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Ethers Edge biography
Ethers Edge are a UK progressive rock band who produced an initial release in 2011, the debut "Return To Type". It is the main project for multi instrumentalist Bazza Preece and has received high praise by critics and fans, earning a reputation on radio programs and magazines. Bazza's influences are varied and he is a new member of the progressive side of rock. The interest in this genre was sparked by a work colleague a couple of years ago who introduced Bazza to the works of Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Riverside. This exposure proved to change the course of Bazza's musical direction (and some would say it has also changed his life dramatically - for the better). The music is influenced by other groups such as Tool, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Alice in Chains, No-man, Stone Temple Pilots, King Crimson, Yes, Steven Wilson, Gavin Harrison, Marillion, although the comparisons that have been drawn cover a multitude of other great bands and musicians. To start with a few small ideas and get encouragement and positive comments from so many people constantly drove the music forward. Each time a few notes came together, another sonic landscape began to unfold until the album started to take the shape that it is now in.

The album is officially released under Tangled Cable Records. Bazza is accompanied by other musicians; guitarists, Simmy Blankley, and Adam Chippendale, and on Cajon, Emmy Hemstock, and Jesse Frizzell from Sleep Siren on drums. It was mixed at Far Heath Studios, by Angus Wallace. Bazza plays guitars, bass, synths, drums and sings lead vocals. All songs were written by Bazza Preece with the lyrics following a specific concept. "Return To Type" is a complete album rather than a collection of tracks that tells the story of someone struggling with their demons. After a drunken encounter they become besotted by a new flame, but their shadowy former life returns and consumes them once more; only this time there was no-one to save them from themselves.

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3.64 | 9 ratings
Return To Type

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 Return To Type by ETHERS EDGE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.64 | 9 ratings

Return To Type
Ethers Edge Crossover Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Ether's Edge is the brainchild and visionary exploration of Bazza Preece who has been working on his debut Cd for a long time. It is finally out and making a positive impact thanks to some fine musicianship and a very well thought out conceptual framework. Bazza plays guitars, bass, synths, and drums and is helped by some accomplished musicians on specific tracks. The packaging of the Cd is one of the drawcards, and for a debut independent artist the artwork on the cover is exceptional.

The front cover of "Return To Type" is a painting by renowned and well respected artist Lawrence Coulson, called "Fallen". Coulson has prog connections as he is the son of another great artist Gerald Coulson who painted a cover for Mike Oldfield's classic "Five Miles Out". The back cover is a painting by Lorraine Preece called "Returned", and although neither artist knew what the other was painting, both artworks somehow worked together appearing as if they were meant to be together. The works both reflect the entire concept of the album enhancing the ideas of death that encompass the music.

The concept album is well and truly alive and this Cd is proof positive. The concept is absolutely essential to this project and after having conversed with Bazza it was intriguing to discover the underlying themes of the album. The album basically follows the story of an unknown protagonist's life as it spirals completely out of control, leading them to a series of epiphanies and conflicts that drive them to the edge eventuating in their ultimate death.

The opening track really kicks things off with one of the most captivating tracks, a mini epic, Here I Am The eerie cathedral organ and howling wind immediately transports us into a dark and ethereal dreamland. The phased guitar augments the soundscape of nighttime terrors. The distortion that follows is a killer riff that really grew on me after a few listens. There is an odd time sig and the vocals are put through an effects vocoder, sounding like Greg Lake's mechanised vocals on King Crimson's brilliant 21st Century Schizoid Man. There are some vocals that follow soon after that exude a beauty and calmness, not unlike the quieter moments of Opeth or Porcupine Tree. Mulitlayered vocals generate a haunting atmosphere. The instrumental that follows is wondrous, the Gilmour-esque lead guitar by Simmy Blankley floats over the top of a foundation of keys creating a powerful ambience. The full on distortion of metal blasts is vibrant and it slows to a minimalist melody line on guitar. The following sections are very memorable, with simple chord progressions but maintaining an uplifting vibe.

The Routine is a heavier track with some intriguing processed vocals. The riff drives this along with an almost industrial feel. It has an infectious hook and the chorus grows on you. The concept revolves around the main character trying to ensure that the new relationship that he has embarked on actually holds together. A normal routine develops that follows the usual pattern of work/sleep/work/sleep/taxes/work/sleep, thus the routine of Mr Average.

Whitewashed Everything is a peaceful track with emotive vocals and a piano motif that has a chilling resonance. Preece's vocals are more pronounced and the lyrics have a poignant buoyancy. The acoustic break on the track is folky and well executed. The piano continues it's 5 note scale as the musicianship continues, a very effective device. The track explores the way the old ways and friends have disappeared and a resentment about this starts to creep in.

Facing Reality has a hammering slow drum beat, and overlayed twin guitars and keyboards generate a unique musical scape. The vocals are deeper and almost talking out the themes. The percussion is drowned in sound with effective guitars and cajon played by Emmy Hamstock. The track deals essentially with insecurity and the resentment of losing friends. The protagonist comes to the realisation that this new way of life, without living the old life with the old friends, will have its own benefits that are primarily the tangible material possessions and the comforts of home. This realisation gradually builds to the point where the protagonist makes the decision that they have had enough and they are left with no alternative but to leave.

The title song Return To Type is one of the best tracks on the album, the longest clocking 9 minutes, with an incredible proggy metal riff that is not quite in sync but works so well competing against the sporadic drum beat and pulsing bassline. The vocals here remind me of Steven Wilson at times. There are some speed tempo blastbeats especially with the double kick drums by Jesse Frizzell. The guitar riffage by Adam Chippendale breaks through the wild talkative vocals. The instrumental break is inspirational, the power metal halts to make room for a rather gentle clean guitar passage. The track ends with staccato blasts of explosive guitar outbursts. The lyrics tell the painful story; "This is not rejection of you" but the "demons of the past" are haunting the guilt wracked main character who is conflicting with his own emotional state. He has returned to the old ways again after finishing the relationship. Now he is back in the drug scene; partying and drinking has taken over and he is consumed by the rejection of the accepted way of living. He has returned to the "old stomping ground". The conflict is that there remains strong feelings towards the other person, and the inevitable realisation that this change has caused hurt. One of the definitive highlights of the album.

The mesmirising Writer's Void has a lengthy intro with some awesome lead guitar work and an ambient key pad with sustained spacey swathes of synth strings. The estranged off kilter high pitched guitars are echoed with a choppy riff on a second guitar, then they are joined by a distorted guitar. Suddenly it stops with a minimalist acoustic introducing a new riff, with a metronomic sweet harmonic beauty. The metal guitar sound drowns it out and takes over the riff. One of my favourite pieces of music follows where the guitars lock into a simple but effective chunky riff, complemented with some acoustic trade offs. The track reflects a blank period in the character's mind who is lost without thoughts, lost without views, and stuck on a different plane that is devoid of feeling. A simply wonderful and mesmirising track.

The next track, Open Wide is sung softly, in high falsetto, with gentle acoustic flourishes. It builds gradually to a louder emotional chorus that aches with longing. Perhaps this is the most emotional track on the album, with alienated lyrics, "moving further into darkness". The music builds to a heavier distortion and some outstanding drumming metrical patterns. The fortissimo descends back to a softer cadence, the textures of light and dark are a drawcard to this type of track. It ends with a droning effect adding to the state of mind of the character's alienation. The track deals with the realisation of the situation that addiction has set in and there is no way back. His life has become consumed with drugs and everything that he has known is being left behind. This is conducive of the dominant force of loss, driving one to the ultimate cure; death.

The esoteric Dreamtime Calling is a short piece that has an Aboriginal theme, the vernacular Aboriginal term dreamtime is where the indigenous encounter a sacred time of meeting with the ancestral spirits. The sounds mirror the acoustic minimalist approach with harmonics. The sound is enhanced by an arcane effect of 12 chimes as the death knell tolls, representing death is nigh, preparing for the forthcoming heart attack that will finish the protagonist. The piece ends with an ominous portent of doom in the form of an unearthly drone.

This immediately segues into Don't Follow dictated by a megalomaniac heavy distorted fractured rhythm. The vocals are more disjointed as they are impassioned as the protagonist is spiralling towards his doom. The quiet interlude is amplified by an ethereal sound, which may represent the loss of consciousness. The track is split into three sections. The opening section covers the main character being taken to the hospital while suffering from a heart attack. He drifts in and out of consciousness as the emergency team try frantically to resuscitate him. The central section deals with the mind after the body has given up and let go of the spirit. The mind is in a state of limbo awaiting whatever or whomever is next. The final segment is the lament of the protagonist looking back to their love, and what follows is his plea for them not to follow them. He implores them to mourn in sadness, but to live on and remember, and thus the ray of hope shines through at the end of the album.

The last track is Life's Light which is acoustically driven and has soft textures to end on a sombre but augury note. The amazing harmonies of Preece's vocals are extraordinary and the feel of the track reminds me of Akerfeldt's style on Opeth's "Damnation". The lyrics point to the disturbing fact that the man will be haunted by the demons of the past eternally; "my demons chasing me, releases me, life's light, melting away, dreamland comes to me this day, it comes my way". The moral is to take care of how we live our life in this world lest it haunt us in the next.

Overall "Return To Type" is an excellent album on every level, musicianship, concept and vocals are all exemplary. There has been a lot of passion poured into this project. The darker heavy parts are juxtaposed seamlessly with very melancholy passages of beauty. The tracks have the effect of slipstreaming one after another to create a whole, rather than separate pieces. I felt at the end of the album I had been rewarded with a work of substance and beauty, with darker nuances scattered throughout. It makes one reflect on the mysteries of death and life. It makes one think about the things we take for granted and how our lives will affect our loved ones and what are the memories that will be left behind. The music is compelling and touching on many emotional levels. I believe it to be one of the most self-assured concept albums and certainly one of the best debut releases thus far in 2011.

Thanks to atomiccrimsonrush for the artist addition.

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