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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Do you love FISH-era MARILLION? If so, my recommendation is simple: BUY THIS CD! Even, if you are not bound to any music genre, you may enjoy this album. It's an excellent work of Germany band. I don't want to discuss whether or not their music is "derivative". Because I believe all music is derivative. The most important thing is whether I can enjoy the music or not. Darius "Voices" is definitely enjoyable. This band proves that prog is not necessary complex composition as their music is much simpler than MARILLION.

Darius music is not exactly like Fish-era MARILLION. Their music is much more straight forward, energetic and melodic. Why do I say that? Because you will not find any guitar sound similar to Hackett (of GENESIS) or Rothery (of MARILLION). The guitar style is like a typical hard rock band, but the riffs produced are really nice. You may notice the singer, Dirk Bovensiepen, sounds like Fish but it's not really similar. The other important thing to notice is that the band has an excellent drummer Markus Arnrich.

"Voices" is a very nice, relatively medium tempo, kind of rock music. It opens excellently with children playground voices and piano. The melody is simple and relatively easy to emulate. I guess you may like this track right away when you listen to it first time. One of my favorite is the second track "First Contact" which is opened by solo electric guitar, typical to any hard rock music, but the melody is really terrific. The vocal enters smoothly " The sin of an eternal soul / Finding the graves in the snow / Lost everything in life father brother and many friends .." followed by guitar sound. Really good. You can find that in the middle of the track there is MARILLION's "At That Time of The Night"-like keyboard / clavinet sound, followed by a simple bass guitar play. It's really nice shot! I used to repeat this track over and over due to this nice piece.

"Searching" is a song with some pop touch with strong melody. The music flows nicely. "Alone" is really a mellow track with a good singing style and some sound effects to create an accentuation of the story. Nice guitar fills and piano. The melody is strong. This is the kind of melody that people would like to emulate and sing (or yell?). For example when the singer sings "Why did you run away .?" with a piece of guitar riffs. Really cool. The lead guitar solo at interlude is very nice as well. It flows then to a female voice that indicates fearness and a sort of cry for a help. "Help me .".

"Snowflakes" has a similarity in structure and tempo as "Searching" but with totally different singing style and guitar work. The melody too, of course. The nice thing about this track is that the tempo climbs to a more uplifting beat at the end with dynamic drumming.

The last three tracks of this album are really well positioned to conclude the overall album. "The Pharao's Spell (9:18)", "The Seven Signs (5:33)" and "One Of Them(6:28)" are all great tracks that usually I keep repeating again from "The Pharao's Spell" until "One of Them". The three of them should be enjoyed in its entirety as one epic track even though there are clear break between tracks. The band has brilliantly composed the three so that at the end of track it seems like something needs to be continued by the intro of next track. It seems all three are united into one seamless epic. "The Pharao's Spell" has a nice solo keyboard accompanied by lead guitar. "The Seven Signs" is an uplifting track with dominant bass playing, very nice and stimulating interlude (one of the reasons why I keep repeating). "I dream of a dancing girl ." yeah ." . crossing the line" followed by solo keyboard and then enters the interlude part where guitar and keyboard sound make up a wonderful (yet simple) melody .and the track finishes brilliantly. Followed then by a guitar sound as an intro of last track "One of Them". Excellent. "I am heading home tonight ." sings Dirk.

This band has laid a solid foundation for their musical identity and direction. I don't care is it prog or not, but it's great! Unfortunately, I ever read the news that later the singer and drummer left the band after the release of a live album "aLive from the Crowd" that included a cover for MARILLION's "Kayleigh". Some attempts were made to replace the singer with female singer who did background vocal in "Alone" (fourth track of this album). I only got 2 studio albums and one live album of this band and was not able to track the band since then. Overall, this album should be in your prog collection.

What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#11912)
Posted Monday, June 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Well, what an improvment! While I liked Darius debut, A Poetīs Soliloquy, that record was basicly a hard rock album with some few prog touches here and there. Voices From The Crowd is another story completely. They are more progressive than ever, although some hard rock elements are very much present (like the guitar solos), which in the end helps to give them a different and unique personality. I donīt really agree with Gatotīs review: they do have some Marillion influences, but actually less than I expected here and found in dozen of other neo prog bands. I really hope the band gets together again and picks up where they left. Voice From The Crowd takes a little more spins to sink in than the first one (like most prog albums do, anyway), but youīll find yourself enjoying it more and more with each time you hear the CD. All songs are good, with no really highlights and, fortunatly, no downs or fillers either. Highly recommended to any neo prog fan or the gereral good music lovers.
Report this review (#113041)
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | Review Permalink

One might wonder why I'm giving 5 stars to almost unknown album (my review is 4th one). If you look through my reviews you'll notice the same thing - a bunch of 5 generous stars ratings given to obscure bands. That's not only issue of personal likings. If I feel that band did EVERYTHING they can on that particular album and it's their best effort, I'm giving them their deserved full 5 stars. It DOESN'T mean that they're better or equal to such masterpieces as GENESIS or KC albums - they are great in what they can do.

Back to DARIUS. They are great indeed and I won't even complain about low amount of reviews - I just recommend them for any MARILLION freak around! Imagine MARILLION (musically - melodic and accessible as 85/87 and dark and complex as 83/84) with a touch of Prog Metal...not even DREAM THEATER, better say...IRON MAIDEN!!! This hard-edged manner doesn't spoil the music at all, it only gives DARIUS that energetic and powerful fleur. Honestly it's very hard to tell which song (mainly from 6 to 9 minutes) is the best - they are all filled with wonderful emotional singing (between Fish and Peter Nicholls of IQ), astonishing guitar-work (think of Rothery sometimes mutating into Murray/Gers from MAIDENs ;) ), professional rhythm-section and melancholic piano- background (almost no keyboard solos! A pleasant surprise for me as a guitarist myself).

Conclusion: EXTREMELY recommended to all MARILLION/related bands fans. Not a clone and a very promising band - unfortunately they are no more...

Report this review (#116733)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars This German five-piece progrock formation was founded in the late Eighties and released her debut CD entitled A Poet's Soliloquy in 1994. Darius played a lot of gigs and they were even support-act for Canadian band Saga. Listening to this album I notice echoes from early Marillion, Aragon (because of the vocals like Les Dougan) and Saga but I got the impression that Darius does her best to sound original. The nine compositions are tastefully arranged and coloured with lots of shifting moods, breaks and accellarations. Wonderful songs are First Contact with beautiful harpsichord and Alone with warm Grand piano and emotional vocals. We can also enjoy strong and sensitive guitar solos in Voices, Searching and Snowflakes (wah-wah). The keyboards are varied, especially the piano is blended very wonderfully into the music. In 1997 Darius made this fresh, dynamic and modern sounding album, 10 years later they seem to belong to the progrock vaults, what a pity! My rating: 3,5 stars.
Report this review (#155152)
Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not metal not neo-prog but somewhere in between.

There's some horrific german accent in the vocals, but what can you expect from a german band. Excellent soloing by both the keyboardist and the guitarist. The drummer is metal-oriented wich gives the whole a sharp and heavy approach.

Musically it meanders between Saga and Marillion. The lyrics are about lost love, drugabuse and egyptian mythology. Maybe the last three songs can be considered silly, they are in the vein of Iron Maiden, wich is of course not all that intelligent. But the first part of the cd is sublime enough to keep serious listeneres satisfied.

Too bad, the band didn't continue, I think they could have been up there with some of the top neoprog bands.

Highlights are the intricate First Contact and the wonderfully crafted Snowflakes.

Report this review (#189240)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars From first notes on (with opening track Voices) one can hear Darius has been influenced by early Marillion mainly caused by similar vocals as Fish. Instrumentally Pointer's drumming is also imitated but the rest is not really the same. The guitar for instance doesn't really sound like Rothary (just slightly) nor do the keys sound like what Kelly used to do on early albums. The song sounds more like a tribute to me (3,25*).

Not too long ago I detected similar imitation acting by Red Sand and punished the album because of it. But because this isn't the same kind pertly one on one copycat acting I will be less harsh this time. Red Sands Music for Sharks was 100% imitation all the way where Darius only does with opening track. Second song First Contact suddenly sounds more like the in the band description mentioned influence Saga which is a totally different sound of course. Very nice track this, one of the highlights of the album to me (4*). The song could be called the hidden title track because "Voices from the Crowd" can be heard in the lyrics.

Searching is an ambient ballad, already making it a "not too much of the same " album. A very nice guitar solo just before halfway gives even more class to the song. Last two minutes the ballad style is abandoned completely and an energetic part starting with guitar rounds off this track (4,25*).

Also next track Alone starts laid back and even more mystic than previous. I really like the way Darius approach their compositions. The build up of this song is again impressive and works very nice on me. It's always a bonus if a band is great in both compositional as executional department as is the case here. Also here some great guitar halfway but the rest of the song is not really less I can tell you (4,5). Bovensiepen's voice is by the way still similar to Fish but only if he lashes out screaming.

Snowflakes is another high quality song but by now I start to realize it isn't really that versatile what the band is doing on this album. Well, nobody said they had to but it's always a nice way to keep the listeners interest. It's more than an hour of music so then you're up for a challenge as a band to pay attention to this aspect (4*).

All songs on the album are between 5 and 10 minutes except for this short Caught by the Magical Book. It's a funny little track with tropical rainforest sounds for a minute and a half (3*).

The Pharao's Spell is the longest song of the album. First minutes don't exactly blow me away but after about 4 minutes things get more interesting with a very nice key section followed by equal guitar. Second half this is repeated making it sound like a battle between Getta and Martin. After this it's Bovensiepen's turn again before Markus Getta rounds off in fine style. Great track (4,5*).

The Seven Signs is a shorter song which is caused by more speed than in some of the other songs. Still some very interesting instrumental contributions in this compact song (4*)

One of Them is another good composition albeit one of the lesser of this excellent album. Bovensiepen shows all he has in store here and another great guitar effort makes sure we get convinced of an impressive album (3,75*).

So the rating is very easy this time. Almost exactly 4* on average here can only lead to a similar final verdict. Highly recommended neo prog from Darius !

Report this review (#259730)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I wish to start my comments asking permission to Honorary Collaborator from P A Gatot to use the first phrase from his review #11912 (Posted Monday, June 14, 2004 ). I entirely agree with him. The music from DARIUS "VOICES FROM THE CROWD" leave im my mind (ears) a clearly impression which they get their main inspirations from the "FISH-era MARILLION". I think is enough hear the first track to recognize the Dirk Bovensiepen's vocals a tendency to make honor to Fish's vocalization style. Beside this the construction of melodies is very similar to MARILLION musical "atmospheres", excepting a certain slightly prog metal add-on. Even taking in consideration the musicians quality, the album don't bring great news, nor in improvements in MARILLION's style or for a creation of a self musical identity... in other words I think is a must from Marillion fans but nothing extraordinary. My rate is 3 stars !!!
Report this review (#1140460)
Posted Sunday, March 2, 2014 | Review Permalink

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