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Sun Caged - The Lotus Effect CD (album) cover


Sun Caged

Progressive Metal

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5 stars I have been following Sun Caged for a while now, and before this album always thought they were a band that had a lot of potential, but that's as far as I would have taken it. Well, I'm happy to say that when I heard this album, I was convinced that this was potential realized. This is a fantastic example of what Progressive Metal is all about - the stop/start rhythms, the instrumental sections that show off the technicality of the band, the vocal harmonies, the changing dynamics of the music. There really isn't a weak track on the album either - each track is an opportunity for the band to explore, and they do so very well. And of course, the album has something that makes a Prog Metal fan like myself drool - a nice multi-part epic suite. This album is in my top 10 for the year 2011. I hope to hear from this band again very soon!
Report this review (#469267)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me Sun Caged's 2007 release 'Artemesia' was going to be a tough act to follow. It contained absolutely everything that appealed to my prog metal sensibilities and for me is right up there with the latest releases of Dream Theater and Symphony X et al.

Thus I waited with (...somewhat prolonged) anticipation as to how The Lotus Effect could better such a stirling effort. It was certainly worth the wait. Sun Caged stick within the same vein as Artemesia, yet still manage to push the boundaries further musically.

Running at just over 72 mins the album certainly gives you your moneys worth. The album contains 14 tracks the first 7 tracks are pretty much stand alone. The final 7 form an epic suite entitled the 8 Auspicious Symbols (although there are only 7 tracks!?).

The material forming this suite on its own make this album a worthwhile purchase, however the first half also contains a few gems. For me 'Tip Toe the Fault Line' and 'On Again/Off Again' particularly stood out; then again I am a sucker for guitar/keys duels. 'Ashes to Ear' and 'Lotus' also provide softer, more melodic moments.

Sun Caged certainly are a band that deserve much more recognition and a place amongst the prog metal elite. Judge for yourself... 5/5

Report this review (#487713)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Well I must confess disappointment with this latest album from SUN CAGED. I loved the first two and really thought this one would continue the streak. From the cover art to how mellow this often is with the vocals being the focus this is a let down. At times we get probably some of their heaviest work but they are brief and often loud and noisy. Mostly this seems to focus on the lyrics like most concept albums do. And at 72 minutes this is too long.

"Seam Ripper (& The Blanket Statement)" is experimental and mellow to start. Like you want to turn it up, then bang ! That loud and noisy sound kicks in. It does level out quickly though with vocals coming in after 1 1/2 minutes.This reminds me of ENCHANT only a little heavier.

"Tip-Toe The Fault-Line" is heavy to start and vocals come in around a minute as it settles back.The riffs kick back in though. Drums lead then synths after 3 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. Guitar is next then the vocals return.

"Ashes To Ear" opens with piano then a nice crunchy sound comes in.Vocals follow then a guitar solo 3 minutes in followed by piano.Vocals are back.

"Shades Of Hades" is heavy with processed vocals early. A bass / drum solo before 2 minutes then the vocals return with a full sound. "Reductio Ad Absurdum" is a mellow ENCHANT-like song. "On Again / Off Again" kicks in right away and vocals and piano arrive before a minute.

"Lotus" is the one song that i really enjoy. Reserved vocals early and I really like when the sound gets fuller. Atmosphere ends it. "Parlidolized (The Ocean In The Shell)" is laid back with vocals a minute in. Heaviness comes and goes.The relaxed guitar solo around 4 1/2 minutes is good.

The next five short tracks blend into one another until we get to the closer "Let It Wash Away (The Lotus Effect)". Piano and vocals to start.It picks up before a minute and does get a little heavier later.

I'm thankful to have their first two albums but this one unfortunately doesn't measure up.

Report this review (#507470)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The lotus effect is the last offer to date of this dutch prog metal band. Released in 2011 at same LionMusic, this album was something of a let down from previous one. I mean this not bad at all but far from greatneass of previous album Artemisa. Another long album clocking around 70 min overall, this time Sun Caged optain for a crunchier and more heavier passages in places. The voice is again good, the solos of Coenen are ok, the drums ok, then what's missing? I guess solid and captivating song writting, they all handle the instruments very well but is not enough, is needed memorable and intresting passages to be found. Here on this album almost all pieces sound the same, and because they incorporated in some parts heavier sections is not totaly for my kind , really. Anyway some good tunes are present like Tip-Toe the Fault-Line , a very strong prog metal piece with blistering keyboards are faultless musicianship, another worthy one is On Again/Off Again, the rest are ok but nothing more. So overall 3 stars for this new Sun Caged album, less intresting and enjoyble then previous one Artemisia.
Report this review (#765169)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Amazing. Fantastic. Spellbinding. No matter what word I use, it does not adequately define this album. This was the first album from Sun Caged that I had ever heard, and I have been completely floored by them! Honestly, the album artwork is a little strange for my tastes, and I actually let it deter me for a while. Yet, the fantastic mix of heavy riffing, technical but not over-powering drums, melodic and epic keyboards, and absolutely unbeatable vocals is difficult to beat---I am so glad that I finally gave it a chance. There is a certain something that this band has---something that I cannot put my finger on---that just sounds so fresh and unique.

My personal favorites are "Shades of Hades" and "The 8 Auspicious Symbols" (the last 8 tracks on this album which are actually a 24 minute song). Every song---and I mean every---on this album is a master work. I especially love how the vocalist pieces together the lyrics----just expert in every sense of the word. I'm also a big fan of the keyboards, especially in track "Pareidolized".

I have read some reviews that claim that the music in the first few tracks is jumbled or incoherent, but I am not quite sure what they mean. This is a progressive metal album, and if the heaviness is too much (though it isn't that heavy), I suggest one should switch genres. The first track, "Seamripper" features some amazing drum work that could be a little overbearing, but the melody of the music and the vocals easily balances this. As it is, this album features a myriad of tempo changes, harmonizing vocals, crunching guitars as well as well-done solos, audible rhythmic bass, and keyboards that provide an amazing atmosphere and vibe. Add to this a brainy theme of using scientific terms to discuss human mortality and depravity, and you have an album that deserves some recognition.

Report this review (#808455)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sun Caged's second album in this format (and third overall) is close to its predecessor, Artemisia, - moderately progressive, moderately paced, moderately heavy, moderately..., well, keeping accessibility in mind. Maybe slightly more "colorful" - fuller sound, more solos and diverse keys. But is plagued with same problem - no consistently good melodies or compositions. Good ideas here and there, a song may start promisingly, but then follows a generic riff and proccessed vocal section.

Sure, melody is not everything - you could go for technicality or atmosphere. Few bands manage to handle both equally well - that's why Dreamtheater, love 'em or hate 'em, are the standard by which this kind of prog metal is measured. Sun Caged, I think, still follows the "melody plus accesible technicality" approach, but comes out a bit bland. An example of what I mean. Italian band Odd Dimension also treads the familiar 8-minute prog path, but imbues it with Rhapsody-like over-the-top ness, especially in vocals, making it sound fun as well as technical. Infuses prog metal, which has been growing stale the past years, with energy.

But song titles are nice, I'll give them that. maybe because singer is the lone English-native speaker. Tip-toe the Fault-Line. Genius. And the actual tip-toeing with the low-register keys in the beginning is cool too.

Report this review (#1052439)
Posted Thursday, October 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The lotus effect was a complete masterpiece to me from the first song seam ripper to the last. The progressions in every song were well thought out and blended really well together. Once again Marcel coenen shows how awesome he is with interesting riffs and solos that complement the singer so well honestly one of the bests albums i have heard. Though i didnt think so at first (you need to give it some time to really let the music sink in)

my favorite songs on this album are ashes to earn, shades of hades, and fish afraid of drowning. These songs really show the evolution in the people in the band growing as musicians and their increasing potential for greater things in the future.

the singer out did himself on the melodies for the verses and choruses on...well every single song melodies that will be stuck in your head in that good way that only sun caged can do

check it out

-stephen maes

Report this review (#1136678)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink

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