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Seasons Of Time - Closed Doors To Open Plains CD (album) cover

CLOSED DOORS TO OPEN PLAINS

Seasons Of Time

 

Neo-Prog

2.86 | 33 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I have such mixed feelings on this second album from Seasons of Time. I wouldn't call it a mixed bag; however, I do feel that there is a certain inconsistency here that I would like to address. This German band has an awesome style of music that brings all the best elements of the neo-progressive style into one neat, tight package. However, there is more lying under the surface.

Opening with the drawn out sound of birds and the great outdoors, "Closed Doors to Open Plains" builds wonderful suspense and anticipation, perhaps a bit too much. However, Seasons of Time has crafted an album of sixteen tracks that tend to be shorter, but all connected. Their interesting themes that seem to have to do with relationships are captivating, especially in the way the emotion comes through in the music,

Indeed, the music is simply fantastic. It's top-notch, top tier stuff. Guitars raise the hair on our necks with searing solos and theatrics, the keyboards are perfectly tuned and expertly composed, the drums are perfectly technical and never pretentious, and the bass is rollicking and foot-stompingly good. Yes, the music, as I said, takes all the best elements and makes them even better. If this were an instrumental album, it would certainly get full stars from me.

However, "Closed Doors to Open Plains" isn't instrumental. Vocalist Malte Twarloh is present, and I wish to high heaven that he weren't. This guy can't sing. It's that simple. His voice is off-key, his pronunciation could use some work and flow, and he simply does not have a pleasant sound. But, it gets worse. The lyrics are truly awful. From the very first verse, you get that feeling. Not only are the lyrics badly written, but they are cheesy and even vulgar at points. For me, progressive music is too classy to resort to dropping f-bombs for no apparent reason. I'm all for it if the situation calls for it, but Dirk seems to drop them for the hell of it. It really ruins the beautiful atmosphere and the overall character of the music.

So, there is a clear division here. Seasons of Time has composed an amazing album. However, they've failed miserably on the lyrical and vocal end of things. Thank goodness, then, that most of the album is indeed instrumental, and there are many instrumental tracks. Dirk isn't all bad, as I enjoyed his work on "Closing Doors", but that's about it. However, the sheer amount of favorite instrumental tracks is staggering, as I just love "Bite the Bullet", "Burning Bridges I and II", "Fuzz & Buzz", "The Station at the Border of the Mind", and others. So, essentially, what we have here is tight music mixed with sloppy vocals and lyrics.

Seasons of Time is still worth your money. This is a definite buy for anyone that loves neo- prog. However, be warned that the album has some unpleasant, rough moments. Though, if you are in it for the music only, you will be thrilled.

Second Life Syndrome | 3/5 |

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