reviews timelock

Circle of Deception

Although Timelock has only released three albums (“Louise Brooks” – 92; “The Dawn” – 94; and this “Circle of Deception”), some of the musicians have experience playing for other bands. Keyboardist Julian Driessen played with Ywis and drummer Rob Boshuijzen with Maryson. Along with them, Bert de Bruijne (bass), Martin Hendriks (guitars), and singer Ruud Stoker.

To be sincere, I´m not the biggest Ywis or Maryson fan in the world and those names don´t offer me any guarantee. In fact, the first track “The road to Babylon” (6:04) is not what I´d call progressive rock. The music is elegant, gentle and easy to listen to, but it´s a style I´ve heard thousand of times. Soft melodic (neo)prog without instrumental fireworks. Dozens of bands come to my mind (mainly Galahad and Grey Lady Down). It´s time for “Man in the mirror” (6:00), better than the first one. With “Louise Brooks revisited” (6:27) the band wear their working clothes and now we can listen to the first really original and varied track (well... you know what I mean). “Redskindian” (4:44) follows the path with an instrumental that contains an amazing Hammond sound. With “Different Light” (4:20) the band crosses the frontiers of “soft and smart prog heard 100.000 times” and, although they keep the sound, I don´t have that Deja-Vu feeling with this song. And the song is really brilliant, with a catchy refrain and a great melodic guitar solo. “Oceans away” (5:29) and “Voodoo” (4:31) show us the rockiest Timelock. My overall feelings about the album grow up but the moment of the truth is yet to come. “The Fortune” (6:27), with the Pendragon-like sound a la “9:15 Live” and an impressive guitar solo is the perfect intro for the mini-suite “Everything except the world” (12:14). I´m frightened. Well, Timelock can compose good short songs, but... a suite?... well, let´s see: the song opens with soft keyboards followed by a edgy guitar, vocals and synths. Hmmm... it´s not bad at all. The refrain is also very attractive. The song is really well structured with a sort of cold tense beauty that burns out with keyboards and electric guitar. When I begin to listen to the last track “The way I am” (5:13), well, I prefer to switch my CD player off. I want to remember the suite and not a senseless ballad a la REO Speedwagon.

I´d like that you would understand my personal rating of the album. After listening to the two first track the shadow of a lonely star fell over this album. But, from the third track on I must admit that the album gets strength and personality. Of course I still consider this album soft, gentle and harmless, but it has very good melodies (of course better than Ywis). If you love bands such as Galahad, GLD, or early Pendragon, etc., you´ll enjoy a lot with this album. If you´re looking for originality, try to find it inside another album.

Alfonso Algora, February 2003

Timelock es una banda que, aunque cuenta con solo tres álbumes (“Louise Brooks” – 92; “The Dawn” – 94; y este “Circle of Deception”), sus músicos tienen una gran experiencia en otras bandas. Concretamente el teclista Julian Driessen con Ywis y el batería Rob Boshuijzen con Maryson son las más conocidas colaboraciones. Junto a ellos tenemos a Bert de Bruijne (bajo), Martin Hendriks (guitarras), y al cantante Ruud Stoker.

La verdad es que el precedente de Ywis o Maryson no me ofrece demasiadas garantías y, sinceramente, el primer tema “The road to Babylon” (6:04) no es precisamente lo que yo considero progresivo. Si, la música es agradable de escuchar, pero es un estilo que ya he escuchado cientos de veces. Un (neo)progresivo elegante y suave, con poca pirotecnia instrumental. Se me vienen a la cabeza decenas de bandas (Galahad y Grey Lady Down principalmente). Llega “Man in the mirror” (6:00) y la cosa mejora un poco. Con “Louise Brooks revisited” (6:27) la banda ya se ha puesto la ropa de trabajo y ya podemos escuchar el primer tema realmente original (bueno, me entendéis, ¿no?) y variado. “Redskindian” (4:44) sigue el sendero con un instrumental muy ochentero y con un sonido de Hammond realmente espléndido. “Different Light” (4:20) traspasan la frontera del “progresivo amable escuchado 100.000 veces” y, aunque mantienen el estilo, al menos ya dejo de percibir la sensación de Deja-Vu. Y no sólo eso, la canción es realmente magnífica, con un estribillo muy acertado y un solo de guitarra melódico y genial. “Oceans away” (5:29) y “Voodoo” (4:31) nos muestra a unos Timelock más rockeros. La cosa va hacia arriba aunque se acerca el momento de la verdad. “The Fortune” (6:27), su sonido a lo Pendragon del “9:15 Live” y su impresionante punteo de guitarra es la introducción perfecta a la mini-suite “Everything except the world” (12:14), que me da muchísimo miedo. Timelock son capaces de hacer buenas canciones cortas, pero... ¿una suite?... veamos: el tema se inicia con unos suaves teclados seguidos de una cortante guitarra sobre la que juegan las voces y sintetizadores. Hmmm... no está nada mal. El estribillo es también muy sugerente. La verdad es que el tema está muy bien estructurado y mantiene una especie de tensa belleza que explota con unas magníficas intervenciones de teclados y guitarra eléctrica. Comienzo a escuchar el último tema “The way I am” (5:13) y, bueno, prefiero apagar el equipo de música. Quiero que mi último recuerdo del álbum sea la suite y no una baladita sin sentido a lo REO Speedwagon.

Me gustaría que entendieráis mi valoración personal del álbum. Escuchando los dos primeros temas la sombra de una única estrella se cernía sobre la valoración. Pero, a partir del tercer tema he de reconocer que el álbum gana en potencia, en robustez y en personalidad. No deja por ello de resultarme un álbum de neo-progresivo suave, amable y elegante, pero repleto de muy buenas melodías infinitamente mejor que Ywis. Si os gustan bandas como Galahad, GLD, los primeros Pendragon, etc., este disco os va a gustar. Si buscáis originalidad, es mejor que la busquéis en otro lugar.

Alfonso Algora, February 2003

Back in 1992 a new band surprised me with a rather good album. The band was called Timelock and the name of the record was "Louis Brooks". The four musicians Julian Driessen (keys), Rinus Hollenberg (guitars, keys & drum programming), Bert de Bruijne (bass) and Ruud Stoker (lead vocals) had the talent to become one of the better bands in The Netherlands. Two years later they released their second album "The Dawn". The future looked bright but suddenly everything went different. Their record company went bankrupt and could not promote the bands second album. No record company, no Timelock seemed to be the only solution. Until lately the band reformed and a couple of record companies were interested. Xymphonia records gave them the best deal and released their third album after 8 years of silence. Almost the same line up recorded "Circle Of Deception". Only the guitar player was replaced by Martin Hendriks. On drums they did not find a suitable person and so they asked their personal friend Ed Wernke (For Absent Friends) to do the job. Also the singer from Ed's band, Hans van Lint, was asked to sing on three tracks. Some extra female backing vocals were done by Sandra Jungsläger. She can be heard on two tracks. In the meantime the band had also found a real live drummer. But most of the recordings were already done so Rob Boshuijzen did only some percussion on the opening track. This openings track starts with the sound of crazy monkey before the whole bands treats us on a great song. This track "Road to Babylon" sets you in the right mood for more great melodic songs. We hear great keyboard playing and a guitarist that knows how to play a fine solo. The singer reminds me of the voice of a great prog band from America. Dennis de Young was many years the lead singer in a band that was called Styx. He left the band a couple of years ago so we can not hear him any more. But Ruuds voice can be heard in stead. He gives the band sometimes an AOR sound. But Julians keyboards on the other hand gives them a progressive rock sound. Not only the first track is a great song. Also the other ones are of a very high level. "louis Brooks revisited" even brings you back to the days when the band recorded their first album. On "Redskindian" we hear dancing indians and is certainly one of the better tracks. But the magnus opus of the record is probably the 12 minutes long epic track "Everything except the world". It is divided into 5 parts and has a lot of different breaks and solos. Hans and Ruud have both leading parts in the vocals and sometimes the track reminded me of For Absent Friends. They way Ed plays his drums might be one of the reason for this sound. The last song of the album "The way I am" again reminded me of their first disc. On this album they used a lot of drum machines and they can also be heard on this track. But it is very tasteful done. The band has recorded 10 strong songs and it was certainly worth to wait 8 long years to hear them. Hopefully the band stays together for a very long time because I want to hear more of such strong albums as "Circle Of Deception".

Henri Strik, February 2003



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