Into The Open is a Dutch collaboration between vocalist Jan Willem Ketelaers, well known from Knight Area and his participation in Ayreon and keyboard player Sander Heerings, who has played in The Dust Connection and Wane Of Summer. Since the beginning of 2016 the pair was working on and off on their newly released concept album, Destination Eternity, which tells the journey of a soul to its final destination. It also symbolizes life and death and becoming a better soul along that journey to finally live an eternal life. The two initiators are joined on the album by guitarists Ronald Martens, Martijn Balsters and for one solo; Marcel Coenen. Bass player Frank Strokap and drummer Robert Spaninks form the rhythm section for Into The Open. Two more special guests are vocalist Maria Catharina and violin player Kim de Beer.
The cover is painted by Vivi Hoffmanns and is titled The Source, which was inspired by the Marillion's song Estonia, which is based on The Estonian-flagged passenger ferry Estonia that sank on September 28th 1994 in the Baltic Sea leaving over 850 people to die.
Musically Into The Open safely remains on the already paved paths of progressive rock. That being said, I think that is the only point of criticism I have on this splendid progressive rock album. Elements of melodic rock are instantly blended with great soloing and smooth accessible background vocals. Back To The Days is a good example of this combination and has some hints of Journey over it. Ride The Wind sees the vocal participation of Maria as well as an amazing solo of Marcel, his contribution really makes this song come alive and definitely lifts this above the other compositions. Nevertheless, the main attraction of the album remains the brilliant dedicated voice of Jan Willem, who shows he belongs in the top Dutch vocalists. Note; check out the final composition Half Song; great vocals, wonderful piano and subtle synths in the back, who needs more?
As I referred to, sometimes Journey comes to mind, but musically Into The Open explores a much wider range of music as the referred to band. Overall Into The Open serves solid, but accessible progressive rock with melodic elements imbedded. Destination Eternity is one of the most interesting progressive rock album released n quite a while.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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