Those who really believe that only epics in progressive rock are the ultimate prog tunes should listen to the fine debut album made by the British-German project Eyesberg. On their album Blue you can only listen to tracks that last from one minute to ultimately six minutes. So no epics at all. But still they manage to make those rather short compositions sound like real epic pieces of music with all the ingredients every proghead loves to hear. Great solos performed on the guitars and keyboards, incredible time signatures and a lot of bombastic parts.
Eyesberg nowadays consists of the German musicians Georg Alfter (guitar and bass guitar) and Norbert Podien (keyboards) and the British citizen Malcolm Shuttleworth (lead and backing vocals). But the band already existed at the end of the seventies. The excellent compositions on Blue find their origin in that period. The band was then a quintet, which also included Thomas Klarmann (now active with Argos and Superdrama). This is why his name also appears in the song credits. Now (in 2014), the three remaining members managed to publish them in matching frames on CD. However without Klarmann, strangely enough there is still a connection to Argos, because their drummer Ulf Jacobs was responsible for all of the strong rhythm parts on this release.
On the album you hear very melodic neo prog, which has clear parallels with early Marillion, IQ and the Collins-era Genesis. Hymnal keyboard parts, characteristic chord progressions and furious synthesizer solos, clean guitar parts with soaring, melodic solos and driving drums, determine the music most of the time. As for the musicians that are responsible for the thirteen strong compositions you can say that each of them have their own quality. The voice of Malcolm is very pleasant and somewhere movable between Fish, Phil Collins and Peter Nicholls. Keyboard player Norbert must have listened a lot to players such as Tony Banks and Mark Kelly, because he gets the same kind of bombastic sounds and solos out of his instruments as they did. Over all you could say he acts very tastefully on his keys. Most of all his flute sounds very realistic. Guitarist and bassist Georg could be seen as a kind of new version of Mike Rutherford for he provides strong parts on the bass and guitars just like him.
Sure Eyesberg didn't come up with new things on Blue, everything has already been heard before. But this doesn't make a worse product of their debut . This album is by all means a great contribution to the genre. Therefore highly recommended to fans of Marillion, IQ and Genesis. Neo-prog at its best!!!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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