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Michael Pinnella

Symphonic Prog

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Michael Pinnella Enter By the Twelfth Gate album cover
3.41 | 30 ratings | 6 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The White Room (5:23)
2. Edge Of Insanity (4:24)
3. Piano Concerto#1 mvt. 1 (5:11)
4. Enter By The 12th Gate (4:30)
5. Falling From The Sky (2:55)
6. Welcome To My Daydream (3:22)
7. Piano concerto #1 mvt. 2 (2:26)
8. Piano concerto #1 mvt. 3 (2:19)
9. Live for the day (3:36)
10. *Scriabin Etude OP. 42 no 5 * (1:50)
11. Moracan Lullaby (1:50)
12. Departing for Eternity (1:24)
13. Cross the Bridge (4:55)

Total Time: 44:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Pinella / piano, keyboards, bass & drum programming

Releases information

CD SPV Inside Out SPV 085-40532 (2004)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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MICHAEL PINNELLA Enter By the Twelfth Gate ratings distribution

(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MICHAEL PINNELLA Enter By the Twelfth Gate reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
3 stars This is one of those albums that's definitely more than "die-hard fans only", but especially since it's a first solo effort, I'd probably suggest that unless you are really into classically-oriented synth work, you should probably be a fan of at least one SYMPHONY X album before you get this one. Personally, I did enjoy MICHAEL PINNELLA's first solo album Enter at the Twelfth Gate, and think it belongs in the collection of any SYMPHONY X fan. Let me make it clear--this is not a metal album. Rather, this is classically-driven, with some funky rock thrown in there for good measure. There's a sense of humor and happiness that dominates even the darker sections of the music; I imagine some might find it "cheesy", but I'm not bothered. Some parts resemble modern video-game scoring, with the sudden jumps between themes and moods.

As a die-hard fan, I could tell from this that PINNELLA is the source of some of the intricate arrangements found in albums like V: The New Mythology Suite, in conjunction with ROMEO--though I did think I started to get an idea which part of the composing and arranging he is responsible for (more on that shortly). Also, PINNELLA provides some fantastic keyboard work from both a technical and atmospheric/emotional standpoint. While--of course--he spends some time showing off how fast he can go and what kind of classical training he has, PINNELLA's playing does not suffer from the sort of coldness and outright self-indulgence one hears from a keyboardist like JORDAN RUDESS. While only 1:24 in length, the emotional highlight of the album was the sweet, melancholy "Departing for Eternity", where, somewhat reminiscent of V's "Rediscovery, Part 1", PINNELLA's synth gently weeps.

Don't be scared of the idea of a synth-only album...the technology PINNELLA employs is pretty good, and the producton (with one little bitty exception) shines. A pretty convincing piano lends warmth to the sound. Also, I actually found myself checking the CD notes to see if he'd hired a session bassist--but no, that was actually PINNELLA himself. The synth drums don't come off sounding too much like a drum machine; rather, it's clear that PINNELLA took the time to write out all of the parts, and there's a clear RULLO influence in tracks like "Edge of Insanity", "Live for the Day", There might be some who wouldn't care for the tone of the electronic soloing synth--but if you are a fan of SYMPHONY X, you already know it and love it, so don't worry. The album is littered with some very creative chord sequences, arpeggios, and piano work--including PINNELLA's breaking out the (synth) Hammond to great effect in "Cross the Bridge"! That's an effect I definitely hope he carries over to SYMPHONY X more often if possible.

Ironically, what does hamper this album is the opposite of RUDESS' problem with staying on one thing and beating on it ad nauseum. Rather, PINNELLA has quite a tendency to jump around schizophrenically between themes, moods, and atmosphere, hardly staying on one thing for even a minute at a time, and (in my opinion) sometimes not seeming to spend much time in really planning out transitions. This is why I have an extremely hard time singling out favorite songs--because it seems to be made of a hundred tiny little "songlets"! Probably the most utterly jarring example of this mile-a-minute, ADD-type mentality (mind you, I myself have ADHD; therefore do not accuse me of slamming the category to which I belong!!!) is the sudden jump into a full-on Arab musical style in "Moracan Lullaby." Here, not only does the mood and theme change, but for once, the production itself drops dramatically out-of-step with the rest of the album. From this, I get the feeling that rather than PINNELLA, it is guitarist MICHAEL ROMEO that is responsible for the "bigger picture" of SYMPHONY X's songs and albums and perhaps PINNELLA who helps fill in the details and themes.

Ultimately, that's what this album really boils down to: details and themes. You come away with a feeling that you've heard something that's in a million pieces. Mind you, these are a million pieces of something good, something with real potential...but the feeling is that they have not been combined very well and that with some additional work, this could really shine. If you're a SYMPHONY X fan, I suggest having this around. If may want to wait for the next time around, when hopefully PINNELLA will assess his strengths and weaknesses and change his approach where necessary.

Review by progrules
3 stars Michael Pinella is the keyboardplayer of the famous Symphony X and actually that is the reason why I bought this album. Because I'm a big Symphony X fan and Pinella is an important link in the band. I got most impressed with him when I saw the band live in Amsterdam (2002) and Michael Pinella did the entire orchestral part of The Odyssey on his keyboards reaching at least 90% of the original studio version of the song, an incredible performance.

Since I saw him doing that my admiration had of course increased and when you see a solo effort from him in the store I think it's only logical to buy it. I expected not even too much of it. Because he has no supporting musicians on this album, he is doing 100% of the job here and I don't think it's really fair to expect something like the best material of Symphony X. That would have been simply unbelievable. But I did expect a lot of decent tracks and I can say Michael did succeed in producing those. After two fine warming up songs we come to a true and honest (well ...) piano concerto ! It's one of 5 minutes (mov.1) but I really like it because I'm also a classical music lover so I can appreciate a thing like this. At times this song contains some resembling moments with V and Odyssey but just a few notes. Enter by the 12th Gate (title track) is another classical-like track, Pinella is really good at these things ! Next one, Falling from the Sky contains once again some SX elements, it's really recognizable here. Welcome to my Daydream is a bit more in pop-style than classical, another decent track. Next two are movements 2 & 3 of his piano concerto. Altogether a short piano concerto but I think it's ok. I can't really say from this point of the album that the best is yet to come, that would be exaggerated but the rest of the tracks are nice/good making the overall performance of Pinella on this album good/very good. Which means it's close to a 4 starrating. But that is overdone really I have to admit, so 3 (3,4). Recommended for Symphony X fans who especially admire Pinella's contribution.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Michael Pinella is one of the most well known and in same time respected keyboard player from prog metal field. He is together with excellent guitarist Michael Romeo the head and main composers of the prog metal act Symphony X. I'm a fan of the band for years and because of that I've decided to check his first and only album relesed under his name. Enter by the twelfth gate issued in 2004 is a fine piece of symphonic prog constructed on keyboards. Everything what is to be heared here is made by him, besides the keyboards and orchestrations, he is responsable for bass lines, drum programming and all the sounds. He done a good job for sure, he is a master of the keyboards for sure, but I don't think this release is an excellent offer, at least for me. Mainly I think the talent and skills of this musician are more puted in evidence while is in the present of Michael Romeo from Symphony X, together they made some outstanting arrangements, really fascinating. Here where is only him, the passages are little , I don't know how to call it, dull, not bad for sure, but without substance. The album is pretty much dominated by his instrument, where the passages are ok, no bad pieces here, but no highlits either. He toys with neo classical arrangements combined with of course progressive moves, this is no metal album as we may think and expect from him. personaly I find the release ok, I'm not fond of that piano concerto parts at all, I found it unnecesary here. Let's say 3 stars for this one, I prefer him 100 times more on Symphony X, still enjoyble to listen when relaxing or want to have a nice quite evening.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Born in 1969 in the New Jersey area, being the youngest among seven kids, Michael Pinnella was destined to become a well-known figure of the Prog Metal scene.He is a founding member and the long-time keyboardist of Symphony X, in my opinion one of the best ever Prog Metal acts, although I am far removed from such listenings.But he also recorded a solo album in 2004 with an epic front cover and the even more epic title ''Enter by the twelfth gate'', released on Inside Out.Pinnella played all instruments and arranged the programming on his own forces, while he dedicated this work to his mother, who passed away the very same year.

Now, all the elements -considering the keyboard work- appearing in a Symphony X album are alive and kickin' in this effort, except that this is what it is: A keyboard-centered album, full of interludes, preludes, pyrotechnics and solos.So you should cut out any links to the mascular sound of his regular band and try to sink into a world of Neo-Classical, Fusion and Piano Rock arrangements, obviously inspired by Classical Music and somewhat close to the offerings by JORDAN RUDDESS.No question, Pinnella is a gifted musician, a unique talent indeed, who's impressive technique and sophisticated education shines through the album.Some very nice orchestrations with a decent programming, an acceptable work on bass and drum sounds and Pinnella's ability to deliver atmospheric, virtuosic and bombastic keyboard lines in parallel lines are the leading forces of the album, which obtains often a cinematic flavor.On the other hand these one-man efforts have some flaws you know before even hearing them.The programmed parts never reach the level of the natural sound plus some of the grandiose solos and excessive acrobatics do sound a little lifeless at the very end.But we are talking about Pinnella here and the bulk of the album is pretty entertaining, he even focuses quite often to classical arrangements than keyboard Prog, showing full respect to what influenced him at his very first steps.

Half keyboard-led Symph Prog, half Piano/Academic/Classical Music.Quite cinematic stuff overall with some very pompous executions.Recommended, especially to lovers of Classical Music and Symphonic Rock.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I have always liked discs in solitaire of the key distas in this case the one of SYMPHONY X, that in truth I leave myself hit with this work in which she does everything, programs low and the battery, simply this man only does the one of a band, without a doubt I am demonstrated with this work ... (read more)

Report this review (#88670) | Posted by Shelket | Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Michael Pinella is a member of the prog metal band Symphony X, however, his solo album is NOT metal music. This album is a symphonic prog album! Pinella does a fantastic job with all the instruments! Apparently, he programs a drum machine, but he programs it so well that you can hardly notice ... (read more)

Report this review (#41175) | Posted by Dan Yaron | Monday, August 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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