What is a note of grace in music
Magazine for metal, progressive and rock
HOURGLASS are back five years after their second album "Subconscious"! The Americans had received quite a bit of good criticism with their last record, from retro fans to headbangers - there was something for everyone. Now they are returning, and with an epoch-making bang, to which they have been given the strange name "Oblivious To The Obvious" have given.
Countless reviews in relevant webzines were overflowing with enthusiasm. HOURGLASS are in the eyes of many fans currently THE hope for Progmetal. But even with the latter - namely the word "Metal" - the experienced listener inevitably has to rebel. Because the amount of metallic riffs is only a fraction of the total mass of this overwhelmingly huge double CD work. HOURGLASS prefer to swim in "shallower" but no less complex waters. Sympho rock, neoprog, retro, even funk, jazz and ambient send their regards. That makes for variety and should actually be a guarantee that the album doesn't get boring too quickly.
But it will. HOURGLASS Undoubtedly they have a lot to offer in terms of playing technique, but when it comes to dividing up song material effectively in a certain playing time, the guys go for a swim pretty quickly. “Homeward Bound” as an example: a ballad that could easily have been dealt with in five minutes. Instead, the part is rolled out to ten minutes, which unnecessarily extends the running time significantly. And this is how all the compositions on the album work - the band gets tangled up in their own concept, whereby the “epics” in particular are clearly too long.
On the other hand, “38th Floor” is positively noticeable, which starts out funky, ends in a frenzied Frickel spectacle, only to switch down three gears shortly afterwards and become wonderfully meditative and contemplative. In this way they should have compressed their ideas.
Unfortunately, a few dots also have to be deducted from the grace note 11. Rumors that the Americans could really renew the scene are simply puff pie. "Oblivious To The Obvious”Is sure to become an album that will satisfy fans. But the music of HOURGLASS just brings back too many memories of other bands. From the typical DREAM THEATER comparisons to similarities with FATES WARNING, KANSAS, RUSH or SPOCK’S BEARD, you won't find a grain of new stuff. Progressive rock, yes, but progressive in the true sense of the word is hardly or nonexistent here.
Unfortunately, there is also the somewhat sticky sound of the electric guitar, which (for me personally at least) leaves a bitter aftertaste. Well ...
CONCLUSION: For better or worse, you have to take the wind out of the sails of all the optimists: HOURGLASS are good, but don't bring any new inspiration to the prog metal scene. "Oblivious To The Obvious”Does not change this fact, despite its considerable length of over two hours. The five Americans have qualities, there are some nice ideas, there are playful instrumentals and breakneck moments, but that's not enough for a magnum opus as many have imagined. Well, I don't want to be like that. See it as a good nine and an insider tip for prog friends HOURGLASS risking a listening session.
Available at www.justforkicks.de
- 1-3 points: Bad grotto - hands off
- 4-6 points: Can be heard in parts, purchase recommendation only for die-hard fans
- 7-9 points: some bright spots, rather above average, that certain something is missing
- 10-12 points: Really good album, there are no major criticisms
- 13-14 points: Uniquely good album with what it takes to become a classic, clearly stands out from the crowd
- 15 points: Absolute masterpiece - something like this is only available once a year
- CD 1
- On the brink
- Homeward Bound
- Pawn II
- 28th Floor
- CD 2
- No Chance (Oblivious to the Obvious Part 1)
- Realization (Oblivious to the Obvious Part 2)
- Remember Me (Oblivious to the Obvious Part 3)
- In My Hands (Oblivious to the Obvious Part 4)
- Redemption (Oblivious to the Obvious Part 5)
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