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Sieges Even - Paramount CD (album) cover


Sieges Even

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3 stars I've looked forward to hear this album since the band's past releases 'Art Of Navigating The Stars' and 'Sense Of Chnge' are in my favorites. Sadly this release is disappointed me a lot. This time they moved from metal to melodic prog, from sophisticated prog to a more accessible sound than ever before. The album flows with sometimes boring, repetitive and filler pieces its hard to distinguish the compstitions they sound almost the same. Still a superb production and great playing though but sadly lack of composition. The only song that meet the Sieges Even standards is 'Eyes Wide Open' - this one is a great work and an unmistakebly Sieges Even song - but its far not enough... Let's hope for a better future of this great band. 3 stars.
Report this review (#135997)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Only very very good things I have to say about this German band's lattest album. I really was amazed by the high quality vocal works and arrangements. In fact, as many reviews that are on the internet had mentioned, the album is quite more accesible than others; though the top class musicians' skills are evident and their sound had matured much more, and become each time more - Sieges Even characteristical-.
Report this review (#139178)
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The 'coldness' of the last release "...Art of..." is replaced by a warmer, bassier, clearer, but a less 'open' production. The songs are 'songs', simpler, shorter arrangements, but with the interesting bits that quality muso's from interesting backgrounds can create. I guess Steffen brought back a few left over and new riffs to the last album which made for a longer more 'pieced-together' song structure. The new songs are perhaps product of a more collaborative 'flow' song writing approach.

This is a geat punctuation in Sieges Even's catalogue. I haven't heard the two albums with the other guitarists, but this is Sieges at their most accessible, something they're well entitled to do, and it may just work, because their other stuff isn't very accessible at all!

I still rate TAONBTS as a unique masterpiece, Paramount isn't quite up to that standard in terms of complexity, but it is a different album, more succinct and accessible, and for this band that's a worthy step forward.

Report this review (#143806)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
5 stars When Art Rock and Metal collide ...

Well, I didn't expect the band is able to improve once more. Therefore I'm really excited! This album is an excellent follower of 'The Art Of Navigating By The Stars' which was released 2 years ago when SIEGES EVEN surprised me much with their special blend of Art Rock and Metal elements. Now the same line-up basically has not changed the style (why shouldn't they?) - except some details. Again we have complex and very emotional songs with impressive hooklines, grooves and breaks dominated by Arno Menses' vocals. For a summary musically and technically perfect with a few song pearls as the result. You can enjoy clear guitars with many variants and there is no doubt about the qualities of the Holzwarth rhythm branch. On 'Paramount' SIEGES EVEN now additionally uses saxophone, samples, synths and the lyrics also contain catchy refrains. So I can even state more variety and sophistication.

First song When Alpha And Omega Collide sounds like it wasn't considered for the former album. This is meant just like a transition to point out the stylistical analogy. Alex Holzwarth's fantastic drum work is extra remarkable. Tidal begins more metal accented. Vocals are a little bit harsh modified in parts but the song is also provided with nice melodies and a spanish guitar interlude. Eyes Wide Open follows as mellow as KING CRIMSON's eponymous song from their album 'Power To Believe'. A wonderful mainstream bordering ballad which deserves to enter the rock charts by all means. Nothing what follows is lacking, excellent songwriting - the band has appointed every song with some specials. Iconic is interesting because decorated with some reserved Barbieri like psychedelic keyboard layers. Synths are initiatingDuende pursued by a fantastic bass guitar. Bridge To The Divine is provided with a very catchy refrain and Leftovers convinces with metal riffs and compelling vocals. Mounting Castles In The Blood Red Sky is something very special - gripping. They use Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' monolugue as the background for a very very melancholic tune. Paramount - the point of culmination, initiated by a rocket lift off - remembers me at FATES WARNING. What a hookline, what an enormous guitar riff! Emotional vocals and a surprising saxophone solo by Sven Rossenbach - this is breathtaking!

SIEGES EVEN has navigated forward once again. 'Paramount' is not that spectacular for me as the forerunner which has to be considered as a comeback. Anyhow - this album is a (prog) rock music gem - flawless - enjoyable from the first to the last minute.

Report this review (#148835)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I picked up on this band with 'Art Of Navigating The Stars' and really enjoyed their stylings, their blend of metal, prog, some neo (just a shade), and their infectious melodies. I have been impatiently awaiting this album ever since. And it doesn't fail to deliver.

The guitars are oftentimes hard and dreamy, the vocal medodies are often an instrument in themselves, the bass can be heavy and groovy, the drums are top notch (Alex Holzwarth seems to play for everyone these days).

Sieges Even are defining their own sound, taking some chances that Dream Theater won't take, yet staying very accessible to "pure" progheads.

Excellent, 4.75 stars.

Report this review (#149339)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I think SIEGES EVEN has taken a step back with their latest release, Paramount.

"The Art of Navigating by The Stars" was an absolutely amazing album, a big surprise for me and a sure 5- star (review soon to come). It was full of progressiveness, full of good melodies, some energy and also restraint. A masterpiece.

Paramount is a turn towards the mundane for this talented German band. In this album, gone are the intricate textures and RUSH-like phrases of its predecessor; gone are the great choruses and mostly the great riffs and rhythms of that album. In their place, we get a simple, much more direct, but also less inspired, bland metal album. It's very difficult at times to figure out the prog aspect of the music. The structures are typical, the performances are nothing extraordinaire, and there's not a single song that sticks in the mind.

It's like somebody gave the members a dose of a potent tranquilizer that not only numbs the muscles but also the inspiration, as some songs are incredibly (should I say it?) lame. No energy, no life, nothing that distinguishes some song from others.

There are a few decent moments and the album is OK. But after such a gem as "The Art of Navigating by the Stars", this is such a tremendous dissapointment. A weak album, deserving 2.5 stars. As is my rule, I round it up to a 3.

Report this review (#158978)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars My personal Album of The Year 2007.

And a very aptly titled one. It's years that I have come across an album that moved and impressed and entertained me so much at the same time - this is the one. This is songwriting at its best, you'll hardly find more tastefully crafted songs in prog music. Here the music matured beyond inserting show- off parts (just think of the faults of Dream Theater, Flower Kings, Ayreon etc.). Everything you get to hear serves the main purpose: the perfect valuable composition! And for the first time there is human warmth conveyed by SE's music - they matured beyond hiding feeling behind the technical aspects of the music. The music even suits the vocals better. On ...NAVIGATING... I listened to Arno Menses with reservations. On Paramount he proves how good he is. Definitly the best singer they ever had - and the others weren't bad. This is the best album SE ever released, IMHO. Here is the rating song by song:

WHEN ALPHA AND OMEGA COLLIDE: the quintessential track, the whole album stuffed into one piece. Hard riffs, softer passages, very good vocals.(5/5)

TIDAL: starts off even harder than the opener. The hard riffs are soon exchanged for beautiful vocal lines that make you want to sing along and that's no fault, not even in prog music (5/5).

EYES WIDE OPEN: a fully fledged ballad. Simple but very beautiful. This is what Blue Wide Open from ...NAVIGATING..., was meant to be. (5/5)

ICONIC: a controlled song about the statue of Jesus on the mountain near Rio de Janeiro. music and lyrics not quite my cup of tea. (3/5)

WHERE OUR SHADOWS SLEEP: this is SE at their best again. A melody you can bask in, vocal lines you can only dream of. Description is useless - listen to it. (5/5)

DUENDE: A faster track, cleverly placed after three slower ones. Has a slight Spanish touch to it, if I'm not mistaken. In one instance they are singing about magic songs of inspiration, could have been the title of the album. (5/5)

BRIDGE TO THE DIVINE: a beautiful song with a catchy chorus - singalong time again. Or better not, listen to the masters. (5/5)

LEFTOVERS: the slow, concerned track of the album. A track full of inspiration in the details, the secret highlight. Easy to overlook it, with all those quality compositions here but it'd be a shame. (5/5)

MOUNTING CASTLES IN THE BLOOD RED SKY: an instrumental graced with intersections from M.L.King's famous speech. Cool idea! (4/5)

PARAMOUNT: What can be the ending of such an incredible album? SE's solution is to simply put the best track last. This track simply diminiuates everything else on the album. The massive riff that builds up the chorus and the carefully timed vocal line soaring over it . The way everthing pulls and pushes against each other: this chorus is continental drift set to music. An unforgettable experience.

So, if you have liking for good compositions instead of heading blindly for long tracks or technical show- offs - then this is probably the record for You. And to You it is Very Highly Recommended!

5 stars.

Report this review (#163262)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I liked "The Art Of Navigating By The Stars" a lot even though it was big change from their past albums. It seems like they are drifting further and further from the Prog-Metal genre. Nothing they've done compares to "A Sense Of Change" which was released in 1991, now that was an amazing Prog-Metal recording ! "Paramount" is a good album but for me it's too straight forward and the vocals don't do a lot for me especially the harmonies. I miss the complexity.

"When Alpha And Omega Collide" is spacey to start with before heavy drums and some power drop in. It settles back down when the vocals come in.The contrast continues. I do like the power that comes and goes on this one. "Tidal" like the previous track has some powerful pasages, although it does settle down at times. "Eyes Wide Open" is a ballad and this is where they lose me, it sounds like a power ballad on the chorus. "Iconic" has my attention with the intro and really the whole song. This one has some atmosphere to it. I like when the tempo picks up after 2 minutes and later before 4 1/2 minutes. Not a big fan of the uptempo vocal melodies though,they kind of spoil what could have been a dark and atmospheric song.

"Where Our Shadows Sleep" is a great song instrumentally but again the harmonies and vocals kind of ruin the mood. Some chunky bass and heavy drums here. "Duende" features some killer bass and some riffs too. One of the better tracks. "Bridge To The Divine" is a bright and happy at times,then it settles as the contrast continues. "Leftovers" opens with a heavy duty soundscape before a calm with vocals comes in. Contrast continues. Love the heavy sections. "Mounting Castles In The Blood Red Sky" is an instrumental except that we get to hear Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. It's kind of cool actually. It sounds like it's raining late in the song. "Paramount" has a sample of the Apollo 11 lift off a minute in. Heaviness follows. It settles with vocals 2 minutes in. It's heavy again as the contrast continues. A trumpet solo comes in late. I like how dark and heavy this one is.

3.5 stars.There's a lot to like here. I just wish i didn't have problems with certain parts of this record because it is well written and played.

Report this review (#201487)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Paramount follows up the excellent The Art of Navigating by the Stars. Although the two albums share a lot in common, given the circumstances that surround both, one can understand that Paramount just does not reach the heights of Art.

SE got back together with their original guitarist, Markus Steffan and recruited a great new singer, Arno Menses prior to recording The Art. Why Steffan left in the first place is not public knowledge that I know of but there must have been issues with the brothers Holzwarth, who make up one of the best rhythm sections in the business. But all was well at the time and a huge musical statement was produced in The Art. The band then followed up with Paramount, only to disband in the months after the release. Perhaps old tensions surfaced again, but Steffan and Menses decided to strike out and start a new band called Subsignal. So perhaps Paramount was saddled with band strife and thus was not able to measure up to The Art.

Don't get me wrong, this is still a strong album. The metal is turned up a notch from The Art but still is used to enhance, not as a main element. Melody still is the key with the bass and drums being a huge part of the musical direction, not just a supporting one. There are no keyboards again (something Subsignal will have) but the sound is still as full as before and the prog label can still be used. The Art was really one long piece of music and each song really fit well and flowed together whereas Paramount is more patchwork with the songs standing alone. The recurring themes of The Art are gone as well. Steffan brings all of his tricks out again and is truly one of the underrated guitarists around. If I had to guess, I would think that three hugely talented musicians as this may have not wanted to make a The Art clone, but had finally tasted some success and maybe stayed the same course a bit unwillingly. Purely conjecture but plausible I think.

Here is one of the few times when the PA 1-5 star scale is really failing me. I gave The Art 4.5 stars and rounded it down. I felt the fact that there were no keys and not truly prog in everyone's mind kept me from calling it essential. I also believe that Paramount is better than three stars and if you like The Art, this would be a great purchase as well. So I am going to call this one 3.75 and am forced to give it the same score as The Art, even though it does not quite reach the heights as that wonderful album.

Report this review (#237143)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It pains me to see this album being compared and shunned because of its predecessor. Unlike some of the other reviewers I consider this album to feel as inspired as The Art of Navigating by the Stars, I feel that the only shift that has taken place is a more focused sense of direction for both the music and the themes. Unlike the previous record, this one is able to maintain a nice sense of fluidity to it.

Granted, it has its slow moments, but just comparing the first listen I had of this and "the Art..." it was very apparent that to me this was the superior album. The arrangments are mesmerizing, the vocal work much more intricate and solid, every song has atleast one moment where I stop whatever I'm doing while listening(I'm a listen to music while doing things-kind of guy).

I guess it might just be me being more inclined towards a more "mainstream" direction of music, it's impossible to tell. But in general I'd consider this to be one of the absolutely best records of this genre.

A nicely paced, well rounded and highly enjoyable album with some pretty damn complex parts in it as well.


Report this review (#302457)
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars a very interesting follow-up to The Art of Navigating by the Stars, indeed. sticking with essentially the same line-up and essentially the same sound as its predecessor, Paramount is only slightly below their crowning glory album.

songs 1-4 are good, strong Sieges Even at their best but nothing extraordinary. then comes along the beautifully dreamy Where Our Shadows Sleep. they shift up a notch for the quick- step up tempo Duende (i love the bass riff with the verse).

Bridge to The Divine and Leftovers continue to prop up the album in the very high ratings, both excellent with a continuing contrast of upbeat and fresh (Bridge...) and dreamy/ meandering/ soul searching (Leftovers).

Mounting Castles combine an interesting use ot Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" with some interesting instrumental work.

the closer - the title-track paramount clocks in at just under 9 min and is the longest song on the album (contrast with TAONBTS where the title track is the shortest and the opener - maybe the band was going for some kind of message?)

too bad that this was the last we heard from them - i personally can't stand the vocals on anything before The Art...most of the awesome instrumentation is overpowered by horrible singing, so i'll just have to make do with 2 albums...

Report this review (#477335)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars On their last album before breaking up for the second time, Sieges Even marry their two sides - complex metal and melancholic art rock. The result is more straight-forward than their more known works, but strikes the balance between complexity and melody. Holzwarth brothers, who form the rhythm section, are more known as session musicians for commercial metal bands. Sieges Even was their first band started in the 80s, and since became more of an outlet for the soul. Markus Steffen, the guitarist and a good lyricist, in addition to the metal, plays a very clean guitar. Arno Menses, the vocalist, has been with the band only for their last 2 albums. Compared with previous power wailers, he is more of a pop crooner. He and Steffen stayed together and formed Subsignal, which more or less continues the style here, plus prominent keyboards. The duo are apparently big Yes fans, as can be seen here in Bridge to the divine, and their post-Sieges work. Sieges Even are a very distinctive band. It's a pity that they are no longer are active, but this makes their few albums all the more valuable.
Report this review (#1021775)
Posted Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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