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2 stars Bit of a disapointment after an interesting intro to pawn. After the 1st track it all seem to go down hill, long songs with very little happening. Not so much metal as it is rock, although this is not a bad thing. Pawn, in my opinion, being the only decent song on the album, althougth the title song has some good moments, but overall not enough to fit into 25+min song. Overall not a totally awful album, being saved in places by some very good guitar work.
Report this review (#30695)
Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very solid prog-rock/metal album. By no means wildly original, but they can certainly play their instruments, and the vocals are very warm, extremely pleasant to listen to.

If originality is crucially important to you then you won't enjoy this. That said, this is by no means generic. The guitarwork is mostly excellent, with some good metal riffs, but also effective on the softer parts.

Hourglass are undoubtedly pulling out all the stops to be as 'prog' as possible, at times the long running times seem a little unnecessary, but the near-27 minute title track is suitably epic, running across several sections, incorporating good contrast of light and dark, fast and more mellow playing. Some great guitar solos too.

Hourglass are definitely a band to keep your eye on, and deserve to be better known than they currently are.

Report this review (#76159)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Prog/metal listners this is not bad at all. I find it enjoyble, with diffrent moods, acustic guitars, electric, nice keys. This album has almost everything to be a good prog album. So my rate is 3 stars, every track has same value, so i can't choose one, maybe is one, the highlight is The journey into, an epic of almost 27 minutes. Something is bothering me, the voice, to warm for this kind of music, but not bad, only don't fit here, my opinion. after all the vocalist did a great job. In the end i'm saying what Degolas said: Hourglass are definitely a band to keep your eye on, and deserve to be better known than they currently are.
Report this review (#114712)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. This one does not hit the heights that their next one "Subconcious" reaches, but this it's still an enjoyable in my opinion. I would compare thier sound to latter day SHADOW GALLERY or DREAM THEATER. I should also mention the sound is crystal clear, excellent production.

The album kicks off with "Pawn" and talk about making an entrance ! Short outbursts of bass, guitar and drums are very impressive. The song starts to build. Some killer guitar with background synths. Vocals after 2 minutes. Chunky riffs 4 1/2 minutes in. Some grinding guitar melodies 6 minutes in. "Vantage Point" opens with over 2 1/2 minutes of outstanding instrumental work before it settles down with vocals and piano. Drums arrive a minute later. They're kicking ass again 4 1/2 minutes in as the contrasts continue throughout, with some variations of course. "Plains Of Remembrance" opens with some great drumming. Outbursts of heavy guitar and not so heavy synths follow before we get a blazing guitar solo. I'm reminded of RUSH before the song calms down before 3 minutes. Piano, vocals and light drums lead the way in this mellow section. The tempo picks up 5 minutes in with a tasteful and then not so tasteful guitar solo. Haha. Heavy riffs after 7 minutes. Check out the quick tempo shifts. It's riff city 10 minutes in. Strummed guitar before 12 minutes as it calms down again with vocals. A nice long guitar solo after 14 minutes. Nice. An excellent tune.

"The Circle Breaks" opens with acoustic guitar with reserved vocals joining in.The lyrics are meaningful and the song becomes more powerful when the drums come in. "Not My Time" brings us back to the heaviness with some fantastic guitar. Synths are swirling 2 1/2 minutes in. Check out the guitar a minute later. I love the drumming after 5 minutes. The title track "The Journey Into" is almost 27 minutes long. It's divided into 6 parts. It opens with tastefully strummed guitar before piano joins in a couple of minutes later. A change before 3 minutes as vocals and aggressive guitar arrive.TOOL-like drumming 4 1/2 minutes in as guitar grinds away and piano plays on. An excellent guitar solo 6 minutes in. A calm 10 minutes in as vocals and acoustic guitar lead the way. Some extreme heaviness comes crushing in 13 1/2 minutes in. Vocals a minute later. Lots of swagger 16 1/2 minutes in. A couple of minutes later the guitar once again grinds away. Another calm before 21 minutes with piano and tasteful guitar. Check out the fat bass 22 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are back a minute later in a catchy melody with strummed guitar and drums. It builds and the tempo picks back up. The song ends with a nice guitar, bass and drum melody.

I do recommend this one to all you metal fans out there. Very melodic with all kinds of mood and tempo shifts, but I do feel something is lacking but i'm not sure what that is.

Report this review (#158381)
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I see an album that contains three songs songs greater than ten minutes, two of them being suites, I become excited. The chance to embark of a musical adventure is one that should be taken without forethought. Therefore, here we are: Hourglass' second album The Journey Into, a beast of an LP that's 75 minutes long and ends with an almost twenty-seven minute epic. Now that's prog.

Released in 2002, it should come as no surprise that this is album is representative of the I&W-era Dream Theater school of music. With that said, Hourglass certainly brings their own with strong vocals, tight yet lengthy songs, salient bass, and memorable melodies. And while being categorically metal, Hourglass places more emphasis on more contemplative, lighter passages over heavy riff attacks such that lengthy tracks build up to something with some decent variation. Of course, this is still progressive metal, and there's some delicious metallic goodness--the opener "Pawn" is a good example--check out that bass!

As mentioned in the beginning paragraph, there's some long songs on this album, and they're pretty good. "Vantage Point" is the first to feature the softer side Hourglass, and has a good instrumental introduction; the song is centered around its elevating chorus and vocals. The first and shorter of the two suites on this album is "Plains of Remembrance"; this guy begins with another fine instrumental before giving away to the calm--gotta love that acoustic guitar! But that too moves into the next movement where the heaviness begins, building upon what was before it only to bow its head to beauty. "The Circle Breaks" is a ballad; powered by acoustic guitars; it's nice. "Not My Time" is the other primarily metal track on the album besides "Pawn". It's okay. The song to conclude this album is a beast, the eponymous "The Journey Into". Like the other long tracks, it begins with a strong instrumental that transitions to a softer passage, but since this epic is almost twenty-seven minutes long, there's a lot of room to play, and they do it well while also giving time to some fantastic melodies. This band is good at balancing rocking out with ensuring their songs don't degrade into ostensible jam sessions.

I learned about this band from perusing PA's alphabetical lists of bands, and what I discovered is very solid progressive metal that emphasizes building up their lengthy songs with strong musicianship without succumbing to ostensibly boring passages of fluff. Not only that, but they also don't bury the bass. I look forward to listening to their other albums.

Revision: Fixed and clarified some stuff

Revision: Rewrote most of the review

Report this review (#2419622)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2020 | Review Permalink

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