Things get turned around quickly with the second track, one of the two that could be considered a metal song. This one has plenty of speed, with great little melodies. Certainly not surprising that this was the single, and that this was one that Adrian and Kai had a part in. This one might fit on on "Pink Bubbles Go Ape," and it would be one of the better songs on that album. Too bad the lyrics are all God-oriented and stuff.
This one is definitely different than what we're used to. It's pretty hard to describe. The verses are in a sort of alterna-rock style, with a little edge to them, and then the chorus drops into a very subdued, acoustic, and almost wistful tone. I like it though.
The only part Kiske had on this one was the singing and it shows. It starts with him just going, "di di di di di duh..." a whole lot. It's very slow, and should be very boring. I think I could play all the instruments on this song. At the same time. But somehow, it isn't that boring. I think a lot of that has to do with Kiske. He does such a good job, it makes this otherwise crappy song tolerable.
This is the best song on the album, and what do you know, it was written by Kai, Adrian, and Kiske together. This is the other "metal" song, and it's even a little more aggressive than "The Calling." This one could find its way onto a Gamma Ray album somewhere. The "horizons" being referred to probably have something to do with the departure from Helloween and such.
I'm not a big fan of this one either. It's got a little bit of rock to it, but it's not as melodic as most of the rest of the stuff. (Except near the end, which has a really good, catchy part) In fact, it even tends to gnaw at you a little, as the same passages repeat. It also doesn't help that Kiske uses a voice-distortion thingie on this song (like we first heard in "Revolution Now") I don't know why he does it, but it's really stupid.
Helloween simply dedicated "The Time of the Oath" to deceased drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg. Gamma Ray did a little better, doing "Afterlife" in his honor. But Kiske does a truly excellent tribute. It's very simple, mainly just Kiske and his piano. But it's just full of emotion. The singing style reminds of "Your Turn." The lyrics are from Ingo's point of view, what he might have been feeling before his death. Everyone who knew Ingo must have been very touched by this song.
Thanx a Lot!
This one starts out with a cool little upbeat acoustic part, but then the distorted voice comes back again. And when the voice turns natural in the chorus, the music turns into a langorous meander with wacky guitar sounds. If the upbeat music could get with the natural voice, this might be a darn good song. However, it only mangages to be decent. Even Kai's solo is pretty weak.
Time's Passing By
I really like this little acoustic rocker. It's sorta similar to the previous song, since the music slows down for the chorus and some electric chords are played. But there's no laryngitis on this one, and overall, its a lot more catchy and user-friendly. There's a little more "doo-doo-dooing" on this one too, but it fits better than previously.
Hey, great! It's more distortion-voice! Maybe he got a new toy for Christmas or something. This one is pretty hard to describe. It's very slow, and you just kind of bounce along (plod along?) with the beat. The focus of this one is definitely the lyrics, which are anti-music industry, or read differently, anti-Helloween. There's a hard to hear spoken part that's pretty interesting though.
Do I Remember a Life?
This is the 10 minute "epic" of the album. It starts as a quiet little acoustic thing, and after a while, some very loud, orchestral type drum hits come in as the strength builds up until the chorus. The whole thing feels very majestic and heartfelt. Kiske does an incredible job of singing on this one. It's very similar to "Longing" on "Chameleon," both in the music and the feeling. Until the end. It starts to build up to this tremendous height, full of power and strength, with Kiske belting out a note to push it over the top of the crest, and then just stops. Stops dead. Then there's three minutes of seemingly random, extremely quiet noodling on the piano. A disappointing end to what could have been a complete masterpiece. Now it's just a great song with a bad ending.
Overall, the album seems to be more than the sum of its parts. Kiske seems to have a pretty good handle on songwriting, and does a decent enough job of playing the guitar too. But it's really his voice that makes this album what it is. And that's just what we were expecting. Not a great musical composition, or a show of lyrical genius, but simply an hours worth of excellent, emotion-filled singing.
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