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IVORY TOWER

Progressive Metal • Germany


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Ivory Tower picture
Ivory Tower biography
The history of Ivory tower began in 1996, when singer Andre Fischer, guitarist Sven Boge and drummer Thorsten Thrunke joined forces to form a new metal band, using the name AX'N SEX. Their self-produced CD, "Victim of Time", met with positive reactions in Germany and throughout Europe, and even overseas. Many magazines from around the world praised the record. After several line-up changes, the band changed its name to IVORY TOWER and moved to a more Prog-Metal oriented style. The final completion for the band and its new direction came with the inclusion of Stephan Laschetski (bass) and Stephan Machon (keyboards).

Around december, 1997, the band signed up with the then-new label Limb Music Products. their self-titled debut album was released in october 1998. The echo on the part of the media and fansa was tremendous. Most magazines, both national and international, gave the debut work fantastic reviews. Significant tour dates followed and the band made itself a name in the prog-metal realm. 2000 saw the release of "Beyond the Stars", arguably their best work to date, a record that put them in the spotlight in the european prog-metal scene.

IVORY TOWER suffered a bit through the first half of the decade, struggling to stay alive, with no label after the end of their contract with Limb. Some changes in formation were needed, and after the inclusion of Torsten Nesch (bass), Oliver Kukla (drums) and Folke Fittkau (keyboards), old members and band masterminds Boge and Fischer set out to record a new album, "It", in 2006.

IVORY TOWER's sound has been widely described as true Prog-Metal in the fashion of genre's flagship band, Dream Theater. Their style is very similar to that of the Ney York band, with heavy-metal riffs, sudden time signature changes, pounding double-bass drums and grandiose keyboards, these two elements much in the power-metal vein. Their songs average 7 minutes long, and even though the common structure is the regular verse-chorus pattern, they manage to surprise the listener with lots of instrumental intricacies and ornaments that make for a compelling, utterly enjoyable metal listen, even if not incredibly innovative or unique.

A recommended listen for all fans of Dream Theater, Pagan's Mind, Vanden Plas, Threshold and in general to prog-metal fans, but also to anyone who enjoys intelligent metal in general. Also recommended for fans of complex power-metal.

Ivory Tower official website

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IVORY TOWER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

IVORY TOWER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.70 | 12 ratings
Ivory Tower
1998
3.55 | 14 ratings
Beyond The Stars
2000
3.67 | 3 ratings
It
2006
3.17 | 3 ratings
Subjective Enemy
2008
3.50 | 2 ratings
IV
2011

IVORY TOWER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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IVORY TOWER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Beyond The Stars by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.55 | 14 ratings

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Beyond The Stars
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by poito

1 stars Short and easy: I have not listened to their debut album, but this one looks like one so, meaning it is naif, nothing new to offer in the prog metal scene, neither in flat metal. Their resources are too much the same as hundred other bands. The themes are simple, the voice is simple, the sounds are simple, and the musicianship is average. You won't remember much of this album, or if by a chance something sticks to your brain you will find difficulties to recall who played. Don't take me wrong, they are correct, but you've listened this a thousand times. The band seems to have difficulties to decide whether going for the metal or trying prog. Probably, they know their limitations. Their alleged resemblance to DT is a bad joke, sorry. Looking at the scores in following albums, this band didn't make it.
 Ivory Tower by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.70 | 12 ratings

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Ivory Tower
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ivory Tower debut from 1998 self titled is a good prog metal release that probably will pleases every DT fan. Never going much further from DT clones on this album, Ivory Tower still managing to have some good towards great pieces here like One Life In Asia with some great guitar parts, A distant light or the ending tune Blinded. Nice arrangements, keyboards, guitars all is here. If their next album, for me at least, Beyond the stars is a real gem in prog metal field, this self titled debut is more then decent with good pieces still far from excellent. I like the art work here as on their next album, goes hand in hand with the music offered. 3 solid stars for me maybe 3.5 in places.
 Beyond The Stars by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.55 | 14 ratings

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Beyond The Stars
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the second album from German band Ivory Tower, flowing on from their self-titled debut in 1998. It is certainly very powerful, firmly in the area of prog metal, which appears to have much more followers on the continent than it does in the UK. At times it is very heavy indeed, with the guitar of Sven Böge obviously being multi-tracked many times. The result is an album that may actually be too heavy for followers of prog who have ended up listening to this genre almost by accident. If, however, you are a hard rock fan who enjoys metal with melody then here is an album that you can really get your ears into.

With songs varying in length from under two minutes to nearly 12, the band shows that they can concentrate on small themes or really spread out and diversify. The production is also very good indeed, which is a plus as this is a relatively new band and it is mostly self-produced.

With good artwork as well this is an album that is definitely worth seeking out if hard melodic rock is your idea of a good time.

Originally appeared in Feedback #58

 Subjective Enemy by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.17 | 3 ratings

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Subjective Enemy
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by warspite

3 stars 'Warning', the second song starts up like a reflection from Labyrinth's Sons of Thunder era, the pace continues straight through 2 other midtempo metal songs until the first metal ballad 'Words' which sounds peculiarly like Jon Oliva's handiwork. It takes until track 8 - the titletrack - when Ivory Tower take a halfhearted return to the days of 'Beyond the Stars' The Ivory Tower of 2008 make extensive use of multiple voice tracks and sometimes unnverving doses of eiry delay when mixing the voice tracks into the weave of the music. 'My World' also falls victim to this practice without getting the chance to benefit from an aggressive breaking shriek or grunt here and there. Starting with 'Welcome to' the album gets much much better both in variable songwriting and lack of inhibition to unleash it onto the audience. 'Welcome to', 'Construction Site', 'Keys' and the semi-epic 11 minute 'Awake' reward the listener for hanging on through 37 minutes of all too often unmotivated and bleak prog metal. In my case I had little choice being stuck with it on a long drive in a rental car.

I'm glad I got this CD from a second hand store, for full price I would have felt very disappointed. I give it a 2.6, rounded up to 3.

 Beyond The Stars by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.55 | 14 ratings

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Beyond The Stars
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another case of lost treasure in prog metal

Ivory Tower is a german prog metal band who delivers a very good and pleasent prog metal on their second album Beyond the stars from 2000, and aswell on the previous one. Better in anyway than the predecesor, this album offer maybe nothing special or never heared before, but is very well done and the compositions stands very well after almost 10 years of the first release. The first band that comes in mind talking about Ivory Tower is Dream Theeter ( of course, couldn't be other way) but they have concentrate more on pieces as a whole rather than on abuse of technical skills, on each segment of the piece, who are by the way very strong. We have here from 3 minute to 12 min pieces, enough space to make and shoe how this bands work in studio. Well I might say I was very impressed by this album, great pieces, great musicanship and above all a great voice, who reminds me sometimes of Helloween (Kiske era). The music is awesome with nice shifting moments, great interplays between guitar and keys, odd time signature, solid druming. All the musicians have great skills and it's shown in every second they play, but they don't abuse of that talent, they don't have that wankery of DT, they concentrate more on composition and they have a special melodic aproach of prog metal. The best pieces: all, not a weak one, all are great, maybe with a plus on Treehouse - one of the best prog metal piece I ever heared, nice vocal parts, sometimes toying with a little neo prog but as a whole is fantastic. In the end Ivory Tower is an underrated bad who desearve a better view by anyone intrested in good music and well played prog metal. 4 star without hesitation, recommended

 Ivory Tower by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.70 | 12 ratings

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Ivory Tower
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars 2.5 stars...

My rating is just fake...This is not a bad album at all...Actually it has some really good moments...some nice keyboard solos and acrobatics,some nice guitar riffs and melodies (are DREAM THEATER come to your mind?) ,do not imagine something amazing but this album really stands good...and the vocalist stands good as well with his metal voice,imagine a slightly german accented version of Ray Alder of FATES WARNING...The problem is that everything you hear in this disc is previously about 1000 times played by other bands and listening to this album again and again goes rather boring...at a point that I just avoid listening to that kind of bands...Not my cup of tea anymore,but DREAM THEATER freaks who just can't get enough might enjoy this one a lot...

 Beyond The Stars by IVORY TOWER album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.55 | 14 ratings

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Beyond The Stars
Ivory Tower Progressive Metal

Review by The T
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Well, I'm very happy to be the first one to write a review of this fantastic album by this very talented German band.

In case you're wondering, the name of the band gives us a clue of what it sounds like: Ivory Tower - Chess - Math... So Ivory Tower is a math-prog band...

... Not really. The truth is, this band sounds like a Dream Theater-meets-Vanden Plas- meets-Threshold-meets-Celestial Season-meets-Stratovarius mixture, which is mandarin for "prog-metal, Dream Theater-style". Yes, Ivory Tower's main influence when writing their songs was, we can easily tell, the legendary quintet from New York. All the elements are here: hard-rocking guitar riffs; abrupt time changes; odd-time signatures every once in a while; longer-than-average songs (between 5 and 11 minutes); grandiose, forefront keyboards, not only a chord-playing instrument but a soloist one as well; powerful, double- bass-drum-aplenty drumming; (this one sadly) not-so-easy-to-hear bass guitar; complex- yet-accesible structures (actually, structures are quite simple, but the abundance of melodies and riffs makethem sound more complicated than they really are); catchy choruses, and high-reaching, often-falsetto vocals. So, from the beginning let me tell you: if you don't like Dream Theater or Threshold, chances are, you won't like Ivory Tower. But if you do, well, let's keep on going here.

The five members of the band are quite talented musicians, although not all of them play at the same level: Sven Boge, the lead guitar and main creative force is a truly gifted performer, capable of very hard-crushing riffs and at the same time very beautiful, almost (only almost) Petrucci-like melodies and solos: his style tends to be more restrained than that of dear John P. Laschetzki, the bass guitar, has one thing in common with John Myung: we BARELY hear him... in this case, is not as much of a shame as in DT's albums, for in skills department, he's just an average bass player. Thrunke in drums is a decent power drummer, very good with the double-bass, very good at hitting the heads with the utmost violence, but he has not a lot of truly original patterns and rhythms. Machon, the keys-man, is one of the more talented musicians in Ivory Tower and his playing easily ranks at the very top among his bandmates: he knows how to play melodic and virtuosic solos, he knows how to provide songs with an aura of menace, sadness or joy at will, and he also is capable of just atmospheric, "background" keyboard playing. Finally, a word about Fischer, the singer: I think he's a better singer than he lets us hear: when he so wishes, he can sing very melodically; when he wants, he can sing with pure strength; but he relies on falsetto too much... there are quite a few times in the album when his voice seems to be on the verge of collapsing due to trying to reach higher notes than his vocal chords allow him for, so he uses his throat to produce the sounds his toraxic cavity can't achieve, but he barely gets there. Think James LaBrie (my favorite singer, by the way) in Awake, when at his most "metal".

On with the songs:

Silence (9/10) , a great song. It starts with a melodic vocal line over piano... then the main descending guitar riff makes its entrance and from then onwards we have as true a prog- metal song as any; very powerful track, with an excellent chorus that manages to ease the tension of the verse. The guitar solo is in pure power-metal vein. (Note: the main rif is very close in spirit to that in the beginning of "Tearing Down the World" in Royal Hunt's uber- masterpiece Paradox)

Secret in Me (7/10), over a machine-like guitar riff, the keyboards announce a melody in pure Dream Theater style; what follows is an enjoyable if somewhat uninspired number; the chorus is just not good: Fischer's singing hits its album-low here, it sounds false, forced.

Foreboding (10/10), the best song in the album, and I'll go further: for me, (and remember Dream Theater is THE band in my opinion), this is the best Dream-Theater-styled short-epci ever, even better than songs like Narcissus from Threshold. This has everything: it starts menacing, with a fear-inducing guitar riff over piston-like bass drums; the instrumental intro last for a few measures, and the sudden appearance of the keys make for a moment of rest before the onslaught of fury that is the main verse; Fischer sound quite good here, restrained, not trying to over-reach; when a very low voice says Foreboding in what sounds like a threat, the chorus comes a a relief, an anthem to hold on to your dreams no matter what; but the best part of this short-epic (11 minutes) is the middle instrumental: first the bass alone makes an statement, soaring guitars punctuate its discourse... the melody seems to be growing strong, tension appears to be building up... the guitar suddenly voices a sorrowful-yet-hopeful lament, a high melody moment; the guitar, now doubled, picks up the thread with thundering double bass drums, then the fast part of the solo gives us a chance to realize hopw skilled both the guitar and the keyboard player are; the music continues to develop... it exhausts: now clean guitars make for a pause in the midst of the anger, a truly beautiful moment; the vocals reappear... the chorus comes back crashing everything in its path... the cycle is complete. GREAT, SUPERB SONG.

Game of Life (3:53), after such a number, everything that follows just pales in comparison. But this short track holds its own... very melodic, quiet start. Fischer's singing gets worse but not annoying; no drums here, only at the end in the form of snare-rolls complementing the soaring statement by vocals and guitars.

5. Peeping Tom (10/10), well, it may be a 9.5 more honestly... a beautiful song, for some it may sound a little bit over-sugared, even cheesy in its "love-you-can't-have-you-I-peep-at- you" theme... but it's a very melodic number, the piano adding to the overall romantic-yet- morbid atmosphere... not a love song; a song of desperation. The guitar solo is Boge at his most Petrucci in terms of melody (not quite, really)... VERY GOOD.

Beyond the Stars (9/10), this is such a good song... I just have one complain: is too DT- ish. A very typical prog-metal track with a great chorus and good solos... another complain: too much double-bass drumming. If there's something I can't stand from power- metal bands is the exaggerated use of the double bass playing at ultra fast speed.... and, sadly, IT's drummer seems quite fond of that style.

When Thoughts are Running Wild (6/10) Not a good song. Too derivative. . The middle section is decent, though.

Flight into Self (6/10), a boring song, mostly uninspired, mostly unoriginal.. this one sounds like Dream Theater after quite a few nights of sleep deprivation; the chorus is slightly better, with some Queensryche overtones here and there... but nothing to write your uncle in Alaska about...

Treehouse Theme (?/10) , one of those tracks you just don't understand the purpose behind including them in the album... it consists of a keyboard version of the main theme of the following song. Now, that theme is good but nothing great, it's not like it's a incredible melody, so, what was the point?

Treehouse (8/10), finally we return to safe grounds; a prog-metal near-epic where the theme announced in the preceding track proves useful and good to work with. Again, the DT references are there. Good but not in the level of Foreboding. The chorus sounds very close in style to those in Mullmuzzler works (LaBrie's band before Elements of Persuasion).

In the end, not a flawless album. Not even near-perfect album. There are two main problems: one, a couple of songs are just not good. The other: TOO DERIVATIVE. Yes, at times this sounds too close to Dream Theater.

But for Foreboding alone, this album earns a better-than-average recommendation. That song is just superb. Even with the DT references, that one sounds original enough for us to award Ivory Tower with a fourth star. It's very simple: if you like prog-metal, this is an excellent addition to your collection.

Just don't think you'll be blown away with innovation:what you have here is very-well- played prog-metal music DT-style, a couple of great songs, a marvelous one, and a couple of fillers. What you don't have here is a band that sounds like nobody else.

Thanks to The T for the artist addition.

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