Chrome Shift - Ripples In Time
Progressive Hard Rock/Metal
12 songs (53'44)
Release year: 2003
Chrome Shift, DVSRecords
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Chrome Shift is yet another of the newer progressive metal bands that I've had the pleasure to listen to and review their debut album. This band, based in Denmark, was formed in 1997 by Otto Shutt (guitar) and Jens Christian (bass) who gathered together a keyboard player and drummer and set out on intense rehearsals before even thinking of bringing a singer onboard. When the time came to find a vocalist, they found what they were looking for in Rasmus Bak and immediately brought him into the band. They recorded a demo in 2000, produced by Danish producer Jacob Hansen. In 2002, they financed the recording their debut Ripples In Time which in turn got them a deal with DVS Records. The amazing thing about this album is that, with all it's complexities and crystal clear sound, it was recorded in just 10 days. Ripples In Time has gotten great reviews from other webzines, particularly those geared more towards covering progressive rock releases. This band is so prolific, that the next album is already written and will be performed live before going into the studio this fall to record it.

Musically, this band's music covers a wide territory and similarities can be found to such bands as Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation, King X and even some Rush style guitar riffs and rhythmic structures. The album opens with Nightmachine, one of the better tracks and features some great keyboard arpeggios blended quite nicely with some heavy guitar chords. The choppy and intricate rhythms really bring out the Dream Theater influence. The track also features some excellent lead guitar and keyboard fills and some speedy tempo changes. A heavy and interesting progressive sound that is both catchy and technical at the same time. Full Moon, another album highlight, uses de-tuned guitars and keyboard blasts to create an even heavier and more aggressive sound. This song really does have that "classic" progressive rock sound with it's outstanding guitar and mellotron interlude that slowly builds. I think the vocals are better on this track and even though it's more progressive than others on this album, it still retains the heavier edge. This album has an instrumental track, Kosmonauten Er Ded (The Cosmonaut Is Dead) and is a very cool fast style with the guitar riffing and the keyboards. Lots of atmospheric passages and tempo changes result in one energetic song. Les Temp Des Assassins, features more intense guitar riffing and the drumming style once again brings Dream Theater to mind. This one is the heaviest and most "metal-like" tracks on the album and besides having a great dramatic sound, features a great chorus section. One of the most interesting tracks on this album is the track Sorry. It begins as a somber acoustic song and then builds into a dreamy Yes or Marillion style. There's a solid lead break that eventually whips into a double bass drum flurry and all through the song, the only lyrics to the song is the word "sorry". The way it is sung and the dreamy atmosphere of the music takes what could be conceived as a rather stupid song and makes it into a very unique and a very good one at that. An excellent idea for a song and one of the simplest, yet freshest ideas I've heard in a while in this sort of music. The album finishes with the title track, Ripples In Time and is a 4 part opus bridging styles from lots of bands but having more of a Rush style than the rest of the album. A speedy, driving and heavier sound is accented with some of the best vocal performances on the album. The whole Chrome Shift experience can be found in the 4 parts of this song.

I haven't really elaborated much on the vocals on this album. They are very good, it's just that they are more of an instrument, much in the same way that they are in bands like Yes. The band is largely instrumental in nature, preferring to let the music paint the picture. The vocals are used effectively and are never overdone, much in the same way that the classic progressive rock bands over the years have structured their music. Rasmus Bak has a good strong voice and has a sound and style that is a perfect match to the sound of this band. Production-wise, for a new band, the sound is simply amazing. I was quite surprised that this release was self-financed and that the deal with the label came after the fact. Alas, there is hope in the fading light of what once was a great genre of rock music. Progressive rock is taking new forms with bands like this and with the added heaviness and harder edge, are also attracting fans normally into more metal sounding music. A great debut album from a very promising band. I'll certainly watch for their next release.

Killing Songs :
Nightmachine, Full Moon,Kosmonauten Er Ded, Les Temps Des Assassins, Sorry and Ripples In Time
Marty quoted 82 / 100
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