Hailing from Holland, the band’s core members consist of singer-songwriter Audrey Lahaije and “ODYSSICE” keyboardist Jeroen Van Der Weil who came together to create this album. This CD appealed to me instantly on a musical level, although the lyrics themselves may be somewhat dark and not everybody’s cup of tea, recreating as it does (in the main), the reality of war from the perspective of a soldier. The songs contain elements of several styles, but cannot be categorized exclusively into any of the following, ie. Pop, Progressive Rock or Metal. There is nothing heavy or inaccessible about this melodic album which is well produced and, dare I say, quite commercial in its own way. Beautiful vocals by Audrey incidentally.
LINEUP: - Audrey Lahaije – Vocals.
Jeroen Van Der Wiel – Keyboards and other Instruments.
Dennis “Hairball” Smeekes – Guitar.
Aldo Adema – Guitar.
Jaco Ket – Guitar.
Mark Silverentand – Guitar.
1. Desperation Of a Soldier
2. Just Leave
3. Arabian nights
4. Before I Die
5. Unconscious Thoughts
6. I Don’t Care
7. My Child
BONUS - Unconscious Thoughts (Band Version)
“DESPERATION OF A SOLDIER” is a truly epic opening track which delivers right from the beginning. I am a sucker for choirs and consequently I was drawn in straight away. The ensuing motif is by no means original but captivating nevertheless, reminding me somewhat of “Heart Of The Sunrise” by “Yes”. The tension builds and then suddenly there is a beautiful arpeggiated, dreamy, atmospheric, guitar sequence (complete with birdsong). Cue Audrey with her beautifully evocative vocals and the mood is set. The sound of battle is deployed (complete with drums and machine gun fire etc.), to great effect around half way through as she, (vocally), questions the futility of war. The music throughout is evocative with an impressive guitar solo towards the end which is truly captivating. A beautiful piece with that oh so addictive motif.
“JUST LEAVE” is a beautifully engaging, stand-alone piano ballad a million miles away from the opening track, but equally valid, and adding immensely to the diversity of this album. I leave you, gentle listener to judge for yourself. Magic.
Do not be deceived by the rather sombre, somewhat uninspiring intro. “ARABIAN NIGHTS” is a veritable hotch potch of treasures awaiting discovery. Unexpectedly we are whisked away on a veritable “Magic Carpet” ride into the heart of the Medina replete with the sounds and sensations that one would associate with this exotic location. This track adds yet another dimension to this eclectic album. Effectively conveys the sensation of escapism from the horrors of the battlefield. Yet another gem.
“BEFORE I DIE” is a competent ballad used as a vehicle for the soldier to express his thoughts (presumably to his wife or girlfriend), prior to engaging in battle. In my opinion much more effective as a narrative than for it’s musical content. Still relevant to the album as a whole though.
“UNCONSCIOUS THOUGHTS” A pleasant ballad in the singer/songwriter mode performed to great effect by Audrey. Engaging vocals.
“I DON’T CARE” is a catchy song with a powerful driving rhythm and some great guitar work which becomes progressively more interesting as the song opens up towards the latter half. A song that starts off rather blandly but ultimately engages the listener. Definitely a grower.
“MY CHILD” is a slow, somewhat plodding ballad. Not quite par for the course in my honest opinion but no doubt would appeal to many listeners. Horses for courses as they say. One man’s meat etc.etc.
“DELUDED” Is yet another truly epic piece with atmosphere by the cartload. Sombre church bells, organs, swirling synths and a blistering guitar solo all add to the mix and engage the listener from the outset. I suspect this is meant to be a relatively happy/optimistic piece and indeed this is as happy as it gets. (which isn,t really saying much). Despite this, there is immense diversity in this offering, bags of nuances and new discoveries to be made upon subsequent listenings.
“UNCONSCIOUS THOUGHTS” (Bonus Track). Band version of the previous album track. See review above. After a significant pause there is a rather disturbing coda to this piece depicting the horrors of war. Not for the faint hearted.
CONCLUSION. All in all, one of the better albums I have had the pleasure of reviewing recently and certainly one that I will play again. (and again). Superb musicianship and, (in my opinion), beautifully executed vocals. An album that could appeal to many people, if only they had the opportunity to listen to it. There are one or two inferior tracks which incidentally aren’t terrible, (we are speaking relatively here) but apart from this, definitely a winner.