Basel, Switzerland is the home of Ticket To The Moon, shortened 3TM, a progressive rock band that was founded around 2003 by drummer/vocalist Daniel Gosteli and guitarist/vocalist Andrea Portapia. It took until 2007 when the band was completed by bass player Guillaume Carboneau and keyboard player Matthias Zwick. For me, Ae Sense Of Life is the first album I have heard of this band and unfortunately I seem to have missed their debut album Dilemma On Earth. Therefore I cannot compare this album to the debut and will just focus on the one that landed on my desk.
The first track; Intro really doesn't give away in which direction the album could go. Intro is a short atmospheric part that has some post rock indications, but mainly has the function that the title indicates, an intro for The Call Within. Musically there is nothing to complain about when I listen to the song; a solid atmospheric progressive rock song with a very fine guitar sound and wonderful interaction with nicely retro sounding keyboards and a strong adventurous rhythm section. Vocally I am not that content; although 3TM sees two vocalists, neither of them can convince during The Call Within. Therefore I am very happy about the second part of the song, which is mainly instrumental and shows interesting song writing. The following Patient 730100: Conformism, more or less is brilliant, the soundscape beginning flows into a Dream Theater reminding bass/guitar section with a post rock topping. Halfway a German spoken part lectures you about the life of Ants. This intriguing section has the same impact as the song Die Eier Von Satan by my favourites Tool. The second part of the song; Patient 730100: Resurrection is again very strong, strangely, where I mentioned Tool, hints of their music can be recognized during this powerful composition, which sees awesome guitar playing; with influences of post rock as well as fusion. The short; Father is a soundscape with spoken words and nice guitar playing in the background. Like a number of the album's compositions this song seamlessly flows into the next and Father could be seen as the intro for Foetus, which is a vocal orientated composition, with a long instrumental part that is quite impressive. The guitar varies a lot, different techniques and spheres perfectly blend. Too bad the vocals can't keep up with the instrumental parts. Both parts of Perpetual together form one long composition; metallic guitar riffs and atmospheric keyboards are the base of this song. Vocally OK, but no awards to expect. What is great is the wonderful piano parts that are present in Part One as well as Part Two. Especially when the electric guitar is added to the piano, the sphere gets enhanced and I get a similar feeling as when good old UFO combined the wizardry of Michael Schenker with Paul Raymond's effective electric piano playing. At some point during the song, the focus seems to go to the post rock-ish atmospheric parts. Great, but sometimes a bit too long. The Interlude to the final chapter Hynkel is again a soundscape that focusses on the keyboards and leads to the aforementioned final song on the album. Experimental might be the proper word to describe this song. Electronics and electric instruments are combined with a part from Charlie Chaplin's tirade during “The Great Dictator”, where he impersonalises the character Adenoid Hynkel. Typical; this is the second album in a few months I get to review, that has used the same speech on an album.
In the end Ae Sense Of Life has impressed me, especially composition wise and the wonderful instrumental parts that hold a lot of variation. It seems when you have listened to a number of songs, you do get used to the vocals, but I would suggest to add a proper vocalist to the band. Something that might just happen as the latest new about the band is that one of the founders; drummer/ vocalist Daniel Gosteli has left the band. Perhaps a new member could add something fantastic to the vocal section of Ticket To The Moon.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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