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4 stars Another great band from Sweden. This is one of the best AOR/Melodic Rock/ProgRock borderline albums I ever heard. Sometimes it reminds of the later ASIA and sometimes a little bit Genesis. Definitely good playing and excellent production (Unicorn Canada). More laid back overall but high quality. The whole package of this album (cover, technique, production, lyrics & arrangements) is very good indeed. Like ASIA (later years) the tracks pull you into adventures and tales. Give it a chance cos despite of taste what we got here is without question high-quality in all terms. Very highly recommended.
Report this review (#40520)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is standart AOR popish album. Typical music to sound in the background. It does not require any particular concentration and generally is failing to catch one's attention. It reminds me of Asia and worst solo efforts by John Wetton. Melodies varie from simple to downright primitive, vocal lines leave the impression of have been heard hundred times before. I can't say it is total rubbish just because musicianship is still good, and it can probably make a pleasant relaxing listening occasionally, but not more that this. In terms of progressive music this album IMO does not even deserve two stars, but in terms of AOR/pop-rock it can probably be considered as solid work mainly due to skilled musicianship. So all in all "Different Ways" by Swedish band Xinema left me absolutely unimpressed, and with this sad feeling of wasted money.

Report this review (#57425)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here is a great album that is solid from start to finish and has really caught my ear. This 3 piece Swedish band play progressive rock somewhere I suppose in the SAGA school of thought. What immediately took me back was the powerful vocals of lead singer Mikael Askemur who has the award from me as the best new voice in rock ! When Askemur's voice is combined with the absolutely stunning guitar work of Larsson and the masterful drum strokes of Thuren you have something very special... Wow these guys came out of nowhere. "Different Ways" is a 12 song based album that seems to hit all moods and moves from ballad-like songs to all out high energy movers. Sonically this album kicks butt... lots of nice deep bass tones (will make your speakers vibrate) and offers great speaker definition. An absolutely essential album and what a debut for sure !
Report this review (#64113)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a debut.

Fresh, different and very melodic in an unusual way. This is truly an example of all parts becoming one. Excellent and unusual bass lines, strong and complex drumming coupled with very profficient guitar work and appropriate keyboading. the vocals complement the music well; leaving a very pleasing album.

Over the 12 tracks the only disappointment is the brevity of the tracks - no development or extensions, each track is brief and to the point. Having listened to the album countless times though this shortness in no way detracts from the overall feeling.

Though I have written this review in hindsight having now got their new album (and reviewed it) this album stands out in my collection and proudly sits in my most listened category.

Excellent album, excellent muscianship, excellent sound quality. Well done XINEMA. This is one of those occasions where a full star rating is deserved.

Report this review (#91091)
Posted Friday, September 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely amazing debut.

Xinema captures the best of Saga's universe to explore it on their own. The band has an overwhelming influence from that band, but they have captured the essence of their style and dare to walk the way they opened while creating new golden bits here and there.

I've always considered Saga as one of the most serious contributors to progressive rock (yes, I know, here they are rated as "prog-related", something that puzzles me greatly). Capturing the concept and expanding it by honest contribution is something to be glad for.

I'm drifting away of this review. Xinema is a great band, with huge potential, and they are on the right lane to achieve it. Simplicity while keeping complex interplay between bass, keyboards and guitar is not an easy task. Bands like Xinema are specially gifted to create this kind of music, and it deserves some recognition. Five rock-solid stars for these guys.

Report this review (#152510)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars The good point with this album is to tell us that not all bands coming out of Sweden are great ones.

This album is very much AOR oriented, or neo-prog at best. Some songs might be of appeal but I'm desperate to mention one standout track in here (maybe the closing piece Blind Is The Light).

Vocals are usually pleasant, but the problem is their musical style as well as the song writing. When they try and switch for a more romantic mood, it is not any better, unfortunately. I fully agree with one reviewer who mentioned that you don't really need to put a lot of attention while listening to this album. It might do its job as background music, but no more (Across The Styx being a good and mellow rock ballad which is above average).

It is true to say that if there aren't any great songs, blunders aren't too many either. It is more the overall mood of the album that is annoying. Easy listening and very accessible music. From time to time, it might do the work (very good guitar for instance during the instrumental break in the closing part of Distant Lights) ; but I wouldn't recommend this album.

Different Ways is an average album. Two stars.

Report this review (#186301)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A Swedish trio consisting of singer/multi-instrumentalist Mikael Askemur, guitarist Sven Larsson of Galleon fame and drummer Jonas Thurén.The three of them had played in a band called Madrigal during the 80's and a chance of meeting each other after a decade gave birth to Xinema in 1999.They started reworking some of Madrigal's material, a work in slow progress, as there was no real intention to push this dream too far, until they received a call from Michel St-Pere of Unicorn Digital and went to Canada to record their debut.''Different Ways'' saw the light finally in 2002.

There is a good reason why Michel St-Pere decided to come in touch with Xinema, as they play more or less the style performed by his own band Mystery around the time.SAGA-influenced AOR/Prog Rock with emphasis on melodic parts, warm singing lines and careful keyboards with little instrumental room and plenty of easy-going parts.However Xinema seem to lack the basic components of the genre: Melodies that impress the listener, very strong songwriting and even Mystery's more bombastic moments.The music, although far from uninteresting, sounds often flat and sterile, lacking any kind of dynamics, while there is a certain feeling everything has been played by another band in the past.The presence of Sven Larsson translates into some nice guitar moments, but the style chosen prevents him from going too far with his talent.There are also moments when Xinema sound a lot like the easy stuff of MAGELLAN.Among the mess of mediocre compositions there are a few which show the band's true potential like the catchy opening ''In the Scent of the Night'', the groovy and memorable ''Timing'' or the closing ''Blind Is the Light'' with its nice keyboards.

Not among the very best releases of the style.Rather forgettable Melodic Rock/AOR with only a sense of Prog in some tracks, which are too few.Stick with it only if you are a true fan of the style...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#884442)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
3 stars The three members of Swedish outfit Xinema originally played together in a band called Madrigal in the late Eighties. It was only when meeting up in the late Nineties that they thought that it might be fun to go back and revisit some of the Madrigal material and record a CD for themselves. But as time passed, the very fact that they were under no pressure meant that they had produced an album that they felt might be appreciated by a wider audience than just the band themselves and it is this album that has just been released by Canadian label Unicorn Records.

This is prog that has a light heart; it is music that needs to be taken seriously but not so seriously that it isn't enjoyed. My initial feelings on the album was that they were definitely influenced by Saga and while that is still the case there are also some more commercial elements which give the album a more acceptable air to some progheads. It is 'respectable' music, music that is pleasant and complex while not being hard work, much closer to Nineties Genesis than to that of the same band twenty years earlier.

Because it is such an easy album to listen to I am sure that this is going to gain them a large following. If you enjoy prog that has stacks of space within it, and from a band that aren't afraid to play a ballad when they have to, then this is an album to investigate further

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

Report this review (#978679)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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