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DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE 1 (DPRP)

Oceans, we do not have too many of them on this world, but so vast that they are, it would be nigh impossible that the eye might miss them when glancing over the world. Yet, in the universe of music there are far more oceans that we ever get to see or even hear of. I for one did miss out on the existence of Oceans of Night. Still, the man behind this mass of musical water, Scott Mosher has been around for quite some time; first as a solo artist and later on with this band he formed with Scott Oliva. Indeed, if you take a look back, we here at DPRP have reviewed earlier albums by both Scott Mosher solo and by Oceans of Night. It might be worth having a glance at our archives if this album suits your tastes.

To help you on the way: imagine a band that has taken equal parts of Queensryche (Rage for Order to Empire era), a lot of vintage keyboard sounds not unlike you may find on Ayreon and a vocalist that just as easily evokes Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate or Russell Allen while maintaining his own style.

Before you take a first listen, take into account that almost all instruments are played by Scott Mosher and the musical ideas are practically all his. There is mention of a drummer Alan Smithee - yet bear in mind that in the film industry, this name was used if a director did not want his name attached to a movie. Whether or not there might be a drummer involved, the drums, to these ears, sound programmed even though that is done with great care and they are never too much so.

Joey Vera, bassist with Armored Saint, took care of the mixing and mastering. You can tell that the making of the album was done with a lot of enthusiasm. That is the sense that springs from both the playing and the vocals. As for the production, the album sounds crisp and all instruments are in fine balance.

What the Scotts have succeeded in, is making an album that mixes both hard rocking and heavy elements, with progressive aspects that set them apart from other progressive metal outfits. Scott Mosher has a fine ear for writing very atmospheric parts for the keys and they work very well throughout the album.

The opening track starts off with keys, before being taken over by a mighty riff, and this is where your thoughts easily turn to the days of a younger Queensryche. It makes you wonder what would have happened if Scott Mosher would have stepped in to fill the spot left by Chris DeGarmo. Then again, we might have missed out on this and the other albums by the two Scotts.

That is a trademark of the band that shows throughout the album. The fact that Scott had several guests featuring on the album does tell that they appreciate his songs too. The guests are Vivien Lalu (of Lalu fame), Chris Rifking (of Eye of the Storm fame) and singer Stephanie Warren. She features on the bonus track. What to say about the music? Well, if you are into storytelling songs, that are built up by vintage keys weaving backdrops for the songs to develop, if you like your guitar riffs and solo's in your face without ever being too heavy (Symphony X and Dream Theater fans may find this just a little too decafinated), if you wish for a singer that can sound like a siren but be as subtle as anyone, then this might suit you.

To get what this album is about, check out just two songs. First the moody Critical Mass/The Breathless Sleep, and then The Burning Skythat starts with a punch before turning epic just before it's halfway mark. This song reminds me of tracks by Threshold.

All in all, Oceans of Night have released a fine addition to their catalogue. Even though it might not be ground-breaking in its approach, it does have both punch and atmosphere. I'm off to give it another spin!

 




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