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Progressive Metal • Netherlands

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Unwritten Pages biography
UNWRITTEN PAGES originated from the Netherlands and is the brainchild of German/Dutch composer/vocalist Frederic EPE. He and his brother Michel EPE form the core of a musical collaboration that had its name chosen for the very purpose of the eclectic musical adventures that are neither restricted by style nor current trends.

To give further meaning to this statement, the band's debut album "Noah" - a two-disc concept album - features a solid array of guest musicians/artists, such as Damian WILSON and Karl GROOOM of THRESHOLD, as well as sci-fi artists Mattias NOREN that helped lay the foundation for a heavy space opera that isn't afraid to take the experimental route and challenge listeners with music that goes beyond the common verse-chorus scheme.

With their second release already in the works, Frederic and Michel take things to a completely different level: "Fringe Kitchen", while having an encompassing and overarching theme of self-imprisonment, drops the classical concept album approach and sci-fi attitude. Instead, the album will rely on heavily textured and driven songs with a strong focus on songwriting, though never taking any compromises or shortcuts in the making.

Bio provided by artist, edited by Rune2000

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ProgRock Records 2010
Audio CD$10.09
$4.98 (used)
Noah by Unwritten Pages (2010-10-05)Noah by Unwritten Pages (2010-10-05)
ProgRock Records
Audio CD$41.07
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3.36 | 12 ratings
3.88 | 5 ratings
Fringe Kitchen

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Noah by UNWRITTEN PAGES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.36 | 12 ratings

Unwritten Pages Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars Apparently, this original started life as a story-based project back in 2005 by Frederic Epe (vocals, keyboards), but over time it became a musical collaboration between Frederic and Michel Epe (guitars) with Glenn (production, guitars). To create the science fiction concept album they wanted, they brought in others such as Damian Wilson (Threshold, Ayreon), Karl Groom (Threshold), Davy Mickers (Stream of Passion, Ayreon) and Alejandro Millán (Hello Madness, Stream of Passion) soon joined the project to bring the story to life. Swedish designer Mattias Norén, created the artwork that appears in the booklet with the lyrics. But, while this 2010 has been hailed as a major success by some, I'm not one of them.

It is doubtful that I will ever criticise an album that involves Karl and Damian as I am such a fan of both their works, but what lets this down is not the performance but the quality of the songs. This is prog metal, but it is disjointed in just so many ways. A good project album will feel either like a band, or a rock theatre production, yet this one falls between the two camps and comes across as disjointed and just way too over the top. It is too layered, too over produced, just too much altogether! There are bits that grab the attention, but for the most part it is about wondering how much longer this has to go, and whether now might be a time to switch to something else.

It's not awful, it's not bad, but I can't bring myself to say that it is anything more than good at best, and when looking at some of the people involved it just goes to show that the basis of any album must be the quality of the songs. If the foundation is shaky, then the structure is never going to be sound and stable. The only real positive about this is that now I've written about it I really don't have to play it again, and it is doubtful that I will.

 Fringe Kitchen by UNWRITTEN PAGES album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.88 | 5 ratings

Fringe Kitchen
Unwritten Pages Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Dutch band UNWRITTEN PAGES first came to prominence in 2010 when they signed to US label Progrock Records and released their debut album: A double disc thematic feature called Noah. "Fringe Kitchen" is the sophomore creation from this band, a single disc only this time around and without the notable star aid surrounding their debut effort as far as guest musicians are concerned.

And it appears that the brothers Epe and their companions have made good use of the two years that separate their first and second production. The name of the game is progressive metal, no alterations there as far as general tendencies are involved, but the band appears to have honed their sound and scope to emphasize the strengths of their contributors this time around, as well as avoiding some of the more well explored territories of the progressive metal genre as an additional bonus. Or to put it like this: While fans of bands lie Dream Theater will indeed find familiar details on this production, I find many of the compositions and effects used to be closer to the likes of Canadian trio Rush this time around. And if anyone should ever wonder why some people point out the importance of Rush to the development of progressive metal as a stylistic expression, this is one of the albums I'd pull out to document their influence.

The opening cinematic effort, as brilliant as it is in it's own right, is an exception however. More of a cinematic creation with voices and cosmic sounds establishing a distinct mood rather than an opening statement of the band's refined direction. But from second track Asylum Tragedy and onwards Unwritten Pages invites us into their universe anno 2012 with style and the occasional natural swagger that naturally develops when a band produce material of the highest quality and can feel the magic flowing. Asylum Tragedy and Perfect Incentive the two occasions I'd highlight as the highlights of this production in that context, a perfect blend of calmer passages and harder edged, energetic sequences. Slightly unpredictable as is often the case with material of the highest quality, and compositions well planned to utilize the lead vocals as much as possible too. The vocal duties are credited to the Epe trio on this production, and while I haven't checked which of them handle the individual parts on this disc I generally found them to be pleasant, struggling slightly when the instrumental backing gets to be too demanding, as in final piece Auxiliary Influx. By and large the songs have been set up to emphasize their vocalists good sides however, and the aforementioned two songs are among the best in that department too, which adds an additional sheen to compositions that in creation and performance already are of the highest quality.

As this production unfolds the associations towards Canadian trio Rush grow steadily stronger. First and foremost due to the guitars, as the hard edged compact riff patterns used makes it hard not to get associations towards the likes of Alex Lifeson. And I'd suspect that the main guitarist of Unwritten Pages also have a bit of jazz knowledge, as I often caught myself associating towards funk and jazzrock too, but more in the faint traces and resonance department rather than a strong and distinct vibes one.

Otherwise the compositions are well made in terms of balance throughout. Calmer passages and pace-filled energetic ones come and go, as elongated features dividing the compositions into a few distinctly different parts or placed side by side in a nifty, logical and well flowing manner. Impact riffs and majestic arrangements are used sparingly and to very good effect, up to and including an instance where the portal to the dark and bleak universe of doom metal opens for a brief one-off visit.

If Unwritten Pages are among the bands that manage to establish themselves properly and carve out a good and long career out of their love of music, I suspect that their debut "Noah" will be referenced as the promising and ambitious first effort and "Fringe Kitchen" as the follow-up disc that showcase a talented act that show a fine and distinct positive development. To the point that I'd recommend fans of progressive metal in general to investigate this production, as I'm pretty sure that Unwritten Pages anno 2012 is a band that will be found interesting to the greater majority of fans of this style of music.

 Noah by UNWRITTEN PAGES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.36 | 12 ratings

Unwritten Pages Progressive Metal

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars I generally have mixed feelings about Progressive Metal concept albums mainly because of the many times I got burned by flawed releases that many fan consider to be pinnacles of the genre. But when I think of it, it's not so much the concept albums but rather particular bands and artists, who promote themselves as conceptual metal giants, that have done more damage to my judgmental mind than the genre as a whole. I'm talking about Ayreon, Shadow Gallery, Blind Guardian and a few others... oops... almost forgot Kamelot!

The reason for my rant is the mere fact that it feels so refreshing to actually hear a great Progressive Metal concept album that doesn't rely on the well-established clichés of the past/present and manages to move things forward. This is exactly what Frederic Epe and his backing musicians manage to achieve on Noah! This entire album is filled with music that will hijack your mind from the first time you'll hear it and will continue to grow until you'll master this 80+ minute beast. This is at least what happened to me; I started off listening to Noah with the bare minimum expectations imaginable but was met with such a versatile album that I just couldn't get it out of my head for weeks and felt like refreshing that memory every now and then in the process!

There is really no reason for me to go into detail about the individual tracks since Noah should only be heard in its entirety. This might actually be considered somewhat of a drawback due to the album's hefty length that reaches just above the regular size of one CD. Once an artist/band releases this much material, the results are bound to vary in quality. Hopefully, the individual moments are developed just enough to hold all the pieces of the puzzle together and thus create quite a solid and fluent piece of music.

If you're a fan of conceptual Progressive Metal then you should already have this album in your collection since this is an essential piece of storytelling that can be compared to Pain of Salvation's Be and Dream Theater's Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory. Seriously, stop wasting your and my time and get this album already!

***** star songs: Prologue (This New World) (5:36) Solar Blast (6:46) Falling Stars (8:24)

**** star songs: The Boy Is Awake (3:42) In the Name Of Ishmael (7:36) Royalty & Conspiracies (6:31) Red Ashes (The Privilege of War) (3:02) Blowing Red Ashes Pt.I (3:45) The Uranium Machine (5:16) Unexpected Twists & Turns (3:25) These Haunted Days (4:14) Blowing Red Ashes Pt.II (6:13) Flora & ..(4:45) Life (5:27)

*** star songs: Deimos Theme (6:58)

 Noah by UNWRITTEN PAGES album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.36 | 12 ratings

Unwritten Pages Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars UNWRITTEN PAGES, from The Netherlands, apparently started out by chance, with a science fiction story that started developing a life of its own and sent creative trio Frederic Epe, Michel Epe and Glenn out on a quest to craft a rock opera suitable for it. From 2005 and onwards the album slowly took shape amidst a continuous struggle to finance it and follow the whims of the muses guiding the creators, with notable musicians such as Karl Groom and Damian Wilson adding their input as the project evolved. In 2010 what one might assume is the partial end result came in the shape of the double album "Part I: Noah", subsequently picked up and released by the US label Progrock Records.

With "Part I: Noah", Unwritten Pages have launched their initial effort with a fairly ambitious rock opera. And while not quite the finished article, this is a rather enjoyable effort. If science fiction-based concepts and progressive metal sounds like a good mix to you, this is a double CD that just might be of interest, especially if you are the type of person who will listen to the music with the CD booklet in hand, following the lyrics and the story explored with close attention.

Thanks to CCVP for the artist addition.

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