• 07-06-2005, 10:29 AM
    Mr Peabody
    First impressions of new CD's, Cross highly recommended
    I received my new ProgRock purchases yesterday and gave each a spin. Cross's Playground is very good. They have a more classic Prog sound. People who enjoy Pink Floyd would probably like them as well. They are a new signing with ProgRock and I would consider them a feather in PR's cap as to me they seem to be a cut above most of the other stuff I have bought from PR. Cross is a tight band with excellent musicianship and arrangements. The sound quality and production is good, not reference but good. The only criticism I have is the vocals is going to take me some time to warm up to. They didn't put me off as much as the singer for Tangent but I still didn't instantly warm up to them either. Just as a side note I eventually did deal with the singer for Tangent, I don't know if I just tolerate it because the music is so good or what.

    OK, Frameshift's Absence of Empathy, I was very anxious to get my hands on this album. I liked Skid Row and was excited to hear Sebastian Bach was back in action. Frankly, I was disappointed. It is a stretch to call this album Progressive in my opinion, it is more of a straight Rock album featuring keyboards and some sound effects. A few songs use those rhythym machines instead of real drums, a big turn off for me. The album was produced to where there isn't much air between the instruments, like everything is kind of squeezed together and no real impact from the instruments. You know what I mean, you hear the drum but no matter how loud you turn it up you just can't get the physical feel from it. There are some strong tracks on the album but if I had heard the whole thing first I don't think I would have bought it. Bach does a pretty good job overall. He gets some of his trademark screams in but I don't think he really got to that emotional level he was at on some of the Skid Row songs.

    I have not been real happy with the sound quality of a lot of the albums from ProgRock, they aren't terrible but seem a little thin sounding. The Cross album is an exception but I think they were actually recorded and produced in Sweden. Anyone else notice this or is it just the particular albums I've bought?
  • 07-06-2005, 08:27 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I gave Frameshift another spin today. I put it on first this time. I don't want to mislead anyone on the sound quality, the album has a big sound and Pauly uses both channels for effects, it's just that he layers all the drums on top of each other in the center of the sound stage and the bass is pushed back while the keyboard and effects circle around that. So a drum roll doesn't spread out it's all in one spot. I don't care for this and the pushed back bass leaves the low end weak. I liked the album a little better the second time but there is something about it I just can't get into. The album seems restrained in some areas, and they maybe tried too hard to make it a rock opera.

    After the second spin Cross is still going to be on my favorite Prog album list.

    But apparently I'm carrying on a conversation with myself here. I would have thought as many Progsters there are on this forum that others would have bought from ProgRock as well.
  • 07-07-2005, 04:56 AM
    DarrenH
    Thanks for tip on Cross. Sounds interesting and I will investigate.
    I've purchased a few things from the Prog Rock label but the only thing I purchased directly from them was the new Frameshift which, ironically, cost me more money than if I were buy it from a distributor such as The Laser's Edge.

    I didn't care for the new Frameshift project. I guess I had too many high hopes and was really let down. Sabastian Bach, as good a vocalist as he is, was a better fit with Skid Row than with Henning Pauly. The first Frameshift project, with LaBrie on vocals, was much better imo. Lots of folks seem turned off by LaBrie's vocal talents but he fits in nicely on this album and the overall result sounds nothing in the way of a Dream Theater release.

    Also, Henning's band Chain has recorded a couple of very good albums that I really like, Reconstruct and .Exe, but you're probably already aware of those.

    Henning recorded a solo album of sorts and titled it 13 Days. It's not bad and is worth a listen.
  • 07-07-2005, 08:01 AM
    Mr Peabody
    I didn't want Frameshift to be another Dream Theater album but like you my expectations were not met. It really seems to me even though they tried for a hard edge sound it was restrained or lacked enthusiasm. Like when they dabbled with the rhythym machine in a Rob Zombie type of thing, it didn't nearly have the bite or effect of Zombie.

    If you like the Metal/Prog give AtmosFear - Inside the Atmosphere a listen, it's pretty good. They are also on Prog Rock's label.
  • 07-07-2005, 03:10 PM
    ForeverAutumn
    Thanks for the Cross rec. ProgRock CDs get a little expensive for me with the exchange and shipping, so I'm reluctant to order without hearing the CD or at least getting a really solid recommendation first.

    I too liked the previous Framshift disk with James LaBrie better than the current one. But overall, I prefer the Chain CDs to either Frameshift disk.