Thirteen is a cooperation between Odyssice keyboard player and composer Jeroen van der Wiel, and female vocalist Audrey LaHaije. The two met on the thirteenth of March 2010 and coincidentally, that happens to be Audrey's lucky number, so the name for their project was already set. Help on guitars during the making of the album came from: Dennis 'Hairball' Smeekes, Aldo Adema (Egdon Heath), Jaco Ket and Mark Silverentand, while Jeroen was responsible for all other instruments and programming.
Where Jeroen's influences come from bands like Marillion, Rick Wakeman and Jean Michel Jarre, Audrey's come from K's Choice, The Cranberries, Alanis Morrisette, Mariah Carey and later Nightwish and Evanesence. Thirteen's goal is to create a mix between Within Temptation, Muse, and Pink Floyd related music. An aim that is high, and listening to the album I'm afraid the bar was set pretty high. Music wise, the compositions are nice and pleasant to listen to. The sound is fresh and promising; credits to Jeroen for this effort. But, I guess the input of vocalist Audrey is of a different level. She tries, and no doubt she's doing what she can, but listening to the lyrics it's all too obvious English is not her native tongue. Unconscious Thoughts, a brilliant song with perfect piano playing, definitely gets degraded by the poor pronunciation, which I think is a shame to the composition. Okay, my English is not my mother tongue either, but I've never had the pretention to get my voice on tape to be released on an album. I think getting the phonetics right is the one thing that's crucial when you record an album in a foreign language.
Musically, A Shot In The Dark has a lot to offer; progressive rock with influences of pop, all performed perfectly and I guess I shouldn't nag about the one point that is less perfect. The guitar solos put a crown on Jeroen's compositions and his keyboards and foremost, all his piano playing sounds perfect. But still, in a way it doesn't grab me. I guess when I get a little annoyed while listening to an album, for whatever reason, it gets hard for an album to pull me over to their side. What's left is an album that is musically very interesting, but with just one negative point.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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