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CLIFFHANGER

Neo-Prog • Netherlands


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Cliffhanger biography
CLIFFHANGER's music combines busy and intricate playing with subtle melodic moments. The band interplay is very well worked out and tasteful. The sound is not typical symphonic prog but their influences are from that direction.

In 1996 the band released "Not to Be Or Not To Be" which I considered one of the best CDs of that year and one that should be come a real present-day masterpiece of Classic Progressive Rock. An excellent surprise happened in 2001: CLIFFHANGER got together again. Just enough time to record an excellent rating to "Circle".

Cliffhanger official website

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Buy CLIFFHANGER Music


Mirror SiteMirror Site
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$18.75
$12.80 (used)
Not To Be Or Not To Be !Not To Be Or Not To Be !
Import
Musea 1996
Audio CD$10.75
$5.43 (used)
Cold SteelCold Steel
Double CD
Freia Music
Audio CD$22.70
Hope & DespairHope & Despair
Import
LaBraD'or Records
Audio CD$29.99
CircleCircle
2002
Audio CD$15.99
Cliffhanger / That's How It IsCliffhanger / That's How It Is
Underwater
Vinyl$9.62
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CLIFFHANGER shows & tickets


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CLIFFHANGER discography


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

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

3.09 | 16 ratings
Cold Steel
1995
3.35 | 35 ratings
Not To Be Or Not To Be
1996
3.03 | 11 ratings
Mirror Site
1998
3.25 | 13 ratings
Circle
2001

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Live at De Boerderij
1995
4.00 | 1 ratings
Mirror Live
1997
3.05 | 8 ratings
Hope And Despair
1998

CLIFFHANGER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CLIFFHANGER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001
2011
3.33 | 3 ratings
Cold Steel (Remastered & Expanded)
2013

CLIFFHANGER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Cliffhanger
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
Cliffhanger Live
1994
3.50 | 2 ratings
Burning Alive!
1995
4.00 | 1 ratings
Promotion Demo (Tape)
1997

CLIFFHANGER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hope And Despair by CLIFFHANGER album cover Live, 1998
3.05 | 8 ratings

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Hope And Despair
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Entering 1998 Cliffhanger had to deal with the departure of Gijs Koopman.Koopman went on to form a new group named ''Android'' and he was soon joined by Dick Heijboer.This fact would lead to Cliffhanger's first dissolution during the second half of the year.However a posthumous live album was released by LaBraD'or Records, entitled ''Hope and despair''.This one contains mostly previously officially unreleashed pieces of the group's early years and the vast majority of the included material comes from a 94' live performance of the group at the Chateau Studio in Tilburg, originally being part of the cassette album ''Cliffhanger live'' from the same year.

At this premature point of their career Cliffhanger actually sound like being heavily influenced by the British Neo Prog bands, especially IQ and PALLAS, throwing a new dimension to the old-school GENESIS stylings of Symphonic Rock with heavy use of flashy synthesizers, melodic guitar parts and emphatic vocals, although Rinie Huigen's voice does not belong among the best of the league.Even if failing to come up with a strongly personal character, their music was more complex than most of the bands of the style at these early steps, featuring dramatic instrumental parts, complicated keyboard pyrotechnics, plenty of surprising breaks and varied rythmic lines.The sound quality is acceptable and the performance of the band is kept at high standards.Cliffhanger always had a tendency towards long, rich arrangements with extended instrumental moves and this is still the case here with the GENESIS similarities being the driving force along with some pompous YES influences.The compositions are mostly nice, even if the band seems often caught in its own labyrinth of complex and adventurous ideas, and the addition of some scarce organ and Mellotron samplers show their love for Classic 70's Prog, leading to grandiose symphonic themes with a beautiful atmosphere.

Excellent document of Cliffhanger's early years.Not entirely convincing, but definitely a good example of dramatic Neo Prog with a nice sense of melody and plenty of variations.Recommended.

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 Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001 by CLIFFHANGER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Cliffhanger is another little unknown band that plays Neo-prog rock with vintage sounds and similarities with others Neo- prog bands are difficult to pin down, because the dark sound of their music with some strange atmosphere, make them a little bit on the outside of the typical Neo-prog bands. Their sound offers a strange mix, with keyboards up front and a bass that have more space than the guitars and even the vocals. The vocals are fading away sometimes in the mix, which could be a little frustrating. Despite this, the compositions are excellent with long instrumental breaks that show the talent of the keyboard player Dick Heijboer, plenty of beautiful symphonic passages, sometimes reminiscent of Genesis. Some instrumental parts are spacey and are stretch out a lot with songs at over 15 minutes.

This box set present 10 hours of live music with a surprising high quality. In total, there is 8 audio show and a bonus concert video of 47 minutes. The dark booklet with a grave in the name of Cliffhanger, the date of their birth and the date when they died! Those images goes well with some names of their songs ; "Cloudy Sky", "Sinister Memories", "Hopeless" and "Bad Dreams". You get the picture, this band enjoys dark concepts, haunting vocals that could be awkward at times when you can barely hear the lyrics. The bass is also strangely mixed in the whole production, but at least, it's original!

Their last cd "Circle" presents songs that are more straightforward with more vocals and less long development in the songs. My favorite cd is "Not to Be or Not to Be", that you can find on the live cd "Burning Alive". Despite technical issues in the production, the music as a nice atmosphere that you rarely find in the Neo-Prog bands. The bonus DVD has a good sound, the picture is not as good, but it's a rare item to have.

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 Hope And Despair by CLIFFHANGER album cover Live, 1998
3.05 | 8 ratings

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Hope And Despair
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars This forth albun from Dutch band CLIFFHANGER "Hope and Despair" is my first contact with their sound and one thing call my attention immediately... the easiness with they mix simple and " danceable" moments with intricate scales and musical passages. This danceable moments are in intimate relation with the bass guitar lines, which makes their music at least very original. However, this danceable moments in certain passages are long and monotonous, but in the most of times don't are long enough to ruin the totality of work. Other important characteristic is the great difficulty in associate their music with any influences ! I can't find none so clear to deserves mention, maybe a little bit of I Q . The best tracks are: track 1 "Escape" , track 4 "Good Things (last Forever)", track 5 "Fells Like Flying" and track 9 "Kill Your Darlings". My rate is3 stars !!!

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 Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001 by CLIFFHANGER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Dug Out Alive! 1993-2001
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Dutch quartet CLIFFHANGER was an active presence in their local rock scene from their formation in 1993 until their eventual disbandment in 2001. 8 active years saw the foursome release 5 official and 6 unofficial albums, in addition to numerous live performances and one initial break-up prior to the second and final one in 2001. "Dug out Alive" collects most of their unofficial and many of their unreleased live recordings, and was self released in the summer of 2011.

"Dug out Alive" is an impressive production. Almost 10 hours of footage officially released for the first time, giving fans and interested parties alike the opportunity to hear themselves the developments of a band from their infancy to their creative peak, and then briefly revisiting the final, troubled days before the band called it quits. Dedicated fans is the obvious key audience for this massive endeavor, but the sheer quality of the material should make this DVD Audio release to be of interest also to others. Those fond of sophisticated neo progressive rock first and foremost, but also those curious about taking an extensive sonic journey through the life of a band from birth to disbandment.

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 Not To Be Or Not To Be by CLIFFHANGER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.35 | 35 ratings

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Not To Be Or Not To Be
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The most cult among the Dutch Neo Prog bands had already entered their most creative and productive period after ''Cold steel''.They recorded,toured and played concerts in an exhausting basis around mid-90's and even had two live releases,the cassette ''Burning Alive!'' and the self-produced CD ''Live at De Boerderij '',both recorded in 1995.Among these commitments,Cliffhanger found time to enter the studio for their sophomore album ''Not to Be or Not to Be?'',originally released by Musea Records in 1996.

Apart from being an underground band,Cliffhanger were definitely the most complex among all Dutch Neo/Symphonic bands,a thing noticed already from ''Cold steel'',but being presented in an even higher degree on ''Not to Be or Not to Be?''.The album contains four long cuts,with ''Ragnarok'' clocking at 25 minutes, and all of them contains GENESIS-influenced Neo/Symphonic Prog with a high degree of complexity,with many complicated interplays and very dark passages of Classical-inspired material and expressive, somewhat theatrical vocals with a light GABRIEL-esque edge on them.Unlike the mass of Neo Prog bands,the sound lacks in melody and is filled with odd time signatures,sudden breaks,haunting vocals,plenty of dissonant passages and numerous guitar/keyboard battles with even some mellotron appearing here and there.The result is a work,that requires a fair amount of spins to be appreciated, far from the harmonic and melodic usual sound of the Neo majority.There is also a fifth short track at the end,the all instrumental ''Moon'', but anyone expecting a bit of melodic content for the end will be rather dissapointed,this is a piece played on grand piano with a very mysterious and haunting sound.The overall style is not fully conveincing,some parts of the album are really exciting with good connections,others are too excessive for the symphonic approach of the band and do not work really well.

Still,one wonders how a band hunted by numerous commitments managed to produce an album of such complicated,inspiring and ambitious musicianship in such a short time.These guys were really talented,maybe a bit too much for the style chosen,and ''Not to Be or Not to Be?'' ends up as an album of adventurous Neo/Symphonic Prog,which many will like but few will trully appreciate.Recommended.

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 Not To Be Or Not To Be by CLIFFHANGER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.35 | 35 ratings

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Not To Be Or Not To Be
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars CLIFFHANGER are a Neo-Prog band out of The Netherlands who were fairly active in the nineties. Certainly GENESIS came to mind when listening to this album, there is mellotron although it may be sampled. Lots of moog though and the bass is prominant too.The negatives are the sound quality and for me just the music in general does little for me.

"Innocent Victim" opens with piano then it kicks in with vocals before settling back around 1 1/2 minutes. It does pick back up after 7 minutes with lots of synths.The bass stands out too but it calms down again before 8 minutes with vocals.The piano is back leading after 11 1/2 minutes then it turns intense. "Sewers" is an instrumental. Piano and mellotron early. A beat after 2 minutes then the guitar and bass come to the fore a minute later. It settles before 7 1/2 minutes to end it. "The Artist" opens with vocals, drums and a full sound. It settles back before 2 minutes with vocals and synths before kicking in again after 3 1/2 minutes. Another calm 5 1/2 minutes in then it gets fuller.

"Ragnarok" is the 25 minute epic. I like the way the mellotron comes and goes until 2 minutes in when the cymbals and synths come in. Guitar and drums take over before 4 minutes. Nice bass too. A strong GENESIS flavour arrives after 6 minutes. It calms right down before 9 minutes then kicks back in with the guitar out front before 11 1/2 minutes. Fast paced vocals 13 minutes in and it turns chaotic before 16 minutes. A calm a minute later. Piano and synths before 19 minutes.Mellotron too. It picks up some before 22 minutes. "Moon" opens in an orchestral manner then the piano joins in.This is a spacey soundscape that ends before 4 minutes. And while on my liner notes it says the track is just over 4 minutes, on my stereo it shows it at over 16 minutes.There is silence until after 14 minutes then we get some silly stuff before this heavy soundscape rolls in with avant piano.Where was this earlier ? It's way better. Oh well.

I can't give this 3 stars even though it's clear these guys have lots of talent. I just can't get into the music.

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 Cold Steel by CLIFFHANGER album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.09 | 16 ratings

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Cold Steel
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Although CLIFFHANGER had been around almost for a decade,they always kept a very low and undergound profile,which didn't exactly helped them through their career.They were formed in 1993 by tremendously skilled keyboardist Dick Heijboer,who later met bassist Gijs Koopman.The two musicians were joined by guitarist Rinie Huigen and drummer Hans Boonk to form the band's stable line-up.CLIFFHANGER recorded an eponymous demo cassette in 1993,followed by a 73-min. live cassette from Tilburg the next year.Their first official album was ''Cold steel'' from 1995 on SI-Music label...

A great album with strong keyboards work,both analog and digital and some trully interesting moments.Beware that this is not your typical neo prog band with only melody and emotion along the way.The album contains plenty of demanding and high-skilled musicianship based on Heijboer's awesome keyboard work.From the presence of the piano and 70's sounding organ to the massiva attack of synths,Heijboer's style always changes,including nice acrobatics,sudden breaks and take-offs,great solos and slow-tempo atmospheric passages.There are also a lot of dark moments with deep basses,background keys and haunting vocals,where the music becomes trully atmospheric.Talking about vocals,this section is held by Rinie Huigen,who's voice is a liitle accented and annying,but fortunately it doesn't become a really negative factor for the album.Hints of GENESIS,MARILLION and even KING CRIMSON and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR pop-up here and there and so,''Cold steel'' is regarded by my side as a very strong debut by this overlooked band,who deserve much more than they actually received.Of interest for the whole prog community.

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 Not To Be Or Not To Be by CLIFFHANGER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.35 | 35 ratings

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Not To Be Or Not To Be
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Having started in a well-defined neoprog territory, a very common trend in the Netherland's prog circles in the 90s, Cliffhanger soon evolved into something more complex and challenging, even darker and denser, with more simmilarities to Van der Graaf Generator and King Crimson than to Genesis or camel (the most recurrent references for neoprog bands). And hat's exactly what we find in "Not To be or Not To Be!", Cliffhanger's sophomore opus. This albums shows the band clearly determined to experiment with the retro-prog sound, offering compositional ideas hat toy with contrasts, disturbing mood and energetic walls of sound. Perhaps the long duration of more than half the tracks can serve as an indication of his line of work. The dangers of inherent to patchwork-based writing are easy to notice as w ego listening to he repertoire, but the band has enough talent as to deal with this sort of danger successfully. The set of retro- prog references is quite wide, actually: the pompous energy of ELP, the relentless neurosis of 73-75 King Crimson and 75-76 Van der Graaf Generator, the somber textures of Anglagard and A Piedi Nudi, and of course, teh symphonic amalgamation of Gabriel-era Genesis, all of them are alternately summoned to forge a renewed approach beyond the confines of standard neo (which, all in all, hasn't disappeared completely from the band's spectrum). The heavy use of mellotron and the relevant presence of weird keyboard orchestrations and layers usually dominate the structure for the arrangements of all melodic motifs and mood/tempo shifts: and this structure is wrapped on recurrently tense and somber ambiences. Once you read this description, you'll know what to expect from the stimulating, intricate opener 'Innocent Victim': it really brings out neurosis in a full stylish guise. The instrumental 'Sewers' has an ethereal first section ('Above') and a powerful second section ('Inside'), which conveniently bears a slight cosmic aura in order to preserve some sort of unity for the whole. 'The Artist' increases the energy in a similar mode to the opener, although this time the melodic vibe is more prevalent: clearly, an emphasis has been laid on the main motif's hooks. The 25- minute suite 'Ragnarok' is the ultimate expression of the album's main features: abundant mellotron inputs, lead guitars than go from the Hackettian to the Frippian with equal proficiency, solid sets of contrasts, calmer passages that relief the general tension, all of them are placed to shock he listener (it also helps that the lyrics are too few). This suite is designed to be the album's definite manifesto. Last, the closing instrumental 'Moon' brings a chamber-meets-new age mood. Some minutes of silence after the final note are followed by a heavy, dissonant chaotic jam. Not a new trick, but certainly an interesting way to end what many of us regard as Cliffhanger's top achievement. It's a pity that neither the band nor this album got the recognition they deserved, since Not To Be or Not To Be! had the clear intention of setting a different pah for modern symphonic rock.

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 Not To Be Or Not To Be by CLIFFHANGER album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.35 | 35 ratings

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Not To Be Or Not To Be
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I waited a long time with this review even though Not to be or not to be is in my collection for over 10 years now. But it's a tough one to review, appears another mindbreaker for a 3 or 4 starrating. It's a pretty dark album for neo standards. The only other neoband that comes to mind in this respect is Italian ASGARD but the difference between the two is that Asgard plays a bit softer where Cliffhanger is a bit more energetic. But both bands create an atmosphere as if you're in some sort of cold damp dungeon. Interesting if you can create this through your musical sound and style.

Opening song Innocent Victim is immediately a perfect example of this feature. Despite the gloomy atmosphere there's also lots of great melodic moments in this song. Next one is the shortest track of the album (still clocking almost 8 minutes !) called Sewing. It's more quiet but at least as dark and somber as the opener. Cliffhanger plays an interesting mix all along of dark dissonances and yet surprisingly fine melodies. In that respect you could call them a mix between GENTLE GIANT and YES.

Rest of the songs are played in more or less this same style and the high level is continued all along. Despite my initial doubts for the rating in the end it's actually not too hard. It's simply strong and good enough for 4 stars. Don't play this if you want to be cheered up though.

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 Live at De Boerderij by CLIFFHANGER album cover Live, 1995
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Live at De Boerderij
Cliffhanger Neo-Prog

Review by britjes

— First review of this album —
5 stars Supper live album, the best songs of cold steel and not to be. It is not the musik you like by turnig 1 time but when you are patient en turn is serveral times the secrets wil appear. Well preformed and a good recording. It's a pitty that they are stoped playing. My favorite. 9/10

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