What’s the 4-1-1?
The debut release from the Swiss melodic metal group culminates
the first step of a journey that began in 1992.
Progressive metal / symphonic metal
As a fan of the progressive/symphonic metal sound, I was very
happy to listen to the music the band created for this album. The
opening instrumental “An Introduction To…” was a great way to
start off the CD. As I listened to the track, I could almost see
this tune being played over the introductory credits of a medieval
themed movie. The song “What A Felony” has a nice sounding musical
track. The lyrics moved the song towards an anti-drug sentiment,
at least to my eyes and ears. The band sure has it down when it
comes to crafting the musical portion of the songs. The guitars
There’s a superb guitar line at the end of the song “Tonite.” In a
lot of bands that feature keyboards heavily, there is a tendency
to let those keyboards overwhelm the band’s sound. This isn’t the
case here. The keyboard influence is strong but it rarely
distracts from the music, it only serves as an enhancement. I
liked the use of the male/female counterpoint vocals on the songs.
It’s not exactly a new thing to have both a male and female
singer, I thought Andrea Richner’s vocals served to balance out
Andreas Wildi’s leads. The band really put all their positives
together for the song “My Way.” It’s got a great guitar riff, and
the song simply kills!
I found that I spent more time having an inner dialogue with
myself about how Andreas Wildi was delivering his vocals rather
than simply enjoying the songs. There were more than a few
instances where the emphasis was placed on the wrong syllable. I
felt he was struggling far too much with the English lyrics than
someone being on the forefront of the band should be. While I
enjoyed just about the entire musical package, I found the vocals
wanting just a bit. The lyrics were also a problem. One of the
cardinal sins in progressive metal is crossing the line into
pompous territory. Felony commits that crime here. The lyrics in
three songs (“What A Felony,” “Freedom”, and “Cyberspace”) seem to
reflect a social conscience bent from lyricists Markus Geiger and
Thomas Brogli. Unfortunately, in their seeming quest for
hard-hitting lyrics, they use the equivalent of a wrecking ball to
pound in a single nail. As I listened to those particular songs, I
thought it came off as rather pompous and pedantic sounding.
I wish that I could provide separate grades for the music and the
vocals. I don’t have a problem with the technical aspects of the
vocals, but what the two vocalists are saying leave something to
be desired. The music is pretty darn good throughout the album,
I’d be interested in hearing more from the band, but I’d hope that
they could find a way to come up with a better batch of lyrics
next time out.
Did You Know?
The woman who provided some lead and backing vocals to this album,
Andrea Richner, has now been added to the group as a full member.
Sascha Paeth, who produced First Works, had worked with other
noted bands like Edguy, Rhapsody, Epica, and Kamelot.