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Chain - Reconstruct CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.65 | 17 ratings

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4 stars Reconstruct was an album I picked up after hearing Henning Pauly's first Frameshift album and the subsequent Chain release called Chain.exe. Chain.exe is one of my top 10 albums and I love Unweaving the Rainbow as well. Pauly gives the impression on the CD artwork that a full band is at work here but he plays all of the instruments. That is because he had moved from his native Germany to America in order to go to music school. After graduation, he dug out tapes of his old German band, realized he had the makings of an album and recorded all the instruments himself. His homemade recording was meant to be a surprise for his old mates, but lo and behold, he struck a record deal with ProgRock records and thus began his recording career.

The theme of the album, to quote the artwork, "is a journey through time, from before the beginning of life to a time when life on our planet is no more. Then, it starts all over again." Pauly is a devout follower of Douglas Adams and incorporates a lot of his ideas into the lyrics. This is especially true on the 7 different Earthscape pieces that are placed throughout the album. They are all simple, two or three instrument, narrated pieces that are meant to move the story along. The last one is the only one that can be considered a proper song. There are some nice "food for thought" ideas in these, but lose their appeal after many listenings.

As to the music, you can hear a lot of the trademarks Pauly would develop later on to a higher standard. I can't find a weakness in any of the instruments that he takes on and that includes drums, which he would later pass off to his brother on future recordings. The trademark synthesizer sound he uses is found here. He trots out the prog metal aspect but compliments it with piano and acoustic guitar so as to mix up the moods. Pauly has a very good sense of melody and uses it liberally here. The metal is not over the top and not on display at all times, which is about the way I like it nowadays. Pauly has never toured and so he can and does use a lot of studio trickery to come up with new and interesting sounds and textures to keep the feel fresh. Matt Cash is the vocalist. Cash has a capable voice but may turn some off in some of the songs. Pauly needed a vocalist and given the circumstances, went with the best he could get at the time. Cash later recorded a country album, but he doesn't have a country voice per se here. It just isn't a true prog metal voice.

This is a good "rock-out" type of album geared to a prog market. If you like any of Pauly's other offerings, I can recommend this without hesitation. Once he got a name for himself and began collaborating with other vocalists and musicians that were able to augment his wonderful songwriting skills is when he really began to shine. But Reconstruct is a very solid effort right out of the box. Wavering between 3 and 4 stars but believe it is closer to 4.

johnobvious | 4/5 |


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