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Seven Steps To The Green Door - The Puzzle CD (album) cover


Seven Steps To The Green Door


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A more recent project of Toxic Smile's keyboardist/sax player Marek Arnold, Seven Steps to the Green Door won the first prize in two different categories at the German Rock and Pop Awards with their unique blend of styles.The band features an expanded line-up with three vocalists ( Anne Trautmann, Ronny Grubber and Lars Koehler) with also bassist Heiko Rehm, drummer Ulf Reinhardt and guitarist Andreas "Eddy" Gemeinghard.Their debut from 2006, entitled ''The Puzzle'', was recorded in three different cases and was released independently.

If there is a band that should be labeled as Crossover Prog, this German act is definitely the one.With their special mix of melodic Heavy Prog, Progressive Metal, Fusion and Pop Rock and the presence of three different voices in the same album, Seven Steps to the Green Door can only be put in the same line with groups such as A.C.T. and PROFUSION.Impressive, still accesible musicianship all the way with powerful DREAM THEATER-like synthesizers, dynamic guitar moves, pounding rhythmic parts, excellent solos along with a certain touch of virtuosity produce a very rich and multi-colored musical content of high level.But these are offered to the listener with catchy choruses, plenty of melodic lines and even some softer ballad-like moments.A couple of these well-crafted compositions even contain some Rap-like vocal lines, that surprisingly work extremely well.In the opening tracks Marek Arnold delivers also some nice sax passages, yet they are offered more as an addition to the rest of the album's melodic lines.The closing track though is fully Jazz-oriented with a more improvised performance on clarinet, supported by a smooth but great rhythm section and a set of various piano/keyboard themes, another welcome suprise in the list of the excellent tracks.

Superb debut to say the least.A very tight and sufficiently compatible mix of different Prog-related styles create an album filled with charming, melodic and adventurous compositions.Highly recommended.

Report this review (#888099)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars SSTTGD were formed in 2004 by keyboard player and saxophonist Marek Arnold (Toxic Smile, UPF, Flaming Row, Cyril) and drummer Ulf Reinhardt. With Andreas Gemeinhardt on guitars, Heiko Rehm on bass and three singers (Lars K'hler, Ronny Gruber and Anne Trautmann), they released this their debut album in 2006. It won some major awards in their home country of Germany and it isn't hard to see why, as this is progressive in its very truest sense, mixing and melding different styles to become progressive, metallic, melodic, hard rock and pop, often all in the same song. It is incredibly hard to pick out what makes this such a great album, whether it is the vocals, the melding and blending of styles, the shredding, or indeed total lack of guitar and drums at all at time, but eventually I think I managed to pin it down to just one instrument, the piano.

The piano is at the very heart of what is happening, and there are times when Marek is playing against riffed guitars, something that is incredibly unusual, as when a keyboard player is involved like that he is generally using a synth. There are quite a few sections where Marek is holding his own, either with or without a singer also being involved, and then the band may move seamlessly into something that has a great deal of attack with Andreas showing that he is a fine guitarist while Marek moves into some different sounds. With male and female vocals, and the band throwing so many styles into the melting point, from late Seventies rock that sounds as if disco is coming back into fashion to metallic riffs: I am sure I even heard a didgeridoo at one point. Highly accessible, hugely enjoyable, this is a fun album that makes me smile each and every time I play it.

Report this review (#1913060)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2018 | Review Permalink

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