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On disc: Sieges Even



- Sophisticated - Volker Raabe - 6 stars
- Paramount - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
- Playgrounds - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


www.siegeseven.com







Playgrounds

Playgrounds
(InsideOut Music - 2008)


With Playgrounds Sieves Even present their first live album which they recorded last year at their Paramount tour. Its no surprise that the tracks are mainly from Paramount and The Art Of Navigating By The Stars as these are the albums they released after a longer break and with their new singer Arno Menses. Even if fans of the old Sieges Even won't be satisfied with only 2 old tracks - both taken from A Sense Of Change - I think it makes sense, coz the album should present the current line-up and sound. They open up with When Alpha And Omega Collide and Tidal. The sound is crystal clear and powerful, not just their live engineer did an awesome job, also Uwe Lulis who produced the album together with the band. With Unbreakable they turn back in time and proceed to The Waking Hours. And the songs from A Sense Of Change fit perfectly to the songs from Paramount and The Art Of Navigating By The Stars. A homogenous set, well chosen!
No need to comment the technical skills of every member, but its fascinating that Arno Menses charismatic voice can enthrall you on album as much as live. If you missed them on tour, then listen to this album and get your ticket for the shows in fall! You don't want to miss them after you heard this live album! My only complain, why no DVD?


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Paramount

Paramount
(InsideOut Music - 2007)


I first came across Sieges Even in 1997 when they toured to promote Uneven and actually I was at their show to see one of their support acts... And to be honest it wasn't my cup of tea... And I didn't listened to them since. When I got this CD I wasn't very happy and just took it as 'part of my work'. But with their latest album called Paramount the German progsters surprised me! After a Uneven they took a break and they kinda returned in 2005 with The Art Of Navigating By The Stars and with Arno Menses on microphone. Now they present Paramount and the first track When Alpha And Omega Collide they show that Sieges Even nowadays is closer to Rush, Kansas, ELP - even if heavier - and Fates Warning then to bands like Spiral Architect and MathProg bands. The opening tune shows synthesizer sounds and ELP-ish backing vocals, while Arno Menses' vocals are catchy and kinda pull you into the world of Paramount. Tidal is quite heavy and is guitar-driven, but complex rhythmic patterns collide with catchy hooks and great melodies. The vocals are distorted which adds a modern touch. These days the quartet is putting focus on the song and the atmosphere, they no longer need to show their craftsmanship, even if it shines through every moment. With Eyes Wide Open they get balladesque and acoustic guitar leads into this one, but later hit becomes a power ballad with heavy riffs and gentle vocals. Almost like one of the big AOR ballades plus some progressive elements and a bit bombast. A haunting song. The tune Mounting Castles In The Blood Red Sky they start slowly and with parts of the most famous speech of Martin Luther King... "I have a dream..." An instrumental piece which uses parts of the speech and kind bring the words to live in their music. Well done!
With Where Our Shadows Sleep it gets darker and a bit melancholy... Based on heavy rifffing the tune shows its soft side after a break with acoustic guitar. And some vocal parts made me think of Supertramp... But there are still complex parts and space to show skills, but they don't push it to the limits and so present themselves to a broader audience. Listen to Bridge To The Divine or Eyes Wide Open.
As I mentioned before I expected the worse and got surprised by the sound of the new Sieges Even. I can recommend the album to friends of Rush, Threshold, Kansas and ELP, but also to fans of prog metal in general. A good choice to get Arno Menses in the band, coz with him it seems a new era started and they are now interesting for more people. But still they are complex and even after several spins you can discover details in their sound. A very good album which should get them some attention!


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Sophisticated

Sophisticated
(Under Siege Rec. - 1995)


Guitarist Wolfgang Zenk's guitar play could end some musicians careers, but as a band the four virtuosos can't convince me. The band is founded by the mentioned guitarist Wolfgang Zenk and his mates Greg Heller, Oliver Holzwarth and his brother Alex. The songs are very complex with complex rhythm parts which most listeners can't understand, even is they are melodic and catchy. For progressive fans who still suffer from the split up of Watchtower, Sieges Even might cure the pain. The new singer can take some of the hardness of the past.


6 stars

Volker Raabe
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)
 

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           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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