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Behind The Curtain - Till Birth Do Us Part CD (album) cover


Behind The Curtain

Progressive Metal

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4 stars "Till Birth Do Us Part" is the debut full-length studio album by Danish progressive metal act Behind the Curtain. "Till Birth Do Us Part", which was released on the Sensory label, is so far the bandīs only official release. They released a demo in 1996 called "Creation" and a promo in 2001 but disbanded shortly after that. Various members of Behind the Curtain have since been part of other Danish metal acts such as Mercenary, Pretty Maids, Invocator, Mnemic and Transparent.

The music on the album is technical/progressive metal. The music is full of innovative and adventurous ideas and should anyone be in doubt what progressive metal is all albut this album is a school example of how progressive metal should sound. This is not your hard rock or power metal influenced variant of the genre. This is what I think is "real" progressive metal. Lots of technical twists, complex song structures and excellent virtuoso instrumental and vocal performances. To my ears Psychotic Waltz is an obvious influence, but there are nods toward most of the other usual suspects on the progressive metal scene in the music too. Acts such as Dream Theater, Sieges Even and Fates Warning. But a comparison to the relatively obscure US progressive metal act Catharsis and their sole and rather rare album "Pathways to Wholeness (1995)" is not far off either. Iīm sure the latter was known to the guys in the band as it was released through the Danish Nordic Metal label and readily available in Denmark back then. There are 9 tracks on "Till Birth Do Us Part" but the display shows 10 tracks which means that between the intro and the outro songs on the album there are actually 8 tracks instead of 7 as the cover tells you. Confusing eh? Well itīs a bit amaturish if you ask me, but Iīm sure the band is not to blame. Iīve given up understanding the error and just try and enjoy the music.

There are 6 members in the band. Two guitarists, one bassist, one drummer, one keyboard player, and one lead vocalist. Several of the instrumental players also deliver backing vocals. The music is pretty varied so you get both subtle dark passages, really heavy odd metered chugging riffing and epic sounding sections too. The music is generally very melodic but you wonīt find anthemic choruses or many easy sing along parts on this album. Lead vocalist Jonas Herholdt Froberg is skilled and carries a strong and personal voice. I must confess that Iīm not much of a keyboard man when it comes to progressive metal and Iīm usually turned off when they become too prominant in the soundscape but keyboard player Morten Sandager Pedersen, while not always subtle enough for my tastes, does have a rather tasteful approach to the instrument. All instruments are equally important in the music though and the music generally requires lots of attention. Both bass and guitars play some really interesting technical details and melodic hooks too. Drummer Brian "Brylle" Rasmussen also needs to be mentioned for his excellent playing on the album. The tracks are all of a high compositional quality. Take a listen to tracks such as "Snap", "Dreaming Of A Way" or "The Fields Of Despair". Quality songs full of adventurous ideas.

The album is produced by prolific Danish metal producer and musician Jacob Hansen. Itīs a typical Jacob Hansen production but not one of his best. Itīs still quite an enjoyable sound, but in the most busy sections, the instruments are not always distinguishable from each other in the mix and to be honest it sounds a bit messy at times. Another complaint is that the otherwise excellent vocals are sometimes a bit too low in the mix.

"Till Birth Do Us Part" was recommended to me recently and itīs with shame that I have to admit that I hadnīt heard about this album before. I might have seen it a couple of times in the second hand album bins but never took notice. What a huge mistake and one Iīm determined to make up for with the deserved 4 star (80%) rating Iīm gonna give this album. This album showcases just about everything I enjoy about progressive metal and I find it highly recommendable. Especially to fans of Psychotic Waltz. Behind the Curtain is of course not a clone of that band, a real keyboard player in the Behind the Curtain lineup is a big difference between the two and there are other things that set them apart, but Iīm sensing fans of Psychotic Waltz could have a blast with this one, as "Till Birth Do Us Part" is of the same unique adventurous nature as the first two albums by Psychotic Waltz. One a sidenote youīd better hurry if youīre interested in purchasing this album though because Sensory has recently announced that "Till Birth Do Us Part" will not see more pressings. As you can read from my review "Till Birth Do Us Part" isnīt exactly what I would call a perfect album. The sound production isnīt the best and there is a weird error with the tracklist thatīs kind of annoying but those flaws are almost totally overshadowed by the adventurous and high quality music and musicianship. So this is overall a very recommendable purchase.

Report this review (#259857)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This forgotten and long time ago disbanded group from DENMARK,hit hard the prog metal comunity with TILL BIRTH DO US PART,a very twisted and clever title name!It was in the glory days of SENSORY RECORDS when they signed bands from all over the world ,with a great sense of anticipation ,good taste and inspiration!This album can be considerated a forgotten pearl and has,even today-in 2010-his charm and fascination!It's very tortured prog metal in the vein of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ-especially because the voice of JONAS HERHOLDT FROBERG- amazingly similar to the unique BUDDY LACKEY!he guys are extremely talented and the compositions are very performant,well composed ad balanced-with crunchy riffs and full guitar sound!Maybee the middle tones of the recordings are too present,and the instruments are having a louder display then vocals,but it sounds more metal progressive than progressive metal-which ,in my opinion-it's not the same thing!Most of the songs are midtempo,but we have some double pedals too,diversity being not a strong point for the guys!They have some very atractive and inspired instrumental interventions-when the imagination of the guys are really unleashed,but the melodic liners are- in a way-the same.!JACOB HANSEN-the producer has his own style,we can even recognise his hand on many productions-but in 1999,when this album was released-it was a decent production anyway!Very recomandable for those who like tortured metal songs with a progressive edge,and especially PSYCHOTIC WALLZ and BUDDY LACKEY fans too!4 STARS for an ambitious and intriguing prog metal album!
Report this review (#265911)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Birth...

This album is one of those rare progressive gems that crop up now and then if one really goes beyond the dull tip of the iceberg of the Danish music industry - while Danish commercial music tends to be very uninteresting and characterized by lack of variation, there is a huge underground of really interesting pop and rock music. This body of interesting non-mainstream music is the locus of artists like Anubis Gate, Efterklang, and Mew (who have nevertheless achieved some commercial success) as well as obscure but fascinating one-off releases like Zaragon's "No Return" and Behind the Curtain's "Till Birth Do Us Part".

While the influences from prog metal legends like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Queensrĸche and, especially, Psychotic Waltz a well as metal acts like King Diamond/Mercyful Fate and Paradise Lost are evident, "Till Birth Do Us Part" is a quite original release which carefully balances hard-hitting groovy riffs, quirky odd time signatures, haunting and atmospheric keyboards, and melancholic piano-parts. Especially the vocals, which sound like a cross between Phil Lynott and Matt Barlow, are interesting and quite unusual for the genre at the time, when more operatic vocals were preferred.

I am sure that most fans of progressive metal, and even some fans of traditional prog rock, will like this album - especially those who are into the psychedelic branch of progressive metal heard on the two first Psychotic Waltz releases.

Report this review (#273431)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink

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