Sieges Even - The Art of Navigating by the Stars

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Sieges Even - The Art of Navigating by the Stars

Postby ianmitchell » Wed May 17, 2006 10:53 pm

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Track Listing:
Intro: Navigating by the Stars
Sequence I: The Weight
Sequence II: The Lonely Views of Condors
Sequence III: Unbreakable
Sequence IV: Stigmata
Sequence V: Blue Wide Open
Sequence VI: To the Ones Who Have Failed
Sequence VII: Lighthouse
Sequence VIII: Styx

Apparently Sieges Even released a few albums in the late 80's and 90's, but this album was my first exposure to them (while I've heard this album is quite different from their old stuff, I'm definitely interested in getting some of their old albums though). During an 8-year hiatus, drummer Alex Holzwarth has been playing with Rhapsody and bassist Oliver Holzwarth has been playing with Blind Guardian, but don't let that fool you - this album sounds nothing like those bands - I'm not even sure I'd consider it metal. I've heard guitarist Markus Steffen released some classical albums - there are definitely some classical guitar influences in a few spots. They are joined by new member Arno Menses on vocals.

The Art of Navigating by the Stars would probably be considered a 'concept album', since there is a definite flow to the album and recurring vocal themes, but I don't think there's really a story as such (at least not that I can tell).

The overall feel of this album reminds me a bit of A Pleasant Shade of Grey by Fates Warning, though not as heavy - most of the guitars on the album use a 'clean' tone. The music is fairly technical and complex, but never strays into the 'notes for the sake of more notes' realm, and there are strong melodies throughout. While there are plenty of instrumental passages, they're more atmospheric, without a lot of traditional guitar solos etc. The vocal style I would describe as 'clean' or 'smooth' - sort of like James Labrie's warm voice or maybe Hasse Froberg of the Flower Kings (not quite like either of those, but hopefully you get the idea) with lots of harmonies; I find the vocals well done and suited to the music. Highlights of the album for me include Unbreakable, with catchy melodies and some of the heavier moments on the album, and Styx, which seems to pull everything together at the end.

Of all the CDs I bought last year, I find myself playing this one the most - it's one of those albums that I liked right away, but keeps getting better after several months of listening. Since I pretty much bought this album on a whim when I saw it in a store on a trip to Montreal, it's definitely been a very pleasant surprise for me.

4.5/5
ianmitchell
 
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