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OCEANS OF TIME

Touchstone

Crossover Prog


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Touchstone Oceans Of Time album cover
3.61 | 24 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Flux (6:01)
2. Contact (4:51)
3. Tabula Rasa (7:04)
4. Fragments (3:54)
5. Spirit Of The Age (7:25)
6. Shadow's End (6:57)
7. Solace 2013 (4:45)
8. Through The Night (4:05)
9. Thunder & Crickets (1:03)
10. Oceans Of Time (9:23)

Total time 56:28

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Kim "Elkie" Seviour / lead vocals
- Rob Cottingham / vocals, keyboards & SFX
- Adam Hodgson / guitars & SFX
- Andre P. Moorghen / bass, backing vocals
- Henry Rogers / drums & percussion

Releases information

Label: Hear No Evil Recordings
Monday, October 7, 2013

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the last updates
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The City SleepsThe City Sleeps
Import
Steamhammer/SPV 2012
Audio CD$8.06
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PID 2010
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TOUCHSTONE Oceans Of Time ratings distribution


3.61
(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TOUCHSTONE Oceans Of Time reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band TOUCHSTONE has been releasing new material on a fairly steady basis ever since they crafted their initial EP "Mad Hatters" back in 2006, and have since then issued a full length live album and four full length studio productions. "Oceans of Time" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through the Hear No Evil label in 2013.

Touchstone' choice of label may not be all that obvious to those familiar with Touchstone as a progressive rock band, as the label does appear to specialize in the more mainstream oriented parts of the hard rock and metal sphere. To my ears this appears to be a natural fit though, as Touchstone to my ears do come across as a band with a potential to reach well outside of the arguably limited spheres of the progressive rock universe. Limited in the sense of a buying audience I might add, as everyone familiar with progressive rock are fully aware that there are few if any limitations to that genre in terms of musical expression.

Strong selling points for Touchstone is that they have a compelling lead vocalist in Kim Seviour, and that they explore a type of music that fits her vocal talents very well. Alternating between fairly soft and smooth verse constructions with harder edged, metal-oriented chorus sequences is a specialty of this band judging by this album, and they are not afraid to craft choruses with strong sing-a-long sensibilities either. Compelling bass lines sets the mood and spirit more often than not, a firm and often fairly hypnotizing core foundation in most compositions at hand on this occasion. Keyboards are used to contrast and complement the guitars as well as being the key element when creating richly layered, majestic arrangements, and when exploring gentler territories frail guitar and piano notes are used to good effect for the subtler effects too.

There are many fine songs on this easily accessible piece of AOR-oriented progressive rock with metal edges. Personally I find Touchstone to be least interesting when exploring the more AOR-oriented parts of their repertoire. Well made music, but somewhat lacking in identity as I experience those songs. But whenever they add a few subtle additional touches the end result becomes all the more compelling for it as I experience this band, with title track Oceans of Time and Fragments as the songs I'd highlight in this context, the latter of them most of all and a clear album highlight for me.

Accessible hard rock with half a foot inside heavy metal is what Touchstone provides on Oceans of Time, a production that can be regarded as both of the above, as well as AOR, progressive rock and perhaps even progressive metal. It all depends on the listener, and what frames of reference you want to emphasize. An album that merits a check by those fond of easygoing music that resides in the borderlands of the five genres mentioned, and especially if you have a soft spot for bands of that kind sporting finely controlled, female lead vocals.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#1163657) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars The female fronted Touchstone are quite a conundrum in the prog rock world! It's probably fair to say that the band are more of a hard-rock group that favours occasional proggy elements worked into their gutsy sound over full blowout progressive complexity, but they really shouldn't be looked down on over it. I wonder if it's a case of a band unsure of where to head, but most likely they're simply trying to tick a number of boxes at one time. Musically along the same lines as other UK female-led bands such as The Reasoning and Panic Room, Touchstone's secret weapon is pocket-rocket female singer Kim Seviour, a dynamic yet restrained young vocalist who provides plenty of feminine charm amongst all the blokey hard-rock muscle. She's a strong role model singer for younger girls to look up to in a sea of vacuous useless pop princesses.`Oceans of Time', their fourth album to date, is perhaps their most convincing and direct work yet, and the endless melodic quality on display is highly admirable.

Opener `Flux' is a stomping rocker with a lovely reflective break in the middle, "The times they've treated us like dirt, and beaten down our sense of worth' is a particularly striking line from Kim. It's just a shame that when the band then returns to the kick-ass repeated riff from the start, a few seconds later the track just stops! `Contact' has cool bass and searing guitar runs throughout with a sudden soaring vocal crescendo that comes out of nowhere, but the band should have built up to it a bit more to really hit the emotional peak it needed. The punchy `Framents' blends eastern mysticism with heavy riffs and very biting `woman scorned' lyrics. `Spirit of the Age' works in introspective Porcupine Tree-styled melancholy and dreamy interludes from Kim around crunching powerful heaviness and some noisy extended instrumental bluster from the fellas to end on. Despite the opening sections of `Shadow's End' bringing a battery of kick-drums and snarling guitars over frantic pulsing electronics, Kim offers a sweet and melodic chorus over icy-cool Neo Prog styled rising synths. `Through The Night' is an energetic accessible rocker that's a nice quick blast of energy, but it's probably a little throwaway.

Album highlight `Tabula Rasa' lightens up on the heavy grunt, Kim pleading "Can we return to a time when our lives were simple...". A thoughtful lyric is woven to a strong melody with a catchy chorus, dreamy Floydian chiming guitars, subtle group backing harmonies, quick tempo changes and a soaring extended guitar solo in the middle. The piece then gently shimmers into a blissful and ethereal vocal drone in the finale. Delicate cooing vocals from Kim during power ballad `Solace 2013', a remake of a track from earlier album `Wintercoast', is another standout, and the synths in particular here work to terrific effect, delivering a hugely symphonic build and a proudly proggy wig- out solo. After an ambient intro, the title track, at almost ten minutes long, is the biggest prog statement on the disc. A heavy, almost Dream Theater-like grandness, nice flowing transitions between acoustic and electric spots back and forth ala Mostly Autumn and charming Rush/Yes-like diversions with extended instrumental passages make it a perfect album closer.

So, `Oceans of Time' is not the most challenging of albums, perhaps even occasionally dull in a few spots, but it's still well-written and tightly performed, a reliable hard-rocking yet accessible and catchy prog-lite album with often relatable lyrics. Touchstone have the opportunity to be a gateway band that introduces hard rock, female and younger audiences to the progressive genre of music, and for this they should be applauded. They offer strong and catchy proggy rock with great playing, and it's the kind of undemanding listen we all need once in a while!

Three and a half stars - but add an extra star for the photo in the CD booklet of Kim and her exceptional stomach!

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1184801) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 04, 2014

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