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On disc: Silent Memorial

Cosmic Handball - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

Cosmic Handball

Cosmic Handball
(Limb Music - 2009)

Silent Memorial is a Swiss prog metal band which started back in the mid-90's. In 1998 their debut Cosmic Handball was released in Asia through Toshiba-EMI. Now after the release of Retrospective the fans were asking for Cosmic Handball and so Limb Music and the band decided to re-release the album. At the time they recorded the album they had no big budget and so they recorded the album in their rehearsal room. Now they took the old tapes, digitalized them and improved the sound. Silent Memorial got Thomas Vikström to sing on this album and I guess that helped them selling the album in Asia...
The instrumental Mysteries Of Space leads you into Cosmic Handball and the song O'Meditation. An unusual drum pattern is accompanied by some art rock elements before they speed up and head into a heavy progressive metal tune. They have enough time to develop the song as it's more then 9 minutes long. Thomas Vikström's vocals should be more prominent, during some parts he almost drowns in the music. No need to speak about Vikström's performance, he's an extraordinary singer and when he drowns in the music, it's just the mix. O'Meditation is somehow combining prog metal with the catchiness of Scandinavian melodic metal. With Carpet Diver they kick off an opus in 3 pieces. Staccato riffing dominates the opening part, then the keyboard joins in. Partly the progressive metal track gets a spheric touch due to the keyboard while the backings partly remind me a bit of Queen... Later the song gets more complex and it should get the attention of Spock Beard fans. The second part is Deserted Land, a melodic part leads into this almost 9 minute long part. The spoken words passage changes the atmosphere for a bit, but then they return to the main theme. Falling Apart is the closing chapter of this opus. And for a brief moment the keyboard has an Asia-nesque touch... Lovely Galaxy is a slow, balladesque track with an enchanting melody. This tune shows them less progressive. Atmospherically they kick off Cosmic Tornado which brings back complex song structures and progressive parts. A sonic journey through progressive parts and melodic metal passages. The last track is Black Hole (Exit), a 13+ minute long up-tempo prog metal tune. Twists and turns make this one interesting and here they find the right balance between progressiveness and melodies!
Thomas Vikström is doing a great job - as always -, even if due to the production he can't shine. The songs are melodic progressive metal with bombastic elements. At parts showing off technical skills isn't doing the song any good. But other parts can win you over with it's soaring melodies. A decent album which production-wise can't keep up with nowadays standards, but it's still interesting for fans of Silent Memorial, Thomas Vikström and prog fans who like a melange like the described one.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           ©2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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