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Sun Caged

Progressive Metal

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5 stars After only a few seconds with SUN CAGED spinning in my CD-player I thought: DREAM THEATER. Without doubt, DREAM THEATER has to be one of SUN CAGED's influences. If you want some more comparisons I might as well mention LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, PAIN OF SALVATION and SYMPHONY X. Very technically skilled musicians and surprisingly strong compositions from what I believe is a debuting band. Their debut album is better than many releases from far more established colleagues. The well-known talent Arjen LUCASSEN has done a splendid job creating a clear and dynamic sound mixing this album. This is progressive metal in its finest hours and it won't disappoint any fans of the genre. I'm still amazed to hear such a great new band. It's simply one of the most interesting prog metal releases recently.
Report this review (#27243)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! Super strong debut! I've been waiting for another band in the vein of a Fates Warning. Prog metal at it's finest! Powerful vocals and instrumentation across the board. Not suprising, seeing as how guitarist Coenen came from the band Lemur Voice, and drummer extraordinare Leeflang has been involved with the european music industry for a long time (including the band Nemesis). But where has Vuurboom been hiding? I'm just glad they found him. It didn't even take a couple of spins for me, I was blown away at first intercept. A must-have for any prog metal library!
Report this review (#27245)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Edited 10/4/2005!

The sound of the dutch band Sun Caged which got quite good reviews in some webzines for their debut is pretty close to DT's one. But this in fact is the only minus one has to put on this album. Apart of this lack of originality they are really playing a quite good prog metal. Of course the voice of the singer which comes very close to LaBrie's one even reinforces the impression of listening to a clone band. Still even the main structure of the songs is somehow DT-like but the fact that they're performing it really well is giving evidence for their high quality skill. The guitar player Marcel Coenen who has done already a very good job in the great band LEMUR VOICE is playing really excellent. Keyboards and rhythm section are very good as well. Sometimes one can pick up as well some Fates Warning and very slight POS influences in some more atmospheric parts. Overall they show a good balance of toughness and progressiveness and they are avoiding lengthy parts of solo "masturbation" as some people are critizesing in DT's music. The production by LUCASSEN is really excellent and the sound is stunning good.

After all a quite remarkable debut and if they will bring in some more own and inventive influence in future releases they could be a great hope for this prog sub-genre. Not necessarily essential but one could rate it with 3 1/2 stars!

Report this review (#27247)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sun Caged is another prog-metal force on the mushrooming Finnish music label Lion Music. The label has been gradually adding more legitimate acts to its roster to compete with U.S. based labels.

Guitar whiz Marcel Coenen is a vital component to the Sun Caged sound, which snaps, bites, and has you turning it up louder with each successive track. It came as no surprise to me how good this album was after hearing Coenen's astonishing solo flight Guitar Talk.

I knew that I was in for a treat of six-string shrewdness, but what I did not know were his partners in crime are equally adept at their positions in the band. Andre Vuurboom is a spot on prog-metal vocalist . he has it down pat. His vocal inflection is in perfect sync with the bands sweeping attacks coming from the left and right. They are a double-edged sword that never gets dull, that is a fact. Joost van den Broek (Keyboards), Dennis Leeflang (Drums) and Rob van der Loo (Bass), hold down their end exceptionally well. They clearly define the meaning of teamwork and jell together as a band very nicely.

You need to do yourself a favor and check these guys out, it is exhilarating prog-rock!

Rating: 4.5/5

Report this review (#27248)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars An impressive Dutch progrock band that teamed up in '99 with these musicians: Marcel Coenen (guitar), Rob van der Loo (bas and stick), Joost van den Broek (keyboards) and Sascha Burchardt (vocals), she arrives after the first EP "Scar winter" from 2000. The second EP "Dominion" was released a year later. The two mini-CD's contain not only progmetal-oriented music (like DREAM THEATER and some IRON MAIDEN) but also some jazz and fusion elements. The voice of Sascha is strong and natural and guitarist Marcel (ex-LEMUR VOICE, Dutch progmetal band) shows his skills. The alternating compositions are both complex as melodic, this band has delivered a promising product. The new line-up from Sun Caged (the name is derived from a song by Simply Red) from 2003 featured Marcel Coenen (guitar), André Vuurboom (vocals), Joost van den Broek (keyboards), Rob van der Loo (bas and stick) and Dennis Leeflang (drums), known from WITHIN TEMPTATION, a famous Dutch gothic band. The CD "Sun Caged" contains nine compositions with often spectacular shifting moods with elaborate and tasteful keyboardplay, heavy and propulsive guitarwork, powerful vocals and a dynamic rhythm- section. The music features exciting soloing but the emphasis remains on the songs, this makes Sun Caged sound like a band. This refreshing progmetal deserves international recognition! By the way: the Japanese CD version has a bonustrack entitled "Four guilders". Unfortunately mid 2004 keyboardplayer Joost (he joined Arjen Lucassen on the road with his musical project Ayreon) and singer Andre decided to leave the band, later the band decided to call it a day.
Report this review (#41771)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sun Caged came to my attention after buying STAR ONE's live DVD, as well as Joost van den Broek playing on various AYREON releases, and later, AFTER FOREVER. Sun Caged's debut is some fine progmetal, if somewhat heavy-duty at times. Lightning guitars, electrifying keys, blended with samples and everything. Sometimes I like a part, and sometimes I don't. And some make me think "Those guitars are going to break any moment", especially in songs like "Sun Caged" and "Secrets Of Flight".

I'm not going to review every song, as I'm not fully up to date about this album, but from what I've heard, it's a iron-strong debut. I'll likely buy their second album "Artemisia", but seeing them live...? I doubt I'm going to. Now, Andre Vuurboom's new band SPHERE OF SOULS, on the other hand...

Yours, Tailscent

Report this review (#89566)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Man,this guys must be DREAM THEATER freaks,as they sound more like DREAM THEATER than perhaps DREAM THEATER themselves! The good thing of the story is that they combine the two periods of DREAM THEATER history,that means they have the heaviness of the later albums of their (our) beloved band but also the technique of their first albums.There are also hints of QUEENSRYCHE,ALTURA and ELEGY in the album.Very skilled musicians,very good album.A musthave for DREAM THEATER lovers!My rating is 7/10...
Report this review (#148697)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars So where did this band come from ? I haven't got a clue, I recently discovered them. Strange because they are Dutch and so am I but really, there is so much prog around these days and I'm not particularly "interiorly" interested so I missed this release of 2003 for a couple of years and therefore I can only do the review just now.

This is Dutch prog metal. I didn't even know that existed so I was very surprised it turned out to be really great as well. This is a very good effort for a debut. The vocals are awesome, I'm not easily enthusiastic about vocals, in fact I can do without them in most cases but in this band they play an important role. In some songs they remind slightly of Ted Leonard of Enchant and believe me, that's a compliment for Andre Vuurboom. The instrumental part is also well cared for to say the least. This band does also have a great guitar player though I have to say he plays mostly shorter riffs and I usually like the more extended ones but ok.

The songs are nice as well but I can't say they are exceptional compositions like Dream Theater or Symphony X sometimes make. But there's no doubt this is obvious prog metal, the songs are good enough for that qualification. Special remark by the way for Unchanging (last track), a really fantastic metalballad that is !

So alltogether I'm thrilled about this dutch asset to prog metal and I think they truely deserve 4 stars for this.

Report this review (#152769)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I would descibe their sound as a cross between FATES WARNING and ZERO HOUR. The guitar work is very technical and complex, and you would swear it was Jasun Tipton at times from ZERO HOUR. This is very melodic and at times heavy, with a vocalist that I can't say enough good things about other then I love his voice. Fellow Dutchman Arjen Lucassen mixed this album at his "Electric Castle Studio". The sound is amazing. Actually the keyboard player (Joost) would go on tour with STAR ONE, and is on the DVD and live cd called "Live On Earth". In the liner notes they give a salute to among others ZERO HOUR, DEADSOUL TRIBE and EVERGREY.

"Sedation" opens with quite the instrumental display. A calm a minute in as those great vocals follow. Killer synths before 3 minutes and ripping guitar after 5 minutes. Heavy riffs end it. "Sun Caged" opens with heavy riffs and they come and go throughout. Complex guitar work in this one. Vocals a minute in. These themes are repeated. Fantastic song ! Piano 4 minutes in. Love the vocals before 6 minutes. "Home" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals come in to this pastoral intro. Synths wash beautifully until all is blown away by a scream and heavy riffs. It's so uplifting 5 minutes in. "Soil" opens with sampled spoken words before the complexity arrives and vocals that recall PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. Check out the guitar ! It then settles down as vocals seem to soar and it's all so tranquil. Heaviness stomps all over that as the contrast continues.

"Hollow" opens with piano as a full sound with vocals arrives quickly. This sounds so good, especially the vocals. "Closing In" features piano early before they hit us with some heaviness before a minute that comes and goes. Great solid sound as he sings his heart out. "The Eighth Day" opens with synths as riffs and vocals join in. Love the synths before 4 1/2 minutes. Heavy riffs a minute later to end it. "Secrets Of Flight" opens with some chunky bass and great guitar work. Heavy stuff. It gets kind of spacey before 6 minutes. More complexity and heaviness 8 minutes in. "Unchanging" opens with piano before reserved vocals come in. It gets fuller and the vocals more passionate.

A must have for Metal fans out there. Almost a perfect debut.

Report this review (#175095)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permalink

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