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Chain - Chain.exe CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.74 | 31 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Half of the album consists only of one track of 38 minutes, divided in 7 sections which don't really stand on their own but that's not an issue since "Cities" is awesome. This is one of the prog tracks that don't need 25 spins to get into. The reason for this is probably the great deal of emotion and the memorable melodies. This is complex stuff but as a listener you aren't aware of that. Different melodies and moods shade off into another gradually. All of the instruments are played very well but the keyboards and piano are really top notch on this dinosaur track. Chains uses also the skills of some guest musicians and vocalists from whom Michael Sadler from Saga is common known to prog fans. The several vocalists do an excellent job throughout the whole album with big differences between them although. The vocal harmonies are great, sometimes dark and pastoral but sometimes uplifting, you can recognise some Yes or Peter Hammill to name a few. Most of all the excellent songwriting of "Cities" is simply amazing.

Chain is a band which started off in 1993 only to fall apart one year later on. In 2003 the band reunited for recording the music they wrote 10 years before. Chain.exe is the second album since then. The sound of this band is somewhere between progressive rock and progressive metal. Their musical style is quite unique but still it contains several influences from the history of progressive rock. Unfortunately not all of the other songs reach the same level of the major epic.

"She looks like you" is another track which shows the band is capable of things which are totally different. This could have been a ballad from Metallica or some grunge band. This song would make an excellent single with chances for a chart entry. It drifts on a strong melody. Great track !

"Eama hut" is a track which is rather heavy when compared to the rest of this album. On this track and the next one, the guitars are on the front. This should be listed under the file of progressive metal. The comparison with the sound of Dream Theater is obvious. The keys and the vocals sound as they were recorded at the end of the eighties. Not a bad track with a fine chorus and some sparkling moments but it lacks the emotion of other tracks which are included on this album. Even after several attempts, can't get into this one. Something just is missing.

The same review could be given on "Never leave the past behind" but It's a tad better. This anthem has some references to the music and vocals of Savatage and again. Dream Theater. The chorus of this song is great but after hearing it several times, it starts to be quite boring.

I can't see the point in doing a cover of "Hot to cold", a track which was originally issued by Saga. This is one of those tracks that defines the sound of this Canadian band so well. Chains hasn't come up with an original version, as theirs isn't sounding very different compared to the one which appeared on "Images at twilight". Not a very good idea to use the voice of Michael Sadler once again as he also did the vocals in 1979. I always loved this track and this version isn't bad either but listening to this cover version you simply don't realise this isn't Saga playing . Except for the vocal harmonies and the heavy guitar riffs, It doesn't add anything substantial. Moreover, on this album this track just doesn't fit in here. There's too much difference in style and rhythm.

On "Last chance to see" the vocals seem more important than the music which is odd for progressive rock. The vocal melodies are sounding like they were recorded in America in the mid- seventies and I don't refer to the production which is great throughout the album. Some of the work of Jim Steiman, Elton John or even Alice Cooper comes to mind when hearing this. Like on "Cities", You can hear several vocalists in one track performing like different actors in a movie, a bit like Ayreon does, but here it does almost sound as a musical. This is one of the best tracks on this album but it doesn't top "Cities".

I gave this album a three star rating. If I had to rate the large epic, it would easily earn four stars. The other tracks are decent but some of it simply doesn't reach the same level of quality. There's much difference in styles and moods between the tracks. Chain.exe lacks unity. You can hear the band is still searching for its musical direction. Using contrasts in music can be very interesting but here it doesn't which is a pity for the many brilliant moments. This album may be to soft for guys who listen to Savatage and Dream Theater. Fans of progressive rock will probably find some of the tracks a bit too heavy. It would be a shame this album falls in the gap between two styles of music and please no one. really should check this one out. Looking forward to their next effort.

Fishy | 3/5 |


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