Jury's Verdict

On this page we will list a multiple review of a selection of 3 albums out of the (in our humble opinion) most important or interesting recent releases.

X Metamorphosis

Full review
X Martigan

Full review
X Agents Of Mercy
The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight

Full review
X Henri
The albums released previously to Dark were dominated by the music of Pink Floyd. On Dark however, we can hear the first traces of a different style. A very enjoyable style I might say. The fine melodic guitar solos related to David Gilmour are still present in the music of this Swiss band. The great synthesizer solos throughout the whole album do not resemble Pink Floyd at all. They move in a direction we nowadays describe as neo progressive rock music. Dark is, as most of the bandís releases, a strong album that deserves a larger audience. I hope Metamorphosis will gain a lot fans with this international release. As far as I am concerned, I am one of them.

Rating: ****
You get almost eighty minutes of great prog music on Vision made by German band Martigan . You can compare their musical style to bands like Genesis, IQ, Pallas and early Marillion. I can rave on and on about this superb album, but words are just not good enough to tell you that Vision is a Ďmust haveí for everybody who loves music made by the above-mentioned bands. This album will become one of my personal favourites of 2009 for sure. Therefore, I am not afraid to give Vision the highest rating of five stars.

Rating: *****
Initially, Roine Stolt started this project to release music performed only on acoustic instruments. However, as soon as singer Nad Sylvan joined, this project moved more towards the style of his heroes in the sixties and seventies. Therefore, it is obvious that we can hear influences of bands like Genesis and The Beatles. I would not call this a retro album, because we can still hear traces of The Flower Kings, especially towards the end of the album, but this time without jazz rock or fusion elements. Roine and his friends made a fine melodic album. Maybe it does not reach the same high level as the Transatlantic releases or some of The Flower Kings albums, but who cares?

Rating: ***
X Arthur
I am familiar with the previous work of Metamorphosis , so I expected again a very Pink Floyd inspired album. Well, indeed there is still a strong influence, but they are seriously trying to develop an own style now. I hear more up-tempo parts and it is often more powerful. The lyrics are interesting and bring you in a mood indicated by the album title. All ingredients for a masterpiece are there, but in my opinion, Metamorphosis is not able to achieve that status with Dark. The vocals are a bit boring and although there is more variation then on their previous albums, the compositions are not really interesting.† Despite of that it is a very enjoyable album.

Rating: ***+
I am a fan of the way David Gilmour plays his guitar. That could be the reason why I love this new Martigan-album so much. The emotional parts appeal to me very much although the music is not very original. There is a lot of variation, but it sounds rather well known and accessible to me. However, the music is interesting enough to keep oneís attention from the beginning until the end. Musically, the compositions are less sophisticated than the ones on the other two albums in this Juryís Verdict. Nevertheless, the album gets a higher score, because of the high rate of goose bumps I got while listening!

Rating: *****
Here again is a Roine Stolt product and again itís a Genesis inspired album. Didnít we have enough of these projects? Well, the answer is NO. Wizard Stolt was able again to make something special out of it. The compositions are rather accessible, because they lack the freaky jazz-rock parts. The quality of all musicians is evident. This is a must for all Roine Stolt fans and a strong recommendation for the others!

Rating: ***+
X Peter
Swiss project Metamorphosis is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and singer Jean-Pierre Schenk, who started to record his compositions in 2001. Dark is his fourth effort. The eight songs on Dark are not complex at all. Schenk has a pleasant but a non-expressive and somewhat thin voice. His compositions sometimes tend to the work of Alan Parsons, but you can also hear flashes of Eloy, RPWL and a touch of Pink Floyd. Schenk, however, never reaches the quality level of these bands. In my opinion, the best parts of the eight songs are the guitar solos played by guest musicians Roger Burri and Olivier Guenat. They prevent the songs from getting dull caused by the average length of about eight minutes. Dark is not a bad album at all, but in view of the mediocre compositions three stars would be half a star too much.

Rating: **+
I have to admit that I never heard of German band Martigan before, in spite of the fact that Vision is their fifth release in fourteen years. From now on I will always remember this outstanding neo-prog band, because they delivered an album that surely will end high in my top-10 this year. What a remarkable and beautiful album this is! Singer Kai Marckwordt is a very expressive singer. Sometimes he reminds me of Martin Eden (Chandelier), but most of the time his voice resembles David Cousins (Strawbs). If you are into neo-prog in the vein of early Marillion, IQ and Pendragon than you will highly appreciate Vision. The album contains at least three fantastic epics with a total length of 54 minutes and all of a very high quality level with astounding guitar (Bjorn Bisch) and keyboard solos (Oliver Stahl). With a total length of approximately 78 minutes, you never suffer a dull moment. Vision is highly recommended for all prog fans, but especially for neo-prog heads.

Rating: ****+
In general, I donít like Swedish prog rock. Bands like The Flower Kings, Karmacanic or Anekdoten are not my cup of tea. Thus, when I got this album to review and I noticed that it was a new project of guitarist Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) and singer Nad Sylvan (Unifaun), I had the intention not to be prejudiced and I started listening open-minded, but unfortunately the voice of Sylvan almost immediately evoked irritation. I donít like his voice at all and besides the compositions are quite mediocre. In fact, they are rather boring. I would rather call this a soft rock album with jazz influences and a touch of early Genesis than a prog rock album. The music flows without any direction whatsoever, no tension, no epic only a dull voice and poor compositions. It is beyond any dispute, that Roine Stolt is an excellent musician, but on this album, he proves that good musicianship is not enough to make an outstanding album.

Rating: *+
June 2009

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