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Cliffhanger - Cold Steel CD (album) cover




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erik neuteboom
3 stars Dutch Prog Nostalgia Part Two. Halfway the Nineties I got the advise to listen to this band from a fellow symphomaniac. He had attended a few gigs and was euphoric about their lush symphonic prog sound. So I joined him on a serie of concerts and soon became a fan too: often long and alternating compositions with strong hints from Classic Seventies Prog like Yes (powerful Rickenbacker bass runs), Genesis (Hackett-like guitar, Moog Taurus bass pedals and majestic Mellotron eruptions) and UK (Jobson inspired keyboard work). On this debut CD that was released on the (in)famous Dutch progrock label SI Music, you can enjoy the tasteful and dynamic Cliffhanger sound, loaded with shifting moods and soli on guitar and keyboards along impressive bass play by Gijs Koopman (later I was allowed to play on his Moog Taurus bass pedals and EMU vintage keys at his home, great experience!). Nowadays Gijs is playing in Dutch prog band Knight Area with fellow Cliffhanger member Rinie Huigen. Although I have no problems with the vocals by Rinie Huigen, lots of progheads kept on complaining about his voice and gradually Cliffhanger lost their cult-following, also because their music turned into more complex. They moved to the known French progrock label Musea but failed to make impression with the albums Not To Be Or Not To Be and Mirror Site, I still feel uncomfortable that Cliffhanger never got the recognition they deserved.

Report this review (#106427)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Although CLIFFHANGER had been around almost for a decade,they always kept a very low and undergound profile,which didn't exactly helped them through their career.They were formed in 1993 by tremendously skilled keyboardist Dick Heijboer,who later met bassist Gijs Koopman.The two musicians were joined by guitarist Rinie Huigen and drummer Hans Boonk to form the band's stable line-up.CLIFFHANGER recorded an eponymous demo cassette in 1993,followed by a 73-min. live cassette from Tilburg the next year.Their first official album was ''Cold steel'' from 1995 on SI-Music label...

A great album with strong keyboards work,both analog and digital and some trully interesting moments.Beware that this is not your typical neo prog band with only melody and emotion along the way.The album contains plenty of demanding and high-skilled musicianship based on Heijboer's awesome keyboard work.From the presence of the piano and 70's sounding organ to the massiva attack of synths,Heijboer's style always changes,including nice acrobatics,sudden breaks and take-offs,great solos and slow-tempo atmospheric passages.There are also a lot of dark moments with deep basses,background keys and haunting vocals,where the music becomes trully atmospheric.Talking about vocals,this section is held by Rinie Huigen,who's voice is a liitle accented and annying,but fortunately it doesn't become a really negative factor for the album.Hints of GENESIS,MARILLION and even KING CRIMSON and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR pop-up here and there and so,''Cold steel'' is regarded by my side as a very strong debut by this overlooked band,who deserve much more than they actually received.Of interest for the whole prog community.

Report this review (#198361)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink

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