Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Consortium Project - Ian Parry's Consortium Project   CD (album) cover


Consortium Project


Progressive Metal

3.10 | 11 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars Ian Parry is best known for being the vocalist of progressive/power metal Dutch band Elegy (as well as guesting on early Ayreon's albums). In 1999 the singer took a break from his main job and assembled a cast of fine musicians to record his debut solo album, simply titled Ian Parry's Consortium Project. With Parry as the main songwriter as well as keyboard player, the line-up was comprised of an impressive list of fellow musicians, including Stephan Lill (Vanden Plas), Patrick Rondat (soon to join Elegy too) and Thomas Youngblood (Kamelot) on guitars, Dirk Bruinenberg (Elegy) on drums, and Barend Courbois (Vengeance), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) and Martin Helmantel (Elegy) on bass.

The music is a blend of soft progressive metal, melodic power metal and hard rock, not too far from the type of sound one can find on the early Ayreon records. Royal Hunt may be another reference in terms of sound. The songs are mostly guitar- and keyboard-driven mid-tempos, with riffs that are gritty and majestic, but also very melodic and accessible. Meanwhile, the rhythm section provides a robust backbone that keeps things simple and to the point, rarely straying too far off the main beat. These are tracks clearly written with Ian Parry's vocals in mind and so the whole music revolves around the vocal hooks, with simple structures that are based on the repetition of verse-bridge-chorus, with a rare middle-eight thrown-in in a couple of songs. Each song also contains an inevitable guitar solo, usually placed after the chorus, allowing the guest guitarists to have the spotlight shined on them.

Given the rather straightforward and fairly unadventurous musical background, the success of the songs largely depends on Parry's melodic lines and performance. He is one of those singers in the tradition of Ronnie James Dio, with a voice that is gritty but also very expressive, and with a decent range. While his performance is generally good, the vocal lines he has written for himself do not always hit the mark. When they do, the songs are pretty good, like the opening duo "House of Cards" and "Banquet for Thieves", which feature a strong chorus that acts as climax to the momentum that the songs build over the verse and bridge. The piano-based ballad "A Miracle Is All We Need" is another strong song, wisely placed in the middle of the album to give the proceedings a much-needed change of pace after a sequence of mid-tempo tracks that somewhat tend to blur together.

Elsewhere, however, things do not work as well as the album's beginning might lead one to hope. "Evilworld", "Change Breeds Contempt", "The Snake" and "Criminals & Kings" are all sub-par tracks, with weak vocal melodies, especially on the choruses that fail to give the songs the cathartic boost they would so much need. The other tracks fair better, but only slightly. One gets the impression that Parry's songwriting is a tad too monothematic, with many of the songs here following the same structure and the same melodic ideas. Past its first half, the album becomes somewhat of a chore to get through, despite the fact that its closing tracks "Chain of Fear" and "Pandora's Box" are decent. The sound production does not help either, as the record sounds somewhat muddy and powerless.

Overall, Ian Parry's solo debut is a decent, but somewhat underwhelming effort. It is the classic album that would have benefitted a lot from a pruning down of two/three tracks, as well as an injection of more diverse and exciting material. The album is saved by a couple of good tracks as well as by the great line-up of musicians (including Parry), who guarantee solid performances all around. However, I would only recommend this to fans of the singer, because if you are looking for good progressive metal of the early 2000s, there is so much better stuff out there than this.

lukretio | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this CONSORTIUM PROJECT review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.