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lunes, 29 de febrero de 2016

Sieges Even - Sophisticated (1995)

Si no hemos ahorrado elogios al anterior disco publicado de éstos alemanes ("Uneven") ¿qué podemos decir de éste, su anterior trabajo?. De calidad superlativa y que sacan chispas y melodías, en un disco y una banda que no podemos dejar de compartir y menos podemos olvidar. Los temas son tan complejos que quizás resulten desconcertantes la primera vez que los escuches, quizás se necesiten varias escuchas para poder apreciar el álbum correctamente, no son temas fáciles de digerir, pero si te atrapan no te sueltan jamás.

Artista: Sieges Even
Álbum: Sophisticated
Año: 1995
Género: Metal progresivo
Duración: 58:01
Nacionalidad: Alemania

Lista de Temas:
1. Reporter
2. Trouble talker
3. Middle course
4. Sophisticated
5. Dreamer
6. As the world moves on
7. Wintertime
8. Water the barren tree
9. War
10. Fatal
11. The more the less

- Greg Keller / vocals
- Wolfgang Zenk / guitar
- Oliver Holzwarth / bass
- Alexander Holzwarth / drums

Este álbum me encanta! Si bien cada álbum que saca la banda es distinto a los demás, creo que los dos más parecidos son este y "Uneven".
Yo siempre quise tener una remera con la tapa de éste disco... ahora que lo publico me vuelven las ganas. Esta banda que comenzó gracias a la inspiración de Rush es una banda que todo proghead debe tener. Es que instrumentalmente y compositivamente son muy buenos (bueno, no es para la masa, su música es muy compleja y no para todo el mundo): la guitarra de Wolfgang Zenk suena clara, elegante, con un virtuosismo, técnica, rapidez, limpieza y posibilidades envidiables. Sin embargo en ningún momento de este álbum aparece un excesivo resalte de la guitarra sobre el resto de los instrumentos en la búsqueda del prestigio que tanto enferman a muchos de los guitarristas de estas características. En cuanto a la base, es un placer para cualquier amante del bajo (como yo) o de la batería escuchar lo que hacen: la combinación de destrezas, sinronización, potencia y versatilidad en la base es realmente pasmosa: como suenan ese bajo y esa batería! Los hermanos Oliver y Alex Holzwarthson juntos son una auténtica maravilla.
Ellos forman un trío exacto, milimétrico, musicalmente muy rico, capaz de hacer ritmos complejísimos, suaves o potentes, delicados pero sin perder la fuerza. Todo ello sin abandonar en ningún momento la musicalidad en las canciones (aunque no tengan gancho comercial), sin muestras excesivas de virtuosismos y con mucho compañerismo musical. Estos alemanes dan cátedra de todo lo que pueden ofrecer buenos músicos en una banda de metal progresivo.
Muy prolijos en todo momento, un sonido muy limpio a lo largo del disco.
El sonido sigue siendo muy claro (marca personal del grupo) y se puede oír todo lo que está pasando y lo que hace cada instrumento, de otra manera habría sido desafortunado en un álbum tan complejo como este.
Se necesita algo de tiempo de concentración para sacar una idea aproximada de este álbum. Incluso después de escucharlo muchas veces yo sigo descubriendo cosas nuevas. Por eso, estos son los discos que nunca me canso de escuchar, tiene tantas y tan complejas melodías, ritmos tan extraños e ideas tan originales, y están interpretadas con tan maestría musical, que lo puedo escuchar una y otra vez.

Pero veamos qué es lo que dice otra gente, y no encontré comentarios en castellano que hayan quedado en pie, copio algunos comentarios en inglés:

After their "almost masterpiece" STEPS (apart of the vocs) and their masterly A SENSE OF CHANGE the band created with SOPHISTICATED another album of highest quality, this time with a stronger metal orientation. The compositions are as always very intricate but still quite easily accessible with nice vocal harmonies. They found with Greg Keller a quite good replacement for Yogi Kaiser, who unfortunately left the band after the last album. As well the new guitarist Wolfgang Zenk does his job as perfect as the previous one. The rhythm section of Holzwarth brothers is just awesome as usually. It's obviously the most popular album of this band, since it's almost impossible to find it, even second-hand unless for enormous prices. The label went bankrupt, so it's out of print. But as I read in an interview with the band members, there is some hope that there will be a re-release one day. They are currently working on a reunite album, which will obviously be an one-track one, divided into multiple sections. I'm already impatiently waiting for its release. Not for the reason that they are coming from my home town, I regard SIEGES EVEN as one of the best german bands in this sub-genre. If you're a fan of excellent Progmetal, played with a high technical skill, without technicality for "technicality's sake" you should take the effort and costs to try to get this album.
Dieter Fischer

After the masterpiece Sense of change, Sieges Even is back with a faster and fresher album in places than previous one. Always this band has high class musicians, everything is around the two brothers Holzwarth who are among the best musicians i ever heared, not many could top them, they remained, since they are the most important element of Sieges Even. The guitarist Markus Steffen and the vocalist Jogi Kaiser left the band. The new vocalist is again awesome, but i kinda like the one from Sense of change, the guitar sounds faster with furious riffs and solos, but of the highest calibre. Sometimes the music here is towards power metal but is so well combined with prog elements that is hard to say this is a power metal album, more like prog metal. So more catchy tunes but complex enought to be a great prog metal album. Forte tracks is Dreamer and Wintertime, the rest are super. Recommended for all prog metal fans. Very good band and high skilled. 4/5 stars
Bogdan Olariu

This album has been very difficult to track down as it has been out of print for some time. Not because of it's popularity but because the distribution company went bankrupt leaving a shortage of the "Sophisticated" and "Uneven" albums. As with all SIEGES EVEN records this is complex and very well played. Consider they have toured with WATCHTOWER and PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. This one is harder and more difficult to digest than the previous record. There is a new guitarist who is fantastic, and a new singer who is not fantastic. I much prefer Jogi from "A Sense Of Change" to the vocals featured here. I also much prefer "The Art Of Navigating By the Stars" to this album as well.
The first and last songs on the album "Reporter" and "The More The Less" are very challenging songs that are hard to get into, very chaotic. "Reporter" opens with a sonic assault that really doesn't let up until 3 minutes in and then only briefly as some chunky bass lines come in before the onslaught continues. "Trouble Talker" has a bombastic intro although it settles down as the tempo continues to change and quickly. A blistering guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in and I like the way the song ends. "Middle Course" is my favourite song along with "War". "Middle Course" has some RUSH sounding instrumental work to open, it's so precise and complex. The soundscape sort of drifts along until the next outbreak. Nice contrast. Some great bass follows and then some intricate guitar that is set on fire 3 1/2 minutes in.
"Sophisticated" opens with bass and then it's full speed ahead after that. "Dreamer" features more RUSH-like playing as the tempo changes quickly. I really like the slower passages. There is a good acoustic section before the song roars back. "As The World Moves On" is fast and furious with a blazing guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Wintertime" has a mellow beginning with reserved vocals before becoming intense and loud. The contrast continues. A scathing guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. "Water The Barren Tree" is another favourite,a top three I suppose. The drumming is outstanding and there is some screaming guitar 3 minutes in. The song relaxes but not for long as the drums pound and the guitar fires off some melodies. "War" has such an awesome sound to open and then the guitar fills the air with metal. The vocals sound the best on this song as the tempo changes (they are always changing). "Fatal" has some complex arrangments and a good crunchy sound.
This record sure has it's moments, but for me it's a step back from the previous album "A Sense Of Change" and most of all I just don't enjoy it enough to give it 4 stars. 3.5/5 stars.
John Davie

Sieges Even have distinctive stages in their development. After 3 technically and structurally highly complex albums with bad vocals running the scale from thrash to psychedelia to art rock, which often rapidly hopped from theme to theme, they did 2 similar albums, the 1995's Sophisticated, reviewed here, and 1997's Uneven, in a more power metal style, heavily influenced by wild jazz and funk. The changes are, believe it, less abrupt. If you are not that much into avant-garde and this is your first Sieges Even album, you'll probably ask how is it even possible that this is not their wildest stuff. It's still a challenging listen. Most songs are hyperactive, with instruments flying out in all the directions. Vocalist shows off too, sometimes venturing out to Freddy Mercury-ish theatrics. Even so, there are more melodic tracks here, like Dreamer for example.

Sophisticated!!!! from the very beginning of the album, starts the spark of a creative teamwork for this album. I loved Keller vocals a lot!! wolfang zenk is a MONSTER!! his killing licks kick *ss! without lack of sensibility, this album is a perfect blend of metal and experimental concepts, interesting ideas, modulation, resources, an excellent use of delays and rhythm over position, and intricate compositions, and LYRICS. is a perfect follower of a MASTERPIECE like a SENSE OF CHANGE, but in a heavier direction. drums and bass are monumental and remarkable. ok, there's speed, there's chops, you get a lot of homework well done, well detailed but musicality is always enjoyable on this album.
highlights: "middle course" "dreamer" "sophisticated" "wintertime" "water the barren tree" "war"
rank: 4.5 stars... I'll put 5 just because the glass is half-full rather than half-empty! :P
Fidel Dely

Newer, fresher and faster. This is the 4th album of the German prog-metal band, "Sophisticated". In contrast to the earlier releases the tracks are heavier and fast and more catchy and definitely more influenced by power metal. The guitarist Markus Steffen and the vocalist Jogi Kaiser left the band. While the new vocalist can't really reach the brilliance of Jogi Kaiser, the new guitarist seems to be really amazing. Great riffs and super fast solos. The two Holzwarth brothers remained, since they are the most important element of Sieges Even. Their work is amazing as always. So great melodies, catchy, easier than before although still very complex Recommended to any fan of progressive metal and power metal! Listen to "Trouble Talker" here at proarchives, via the stream. If you like this song, you will like the whole album!
Nicolas W. Chuck

Excelente banda, muy buenas composiciones y grandes músicos. Si les gusta la música potente, compleja y tienen la paciencia para sentarse y escuchar atentamente el álbum, no dejen pasar este disco.
Espero que lo disfruten tanto como yo...

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