with Peart and Portnoy) because of his diverse talents. When I heard about this supergroup from a Progrock Records email, I was intrigued because of Nick's involvement but I didn't have any expectations.

Wow.... was I impressed.

The album has a strong story, soaring melodies, wailing guitar, vocal harmonies, hard, soft, and everything in between. DC Coopers voice has never sounded better, the fretwork of Gary Wehrkamp is perfect for the mood created by the music, and the rhythm section is tighter than a mosquito's a**. I won't do a song-by-song analysis of this one, others here are more qualified, but I give this a 5-star rating (and this is only because it tops my 2007 list).

I think it's time for me to start reviewing my vast prog collection online and stop lurking.... This album just MADE me want to review it.

Report this review (#128323)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK. You mays say: "How boring! Another super group born to give us 76 minutes of useless music!"

Maybe in this case you may be wrong.

This album shows a fresh kind of prog metal. with powerful riffs, good vocals, excellent bass work and something more...

Nick D'virgilio, who comes from years of prog experience with Spock's Beard, shows us a different interpretation of playng drums in prog metal: his drumming is powerful, very impressive and rich but takes distance from the (IMHO) often useless exageration of double bass drum accents, the 64th fills where is sufficient to work in 16th or maximum 32th, etc..

In my opinion this is the real key of listening to this very good album.

Sometimes you may feel that bass and drums doesn't seem to go ahead together, but after a couple of listenings you will feel accustomized with this.

Another little advice: pay freat attention to the bass player. He's very very interesting!

Good for those who love to listen to something different in prog metal world.

Not for those who are Dream Theater toxically addicted!

What else? I give to this album 3,5 stars

Report this review (#128608)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Masterpiece.

So many years expecting an album like this.Very original music and concept.

A mix beetween classic prog like Genesis,Styx,Kansas,Asia ; neo prog. bands as Magellan,Marillion and prog metal bands as Shadow Gallery,Tiles,Van Den Plas,POS etc..

So good musicians(and their origins are remarkable) ,so good melodies,so good areengements.

With this guys ,this can be the resurrection of the prog.rock

What more to say...expecting their new album to coming soon.

5 stars and more

Report this review (#129280)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What one gets here is what one expects when they hear a key writer in Shadow Gallery is meeting with the ever impressive vocals of D.C. Cooper. One's attention is taken quickly between the fantastic melodies in the music and the excellent vocals that lead the story along. Also appearing on drums is Nick from Spock's Beard, certainly no novice behind the kit. All in all just a fantastic and fun album, and highly recommended.
Report this review (#129582)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progressive metal is been boring for quite some time. This album comes proof that it is still alive. Finally a well played album, very nice musicians and nice vocals. It's a conceptual album and all songs fit together like a masterpiece should be. Nice melodys like "Friends Forever" and "I Promise You", and awsome rythm in "Viper" and pure progressive songs like "Incident At Haldeman's Lake" and "Betrayed By Love" makes this magic album somehing to ear and enjoy for a very long time...
Report this review (#129987)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 2007 is a year that, so far, has been defined by emotional prog (PT, Gazpacho) and cold and merciless prog metal and RIO (DT, SX, SGM). Amaran's Plight, the supergroup featuring members from Royal Hunt, Shadow Gallery, Spock's Beard, and Under the Sun, does a wonderful job bringing these two styles together. Voice in the Light is a concet album based on the book by John W. Crawford, it follows the story of a man's life, with his tales of love and tragedy. The music is arm, but with a great metallic edge that mainly comes from Gary Wehrkamp's guitar. Flutes, acoustic guitars, and other stadards of symphonic prg rub up against pounding drums and power chords in a way that is seldom heard.

It is remarkable how well the various members work together, since so often supergroups focus on displaying each members talent at the expense of music. DC Cooper's vocals are stunning, even though Gary penned most of the tunes, you'd swear the lyrics were DC's because he sings them with such passion. He also displays a versatility that recalls Devon Graves' performance on Ayreon's The Human Equation. His constant style and mood shifts leave me wondering if he was really the only lead vocalist used. Gary's production, writing, and guitar work equally matches anything in the Shadow Gallery catalog, and they often exceed it. Kurt's bass is a revelation, as I had never heard Under the Sun, but I need to check them out now after hearing his unique and enjoyable basslines. Nick's restrained symphonic drumming provides an excellent contrast to the uber-technical double bass drumming of prog metal. He plays some truly inspiring fills and rhythms over the course of the album, and his performances rank up with Portnoy's and Harrison's as the best kit work I've heard this year.

The songs are incredible. Highlights are difficult to pick out, but kudos must go to each of the epics. "Incident at Haldeman's Lake" features some lovely vocals and a killer bass workout from Kurt complimented nicely by some of Nick's most frantic drumming. "Shattered Dreams" is hands-down Gary Wehrkamp's best performance yet. His five minute solo captures all of the emotion of the album and threw it in with an incredibly technical solo that can hold its own with Petrucci's most emotional solos. "Revelation" is as epic a closer as one can hope for, and it ends the album masterfully. Also killer is the angst-ridden "Betrayed By Love" and "Viper," the album's most metallic track.

Voice in the Light is without a doubt one of the highlights of 2007, a year that has so far been ridden with excellent releases. It captures the skill of metal and the emotion of the finest symphonic prog and seamlessly combines it. It may be the best prog metal album since Ayreon's The Human Equation that features such a fusion. Fans of Ayreon and/or heavy symphonic must get this album. It doesn't feature lightspeed displays of proficiency like the Dream Theater and Symphony X releases of 07, but it shows as much skill with many less notes. One of the top five releases of 2007.

Grade: B+

Report this review (#132847)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.3 stars

A good debut from a Progressive Rock super group starring the brain of Shadow Gallery: Gary Wehrkamp. It is symphonic rock in the vein of Shadow Gallery though with less heavy metal elements. The musicianship is very good but never attempts to have moments just for the sake of showing how good the musicians are. Everything is done to compliment the concept behind "Voice in the Light" and the way the music is arranged makes it sound like these guys have been playing together for a while.

The vocals are the best part. They have a lot of feeling into them and adapt to any style necessary; he does it all: from Queen-like harmonies, Bruce Dickinson acrobatics, to Shadow Gallery style vocals. The drumming from Nick is a bit simple and restrained, but it sounds really refreshing and natural as well. He shows you that you don't need ultra-fast doublebass drums and 64th note drumming in this type of music. The concept and lyrics are solid, never being pretentious, complicated, or dumb. The songs are never below-average and while the length of the album is a bit longer than I would prefer, it doesn't get me too tired in the second half.

If there are highlights, they have to be the epics "Incident at Haldeman's Lake" and "shattered Dreams" while the rest of the album is quite solid and consistent in quality. "Incident" is divided into three parts, having a brilliant and intense instrumental sandwiched by more melodic lyric-sections. The drummer shines in this track. "Shattered Dreams" has an extended instrumental section as well, featuring a long guitar solo that gels so well with the music that you might not even realize that it's a solo. Other interesting songs are "Viper" which sounds similar to Symphony X: up-tempo, heavy, and having those massive harmonic choruses and "Betrayed By Love" which is varied enough to justify its length and has very emotional guitar playing. "Revelation" is a satisfying conclusion, though not on par with the other epics.

Report this review (#134709)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love the rigidity of Progarchives rating system, it is needed. But I think this release deserves a 5 because it has the potential to appeal to a broader range of prog listeners. There's a bit of metal, lots of rock, some extended jamming, prog breakdowns, solos, and some melodic prog like 80's Yes (and apparently Kansas and Journey), etc. Great vocals from DC Cooper, think Geoff Tate, only better.

Yes, there are similarities to Queensryche, Shadow Gallery and Spock's Beard - in fact, that defines this release. The individual performances are great, Nick D'V's drumming is perfectly flashy, not metal - no double bass drums, it just breathes. Gary W's guitar is flashy, over the top, but never out of place. DC Cooper throws in the high notes as punctuation, brilliantly. The story line, whilst a bit soap opera-like is good, doesn't really taint the songs, because they're so strong and stand alone.

The only part I can see people struggling with is the soap-opera-lovey-dovey-Meatloaf-esque parts, which really only appear in 3 or 4 songs. Get past these, even enjoy them, and the rest is amazing.

Report this review (#140915)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fans of Shadow Gallery have been waiting a long time for a DC Cooper, Gary Werhkamp collaboration. This was essential after the success of SGs, Tyranny which featured DC Cooper as a special guest on the epic, New World Order. Rumblings of a collaboration of immense proportion have been felt for a few years but finally it is here. Amaran's Plight.

Not only do we have DC Cooper and Gary Wehrkamp, but Spock's Beard drummer- Nick D'Virgilio AND Bassist, Kurt Barabas of Under the Sun. Amaran's Plights debut album, Voice in the Light is a conceptual piece which differs from your traditional Dungeons and dragons, Mid-evil warrior or other over used, cliche' themes. Cleverly, Voice in the Light is one mans journey for answers after a Near Death Experience. It's a well thoughout, well crafted concept written by writer, John W. Crawford, who also served as lyricist as well. Cooper, Wehrkamp and Crawford are all lyricists on the piece.

Musically, Voice in the Light hits you square in the face right off the bat and settles down into an emotional roller coaster ride filled with some amazing musical highights. Fact is, the CD doesn't have a bad song on it. There are 3 monster epics on Voice in the Light; Incident at Haldeman Lake- (In three parts), Shattered Dreams and Revelation. Wehrkamp is primary composer on Voice and as always, shines as one of the finest musicians in Prog today. Cooper's vocals are top notch as always and the rhythm section is absolutley pounding. The style is smack dab in between Prog rock and metal with numerous sub-styles entwined within the grooves. Influnces of Queen, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Metallica, Royal Hunt and of course Shadow Gallery are evident. However, Vice in the Light is very original and very well crafted. The mix is courtesy of Rich Mouser, who is always affilated with Nick D and Spocks Beard. The CD is a crystal clear, sonic masterpiece and one of my favs for 2007.

Seldom does a CD come along with the tag "Supergroup" attached that actually lives up to it's name. This band, Amaran's Plight has crafted a superb CD that is a must have. I hope that they will continue the good work and provide us with years of excellent music of this magnitude. I highly recommend this CD to any true Prog fan. Kudos to ProgRock Records for putting this together.

Report this review (#145866)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars For once a record that lives up to its reputation has been released. A record with no fill, no fluff and no stupid, over used to death wizards and dragons concepts. Voice in the Light is an emotional story thats surrounds a mans difficult journey through life (sorry no themes of madness either!!) and his love for his lady. The music compliments the story perfectly and can be listened to as a complete piece or song by song.

Musically written by Prog-master Gary Wehrkamp of Shadow Gallery, the riffs and melodies are aplenty. The guitar work is intense, melodic and masterfully done. Although it has SG vibes, its its own extension of each musicians personality and creativity. DC Cooper excels with some one of his finest vocal performances ever recorded. Again, this is no backyard project. These guys took this seriously and placed upon us a fine piece of music that is one of the best concept albums since Scenes from a Memory.

Surely, not forgetting the bass and drum work of Kurt Barabas (Under the Gun) and Nick D'Virgilio (Spocks Beard) the drums and bass rip and tear in unison slamming you with a sonic punch that works so well with Wehrkamp's guitars and riffs. Nick's spike is piercing, lending just the right timber to the whole equation. The mix on this record is awesome !!!

I bought this CD with high expectations and have not put it away for 4 months. The riffs and melodies are so profound, I keep going back to them. Each song is a journey in itself, like a fine wine-- unique and original. Amaran's Plight sets the standard for the word Lineup. They are a true all-star lineup and should be thanked immensely for this progressive masterpiece.

Key tracks:

Coming of age Incident at haldeman Lake- 3 parts Consummation Opus Shattered Dreams- 14 min Betrayed by Love- my fav on the CD Revelation- 13 min

Report this review (#146815)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Of all the new music I bought this year, this is my favorite. From the opening of "Room 316" to the fantastic duet "I Promise You" (with an underrated female singer) to "Revelation", I found myself singing along as I listened. DC Cooper has never been my favorite singer, but he does an excellent job here with songs that show his potential. Garry Wehrnkamp's music writing ability is impressive, and his skill on the guitar is evident here. Kurt B plays tricky bass parts with ease. And Nick's drumming proves that one doesn't need to have double-bass on every song to make quality Prog music. My favorite songs are "I Promise You" and "Consummation Opus." The only question I have is, when will we be blessed with another Amaran's Plight album?

This is a must-have for any prog music fan!

Report this review (#147300)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is another very tough call between 4 and 5 stars. In fact I doubt so much, I don't know which to pick. So I let my feeling about this band and album do the choise. I even gave it some more listens to make sure but it remains difficult. In the end the overall feeling about it wins the toss. And because this is a very enjoyable listen for more than an hour I let the 5 stars win. Besides, this is practically a masterpiece, so that means 5 stars. What does it sound like ? Well, a bit like Room V by Shadow Gallery which is no big surprise since Gary Wehrkamp had a very big part in this "project". It's a kind of concept album, if not a real one. And I often like those. I haven't really fathomed the lyrics of this album, it has something to do with a girl named Rachel. We'll get to that some day.

The songs make a very fluent connection with each other, another sign of a concept album. The songs are all strong in their sound and composition, but the ones who even stand out from that standard are: Incident at Haldemans Lake, Viper, Revelation and above all: Shattered Dreams. I think this song is an absolute masterpiece, maybe even the reason for the ultimate 5 stars !

I hope Amaran's Plight will not appear to be a one day fly. Keep up the great work, guys !!

Report this review (#148252)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hi to all prog,

This album is what I personally consider an excellent piece of Prog art. It has great Music & Lyrics ideas, and music progressions as well. The Lead vocals and choirs are very well done attached. Perfectly balanced between the heavy and prog styles. In my opinion, the only minus point is the fading out abuse. Not only the presence of great musicians but a great production team is what it leads to get a fine music jewel. Congrats !! Keep it up !

Report this review (#148341)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best Progressive Metal album from this year (4.666 stars!).

I’ve been thrilled with all these positive reviews about “Voice…”. I remembered how disappointing were some other hyped CDs from 2007 (no names here, OK?), so I decided to borrow this CD from a friend first. I was literally blown away!

This supergroup sounds very much like a real band, and Gary is simply stunning with his guitarwork. Nick proves that you need no double-bass drums to sound heavy. Kurt is wonderful, and DC impressed me a lot with his masterful vocals. This is one of the main positive points behind AP: they made me interested in their basic bands like SHADOW GALLERY and UNDER THE SUN.

Now imagine a mixture between “Scenes from a Memory” and “Operation: Mindcrime”. Done? This is how AP can be somewhat described. This is neither Alternative Metal-influenced stuff, which is so popular thing for modern Prog Metal bands now, nor something Experimental. AP takes listener back in glory days of Hair Heavy Metal (like in “Viper” or “Coming of Age”), and some songs could have easily been top-hits in 80s! Shorter tracks (interlude-like ones) sound very symphonic (with “Consummation Opus” being my favourite). Additional word should be said about epics. There are three 10+ min tracks here, each one is very different. “Incident…” is the most constructed, “Shattered Dreams” is easily my favourite with this astonishing instrumental mid- part that would make DT guys pale in comparison, and “Revelation” is an extremely beautiful ballad-like track (“Finally Free” immediately comes to mind as something very much related), another highlight of the record and the ideal track to finish with.

The only complaints I have concern timing. I’ve got tired a bit of whole14 tracks, I’d rather prefer 7-10 ones instead…also Hair- Metal influence sometimes is too much obvious. On the other hand if you’re tired with avant or alternative sides of Prog Metal, this album will take you into your kingdom of “Images and Words”, when the world was young and Kevin Moore was still with these guys ;) It’s not like AP is clone, no way; but they managed to recreate that wonderful atmosphere DT had in their early releases. So if you’re missing good old Prog Metal, take AMARAN’S PLIGHT without hesitation! Highly recommended!

Report this review (#149287)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Two words can describe this progressive metal piece. Absolutely awesome!!

Being a fan of DC Cooper and Shadow Gallery, I was delighted to hear of this collaboration with the additon of well known proggers, Kurt Barabas and Nick DiVirgilio. Of course expectaions were high, but WHOA! I was flooered by the concept, arrangements, vocal melodies and of course instrumentation. Voice in the Light is an epic, well thought out and carefully arranged. The CD Booklet appears to help the listener take a musical journey through the eyes of one man and his amazing life journey. However, this is a record that you can simply jam to...or get deep into as a musical piece.

Special guests also are to be noted as is the catalyst for the Voice- a story by lyricst and writer, John W. Crawford. Trisha O'keefe performs a duet with DC Cooper that is a gorgous love ballad. Here's hoping she returns on a SG or another AP album.

Like all things these professionals do, this is an amazing CD-- one that I'll be palying for some time to come. After all, great timeless records last a life time. Please bring us more Amaran's Plight!!!

Report this review (#157178)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I think this album could've been so much better.

For me, here the parts are more than their sum. Let's face it: when you have the guitarist/composer of SHADOW GALLERY, the drummer/vocalist/composer for SPOCK'S BEARD and one of the great metal voices around, you think you will get an outstanding feat of musical achievement. Or at least a very original, entertaining album.

Sadly, for me, this is not the case with AMARAN'S PLIGHT's debut album "Voice in the Light". I've read reviews saying that this disc is one of the best (if not the best of 2007. I disagree, completely. I think this is one of the big disappointments of 2007, not because it's bad (it's actually decent, even good), but because it could've been so much better.

Let's start with the musicians: Barabas shines on the bass; D'Virgilio gives a solid performance on drums, if nothing truly extraordinaire, but he keeps it low-profile. These two give what we would expect them to give us on such a release. It's the other two who don't quite deliver the goods. First, master guitarist Gary Wehrkamp plays a very different style from the one he uses in his main band (SHADOW GALLERY). That's a good thing, for we want diversity, but also a bad thing, for we expect to be dazzled with something, if not incredibly technical, at least original to make up for the lack of the usual wizardry. That doesn't happen. The guitar playing here is quite traditional, by-the-rules, nothing to remember. We didn't expect (nor want) "Tyranny Part II" or something like that, as this is another band, with different members; but we were hoping to hear some really new ideas and those wishes were not entirely fulfilled.

But the other problem that I found in the musicians it's one I would never expected to find: D.C. Cooper didn't convince me.Yes, one of my favorite vocalist in all prog-metal wasn't able to take me to the places he has been able to. It's like his voice doesn't quite match up with the style of this music (not that it actually HAS a particular style; more on that later). I have always thought of Cooper's tone as perfect for obscure characters, or for struggling heroes, form something/someone larger-than-life. Here, in Voice in the Light, his over-powering voice is too much for the character of the music and too dark and deep for the very light, sunny atmospheres we travel in this album. Cooper was perfect in ROYAL HUNT (specially in "Paradox"), magnificent in collaborations like EXPLORER'S CLUB or even with Wehrkamp in SHADOW GALLERY's "Tyranny" (in "New World Order"). But here he's not. He's just another singer.

Talking about style, that's another thing that bothered me about this release. I can't seem to fit this music in any particular genre. Not that good music should be so easy to categorize. But one thing is to transcend genre-boundaries due to unique, innovative music, and another to just lack a distinct character. At times this sounds very "prog-metal-ish", at times it sounds a little like SPOCK'S BEARD, at times it's neo-prog, at times even regular rock, but, I insist: not in the sense that it's mixing elements of these genres, but just jumping from one to another between songs.. It lacks definition, I don't know what it is.

There are some very good moments with good melodies and interesting ideas, but overall, the experience lacks punch, lacks impact. I have to add that, for me, the story also lacks effect. The tragic story of a man dying of cancer who was in love with a woman could've been better served. It lacks direction, it turns and twists without clarity, not to mention the fact that it makes the album a very sad experience and, even more sadly, not for musical reasons. Yes, let me explain: if we have a sad concept, and the music is also sad, we're enjoying a great piece of art, which transcends our emotions; but when the music makes no impressions on us and it's only the written story that gets to us, we know the album hasn't quite delivered.

All in all, I will give it 3 stars just for the music, as it has good moments and Cooper still manages to shine here and there. But having the names at hand in mind, I can't help feeling disappointed. I would've been more happy to give this album 3 stars if it had been released by 4 unknown musicians. But this is D'Virgilio, Barabas, Wehrkamp and Cooper here; this is barely a 3.

Report this review (#158670)
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finally i get the chance to review Amaran's Plight - Voice in the light from 2007. I have this album since it came out, and since than i was listen constatly but not exagerating. So my first impression was good, symphonic prog metal, but something is missing all the way, i don't know what but for sure is. The album has some of the top notch musicians from today, DC Cooper (ex Royal Hunt, Silent Force, solo, guest on second Dol Ammad) is a very good singer who really knows how to use his voice to make something excellent everywhere he sings. Nick D'Virgillio is a good drummer but doesn't impress me much, not in Spock's Beard not in Genesis, he knows to use the instrument but i don't find some intristing moments here on this album only good parts and that's all. Now Gary Wehrkamp is the brain of this band, aswell is the main man of the Shadow Gallery. Important to mention is that Amaran's Plight doesn't sound like Shadow Gallery, this is a good thing that Gary Wehrkamp don't try to copy his guitar themes and improvizations from Shadow Gallery to Amaran's Plight. Anyway he is an excelent guitar player who knows to play rough, smooth depends on the mood of the piece. Finally but not least, Kurt Barabas, i must tell you before joyning this band i never heared of him, but he has some very intristing bass lines on this album that shows he is a good choice for this band. Every musician has background in prog music and they colaborate really well on Voice from the light. Well this is not a masterpiece, not by far, but very enjoyble all the way, with some stunning pieces like:Incident at Haldemans Lake, Shattered Dreams, the longest ones are better than the short one's, even some fillers like I Promise You and Friends Forever. So an excellent adition to my collection, 4 stars, well between 3 and 4 , but closer to 4, i don't know if is worth as a recomandation for prog metal listners, but for sure needs to to listen every time you need good music in your CD palyer.
Report this review (#179435)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Blegh... cheesy lyrics and awkward songwriting combined make my stomach queasy. Maybe I didn't give this albums enough spins. I think it's because I can't get past the first two tracks and take this album seriously. It's not that I'm not a fan of the 80ish queensrycheish prog metal sound. It's that I'm not a fan of it being done again poorly. If it weren't a concept I'd probably not feel the need to try to listen to the album from the beginning and be able to make due with the rest of the album but I skipped to the third track. It was better and gives me hope that maybe once I can get past the first two tracks being on this album I might be able to swallow the rest of the album. The growing pains for this particular album are a nuisance. I'll try it again later when there's still so much bad after taste in my mouth and will simply conclude this with a 2.5 round up 3 star review.
Report this review (#179921)
Posted Monday, August 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me start by just saying that this is the BEST release of 2007! If you are in to Prog Metal and want to enjoy a fascinating concept don't go any further! AP just broke the curse of super bands ( I trully hate this title) with mediocre records. They trully delivered a masterpiece!

The musicians of this album don't need any references, we allready read a lot about this release. It needed only a couple of spins to grow in me - it just stuck on the cd player! The music is mostly melodic without being cheesy with hard parts scattered beautiful. The whole result flows easily from ballads to chaotic prog solos. All the main influences of Wehrkamp's music are here (Prog metal, AOR, symphonic) with all the high standards of Shadow Gallery's music. DC Cooper's voice is just outstanding and especially in last song, one can say that is trully breathtaking. Rhythm section needs no introduction and Barabas and D'Virgilio gave an extraordinaire playing. Every song has its own meaning and scope and in the long tracks the music really is from another planet. Prog at its best moments.

Actually I waited almost a year to write a review of this album, simply because I didn't have the lyrics (for the known reasons). So when I finally got the chance to read the lyrics and story, everything fitted perfectly. This is not just a concept, it doesn't pretends to be a rock opera, it is a musical novel. JD Crawford gave the story and lyrics. When you finish this album you have all the feelings of reading and completing a mindblowing book. The story is quite heavy and emotional and I couldn't escape of the feelings included. Well, this is a great advantage of this record.

I don't have anything more to say...5 stars are not enough...

Report this review (#180528)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars You'd better like fondue

Have you ever though what would happen if Shadow Gallery and Royal Hunt merged into one band? Well, neither have I, but after listening to Amaran's Plight, this is exactly the impression I had, as if both bands were working together in the same album. That really comes to no surprise, considering that the main composers are DC Cooper and Gary Wehrkamp and the outcome of such collaborations was only natural. It is important to note, however, that most of the instrumental work was composed solely by Gary, eventually with a contribution from another person or DC, and that most of the vocal melodies were composed by Gary and DC together.

As one could expect from such partnership, the music they present in Voice of Light is very melodic. I mean, VERY melodic. At times they put other melodic heavy metal bands to shame. But, also as one could also expect, the excessive melodic aspect to their music is overused, what causes the music to be at times to be tiresome and Cooper's vocals do not help at all in changing that whole atmosphere.

Composition-wise, the music isn't bad at all, even though they do abuse on the melodic side of their music from time to time. It is very catchy and fairly easy to listen to, certainly because there is almost nothing new here. Gary didn't took any chances on Voice of Light: everything is quite st.andard for a heavy metal album and the music isn't much adventurous, making it relatively easy to spot things that are commonplace, either from Shadow Gallery's music or from heavy metal in general, through the album. Despite that, Gary manages to keep the music interesting and fun to listen.

The same goes for the vocals. DC Cooper, despite his great tone and everything, does nothing outside the frame that you would expet him to be. If you like his style, great, this performance by him will sound neraly perfect for you, but it would be really good if he could bring new things to the table. So, again, an ordinary performance by these guys standards.

Now, if there is one thing that should be entirely redone here that thing are the lyrics. They are plainly bad for the most part and when they are not bad, they are very cliché. There is simply nothing that couls be salvaged in this regard, they should be completelly changed.

As for the technical part, I don't think I can find a defect worth mentioning. The guitars, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals are all very well played, except some of the fastest guitar passages that sound a bit muddy and the production and mix are very good and bright, making every instrument stand out.

Grade and Final Thoughts

I must confess that I didn't though I would like this album. The result of this kind of melodic music with Cooper's traditionally emotional style and the rather ordinary compositions add up one of the most cheesy and outdated albums I have ever listened. However, the music by itself isn't bad. Yes, it is not the most original thing on the face of the earth, the artists don't go very far from their own personal styles and the sugary melodic metal IS an acquired taste, but that does not make this be a bad album per se.

In fact, repeated listenings prove that this is, in fact, a very fun album to listen to, despite the horrendous lyrics, for all those who like the "traditionally" styled progressive metal.

4 stars.

Report this review (#381360)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars An all-star cast here with D.C. Cooper (ROYAL HUNT) on vocals,Gary Wehrkamp (SHADOW GALLERY) lead guitar and keyboards, Nick D'Virgillo (SPOCK'S BEARD) drums and Kurt Barabas (UNDER THE SUN) on bass. By the way Kurt is my favourite musician of the lot and I still play that UNDER THE SUN studio album. I have a lot of issues with this particular album not the least of which is it's 79 minute length. I'm not a fan of concept albums like this and man it gets pretty sappy at times. With all the talent here they could have just made a straight-up Prog-Metal album with some dark atmospheric interludes. Okay that's just my particular taste in music that's all.

"Room 316" sounds great to start with the riffs then the guitar solo but it goes downhill when the vocals arrive. "Friend's Forever" is a complete turn off with the syrup flowing and the harmonies."Coming Of Age" opens with keyboards then here we go ! Much better when it kicks into gear but unfortunately it turns sappy with vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. "Incident At The Haldeman's Lake" opens with sampled words and some atmosphere. Reserved vocals before 2 1/2 minutes then it picks up a minute later but the tempo will continue to shift. Some nice bass before 6 1/2 minutes. "Reflections" opens with nature sounds and acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. A ballad.

"I Promise You" is another one that i'm not a fan of. Some female vocals help out on this one. "Consumation" is a good instrumental and one of the highlights of this album. "Truth And Tragedy" is where the guitar comes back to prominance but it takes a backseat to the vocals when they arrive. "Shattered Dreams" has this spacey atmosphere early then it kicks in with some good guitar. "Viper" is great with the fast paced tempo and mono-toned vocals. He then starts to sing as these contrasts continue. "Betrayed By Love" is spacey to start then drums,guitar and vocals take over. Some samples late. "Turning Point" is more like it. "Revelation" is the 13 minute closer. Some good contrasts between the heavier and more laid back sections.

A good album but there's no way this is 4 stars in my book.

Report this review (#396651)
Posted Tuesday, February 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Voice In The Light' - Amaran's Plight (6/10)

Sadly, the concept of supergroups are a lot like late-night infomercials. Although they promise the greatest thing ever, they almost always fall short of what you would have hoped for. Amaran's Plight is a progressive metal project, hosted by some of the genre's most respected figures. Musicians here come from Royal Hunt, Spock's Beard, Shadow Gallery, and Under The Sun, and if you're any bit into the melodic side of prog metal, you should already be excited as to what Amaran's Plight offers. Although their one album 'Voice In The Light' sports the expected incredible musicianship and even a healthy dose of ambition, the music itself comes off as being a cheesy, albeit wonderfully performed dish that adds little new to any of the band member's careers.

Although metal has now become an immensely vast genre in regards to what the term can mean, 'progressive metal' now generally means a sort of melodic metal that gets amped up in terms of complexity and technicality. Although prog and metal are my two favourite types of music, these mainline brand of progressive metal has worn very thin in modern times, despite the consistent technical prowess that the genre's members can display. With that in mind, Amaran's Plight demonstrates a great many elements that represent what the scene of modern progressive metal has developed into, for better or worse. Fans of anthemic melodies and musical wizardry will find plenty to love in 'Voice In The Light', although listeners looking for something innovative and edgy may find themselves turned away. Amaran's Plight focuses on two areas: melody, and technicality. These two approaches are often considered opposites, and while I would like to say that 'Voice In The Light' manages to break through the barrier and marry the elements together, the technical moments and melodic passages are kept somewhat separate. While there may be a Dream Theater- derivative moment of guitar and keyboard solo craziness one moment, by the time the AOR vocal melodies come back again, the instrumentation has toned itself back down. This leads to a binary state in the music that keeps things interesting enough, but it goes without saying that Amaran's Plight would have been a more successful project, had they tried to do something new with the genre.

For fans of progressive metal, Amaran's Plight may come across as a concept masterpiece; the sort of album that fulfils everything someone would want out of progressive metal. For others- such as myself- I will admire the musicianship from afar, and even the bold sense of melody. 'Voice In The Light' is not a bad album, but the AOR prog metal sound has been done much better before, and I'm left wanting something different. A matter of taste, I suppose?

Report this review (#625386)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars The thing about supergroups is that unless you are so excited about seeing the musicians in particular work together that just hearing them playing on the same track makes you gleeful, then all too often they're not all they're cracked up to be. Sometimes they're great, of course, but that really hinges on the individual personalities involved gelling and coming up with a distinctive identity for the project. Amaran's Plight do not have a distinctive identity: they play rather generic old-school prog metal of the mid-80s style.

When a supergroup sounds this generic, I often suspect it's because the group members simply couldn't hit on a more interesting sound they all loved so they just settled for a tried and tested approach which they can all live with; either way, what results isn't a bad album, but we've heard it all before and it doesn't really stand up next to the old classics it draws on.

Report this review (#726380)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012 | Review Permalink

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