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Soniq Theater

Crossover Prog

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Soniq Theater A Second of Action album cover
2.40 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Gold Rush (7:14)
2. Elephant Race (4:01)
3. Marakanda (4:04)
4. Centaurus (5:14)
5. Way to Karakorum (4:06)
6. Transsiberian Railroad (4:05)
7. Seventh Crusade (5:01)
8. Nocturno (1:56)
9. Halcyon Days (6:24)
10. Gulliver's Travels (6:32)
11. Bon Voyage (3:58)
12. Phoenix (4:55)

Total Time 57:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Alfred Mueller / composer, performer (keyboards, electronic percussion, sampled guitars & basses, vocal samples, emulated acoustic instruments, Fx), producer

Releases information

CDr Self-released (2002, Germany)

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SONIQ THEATER A Second of Action ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SONIQ THEATER A Second of Action reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This second release by Soniq Theater; project name for German composer and keyboardist Alfred Mueller's releases; isn't as good or as interesting as his later releases overall.

The music is very much the same in style, instrumental music performed by synths and keyboards, with extensive use of emulated instruments. The mood tends to be melodramatic and bombastic, and as ELP is one of his influences that's really no wonder. Most compositions have some more mellow moments added too, there's plenty of lush, dreamy segments to be found here as well as parts coming over as cinematic.

There are basically two flaws to this album as I hear it: Firstly, he emulated guitar riffs sound rather terrible, which for me ruins much of the mood in the songs they are utilized. Sometimes the sound itself fits, but most times it doesn't. Secondly, too many of the tunes doesn't really gel. Either due to extensive melodrama, or due to segments not quite fitting within the context of the composition as a whole.

There are some decent tunes here too though, with Centaurus and Way to Karakorum the best of those. Not the best album to start with when getting to know this artist, but fans will get some interesting tunes here.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars The artwork shown here is the new version that has been created by a fan that Alfred is now using, but the original from 2002 had some of the letters highlighted so that it was possible to also read the title as 'Second Act', which of course it was. In many ways this is a direct continuation from the debut, although to my ears it doesn't work quite as well. I think one of the reasons for that is that there appears to be more use of sampled instruments in this album and the feeling is that this would have worked much better as a full band piece instead of doing it all through keyboards. I would really like to hear "Elephant Race" played by a group as it allows everyone to shine and really drive it along, but here with just keyboards and samples it does lose some of the effect. This is a rock number and I want riffing guitars!

Overall there are some great songs and arrangements on this album, but it doesn't quite stand up against the debut although some of the shorter numbers are also quite interesting. However, if you have already searched out some of Alfred's work then this is worth having and is probably 2.5/5.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars From 2002 and on begins a long and very prolific period for former Rachel's Birthday keyboardist Alfred Mueller, as he produced each year one solo album under the moniker Soniq Theater.In 2002 he released his second personal work entitled ''A Second of Action''.

The whole album is again entirely performed on keyboards, while all guitars, bass and drums are either sampled or programmed.Once more Mueller main stylings come from the E.L.P.-influenced keyboard-driven Progressive Rock, minus the jazzy inspirations, and ''A Second of Action'' contains 12 short instrumental tracks, which are nicely arranged and executed, suffering though from the disadvantages of sampled instrumentation.Mueller is a gifted musician, no question about it, and his keyboard themes are at moments fascinating, ranging from powerful textures to elaborate symphonic passages and smooth piano preludes to Electronic/spacey explorations.Thus, his music draws comparisons with one-man acts such as SHAMALL, NETHERLAND DWARF or BACKYARDS.He supports these good keyboard instrumentals with fiery sampled guitars, pounding drum programming and even some digital violins, however it is these fake sounds that make the album sound rather cheap.Additionally ''A Second of Action'' sounds a bit repetitive throughout, as most of the tracks are quite similar in terms of structure and the lack of instrumental variation make it a bit boring until the end.

Was this album performed by a regular band, we would be talking on another basis.As it is, ''A Second of Action'' would be a decent listening for anyone interested in keyboard-led Progressive Rock with symphonic leanings, but its overall mechanical production and sound prevent it from being recommended to a wider audience...2.5 stars.

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