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Amon Ra - Precarious Balance CD (album) cover

PRECARIOUS BALANCE

Amon Ra

Neo-Prog


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apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Amon Ra's roots can be traced around 1990 in Bamberg, Germany and the Uriah Heep/Deep Purple cover band "Friday the 13th".After the arrival of drummer Lothar Hermann in 1993 the band changed the sound into a more progressive direction, leading to the departure of singer Elmar Pfister.In a clever move the rest of the crew hired German-American vocalist Scott Balaban and a new era begun for the band.Finally in 1998 the long-awaited debut of the band ''Precarious Balance'' sees the light both as a private press and as a release on Treasure Records (though with different covers).

Amon Ra played an elaborate and passionate Progressive Rock in the vein of SAGA, MYSTERY and PALLAS with some nice melodies and great rhyhmic parts throughout.Anyone expecting a rather straightforward album should be informed that all tracks contain plenty of changing climates between smooth and heavier moments with an overall accesible feeling but also some really artistic orchestrations.The sound of Amon Ra is attractive and dynamic, characterized by a very good production and based on the extensive atmospheric synths of Dierk Neldner, his nice piano paces and the fantastic guitar work of Thomas Wenzel with both fascinating melodic and groovy passages.The tracks are mostly long with good arrangements and a nice balance between instrumental material and vocal deliveries.As expected the voice of Scott Balaban is far from accented, a great vocalist having a typical American voice with a high range.The style swirls arouns the Heavy/Neo Prog field with some decent symphonic leanings here and there and the more powerful and rich moments are among the highlights of the album.

The band played live with acts and artists such as John Wetton, Versus X and Saga, but these were followed by several line-up changes, the most important of which was the departure of original guitarist Thomas Wenzel.While the band seemed to be active as for 2005, nothing have been heard around them since then.

''Precarious Balance'' is an album of measured, well-crafted Heavy Prog with obvious Neo and Symphonic Prog leanings, highlighted by the great guitar work and the very nice arrangements.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#894182)
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Amon Ra from Germany formed in 1991 and since then they released only one album in 1998 named Precarious balance. Well, this is excellent effort by this totaly unknown germans, the album is full of energic passages, well crafted arrangements and one hell of a great vocalist, I was simply stuned by this obscure release. All pieces are adventurous, chanllenging, lenghty, with nice melodic parts and aswell more harder edgy moments are present like a hard neo prog. The music is top notch, imagine something between Saga, dutch band Bagheera or with Enchant or Galleon, Amon Ra manage to create something really worth investigated, nice complex orchestrations, the vocalist american/german Scott Balaban really integrated very well in the bands sound, he has a very deep voice just perfect. Every piece is a total winner, love them all with a plus on first three, The way, two Suns, In the name of Ra and instrumental 10 min of gretness The Story Of Beren And Lýthien. All in all one of the most intresting bands I've heared so far, unfairly unnoticed, they gone under the radar and without reason, precarious balance worth to be discovered by many listners as possible. 4 stars, even 4.5 stars, recommended, my version has diffrent cover then this one listed here, little more intresing.

Report this review (#1145136)
Posted Monday, March 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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