Dutch site Rockportaal have reviewed the Still Living album, and acknowledge that is a grower! Find the original here, and next is what Google says it translates to:
Melodic hard rock from Brazil poured into a concept album.
This is already the third album of the band that was founded in 2004. In 2005 and 2007 two demos were released, after which it went through various personnel changes until 2012 before the first official album was released. The band consists of vocalist Renato Costa, guitarist Eduardo Holanda, bassist Wagner Souza, drummer Cleber Melo and keyboardist Thiago Nascimento. The band brings rock songs in the eighties style with a modern twist.
The protagonist is Jimmy who leads, in his eyes, hopeless existence. He has seen his heroes fall away and there are no ideals he lives for. If he looks at himself, he sees no reasons why this should continue. The album opens with Reign Of Pills in which Jimmy looks back on the night before. In the songs On The Edge and Call Of The Night we get a better picture of our protagonist. The songs lean on solid guitar work with spaces for longer solos. Costa knows how to determine the mood per song with his vocals, and does not even shy away from high shots.
King Of Nothing shows how Jimmy thinks about himself. The song starts with a nice dark guitar riff after which the drums are added. It is a solid rock song, just like Cult Of The Rough Awakening. Some quieter songs like Haunted are also well received.
Further in the story we meet the friend of Jimmy. Jane’s voice is done by Rosangela C. Taylor. After a confrontation with himself and a conversation with Jane, Jimmy walks out. The Dark shows the fatal end, or does not it? The story seems to have an open end. This is followed by the instrumental As Shallow As It Gets and the bonus number Redemption, especially added to the European market.
An album with a story. A story that clearly emerges and is well composed. The band puts a dozen good songs on this album, it takes some getting used to the style at the first listen, especially through the spoken dialogues here and there. As the number of listens increases, the album grows.
Dutch site RockPortaal have done an excellent review of the album. The original is here, and with help from Google here an English translation:
Are rock operas in 2017 still of this time? I do not know if Koos Thönissen himself ever asked this question. Regardless of whether he asked himself this question, he does give the answer. That answer is his very ambitious double album Pandor. A rock opera with 100% Dutch make. Or rather: Limburg-made. A rock opera where blood, sweat, tears and four years of work have been put into it. And you can hear that.
Koos Thönissen is a songwriter, bass guitarist, guitarist and singer living in Limburg. At some point he decided to change course and at the top of his bucket list he created the complete creation of a rock opera himself. What followed was a one-lane road with footsteps and clamps. But the self-taught Thönissen persisted, straightened his back more than once and completed his quest. Partly thanks to the help of a bunch of friendly enthusiasts, musicians and vocalists.
The story of Pandor is set in the time that dragons rule the earth. The dragons are the guardians of the balance and the guardians of the living beings. They live in the high mountains called Aenoor and reign in the air. They maintain a special bond with the unicorns. These live in the lush green forests of Glynyd. But the Molgar live deep underground, in caves and caves. A primitive and aggressive people that would later evolve into man. The Molgar’s are based on the immortality of the dragons. They cause conflicts when they come out of their holes after sunset. After a meteorite destroys the capital of the Molgar people, they hold the dragons responsible. They are seeking revenge. That comes after an apocalypse destroys Aenoor virtually and the dragon population falls apart. Then Pandor is born. The orphaned dragon, whose father was imprisoned by the Molgar, is saved and brought up by the unicorns. Unicorns see the hope for a better future in Pandor. Then Pandor meets another orphaned dragon, Tayla. A female. Although raised by the dragons, a special bond arises between them. Tayla teaches Pandor the lessons of life and even secretly falls in love with him. Thanks to the wise lessons Pandor’s skills grow quickly. He becomes a great strong dragon with respect. The new leader of the dragons.
Then the dragons unite in their ultimate goal: restoring the old order and understanding. But especially justice. With Tayla at his side, Pandor leads the troops in their attack on the Molgar’s. The Molgar’s are successfully driven back into their caves and caves. They come to repentance and realize their cowardly act at the time. They do not get the secret of eternal life. And with that, Glynyd and Aenoor have also been restored.
The story written completely by Thönissen has been translated into music in a breathtaking way. Scattered on two CDs are 14 songs with a total playing time of 83 minutes. Thönissen then takes care of all instruments (including mandolin and didgeridoo) and some vocals. Occasionally he is assisted by Jeroen van den Biggelaar (guitar on Certamen Ultimus) and Ron van Rhee (flute on Consulting Cerna). Larger (vocal) roles are assigned to five female singers. The story is spoken in an sometimes theatrical way during this album by Ian Jillings. These spoken documents are not separately indexed. And to give the story extra visual power we hear the dragons roar.
I leave out the discussion of the individual numbers. Be surprised by brutal guitar work on songs like the long and stirring Gol Matoo, including grunts and the hardest song Ael Hathor. And especially the war number Certamen Ultimus. Let yourself be swept along symphonic pieces full of beautiful keyboards such as opener A Dragon’s Tale, Glynyd, the second part of Gol Matoo and the beautiful Consulting Serna. But also on the power metal number The Meeting. Especially enjoy the female vocals on Pandor’s Adoption (with beautiful vocals that sounds like Margriet Boomsma from Flamborough Head) and The Prophecy / Tayla’s Mission. But also the lover of polyphonic singing comes into contact with Aenoor. In terms of vocals it reminds me of the German High Wheel. Actually there is something for everyone on this double CD.
Are there no downsides? On this album several vocalists participate that take care of the various characters. Somewhat too bad I find that the CD booklet does not mention in which songs these characters sing. Although you can sometimes make that out of the text when you follow it closely. But this is only a minor smet.
Finally, I come back to the question where this review begins. Are rock operas still in this year in 2017? After listening to Pandor on several occasions, I answer this question with yes.
Another very nice review from Dutch site Rockportaal. And again, find the original version here, and the translated version next:
With the album Tainted by Tragik in front of me, I am somewhat surprised. First of all, I am amazed that Tainted is the seventh album of this melodic hard rock band. In addition, I am lustily looked at by busty ladies from the artwork. But that has already been the case on previous albums. Do not judge a book by his cover, they say and that certainly fits like a glove for this seventh album by Tragik.
An album with a diversity at the top with the rock side as a continuous basis. Not always very very pompous like in ‘Til I See You Again’ and Nobody’s There and even rock / sweet as in Regrets. On the other hand Face Of Sorrow certainly fits in this list, although this composition is catchy due to a stabile guitar sound and ditto drum.
In Can not Take It Back, the rock side reveals itself for the first time on the album. The chorus is pleasant and catchy, even call it poppy and the guitar solo sounds so warm and familiar that Can not Take It Back still lingers. Later on the album is also the title track infused with a big rock sauce against the border of rock and roll. Striking on Tainted is the seventies sound that this modern band puts down. In terms of sound, it tends towards a band like Boston and the vocal / backing vocals in Tainted, but also in Nobody’s There and the long Not Over You (Listen) fit perfectly into the whole. That link to a band like Boston returns to Welcome Back, but then mixes with the Electric Light Orchestra at Mr. Blue Sky. Although certainly in Into The Great Unknown matches can be found with Styx at Mr. Roboto.
How wonderful that old time is put in a new jacket and in Not Over You (Listen) even goes back to the synthpop from the eighties (including drum computer).
Tragik shows a contemporary and special sound for which Phil Vincent is mainly responsible. His voice is particularly appropriate for the music on Tainted and in Heaven he shows that he does not need more than a piano and his voice to give a wonderful feeling to the listener in this extremely peaceful and beautiful composition. Nice is the acceleration halfway through the composition in which spacerock predominates and gives Tragik a more progressive side. Here too, the composition, like almost all other compositions, is enriched with a wonderful guitar solo.
All in all, Tainted is a special album that brings back memories and mixes rock and (synth) pop together. A special album that sounds nice and especially in the Boston / Styx / Elo compositions.
Dutch site Rockportaal has written a rather nice review of the Age Of Aquarius album. Here the English translation:
Rock Company is a Dutch record label that was founded in 1987 and has the primary goal of promoting music in every way possible. The label does this by, among other things, releasing music, writing about music and broadcasting music via the internet. Thereby one focuses on progressive rock and related genres.
One of the bands – or even better duo – on this label is Age Of Aquarius. They consist of the Dutchman Peter Cox, who plays all the instruments on this album and the British singer Zoe Ehinger, responsible for all lyrics. Multi-instrumentalist and singer Peter Cox is a name unknown to me in the music business. Nevertheless, the man has been making his mark on the genre for quite some time, as evidenced by his involvement with the groups Chinawhite, Forest Field and Earthshine.
Dawn Of The Age Of Aquarius is about big changes and the destruction of the old, which will eventually create the new. Uranus, God of heaven and heavens, is the ruler of Aquarius. Destruction and change are the most important parts of this sign, which then brings new thinking, creativity and brings people back to life. Reasonably spicy food that you have to be open to.
Musically the album is a lot easier to digest. The ten generally melancholic songs, three of which are instrumental, listen pleasantly and simply. The song structures are generally simple, with the strong guitar playing of Peter Cox having the upper hand. I do not always appreciate the vocals of Zoe Ehinger. In my opinion, her vocals come into its own in more dark-colored songs such as The Water Bearer, Uranian Utopia and the beautiful Mercury Rising. Sometimes she tends to bite off more than she can chew. This is at the expense of purity, such as the more up-tempo Darling Jupiter. The album has a strong final chord with Saturnian Chaos. In addition to the three instrumental numbers, I think the best song. The guitar playing is firmer and more pointed, the rhythm is tighter and the vocals of Zoe Ehinger, who reminds of Grace Jones, are simply very strong.