Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Chain Chain.exe album cover
3.74 | 31 ratings | 6 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy CHAIN Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cities Part 1 (7:10)
2. Cities Part 2 (4:46)
3. Cities Part 3 (4:42)
4. Cities Part 4 (6:07)
5. Cities Part 5 (1:06)
6. Cities Part 6 (4:54)
7. Cities Part 7 (9:26)
8. She looks like you (4:52)
9. Eama hut (9:51)
10. Never leave the past behind (10:18)
11. Hot to cold (6:33)
12. Last chance to see (10:12)

Total Time: 79:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Henning Pauly / guitars, banjo, bass, keyboards
- Matt Cash / vocals
- Stephan Kernbach / keyboards
- Christian Becker / bass
- Eddie Marvin / drums

- Michael Sadler / vocals
- Mike Keneally / vocals, guitar
- Sean Andrews / stunt bass on 9
- Steve Katsikas / saxophone
- Victoria Trevithick / vocals
- Maya Haddi / vocals
- Jody Ashworth / vocals
- Edward Heppenstall / vocals

Releases information

CD Progrock USA-2004 / CD Progrock USA-2004 (Special Edition)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
Edit this entry

Buy CHAIN Chain.exe Music

CHAIN Chain.exe ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (48%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CHAIN Chain.exe reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
3 stars Edited 10/7/2005!

I listened to the output of second Pauly project Frameshift UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW just before and I have to say if these two records would be combined to one it could possibly be at least an album worth 4 stars. And the essential point IMHO are the vocals which I don't like that much (although I've to say James LaBrie's ones are not perfect either, but still better than Michael Sadler's). Maybe I'm a bit biased because I never liked SAGA that much as well. Although the record starts quite impressive with the "CITIES" suite which is in fact a bit like a trip in a roller coaster and carries the listener within half an hour through finest prog metal sounds, nice acoustic piano or saxophone parts, rhythm & blues and a cappella vocals, banjo play.....and what else? Maybe all a bit too much of mixture and less might have made a better album out of it. The ballad "SHE LOOKS LIKE YOU" is absolutely right in place and provides a bit of relaxation from this weird trip although I have to say again it would have sounded better with different vocals. The next one keeps the listener of from getting too much relaxed, a prog metal piece with a slight touch of nu metal and vocals partly more in a rap style. The ten minutes track "NEVER LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND" is as well a quite prog metal one and is in fact the last one of the album that I find relevant at all. Because the cover version of the SAGA song (that I never liked anyway) and the cheesy, much too lengthy ballad "LAST CHANCE TO SEE" are really dispensible in my opinion. The number of guest appearances is impressive as well the names (for example Mike Keneally, well known by his work with Frank Zappa and reminds almost to Lucassen's Ayreon projects (that I'd put much in favour of this one). In fact the thirty minutes suite is a little bit in a similar style, but for me the quite R&B and sob stuff like vocals are sounding irritating in some way.

Altogether this album is still quite a good effort, but I think a bit less ambition for trying to mix as many different styles as possible and another lead singer would have helped possibly to create a better one.

Review by Fishy
3 stars Half of the album consists only of one track of 38 minutes, divided in 7 sections which don't really stand on their own but that's not an issue since "Cities" is awesome. This is one of the prog tracks that don't need 25 spins to get into. The reason for this is probably the great deal of emotion and the memorable melodies. This is complex stuff but as a listener you aren't aware of that. Different melodies and moods shade off into another gradually. All of the instruments are played very well but the keyboards and piano are really top notch on this dinosaur track. Chains uses also the skills of some guest musicians and vocalists from whom Michael Sadler from Saga is common known to prog fans. The several vocalists do an excellent job throughout the whole album with big differences between them although. The vocal harmonies are great, sometimes dark and pastoral but sometimes uplifting, you can recognise some Yes or Peter Hammill to name a few. Most of all the excellent songwriting of "Cities" is simply amazing.

Chain is a band which started off in 1993 only to fall apart one year later on. In 2003 the band reunited for recording the music they wrote 10 years before. Chain.exe is the second album since then. The sound of this band is somewhere between progressive rock and progressive metal. Their musical style is quite unique but still it contains several influences from the history of progressive rock. Unfortunately not all of the other songs reach the same level of the major epic.

"She looks like you" is another track which shows the band is capable of things which are totally different. This could have been a ballad from Metallica or some grunge band. This song would make an excellent single with chances for a chart entry. It drifts on a strong melody. Great track !

"Eama hut" is a track which is rather heavy when compared to the rest of this album. On this track and the next one, the guitars are on the front. This should be listed under the file of progressive metal. The comparison with the sound of Dream Theater is obvious. The keys and the vocals sound as they were recorded at the end of the eighties. Not a bad track with a fine chorus and some sparkling moments but it lacks the emotion of other tracks which are included on this album. Even after several attempts, can't get into this one. Something just is missing.

The same review could be given on "Never leave the past behind" but It's a tad better. This anthem has some references to the music and vocals of Savatage and again. Dream Theater. The chorus of this song is great but after hearing it several times, it starts to be quite boring.

I can't see the point in doing a cover of "Hot to cold", a track which was originally issued by Saga. This is one of those tracks that defines the sound of this Canadian band so well. Chains hasn't come up with an original version, as theirs isn't sounding very different compared to the one which appeared on "Images at twilight". Not a very good idea to use the voice of Michael Sadler once again as he also did the vocals in 1979. I always loved this track and this version isn't bad either but listening to this cover version you simply don't realise this isn't Saga playing . Except for the vocal harmonies and the heavy guitar riffs, It doesn't add anything substantial. Moreover, on this album this track just doesn't fit in here. There's too much difference in style and rhythm.

On "Last chance to see" the vocals seem more important than the music which is odd for progressive rock. The vocal melodies are sounding like they were recorded in America in the mid- seventies and I don't refer to the production which is great throughout the album. Some of the work of Jim Steiman, Elton John or even Alice Cooper comes to mind when hearing this. Like on "Cities", You can hear several vocalists in one track performing like different actors in a movie, a bit like Ayreon does, but here it does almost sound as a musical. This is one of the best tracks on this album but it doesn't top "Cities".

I gave this album a three star rating. If I had to rate the large epic, it would easily earn four stars. The other tracks are decent but some of it simply doesn't reach the same level of quality. There's much difference in styles and moods between the tracks. Chain.exe lacks unity. You can hear the band is still searching for its musical direction. Using contrasts in music can be very interesting but here it doesn't which is a pity for the many brilliant moments. This album may be to soft for guys who listen to Savatage and Dream Theater. Fans of progressive rock will probably find some of the tracks a bit too heavy. It would be a shame this album falls in the gap between two styles of music and please no one. really should check this one out. Looking forward to their next effort.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Top notch album

Chain is an american progressive metal band formed around excellent musician Henning Pauly in late '90's. They released so far two albums, their second one named Chain.exe from 2004 and issued at Progrock records is a killer release in every aspect. Around Pauly the main composer are gathered some very competent musicins who handles instruments with an amazing ease. Some guest of the highest calibe featuring here, MIchael Sadler from Saga , guitarist Mike Keneally and two female vocalists. Music offered by Chain is very well performed with excellent instrumental passages, progressive metal most of the time but aswell with hints of progressive rock and even some jazzy interludes here and there, sporadicaly . The album is opened by the monster piece Cities, almost 39 min long track divided in 7 parts, absolutly killer , the instrumental sections are super, the musicianship is top notch, the keybords offered by Stephan Kernbach are one of the best I've heared on a prog metal album just to be check out the second part of Cities, simply great. The guitars of Henning Pauly is brilliant , he is capable to shift in only few seconds from prog metal chops to purely atmospheric passges and aswell he interlude very well with Keneally guitar. The druming is awesome, very busy drumer with some great and complex chops, just the gear Chain needed to come with a special album. Now, about the guests, Sadler voice is great, he is ina big form and he fiting like glove in the Chain music, his tone of voice is perfect for such aproach, very fine moments specially on Cities. Great choruses on Never leave the past behinnd another highlight of the album, lenghy again 11 min, with plenty of super passages , catchy vocal parts and groovy atmosphere. All in all an excellent example of how must sound a prog metal album, quite in the shadow of many other releases of that period and for sure needed a far more wider recognition. 4 stars easy and warmly recommended fans of the genre will be pleased to maximum after few spins. Very strong, I don't know their first album, definetly I have to check it out, but this second offer and aswell their swansong is quite impressive.

Latest members reviews

4 stars So apparently I get to be the first to rate this album something other than 3 or 5, so nyah! Anyway, though not perfect, this album's good features far outweigh its bad. As everyone before me has referenced, the cities epic is an excellent song, though it probably should have just been one 38 ... (read more)

Report this review (#116071) | Posted by epifreak | Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Chain.exe is in my opinion the perfect encounter between a catchy progressive rock based record and a powerful heavy metal masterpiece.The album start with a 38 min suite in 7 acts called "Cities" , a long trip into an impressive melodic dimension made of jazzy inserts , metal incursions and d ... (read more)

Report this review (#33079) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is unbelievable. It is a thinking man's prog metal album. The metal parts are extremely catchy and rocking and the less hard parts are pure prog bliss. If you liked Frameshift ,which is an awesome effort in its own right, this goes a step beyond that. There is a lot less of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#33076) | Posted by johnobvious | Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of CHAIN "Chain.exe"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.