Whitecave -
Times Of Trouble

(CD 2022, 50:26, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- When You Don't Have A Reason To Smile(2:33)
  2- The Day(6:00)
  3- In Pain(6:02)
  4- Lost In Battle(4:12)
  5- Shellshock(6:23)
  6- Fire In The Hole(4:34)
  7- Threat(5:20)
  8- Refugees(7:13)
  9- Connected(4:41)
10- In Memory Of Lost Souls(3:28)

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Whitecave is a Dutch prog rock trio hailing from Alkmaar in The Netherlands and their self-released album Times Of Trouble is really worth checking out if you like melodic neo-prog rock music! Musically speaking Whitecave blends elements of bands like Airbag, Riverside, Eloy (if anyone remembers that notorious German band), Pink Floyd, Camel, and Porcupine Tree while lyrically Times Of Trouble seems to be a concept album dealing with war (World War 2?).

Opener When You Don't Have A Reason To Smile is a rather boring overture featuring piano passages, violins, acoustic guitars, and almost whispering vocals; luckily, this song is truly the odd one out as it really does NOT represent the rest of the songs on this album as follow up The Day is without any doubt the highlight. This almost instrumental track is filled with impressive guitar melodies, solos, hooks, and riffs played by Hans Holema, who turns out be a more than outstanding guitar picker indeed. Especially his breath taking solo at the 1:30 mark reminds me of David Gilmour while the faster solos near the end have a Andy Latimer vibe; for me it cannot get any better than this! In Pain is a true prog rock song with some quieter passages, but also a screaming high-pitched guitar solo and sorry to say this, truly monotonous vocals that (at least for me) almost “ruin” this song. The instrumental Fire In The Hole is more to my liking and the up-tempo guitar melody featured here reminds me of iconic prog bands like IQ and Pallas. However, Threat, is extremely mediocre, being a kind of pop rock song that never comes to life actually. Refugees, another instrumental one, also the longest track of the album, has a kind of mysterious and Eastern feel to it, and that is mainly due to the sound of the guitar, but also because of the female wordless vocals in the beginning and at the end. Times Of Trouble ends with another instrumental track In Memory Of Lost Souls and it is an almost cinematic one, extremely melodic, orchestral, dramatic; in other words, a beautiful guitar hymn to round off a more than extraordinary album.

Whitecave is a true prog rock band which really deserves lots of more attention, so, check it out, a must have album indeed!

**** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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