The Oneira - Hyperconscious

(CD 2014, 47:55, Musea Parallel MP 3292 )

The tracks:
  1- Overture(0:35)
  2- Closer(4:36)
  3- Puzzle(6:17)
  4- Summer Light(4:52)
  5- Esoteriko(3:31)
  6- Forget Me(6:03)
  7- Face The Darkness(4:54)
  8- Mater(5:38)
  9- In My Mind(5:39)
10- Ocean Of Rebirth(5:40)

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The Oneira is a band led by Greek guitarist and basically instrumentalist Filippos Gougoumis, who moved to Italy to peruse his study medicine and after graduating started to compose original material. After meeting drummer Erik Spedicato and keyboard player Gianpaolo Begnoni, the trio; named after the Greek word for “dreams”, recorded their debut album; Natural Prestige. One of the guest musicians and vocalist was Everon's main man Oliver Philipps, in who's studio the album was recorded. Now for the successor, drummer Spedicato was replaced by Danilo Saccotelli and the vocal duties were divided by again Oliver Philipps, who also adds guitar and keyboard parts, Manuel Ruscigno and Delain's Charlotte Wessels, who enriches the instrumental composition In My Mind with a nice humming sound.

After several spins it is quite clear to me, Oliver's influence must be a heavy one, Hyperconscious sounds like the band Everon in many ways. The compositions on the album are not as dramatically or epical, but the resemblance is very noticeable. On the other hand the guitar does have a more prominent role on Hyperconscious and musically, the progressive rock is mixed with a part metal and a part melodic rock. In the end the album is pretty accessible and pleasant to listen to. A song like Closer is a fine neo progressive composition that takes you back to the early nineties and reminds me, besides Everon, of UK band Jadis. The second vocal that repeats the song title is a bit dated in my opinion. Other vocal compositions like Summer Light, Forget Me, Mater and Ocean Of Rebirth all have that typical nineties feel; pleasant songs, filled with strong emotional vocals and musically correct. No more no less. Quite interesting is the instrumental Puzzle, a song that starts nice and heavy and is filled with solo spots of guitar and keyboards. Esoteriko also is a pretty intriguing instrumental, where the guitar is combined with a fine piano part, which work very well together. Face The Darkness is the heaviest vocal composition; here the powerful parts are alternated with smoother vocal parts and even spoken words. For me this is the composition that stands out above all the others and one or two of those would have been a welcome addition to the existing songs in my opinion. In My Mind again is a strong composition that sometimes leans towards a light fusion style, Wessels' contribution is limited to atmospheric humming, which adds something special to the song.

Hyperconscious mainly is a super solid album with a highlight in Face The Darkness and perhaps In My Mind. One point of critic is; when you add a fabulous vocalist like Charlotte Wessels to one of your songs, please let her shine and make her vocals lift a song up to higher spheres, instead of the atmospherical part she has now. I do like the album very much, but for a successor, I would like to hear more adventure, take some risks before the band's albums disappear, labelled as mediocre.

***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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