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viernes, 26 de febrero de 2016

Sieges Even - Paramount (2007)


Uno de los grupos más subestimados del progresivo, prácticamente creadores de un estilo (el metal prog), dueños de una técnica impecable, en su último disco de estudio, que les recomiendo mucho.

Artista: Sieges Even
Álbum: Paramount
Año: 2007
Género: Metal progresivo
Duración: 61:47
Nacionalidad: Alemania


Lista de Temas:
1. When Alpha And Omega Collide
2. Tidal
3. Eyes Wide Open
4. Iconic
5. Where Our Shadows Sleep
6. Duende
7. Bridge To The Divine
8. Leftovers
9. Mounting Castles In The Blood Red Sky
10. Paramount

Alineación:
- Arno Menses / vocals
- Oliver Holzwarth / bass
- Markus Steffen / guitars
- Alex Holzwarth / drums
Guest musician:
Sven Rossenbach / saxophone




Sieges Even fueron en los años ochenta uno de esos raros combos alemanes que no se prestaban a ninguna etiquetación, eran metal progresivo cuando nadie hacía metal progresivo, lo cual, por culpa sin duda de un público que en aquellos tiempos estaba demasiado pendiente de las etiquetas, les llevó a la separación a mediados de los noventa.
Hace algunos de años se volvieron a juntar todos los miembros originales con otro cantante, y lo que hace veinte años había sido un grupo de metal progresivo, aparecían con el disco "The art of navigating to the stars", discazo que presentamos en el blog cabezón, que era puro rock progresivo, mucho más influido, pongamos por caso, por Genesis o Rush que por Dream Theater o Queesnryche.
Para mucha gente ese cambio fue un gran acierto, y lo que está claro es que la música de Sieges Even fue en ese entonces mucho menos encorsetada, mucho más suave y digerible, porque han creado unas melodías que los pueden acercar, por ejemplo, a los Marillion de, curiosamente, los años ochenta, cuando estaba Fish en ellos, o a los mismos Marillion de Steve Hoggart en discos como "Brave", para que se hagan ustedes una idea de por dónde se mueven estos alemanes, eso sí, con un toque metálico, mínimo pero que le falta a Marillion.

Segunda realización de la tercera etapa de la banda y álbum oficial número siete, SIEGES EVEN desarrolla en "Paramount" un álbum identificado por el rock progresivo metálico de fina hechura, sensitivo y muy bien hecho.
Arno MENSES (vocales), Markus STEFFEN (guitarras), Oliver HOLZWARTH (bajo) y Alex HOLZWARTH (batería) demuestran, entre otras cosas, que un rock progresivo de primera línea no requiere de teclados como instrumento principal para ser característicos de un género particular, sino más bien se necesita música que evolucione positivamente en su desarrollo. "Paramount" es un álbum que vale la pena y mucho, donde SIEGES EVEN redefine la concepción generalizada del rock progresivo metálico, operando en un nivel de complejidad muy por encima de lo imaginado. Para darnos una idea de lo que tenemos aquí me refiero a parte de la descripción que escribiera InsideOut, donde menciona que 'Tidal' “contiene bastantes de los componentes que hacen de este álbum una obra de arte completa: dureza, melodía, partes progresivas, melancolía, guitarras eléctricas y acústicas, teclados discretos y sonidos de sintetizador de buen gusto. El instrumental 'Mounting castles in the blood red sky' es una especie de versión musical del famoso discurso 'tengo un sueño' de Martin Luther KING, contrastado por la balada folk-prog AOR 'Eyes wide open' que es conducida por la bella voz de MENSES y que pareciera la clase de canción que pocas personas habrían esperado de este disco” (1). Al respecto STEFFEN señala: “antes de la llegada de Arno no nos hubiéramos arriesgado con un número como éste, pero ahora parece ser totalmente concluyente y encajante” (2). Otra distinción que vale la pena destacar es la participación de Sven ROSSENBACH, quien con saxo decora bellamente el tema principal del álbum.
De una manera general quiero concluir diciendo que "Paramont" es el álbum ideal para aquellos quienes gusten del sonido heavy metal sensitivo y de manufactura artística, cabiendo con comodidad en el gusto de quienes prefieran un rock progresivo hard original y muy bien hecho.
Alfredo Tapia-Carreto

Con su segunda y última entrega de esta etapa, han ahondado mucho más en la investigación sonora; las voces siguen siendo suaves, como en el otro disco, pero ahora parece que han tirado más de efectos de ordenador y teclados, han creado atmósferas más técnicas, lo cual no quiere decir que el disco sea frío, ni mucho menos, es un trabajo nada pretencioso, pero con unas atmósferas envolventes que gustarán a todos los seguidores de grupos como los Rush de "Hold Your Fire".


When Art Rock and Metal collide ...
Well, I didn't expect the band is able to improve once more. Therefore I'm really excited! This album is an excellent follower of 'The Art Of Navigating By The Stars' which was released 2 years ago when SIEGES EVEN surprised me much with their special blend of Art Rock and Metal elements. Now the same line-up basically has not changed the style (why shouldn't they?) - except some details. Again we have complex and very emotional songs with impressive hooklines, grooves and breaks dominated by Arno Menses' vocals. For a summary musically and technically perfect with a few song pearls as the result. You can enjoy clear guitars with many variants and there is no doubt about the qualities of the Holzwarth rhythm branch. On 'Paramount' SIEGES EVEN now additionally uses saxophone, samples, synths and the lyrics also contain catchy refrains. So I can even state more variety and sophistication.
First song When Alpha And Omega Collide sounds like it wasn't considered for the former album. This is meant just like a transition to point out the stylistical analogy. Alex Holzwarth's fantastic drum work is extra remarkable. Tidal begins more metal accented. Vocals are a little bit harsh modified in parts but the song is also provided with nice melodies and a spanish guitar interlude. Eyes Wide Open follows as mellow as KING CRIMSON's eponymous song from their album 'Power To Believe'. A wonderful mainstream bordering ballad which deserves to enter the rock charts by all means. Nothing what follows is lacking, excellent songwriting - the band has appointed every song with some specials. Iconic is interesting because decorated with some reserved Barbieri like psychedelic keyboard layers. Synths are initiatingDuende pursued by a fantastic bass guitar. Bridge To The Divine is provided with a very catchy refrain and Leftovers convinces with metal riffs and compelling vocals. Mounting Castles In The Blood Red Sky is something very special - gripping. They use Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' monolugue as the background for a very very melancholic tune. Paramount - the point of culmination, initiated by a rocket lift off - remembers me at FATES WARNING. What a hookline, what an enormous guitar riff! Emotional vocals and a surprising saxophone solo by Sven Rossenbach - this is breathtaking!
SIEGES EVEN has navigated forward once again. 'Paramount' is not that spectacular for me as the forerunner which has to be considered as a comeback. Anyhow - this album is a (prog) rock music gem - flawless - enjoyable from the first to the last minute.
Uwe Zickel

On their last album before breaking up for the second time, Sieges Even marry their two sides - complex metal and melancholic art rock. The result is more straight-forward than their more known works, but strikes the balance between complexity and melody. Holzwarth brothers, who form the rhythm section, are more known as session musicians for commercial metal bands. Sieges Even was their first band started in the 80s, and since became more of an outlet for the soul. Markus Steffen, the guitarist and a good lyricist, in addition to the metal, plays a very clean guitar. Arno Menses, the vocalist, has been with the band only for their last 2 albums. Compared with previous power wailers, he is more of a pop crooner. He and Steffen stayed together and formed Subsignal, which more or less continues the style here, plus prominent keyboards. The duo are apparently big Yes fans, as can be seen here in Bridge to the divine, and their post-Sieges work. Sieges Even are a very distinctive band. It's a pity that they are no longer are active, but this makes their few albums all the more valuable.
Ruben

Only very very good things I have to say about this German band's lattest album. I really was amazed by the high quality vocal works and arrangements. In fact, as many reviews that are on the internet had mentioned, the album is quite more accesible than others; though the top class musicians' skills are evident and their sound had matured much more, and become each time more - Sieges Even characteristical-.
Sterlingprog

I picked up on this band with 'Art Of Navigating The Stars' and really enjoyed their stylings, their blend of metal, prog, some neo (just a shade), and their infectious melodies. I have been impatiently awaiting this album ever since. And it doesn't fail to deliver.
The guitars are oftentimes hard and dreamy, the vocal medodies are often an instrument in themselves, the bass can be heavy and groovy, the drums are top notch (Alex Holzwarth seems to play for everyone these days).
Sieges Even are defining their own sound, taking some chances that Dream Theater won't take, yet staying very accessible to "pure" progheads.
Excellent.
catsclaw

The 'coldness' of the last release "...Art of..." is replaced by a warmer, bassier, clearer, but a less 'open' production. The songs are 'songs', simpler, shorter arrangements, but with the interesting bits that quality muso's from interesting backgrounds can create. I guess Steffen brought back a few left over and new riffs to the last album which made for a longer more 'pieced-together' song structure. The new songs are perhaps product of a more collaborative 'flow' song writing approach.
This is a geat punctuation in Sieges Even's catalogue. I haven't heard the two albums with the other guitarists, but this is Sieges at their most accessible, something they're well entitled to do, and it may just work, because their other stuff isn't very accessible at all!
I still rate TAONBTS as a unique masterpiece, Paramount isn't quite up to that standard in terms of complexity, but it is a different album, more succinct and accessible, and for this band that's a worthy step forward.
praj912

My personal Album of The Year 2007.
And a very aptly titled one. It's years that I have come across an album that moved and impressed and entertained me so much at the same time - this is the one. This is songwriting at its best, you'll hardly find more tastefully crafted songs in prog music. Here the music matured beyond inserting show- off parts (just think of the faults of Dream Theater, Flower Kings, Ayreon etc.). Everything you get to hear serves the main purpose: the perfect valuable composition! And for the first time there is human warmth conveyed by SE's music - they matured beyond hiding feeling behind the technical aspects of the music. The music even suits the vocals better. On ...NAVIGATING... I listened to Arno Menses with reservations. On Paramount he proves how good he is. Definitly the best singer they ever had - and the others weren't bad. This is the best album SE ever released, IMHO. Here is the rating song by song:
WHEN ALPHA AND OMEGA COLLIDE: the quintessential track, the whole album stuffed into one piece. Hard riffs, softer passages, very good vocals.(5/5)
TIDAL: starts off even harder than the opener. The hard riffs are soon exchanged for beautiful vocal lines that make you want to sing along and that's no fault, not even in prog music (5/5).
EYES WIDE OPEN: a fully fledged ballad. Simple but very beautiful. This is what Blue Wide Open from ...NAVIGATING..., was meant to be. (5/5)
ICONIC: a controlled song about the statue of Jesus on the mountain near Rio de Janeiro. music and lyrics not quite my cup of tea. (3/5)
WHERE OUR SHADOWS SLEEP: this is SE at their best again. A melody you can bask in, vocal lines you can only dream of. Description is useless - listen to it. (5/5)
DUENDE: A faster track, cleverly placed after three slower ones. Has a slight Spanish touch to it, if I'm not mistaken. In one instance they are singing about magic songs of inspiration, could have been the title of the album. (5/5)
BRIDGE TO THE DIVINE: a beautiful song with a catchy chorus - singalong time again. Or better not, listen to the masters. (5/5)
LEFTOVERS: the slow, concerned track of the album. A track full of inspiration in the details, the secret highlight. Easy to overlook it, with all those quality compositions here but it'd be a shame. (5/5)
MOUNTING CASTLES IN THE BLOOD RED SKY: an instrumental graced with intersections from M.L.King's famous speech. Cool idea! (4/5)
PARAMOUNT: What can be the ending of such an incredible album? SE's solution is to simply put the best track last. This track simply diminiuates everything else on the album. The massive riff that builds up the chorus and the carefully timed vocal line soaring over it . The way everthing pulls and pushes against each other: this chorus is continental drift set to music. An unforgettable experience.
So, if you have liking for good compositions instead of heading blindly for long tracks or technical show- offs - then this is probably the record for You. And to You it is Very Highly Recommended!
5/5 stars.
Thomas Janssen

Paramount follows up the excellent The Art of Navigating by the Stars. Although the two albums share a lot in common, given the circumstances that surround both, one can understand that Paramount just does not reach the heights of Art.
SE got back together with their original guitarist, Markus Steffan and recruited a great new singer, Arno Menses prior to recording The Art. Why Steffan left in the first place is not public knowledge that I know of but there must have been issues with the brothers Holzwarth, who make up one of the best rhythm sections in the business. But all was well at the time and a huge musical statement was produced in The Art. The band then followed up with Paramount, only to disband in the months after the release. Perhaps old tensions surfaced again, but Steffan and Menses decided to strike out and start a new band called Subsignal. So perhaps Paramount was saddled with band strife and thus was not able to measure up to The Art.
Don't get me wrong, this is still a strong album. The metal is turned up a notch from The Art but still is used to enhance, not as a main element. Melody still is the key with the bass and drums being a huge part of the musical direction, not just a supporting one. There are no keyboards again (something Subsignal will have) but the sound is still as full as before and the prog label can still be used. The Art was really one long piece of music and each song really fit well and flowed together whereas Paramount is more patchwork with the songs standing alone. The recurring themes of The Art are gone as well. Steffan brings all of his tricks out again and is truly one of the underrated guitarists around. If I had to guess, I would think that three hugely talented musicians as this may have not wanted to make a The Art clone, but had finally tasted some success and maybe stayed the same course a bit unwillingly. Purely conjecture but plausible I think.
Here is one of the few times when the PA 1-5 star scale is really failing me. I gave The Art 4.5 stars and rounded it down. I felt the fact that there were no keys and not truly prog in everyone's mind kept me from calling it essential. I also believe that Paramount is better than three stars and if you like The Art, this would be a great purchase as well. So I am going to call this one 3.75 and am forced to give it the same score as The Art, even though it does not quite reach the heights as that wonderful album.
John Mattern

It pains me to see this album being compared and shunned because of its predecessor. Unlike some of the other reviewers I consider this album to feel as inspired as The Art of Navigating by the Stars, I feel that the only shift that has taken place is a more focused sense of direction for both the music and the themes. Unlike the previous record, this one is able to maintain a nice sense of fluidity to it.
Granted, it has its slow moments, but just comparing the first listen I had of this and "the Art..." it was very apparent that to me this was the superior album. The arrangments are mesmerizing, the vocal work much more intricate and solid, every song has atleast one moment where I stop whatever I'm doing while listening(I'm a listen to music while doing things-kind of guy).
I guess it might just be me being more inclined towards a more "mainstream" direction of music, it's impossible to tell. But in general I'd consider this to be one of the absolutely best records of this genre.
A nicely paced, well rounded and highly enjoyable album with some pretty damn complex parts in it as well.
4/5
Mattias Messing

a very interesting follow-up to The Art of Navigating by the Stars, indeed. sticking with essentially the same line-up and essentially the same sound as its predecessor, Paramount is only slightly below their crowning glory album.
songs 1-4 are good, strong Sieges Even at their best but nothing extraordinary. then comes along the beautifully dreamy Where Our Shadows Sleep. they shift up a notch for the quick- step up tempo Duende (i love the bass riff with the verse).
Bridge to The Divine and Leftovers continue to prop up the album in the very high ratings, both excellent with a continuing contrast of upbeat and fresh (Bridge...) and dreamy/ meandering/ soul searching (Leftovers).
Mounting Castles combine an interesting use ot Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" with some interesting instrumental work.
the closer - the title-track paramount clocks in at just under 9 min and is the longest song on the album (contrast with TAONBTS where the title track is the shortest and the opener - maybe the band was going for some kind of message?)
too bad that this was the last we heard from them - i personally can't stand the vocals on anything before The Art...most of the awesome instrumentation is overpowered by horrible singing, so i'll just have to make do with 2 albums...
sv_godspeed

Discazo, no se lo pierdan!!!






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