Being a huge fan of instrumental progressive rock music, a nice surprise was handed over by my colleague, asking if I could do the honours. After the first few sessions of listening to Anti Clock Tower's debut album Tic Toc Turmoil, it became clear; this debut really is something special. Anti Clock Tower is an online collaboration led by guitarist Max Fuchs who spends his time traveling between Maastricht, Glasgow and Frankfurt am Main and Federico Spera, who completes the two-man line up, serving the bass lines from Liverpool. The outcome is a wild mix of different sounds, heavy guitars, sizzling synths and a few soothing passages coming together into a progressive rock package.
Being a two-man band can have its limitations, due to the amount of instruments you want to display on the album. The big exception is Jupiter Hollow, who actually play the drums, keyboards, bass and guitar and provide a stunning voice. Anti Clock Tower, has guitars, bass, synths and the way it sounds, very solid programmed drum parts. But what is more interesting, Max Fuchs has come up with nine more highly progressive rock compositions, very well played and absolutely keeping you focussed on the music. Take the opener Giant Shrimps; absolutely fine guitar melodies and solo parts, many layers of guitars, added with a subtle bass are played over interesting programmed drum parts. Or take the track; Desert Alien. A bit darker when it comes to the overall feeling, but the light keyboards make sure the balance in the song is perfect. Real special is Baltopus, a kind of progressive fusion track, in the style of German Panzerballett. I think the addition of a saxophone as a guest instrument is responsible for this reference. Taking a step down and we get Astral Pastures. A slower, melancholic composition that emphasises the atmospheric side of the band. The highlight on the album for me is the combination track; Edges And Corners. The two parts should be obligated for any progressive rock/metal fan to listen to. All the progressive rock elements pass by in a brilliant composition. The following Rythmica also is a fine progressive rock tune, highlighting the multi layered guitar riffs and melodies. You can hear the amount of effort that has been put in this project. The final composition Ocean Whiff differs very much from the previous compositions. Ocean Whiff is a smooth, electronic laden atmospheric track, with soft jazzy guitars and piano. The bass lines are spot on.
Anti Clock Tower is a nice surprise for me, holding a large number of very interesting compositions, which are very well played and produced. Let's see what 2019 brings for these guys. Just one remark; I would charge money for the compositions; they are way too good to give away for free on the Bandcamp page.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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