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TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. - Music to Stand Around and Feel Awkward To CD (album) cover


TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc.

Heavy Prog

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5 stars Usually I start an album review with a bit of background information about the artist, band or project before commenting the music. This time the first thing I have to mention is the spectacular way the album is presented. At first the package looks like an old vinyl single, nicely wrapped in a cardboard cover. Inside there is a CD and a A6 size booklet that holds all the information you need as well as all the lyrics, a special card an as an extra, a nice moustache. Check the artist's you tube clips to find out why this gadget is added. This special package makes sure this album does not end up somewhere in your regular collection and needs to be stored in a special place. To be honest, even without the special package this album needs a special spot, direct for the taking, because when you have played it once, chances are it won't leave your player/pc for a long time. Before I forget, the actual CD has been released to 300 piece limit, all hand numbered. My personal copy does not have a number, but my name on the spot,' which makes me feel special as well.

Ok, before I get sentimental, let's talk music. TDW stands for Tom de Wit; vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, record label owner and nice person in general. Known from previous releases and a five star album with his band Mind:Soul (see review). For further information I would recommend to read the interview we did a while ago (see interview). The opener Some Things, Part One shows another side of Tom as we know from his band Mind:Soul. This almost acoustic composition has relaxed but intense vocals and Adeia's Laura Ter Voorde's violin playing perfectly suits to the created atmosphere. The following Chameleon is the first re made song of the album. Intensity wise this one sticks close to Mind:Soul compositions, although the keyboards are a bit more prominent and Lennert Kemper's (ReSolve) solo would not suit the aforementioned band, but does perfectly fit to this stunning song. Surface Scratching is another nice and powerful composition. This time background vocals are perfectly blend in to the song and Dimaeon's Sybren Boonstra completely goes bananas on his guitar solos. Heading Back is one of the reasons you should buy this album; together with Dreamwalk, Part II ' The Descent and Shock Awakening this is one of the songs that are the extras on the actual CD. By the way, the rest of the album can be downloaded for FREE at TDW's website. Only a fool would pass on this super offer. Heading Back is a relaxed composition that can be seen as the lead-up to the following Home, Lennert Kemper plays a nice and emotional solo. Home gently turns up the power, this composition is nicely build with super sounding guitar riffs. During the midsection, the vocals are more darker and raspier than on the previous songs, which shows the vocal capacity of Tom. Nice guitar solos of Michiel van der Werff (Weltschmertz) and Norbert Veenbrink (Mindshade) finish this composition. Absolute highlight is the emotional and very personal Butterflies; an intense piano ballad which features Hanna Van Gorcum excellent violin playing. Listening to the following Mourning After II, I realize how easily all the different atmospheres on the album go well together; after the intimate Butterflies, the pedal goes down and a brilliant duet is the result. Together with Rosita Reitsma, Tom pushes the song towards the stars. How perfectly those voices work together and how wonderful Laura's violin is combined with Sander Stegeman (Sense vs Sanity) heavy guitar parts. The second, CD only composition is the almost nine minutes lasting Dreamwalk, Part II ' The Descent, which definitely is one of the spectacular highlights of the album. This wacky epic has every element perfectly fitting into each other; metal riffs, progressive synths, dark and moody vocal lines combine with acapella vocals. Even a part of Grieg's Hall Of The Mountain King has been fitted into this killer composition. You are going to push repeat after this song I assure you, you will have the need to listen to this one again. Shock Awakening is the lead-up to Jimmy and sees heavy riffing and a sort of multi layers spoken words preparing you for an ultra-heavy riff that opens Jimmy. This song has been released in a different form on Tom's Up Close And Personal album and can be seen as a political song. Frank Schiphorst (MaYan) delivers some fine heavy solos to this bass driven monster. The final Some Things, Part Two, gives us the chance to listen to ten and a half minute of brilliancy. Tom leads us through this final epic with melodic and symphonic vocals, heavy guitars and super orchestrated parts.

This is one of those albums you immediately fall in love with. There is so much variation in music and styles, you just have to push repeat to listen again and let the music fill you up. A very strong point is the way Tom uses his voice, he exactly knows where his comfort zone is and uses that in a brilliant way. Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To ! is an album that shows a lot of Tom; the human being,.. at least, I think he is one.

Report this review (#1553133)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
5 stars Earlier this year I received a Facebook message from Layered Reality Productions asking if it would be okay for them to send me an album to review. Almost as soon as I responded in the affirmative, Tom de Wit was in contact and we started having a conversation. He asked me if I would mind making some amendments to the band's listing on ProgArchives, and then one day a video case turned up in the post. I can't remember the last time I was sent one of these, so was actually quite pleased when I opened it to find CDs inside, one of which is the 2014 album 'Music To Stand Around and Feel Awkward To'. Tom sent me the booklet, but apologised for not sending the cover, which I then discovered was actually a 7'slipcase which didn't fit! Now, I haven't come across Tom before this, which rather surprised me when I realised that he originally started recording material under this name when he was just 14 years old, and is also involved with other bands as well.

The 24 page full colour A6 booklet provides information as to why the album was recorded, lyrics, Tom's thoughts on each song and details on who was involved. Tom is a multi-instrumentalist, providing lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, synth, orchestral and drum arrangements, but here he brought in others to help out. These include the likes of guitarists Frank Schiphorst (MaYaN) and Tristan Visser (Majesty) who are provided with the opportunity to go nuts with no constraints. In the booklet it states that Tom provided all music and lyrics, 'except for the solo parts and contributed mayhem by guest musicians which they all rote by themselves (I WASH MY HANDS IN INNOCENCE!)'. Apparently it was recorded, mixed and engineered by Tom 'I AM NOT A CONTROL FREAK' de Wit (his capitals).

If I had read all this before listening to it I am sure that it would have enabled me to listen even more favourably to this than when I played it, and take it from me that was already right up there! They are categorised on PA as Heavy Prog, and to be honest in many ways that is bang on. The site defines the genre as follows: 'Heavy Prog defines progressive rock music that draws as much influence from hard rock as it does from classic progressive rock. In simple terms, it is a marriage of the guitar-based heavy blues of the late 1960s and 1970s - artists such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath - and the progressive/symphonic movement represented by King Crimson, Yes and Genesis.' Musically this is a melting pot of bands as diverse as all those above combined with modern symphonic metal, but with strong vocals and a feeling of honesty and presence throughout. It is tight, it is fresh, and overall it is simply bloody great. This doesn't feel in any like a small limited edition release, which this album was, but as if it had been put out by a major label who had been convinced to spend money on it.

The booklet makes me smile, makes me think that as a listener I have a real connection with Tom and what he is trying to achieve, and the music just makes that grin get ever wider. This is grown up music, refusing to pander to any of the fashions that exist, even within the progressive rock scene, and instead is definitely moving down its own path, to its own beat. Highly recommended, the only flaw being that it took me four years to discover it.

Report this review (#1913731)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2018 | Review Permalink

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