Sometimes, as a reviewer I am asked to write about an album that is handed me without any background information whatsoever. I personally like that, so I can listen to the album, while dong some research on the internet at the same time. Surprisingly the Italian band Echotime only has a Facebook page, while their regular page is under construction. So all my background information has to come from the booklet that goes with the album.
So, Echtotime is an Italian band, of which I basically think it's a project. Why? Because the recording artists differ from the mentioned live band. The album Side is mostly composed by three, I guess studio musicians; Andrea Anastasi, who plays guitar and synths and is responsible for the orchestrated bits, Stafano Antonelli, who plays bass and does backing vocals and Filippo Martignano, who plays keyboards and backing vocals. The final participants are, both vocalist Alex Kage and drummer Frederico Fazi, who recorded in the studio and are part of Echotime's live band.
Side is a concept album, that uses many spoken word parts. This means almost half of the tracks mentioned below are short interludes or parts to keep the story going. First tip of the day; skip those little parts and play the remaining tracks as a regular album, without a concept. By doing this I think Echotime just gained one star overall. That leaves us with nine fine progressive tracks, that are both bombastic as well as powerful in a symphonic way. So Mr. Valentine is a very nice track with a strong funky bass and reasonable strong vocals of Alex Kage. The spoken words used during the song are a bit redundant in my opinion. During The Lighthouse his vocals are even stronger, this power metal related track is quite impressive. Somewhere between the German Avantasia and Italian bands as Rhapsody. Listening to a slower track, like Sickness I have to conclude Alex voice is stronger during the heavier parts, where he can use his volume a bit more, over the “smoother” songs. My positive feeling is getting a hard time when I get to listen to The Bend Of Love. Theatrical and bombastic are keywords here, although musically everything remains quite interesting. I am getting the feeling the outcome of the album would have been stronger, when multiple vocalist were used to feature the characters on Side. Basically the same feeling I get when The River floats by. Luckily the following Stream Of Life and the final Freakshow (The) crank up the power again, but fail to bring back the well needed balance in the album. Personally the best part of the album are the last two minutes of Out-Side; a nice jazzy piano added with delicate bass and smooth drumming underneath.
Like I mentioned; Side is a difficult album, I like the individual powerful, bombastic tracks, but as a concept album, I get lost, and tend to wander off to pursue other stuff needed to do.
But if you are a progressive fan, that likes some drama and are into the short interludes that keep the show going, you definitely got to check out Echotime.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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