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3 stars This album caught my attention, because the biography said their music would be 70's symphonic rock.

The album starts really promising with the intro, wich features flute, and sounds like Snow Goose-era Camel. The rest of the album sounds rather dull, and tends to focus more on Pink Floyd and 80's neoprog with bits of Yes en King Crimson thrown in The production is not clear but sounds really amateuristic and more like a demo here and there. But that's not the problem. That can sound really vintage, and that's fine by me.

One problem is the songwriting, wich sounds too generic. "I've heard it all before" is my reaction to almost every song. On top of that, the vocals are off-key and really the weakest point on this album.

There are upsides; the guitar and piano sound great, also the flute is a nice touch. When the band plays instrumental it's really great. Apart from the mixing of the drums. The drums sound like wet boxes.

Maybe the next album will have a more unique sound, and a clearer production. And less Pink Floyd-ripping off.

Report this review (#1596372)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Aperco from Tel Aviv, Israel presents themselves with their self-released debut album "The Battle". The CD comes in a very nice digipack cover with embossed details on the front, and a nicely crafted booklet with lyrics and credits. Aperco is Tom Maizel (guitar and vocals), Tal Maizel (keyboards), Yuval Raz (bass) and Dor Adar (drums).

"The Battle" presents itself as sort of a concept album with repeating themes from the instrumental, almost symphonic "Intro" to the closing track "Awaken". The second track "Focused" is of course heavily inspired by Dutch band Focus, but still could be pulled off Camel's "Snow Goose" or any early Camel album for that matter. Great flute playing from guest artist Eran Teicher opens the track and ups my expectations for the rest of the albums. "Another Day to Live" continues its Camel inspiration with a beautiful guitar solo opening, before acoustic guitar introduces the first vocal part of the album, and this reveals for me the biggest downside of Aperco's music. The vocals are weak and feels partly very strained and too often offkey. The instrumental parts with more guitars, and even a sax solo from guest artist Neil Kalman, very much weigh up for the poor vocals, as the overall song writing is quite good, even if they bring very little new to the fold.

"A Call for submission" open with different voices floating in and out, before the tracks falls into the same category as the previous track with rather weak vocals and long instrumental guitar passages.

The 11 min. title track is much more varied, with more instrumental passages, incl. piano and synths. Another highlight of the album! Next follows two instrumental pieces, with "Euphoria" kicking off in up- tempo fashion, before slowing down into almost ambient territory, slowly building into a Camel inspired tune with flutes once again added. Overall, a bit dull. "Delirium Before Lunch" is more experimental with more syncopated sticks and riffs, jazzy parts and sound collages. Tracks opens and closes with a solo piano, with a short acoustic guitar added at the end. This doesn't do much to me, I am afraid.

"Dissonant Sound Within" open with a rather lacklustre vocal part, before some very nice guitar soloing from the frontman kicks in and makes the track an enjoyable experience.

"Horizon" is a short instrumental piece with flute and acoustic guitar deeply rooted in Camel territory, before the grand final "Awaken". Similar only in name to the famous closing track from Yes' "Going for the one". Getting past the vocals in the opening section, an instrumental feast with flutes, guitars and keyboards unveils, culminating with a new take on the opening theme from "Intro" and "Focused".

Comparisons with Camel is inevitable, and obviously, Gilmour-era Floyd comes to mind. I would also like to mention Norwegian band Airbag among the closest references, especially on "Dissonant Sound Within". Front man Tom Maizel performs very well on guitars, but his vocals are sadly inferior to his instrumental performance. Production is not top notch, but still decent. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for this one, but "The Battle" ends on a high with the closing track, which leaves me in good mood and makes me probably play this album several more times. Rounded up to 4 stars!

Report this review (#1725002)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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