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Clepsydra Fears album cover
3.94 | 179 ratings | 14 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Soaked (9:02)
2. The Missing Spark (9:02)
3. Into My Cartoon (4:08)
4. The Age Of Glass (5:53)
5. Fearless (3:57)
6. Daisies In The Sunshine (2:31)
7. The Cloister (5:46)
8. The Nineteenth Hole (8:42)
9. Sweet Smelling Wood (2:46)
10. Fear (10:53)

Total Time: 62:40

Bonus tracks on 2014 remaster:
11. New Day (Part One) (Demo 1990) (6:11)
12. Sandflow (Live 1992) (3:13)
13. The Outermost Bounds (Raw mix) (2:54)

Line-up / Musicians

- Aluisio Maggini / lead & backing vocals
- Marco Cerulli / guitars, sax
- Philip Hubert / keyboards
- Andy Thommen / bass
- Pietro Duca / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Sandor Kwiatkowski with Pascal Jacqueroud (photo)

CD Self-released ‎- CCD 4110 (1997, Switzerland)
CD Galileo Records ‎- GR039 (2014, Switzerland) Remastered with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy CLEPSYDRA Fears Music

CLEPSYDRA Fears ratings distribution

(179 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

CLEPSYDRA Fears reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This record is a true masterpiece of neo progressive rock! The music is quite comparable to neo progressive bands like Arena, Pendragon, Jadis, IQ and Violet District. The lush, magic & ear candy melodic keyboards will easily make you stargaze. The floating keyboards are quite rich, colorful and atmospheric, however a bit less flamboyant & bombastic than on the Alone album. The VERY melodic electric guitar solos are very good, and it is all the time played in the high notes, a bit like the expressive neo prog bands use to play in their songs, such like Jadis, IQ and Violet District. When the electric guitar is rhythmic, it is not distorted too much, so that it just brings a slightly bold & pleasant rhythmic contribution. There are also many discrete distortion- free electric guitar notes a la Jadis, Pendragon & Marillion, which is a VERY strong point of the album, even more omnipresent than on the Alone album. The male lead singer has a very insistent, emotional and highly pitched voice, with a strong foreign accent. The bass and the drums do a very good job. If we compare this record with their following Alone album, Clepsydra are more sophisticated and progressive here, and they still have their very pleasant emotional approach. ALL the tracks are at least excellent. Again, Clepsydra here should seduce women with their simple, catchy, accessible and emotional approach.


Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I have to agree with everyone else, this is a fantastic album. So warm and atmopheric, very emotional too. I really like the vocals, accent and all. He's emotional and suits the music perfectly. The guitar is clean and at times so beautiful.

There are some amazing moments on this record, like in the song "The Missing Spark" where the main melody is absolutely beautiful, it sounds so good.This is a gorgeous track with soaring guitar and some great piano melodies. "Soaked" the opening track is more laid back with prominant drumming and the focus on the vocals. "Into My Cartoon" is uplifting at times with synths leading the way. "The Age Of Glass" is intricate with lots of piano early and passionate vocals. Nice guitar before 2 1/2 minutes then it settles again.

"Fearless" opens with synths as drums and guitar join in. Vocals too as the tempo picks up. "Daisies In The Sunshine" is a great title for this instrumental that is dominated by the acoustic guitar. "The Cloister" has a variety of moods and tempo shifts, from slow and atmospheric to heavy riffs and percussion. "The Nineteenth Hole" has more guitar and keys and closes out with a sax solo. "Sweet Smelling Wood" is mostly piano and synths early before the passionate vocals come in. "Fear" is the longest and final song on the record. It opens with a great guitar solo, and we get more of that later in the song. Great vocals too.

I highly recommend this album, especially to MARILLION fans and fans of prog in general.

Review by progrules
4 stars I have all the albums by Clepsydra and I'm a huge fan. This is neoprog at it's best. I like their conceptalbums best (More Grains of sand and Alone) but this one is very good too. Only problem I have with it is that there are several songs of lower quality, not very impressive I mean, on this album. To put it simple: the shorter songs are the lesser and the longer songs are the better. This is in fact coincidence but not entirely to be honest because I tend to like the longer songs on any album. On the other hand: they usually prove to be the better songs because more time and energy are put in the longer compositions is my believe.

In this case it is very obvious: Soaked, The nineteenth Hole, Fear and especially The Missing Spark are songs of the highest quality ! It's about the best you can find in neoprog. The Cloister is also good but the other songs I usually skip when I play the album.

This is also an important difference with the two conceptalbums by Clepsydra: they are great as a whole and this is why I can't give this the 5 stars, but it's almost 4.5, so 4.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Few bands combine the anthemic spirit of arena rock with the complexities and subtleties of progressive rock as well as Clepsydra. If this be neo, then I am a convert, yet I find much neo prog is listless and obtuse for the sake of it. Now, while Clepsydra cannot be considered the most unique of bands, they know whereof they write, sing, play, and arrange, and are sublime tunesmiths, so are among my favourite proponents of the genre. "Fears" opts for longer tracks than the other Clepsydra albums, without using the suite approach, and sometimes they meander a bit as a result, but when they work, which is often, it really clicks.

Ushered in by chanting monks and a steady rain, "Soaked" provides a dignified, fitting start, encapsulating Clepsydra's chief qualities - in order, strong melodies, soaring lead guitars, and the slightly fragile endearing voice of Aluisio Maggini. Even when the guitars get a bit heavy on this disk, Maggini remains the consummate sensitive new age guy, yet with masculine vigour. "The Missing Spark" is less interesting to begin with but picks up after about 3 and a half minutes and features a spine tingling melody played on synth, a diversion for Clepsydra, where keyboards tend to play a more atmospheric role. "The Age of Glass" again shows Clepsydra experimenting with neo classical motifs and some harpsichord style motifs although Marco Cerulli does serve up some tasty lead to provide continuity. "Daisies in the Sunshine" is short piece consisting almost entirely of acoustic guitar.

"The Cloister" is an instantly likeable song that sounds almost like a 70s ballad from Styx, featuring a brilliantly uplifting chorus and yet another colourful synthesizer solo. That is when Clepsydra chooses to diverge from any constricting formula, presenting a gorgeous vocal section floating above cosmic keys, building up to a repeat of the synth solo and closing lead guitar histrionics. This is possibly the high point of the whole album, and simply scintillates, and the song eventually closes in a sweet cacophony. "The Nineteenth Hole" is probably the weakest entry among the "epics", with pleasant parts but generally unconvincing as a cohesive work. The title track effectively erases any previous disappointment and brings a fitting end to a great effort.

Have no fears of acquiring this Clepsydra album if you are a fan of melodic rock of any type.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars If ever you like the neo prog genre with a serious symphonic touch, you should appreciate this third album from this Swiss band.

"Clepsydra" delivers an inspired album with several true symphonic gems. Several long songs are so pleasant and catchy. The first two of the album will particularly draw your attention. Fully "Pendragon" oriented, these pleasant melodies featured in both "Soaked" as well as in "The Missing Spark" do count as my fave from the band so far.

They really turn me on even if complexity is not the watchword here. Beautiful vocal melodies combined with emotional guitar. I happen to like these while, like here, some good inspiration prevents them to be too childish and mellowish.

The whole album is a fine travel into some sort of a melodic world and the only negative point is that several songs are based on a simple structure ("The Age of Glass"). This is even more noticeable during a short track like "Fearless" while the acoustic is gently breaking this mood.

"The cloister" differs in texture. It is fully melancholic, ambient (there is even a spacey middle part which is so profound). Synth work is very much "Marillion" oriented and fans of sublime guitar solo are well being taken care of (thanks Marco).

Still, "Clepsydra" is more convincing in their longer compositions. Aluisio Maggini sounds almost theatrical during "The Nineteenth Hole" and the guitar work is so.extraordinary again as in most of their songs. It is really a pleasure to get on board here. And if the nineteenth hole is the Nirvana, I fully get my clubs and start at hole number one to start my spiritual elevation.

To prove me wrong, I have to admit that the very soft "Sweet Smelling Wood" is a jewel of a melody; the highlight being the vocals performance which is rather impressive. It brilliantly leads to the closing and longest song of this album. Another fearless experience which plunges deeply into the early "Genesis" sounds during the instrumental break

If attractive music, pleasant vocals and incredible electric guitar moments are a combination you are looking for, you might step by "Fear". My favourite "Clepsydra" album so far. Four stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Probably Clepsydra´s most ambitious and varied work to date. Very nice neo prog rock with strong symphonic overtones. There are the obvious Fish-era Marillion and Pendragon influences, but they have a sound of their own. As usual the guitar lines are wonderfully emotional and very melodic: they really found a worthy substitute to the original axe player Lele Hioffman in the form of Marco Cerulli (who also plays sax on one track!). Philip Hubert keyboards work is more proeminent here and his interplay with Cerulli is one of the highlights of Fears. But if the band has a true voice is that of the charismatic vocalist Aluisio Maggini, who has a very unique voice and a dramatic delivery. He really makes all the difference.

While Fears is quite varied, I always find it hard to point the better tracks, for this CD, like anything Clepsydra has released, is to be heard as a whole. I never skip one track when I hear their albums and this is not an exception. It is no coincidence they have such good name in the prog circle, since the band never released one bad or even mediocre record: they are all very well done. Production here is better than the earlier effords which is quite good for their sophisticated, elegant sound.

Although I still think that Alone is Clepsydra´s best, this one is not far behind. And my rating cannot be any less than four stars, for it is an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a huge surprise, another one of those 'never really paid proper attention' albums that lunge out at you ferociously, growlingly irate at being ignored! These Swiss veterans are an impressive bunch, creating deep and moody arrangements that exude warmth , craft and passion. Aluisio Maggini has that voice that anesthetizes his, at times obvious accent, loaded to the gills with heady panache and emotive intensity, a fluid raconteur that manages above all, to convince. Imagine a proggy mix of Saga's Michael Sadler and Klaus Meine of Scorpions . "Soaked" is a superb opening salvo, 9 minutes of original symphonic prog, introducing the masterful guitar playing from new shredder Marco Cerulli (replacing former leader and virtuoso Lele Hoffmann, now guiding Shakary) On the equally 9 minute and dizzyingly playful, IQ-inspired "The Missing Spark", Clepsydra suggest a more classic neo prog piece that has evolving guitar-led moods, a heavenly chorus with fabulous vocals and effective synth sweeps washing through the spume. This is a simply awesome display of quixotic progressive rock, lush yet regretful, heartfelt and fragile, as expressed by a slippery Moog solo from Philip Hubert and a tectonic solo from the ardent Cerulli that has you wincing in pain. I mean WOW! Fans of Collage (with whom there are many similarities), Genesis, Marillion, RPWL, IQ, Satellite, Arena, Galahad, Knight Area and co? will find bliss here, I guarantee !The previous reviewers had correctly mentioned that the shorter pieces were less interesting and I must assuredly concur! It's very apparent throughout the disc. "Into my Cartoon" is a simpler piece, a passionate ballad that swishes in the wind, a billowing cloud from a recent melancholia that is enjoyable in an interlude sense. "The Age of Glass" is a decent slice of melodic prog but nothing mind-numbing or earthshaking, while "Fearless" is a more rollicking tempo altogether. After a neat little thingie on acoustic guitar, we get back in the saddle with "The Cloister", a curious sonic adventure that impresses because of the distinct contrasts that ambient, neo and symphonic styles can create in unison. There is a sense of alienating solitude (the title says it all, I guess) that is deftly conveyed , crowned by a swiveling Cerulli solo amid the rhythmic riffery and some cool marimba like tones from the keys. "The 19th Hole" is a cinema-prog epic, deeply poignant with blistering vocals (that Maggini can sing!) leading the way, dragging the orchestral keyboard textures along and finally shepherding in the monster axe solo. Very cool indeed! The short but this time brilliant "Sweet Smelling Wood" paves the way for the final cut, perhaps the acme of this recording, a stirring "Fear", a 10 minute+ epic escapade into obsession, fixation and paranoia, featuring once again the three main soloists (Maggini, Cerulli and Hubert), all combining to surge beyond the norm. Maggini sings with articulate grace, the guitar soaring majestically with multiple wicked solos , a solid piece of melodic rock that dips into softer, ambient spaces and sprinkled with 'children playing' sonic effects. Not the most complex material but definitely not your run of the mill "neo". Clepsydra figures among the more imaginative groups in the often misunderstood sub genre, a definitely worthy candidate to figure in any prog collection. 4 Swiss panic rooms.
Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fears (1997) is the third album by Swiss Neo-Prog band Clepsydra, not to be confused with the contemporary RPI group of the same name. From the outset I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of Neo-Prog. Although bands such as Marillion, Pendragon, IQ, etc are all fine and dandy they just don't do it for me personally. So why do I like Clepsydra? Well it's not because they come under the umbrella of some arbitrary label. I guess it just comes down to their songs, which I like... a lot. I also prefer Clepsydra's singer to Fish et al. Although Aluisio Maggini has an Italian sounding name, I would say his accent has a slight North European lilt to it. His rather quaint vocals may not be to everyone's taste but I enjoy them and there are no issues with his English, which he pretty well nails.

Fears kicks off with a couple of killer tracks in Soaked and The Missing Spark. Strangely enough both these songs clock in at 9.02. The last album I reviewed also began with two tracks of identical length, so maybe this isn't such an unusual phenomenon. Trivia aside, Marco Cerulli's guitar dominates on Soaked with solos aplenty. Philip Hubert's keys really only play a supporting role on the song, mainly adding thickness to its texture. Of special note are the lovely choir parts in the background, and although I'm sure these aren't played on a Mellotron they are lovely nonetheless. While the guitar intro/outro of The Missing Spark is dramatic, keyboards are generally more to the forefront and include a saw tooth synthesizer solo around midway. Nice. A series of five shorter songs follows, the first of which, Into My Cartoon, sounds a bit like a Barclay James Harvest ballad... a good one at that. This song segues into The Age Of Glass, which opens and closes with a pleasant Baroque pastiche featuring harpsichord tones and synthesizer. Other than that it's a fairly standard soft rocker. Track 5, Fearless, is a suitably upbeat song with raw guitar and fiery pitch-bend synthesizer competing with Maggini's vocals. The brief acoustic instrumental Daisies In The Sunshine brings to life images of summer, while The Cloister features some delightful little synthesizer flurries and is probably my favourite among these short songs.

The Nineteenth Hole is another lengthy track at just shy of 9 minutes and is arguably the most developed song on the album. The band manages to cram many different elements into this song without it sounding in any way disjointed. Descending synthesizer lines backed by choral effects, guitar and synthesizer duets underpinned by stop-start rhythm section, syncopated drumming with sympathetic bass, there's even a saxophone solo from guitarist Cerulli. Great stuff. The atmospheric Sweet Smelling Wood bridges the gap between the previous song and the album's closing track Fear, and what a song to finish. Maggini adopts different accents on this song and while I enjoy his singing, Peter Gabriel he isn't. However what makes this song is Cerulli's emotive guitar-play. Call me a wuss, but his solos on this song are of such mournful beauty they can almost bring me to tears. Now that, in my opinion, is art. It's possible to listen to an mp3 of this song here on ProgArchives. Fear is very representative of the album as a whole, so if you like this song there's a good chance you'll enjoy the album.

Overall, Fears opens with two great songs and then continues with five shorter ones that, although absolutely fine, don't really match those first two. However the album then climaxes with the outstanding trio described in the paragraph above. 4 rock solid stars for such a beautiful thing.

Review by The Crow
4 stars With the departure of Lele Hoffmann and the entry of the awesome Marco Cerulli, Clepsydra finally reached its maturity as a group. And "Fears" was undoubtly better than the two previous albums!

The weakness of sound and lack of originality of "Hologram" can not be found here. And the lack of a clear direction and irregularity of "More Grains of Sand" is clearly missing in "Fears". The musical direction of "Fears" is sharply orientated, having a mixture of the best Neo-Prog from the 80's and 90's, but with a stronger feeling and more power than other similar bands like Collage or Pendragon. If you like Arena, you'll surely love "Fears".

But while in Arena the keyboards of Clive Nolan are the clear protagonist, here the principal part is for Marco Cerulli. His guitar melodies and instrumental passages are just great! For example, the beginning of The Missing Spark makes me have goosebumps. This man is really talentous in making touching guitar passages! Just like Lele Hoffman, but not so Mike Oldfield sounding and more diverse. Another good example is the beginnig of Fear, or the really talentous acoustic Daisies on the Sunshine.

The rest of the band makes a great role too, sounding really better than the previous releases of the band. The powerful drums of Pietro Duca became a signature of the band here in "Fears" and in the later "Alone". In Fearless he sounds powerful (a song clearly in the vein of Arena...), making a good pair with the bassist Andy Thommen. This consolidated musical rythmic section is the trademark of Clepsydra, together with the passionate vocals of Aluisio Maggini.

Best tracks: Soaked, The Missing Spark (among the best songs of the band) , Fearless (I love this Arena-like power!), The Cloister (beautiful and misterious track) and Fear (awesome guitar melodies)

Conclusion: despite I consider that "Alone" is a slightly better album than "Fears", I think that the third album of the band is also an obligated purchase for every Neo-Prog lover. It's full with beautiful instrumental passages, long and clever melodic progressiosn, it has a cristal clear production, and here can be heard a band reaching its madurity and a outstanding musical level. Strongly recommended.

My rating: ****

Review by Warthur
3 stars I'd felt that Clepsydra's previous album had been let down a little by rather thin production, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Fears has the shining sound quality - plus somewhat more interesting compositions and top-notch performances - needed to really take the band's music to the next level. Once again, neo-prog inspired by Fish-era Marillion is the order of the day, but whilst this is a field where there's no shortage of hopefuls trying to recapture that sound, Clepsydra are more interesting than most, producing an album which takes that period of Marillion's sound forward and creating their own interesting spin on it rather than trying to preserve it in amber; my only concern here is that vocalist Aluisio Maggini's performance doesn't quite seem to be integrated with that of the rest of the band; rather than his singing being a seamless part of the composition, all too often it seems to overpower the music. Other than that, highly recommend for fans of the classic early 1980s neo-prog sound.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Clepsydra even made it to the Swiss television at the time of the release of ''More grains of sand'', which was something pretty unusual for a Prog band.In 1996 the classic line-up, which released two incredible albums, will be getting some lifting, after Gabriele "Lele" Hofmann announced his departure.The remaining members would soon replace him with Marco Cerulli, a talented musician, who could also play the sax.The new formation recorded a third album for SPV, ''Fears'', released in 1997.

Cerulli had to adapt his personal style to the music of Clepsydra and while the songwriting remained at high levels, the new guitarist had certainly a most melodic touch than Hofmann, similar to Gary Chandler of JADIS and Steve Rothery of MARILLION, so these incredible guitar ups and downs with the heavy riffing followed by monumental, sharp soloing are to be sorely missed in this release.Of course Clepsydra's sound was always a mix of sentimental and bombastic passages and this hasn't changed a bit in ''Fears'', still Cerulli appears to be more comfortable during the more laid-back or melodic moments of the album.Regarding the compositions these are once more pretty great with emphasis on vocals, dreamy keyboards and shifting guitar moves, occasionally containing bits of Symphonic Rock with all these stretched, atmospheric keyboard themes, but the general mood follows the guidelines of MARILLION, PENDRAGON, IQ and the likes.Production and mix of the album are at the highest level and the song structures are classic examples of energetic Neo Prog, filled with romantic moments, lyrical intensity, keyboard flashing and upbeat, rockin' exhibitions.Trully enjoyable tracks, but I still think a couple of killer pieces are missing from this work.

Clepsydra's overhaul led to a less dark, more joyful effort along the lines of the previous albums.While not as good as its precursors, ''Fears'' would propably make proud every other lesser known band in the world, that would have produced it.Not your starting point in Clepsydra's discography, nonetheless an efficient Neo Prog effort.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Bad album cover but yummers inside!

Yes, behind a bland art cover hides some of the best Neo you could get. Well produced, well executed and well sung this piece of prog pie is a delight IF you're in the right mood. Lush keys, soaring Gilmour solos and energetic drums are topping a beautiful but emotional voice. Maggini's voice is strongly resembling Benoit David's way of singing (even sharing the same accent!) and feels refreshing in a sea of wannabes trying to emulate their hero.

Does Neo Prog has to be sad to be part of the movement? That's why I said this record's great if you're in the right mood; I know they're not singing about sunshine and lollipops just by listening. It could enhance a sentiment of loneliness if played a day you're not a your top, not a serotonin booster to say the least.

For those who like Mystery (Quebec's best kept secret), Pendragon and Saga, you've found one of best thing Switzerland can offer..apart for chocolate of course.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The sharpness and transparency in executions is one of the notable features of this fine group. Added to this the remarkable sound quality. Despite being a friendly sort, whether it is the term, if you listen superficially may sound monotonous, without major changes, and devoid of remarkable tu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1000457) | Posted by sinslice | Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars OUTSTANDING! FEARS is the 3rd full studio recording by an outstanding Neo Prog band from Switzerland. You can hear the evolution in their sound, but that doesn´t necessarly mean that this album is better than their previous MORE GRAINS OF SAND which was excellent too. They kept the same class ... (read more)

Report this review (#131584) | Posted by FranMuzak | Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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