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Cliffhanger - Hope And Despair CD (album) cover




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erik neuteboom
3 stars I have followed Cliffhangeralmost from the beginning and was impressed by their skills, musical ideas and enthousiasm. Although they earned contracts from the defunct Dutch progrock-label SI Music and the known French progrock label Musea, Cliffhanger never broke through. On their debut-CD "Cold steel" (SI Music) the band played a pleasant and melodic blend of YES, GENESIS and UK with exciting work on the keyboards by Dick Heijboer, wonderful electric guitar by Rinie Huigen (Hackett-inspired) and inventive play on the Rickenbacker bass by Gijs Koopman (both now in Knight Area). On "Not to be or not to be" (Musea) Cliffhanger sounded more complex, for many progheads too complex and the large cult-following from the beginning became smaller and smaller until I was one of the 10 remaining fans that kept on visiting the concerts!

On this live-CD you can enjoy an inspired and entertaining Cliffhanger playing their best work. The only flaw are the vocals: I didn't mind about it but many progheads were complaining about Rinie's voice. OK, I can understand but on "Hope and despair" their is so much good instrumental work that this will not be a barrier to check out this interesting and underrated Dutch progrock band.

Report this review (#43125)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This forth albun from Dutch band CLIFFHANGER "Hope and Despair" is my first contact with their sound and one thing call my attention immediately... the easiness with they mix simple and " danceable" moments with intricate scales and musical passages. This danceable moments are in intimate relation with the bass guitar lines, which makes their music at least very original. However, this danceable moments in certain passages are long and monotonous, but in the most of times don't are long enough to ruin the totality of work. Other important characteristic is the great difficulty in associate their music with any influences ! I can't find none so clear to deserves mention, maybe a little bit of I Q . The best tracks are: track 1 "Escape" , track 4 "Good Things (last Forever)", track 5 "Fells Like Flying" and track 9 "Kill Your Darlings". My rate is3 stars !!!
Report this review (#934487)
Posted Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Entering 1998 Cliffhanger had to deal with the departure of Gijs Koopman.Koopman went on to form a new group named ''Android'' and he was soon joined by Dick Heijboer.This fact would lead to Cliffhanger's first dissolution during the second half of the year.However a posthumous live album was released by LaBraD'or Records, entitled ''Hope and despair''.This one contains mostly previously officially unreleashed pieces of the group's early years and the vast majority of the included material comes from a 94' live performance of the group at the Chateau Studio in Tilburg, originally being part of the cassette album ''Cliffhanger live'' from the same year.

At this premature point of their career Cliffhanger actually sound like being heavily influenced by the British Neo Prog bands, especially IQ and PALLAS, throwing a new dimension to the old-school GENESIS stylings of Symphonic Rock with heavy use of flashy synthesizers, melodic guitar parts and emphatic vocals, although Rinie Huigen's voice does not belong among the best of the league.Even if failing to come up with a strongly personal character, their music was more complex than most of the bands of the style at these early steps, featuring dramatic instrumental parts, complicated keyboard pyrotechnics, plenty of surprising breaks and varied rythmic lines.The sound quality is acceptable and the performance of the band is kept at high standards.Cliffhanger always had a tendency towards long, rich arrangements with extended instrumental moves and this is still the case here with the GENESIS similarities being the driving force along with some pompous YES influences.The compositions are mostly nice, even if the band seems often caught in its own labyrinth of complex and adventurous ideas, and the addition of some scarce organ and Mellotron samplers show their love for Classic 70's Prog, leading to grandiose symphonic themes with a beautiful atmosphere.

Excellent document of Cliffhanger's early years.Not entirely convincing, but definitely a good example of dramatic Neo Prog with a nice sense of melody and plenty of variations.Recommended.

Report this review (#1152281)
Posted Saturday, March 22, 2014 | Review Permalink

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