Alias Eye are a German band that plays a very melodic kind of progressive rock; sometimes the music sounds a bit like a blend of prog rock and AOR. Nevertheless the quality of their albums is of a high standard and I think the band stand out with their latest effort In-Between. At first Alias Eye became known because of singer Philip Griffiths, who is the son of Beggars Opera's singer Martin Griffiths, but nowadays Philip has proved himself to be an impressive singer who doesn't need the comparison with his father any longer. The other musicians who are responsible for the music on the album are Matthias Wurm (guitar), Tilmar Fischer (keyboards), Frank Fischer (bass) and Ludwig Benedek (drums).
The first soft piano tones of Arabesque together with the intense singing are a real treat to the ears and when the band increase the power everything falls in place. The powerful rhythm section and the howling guitar lifted my pleasure of listening. As far as the vocals are concerned the music of Alias Eye definitely has an AOR-touch, but the jazzy combination of the (synthesized?) saxophone that makes room for a very eastern sounding guitar solo makes Arabesque a nice song with a catchy refrain. A heavy riff and a prominent bass lead to Break What We Know. This piece is heavier than the previous one and led by a stunning guitar sound. During the middle-section you can enjoy a fine keyboard part that takes you to a guitar solo in the vein of Steve Morse. The song ends with a didgeridoo. The title track contains a strong brass section that reminds me of the underrated band Lobster Newberg. The perfect and jazzy piano solo forms the connection between light progressive music and jazz-rock.
Time Machine is a rendition of Beggars Opera's classic hit containing the unique singing of father and son Griffiths. Of course this is a perfect way to honour the music of the early seventies, but this piece isn't quite representative for Alias Eye. Indentured Pride contains some more power, a steady bass and another outstanding guitar solo at the end. Stars Shall Fall is a showcase for the great voice of Philip Griffiths; it's a kind of piano ballad with a heavy orchestration. All The Rage contains slight electronic sounds and a different way of singing. It's a maverick on the album, not really melodic, but still with some stunning guitar sounds. It won't become one of my favourite songs, I'm afraid, and the lyrics don't help either.
Distant Memories reminds me a bit of the Dutch band Casual Silence containing strong vocals while the keyboards and the guitar take you from an emotional sound to a powerhouse. Keyboard sounds in the vein of Manfred Mann lead to Take What's Mine having bombastic and powerful guitars and relaxed and less emphasized vocals. It's a modern version of how Mr. Mann would compete with a young guitar player. The final piece The Blink Of An Eye is the last opportunity to enjoy a swell mixture of prog rock, AOR and jazz. It's again the guitar that attracts the attention together with the singer who suits the music very well. The middle-section combines a double bass drum with attractive keyboards just before the guitar takes the song to an end with a superb solo.
With their fourth album Alias Eye scores a bull's-eye, I think. The mixture of progressive AOR-rock with a lot of jazzy elements really works for me. Alias Eye has two prominent musicians in their line-up: the excellent guitarist Matthias Wurm and the melodic singer Philip Griffiths. If they succeed in writing more consistent and balanced compositions they'll get an extra star next time.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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