One Word Review: Thoughtful
Exploration and discovery. Two themes which are essential for your enjoyment of this album. Even after a decade and several hundred listens, I have still not reached a journey's end when it comes to "A Sense of Change". The music found here feels like it has no boundaries and thus can be explored endlessly, along a myriad of paths. The patient listener is rewarded as new textures, nuances and melodies are discovered, when there really shouldn't be anything left to devour. With my current setup, the album took on a new life and I heard things I had not noticed before.
With this, their third album, the German band Sieges Even has created something close to a masterpiece. Close because it lacks a certain something to make it reach that highest pinnacle. It is more a feeling I have than anything I can explain clearly.
Every Sieges Even album has been different from the last and "A Sense of Change" is no exception. It is without doubt their most relaxed album and progressive rock is the closest I can come to pinpoint the genre. The album is highly varied with impressive performances both musically and vocally. Bass, guitar and drum work is surprising and innovative throughout. Vocalist Jogi Kaiser relies on a very expressive voice filled with emotion. It may take some listens to get used to his accent. The music and vocals complement each other perfectly and create a unique melancholic atmosphere. This is one thing that ties all songs together. That, along with the lyrical themes, which I will get back to later.
I will not go into too much detail with the music but a few highlights in this vast sea of memorable moments are in order.
One high wave is reached by listening to the guitar solo section and how the music rises and falls during The Waking hours, intertwining several melodies into a labyrinthine musical expression.
Halfway through the album Dimensions provides a highly varied and fresh breath of air. I am particularly fond of Jogi Kaiser's performance in the middle section of the song.
Another thing to notice through the whole album is the fantastic drum sound and Alex Holzwarth's playing. It is a feast for the ears. Clear and detailed, it really stands out. The wonderful production actually makes the last sentence true for every instrument.
I also have to dwell on one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, Change of Seasons. Acoustic guitar and violins provide a soft and dynamic background. Jogi Kaiser sings with unbound emotion and brings the song its very special touch of melancholy.
Opening with what feels like a passage back to ones childhood the song brings a clear vision of innocence mixed with relinquishment and infinite sadness.
The violins bring a final sense of joy with a rising momentum before the song ends. A very special and chilling song.
These Empty Places is my favorite of the album. An unforgettable song that builds up tension through its first 7:30 minutes through a impressive display of technical ability and focus. A multitude of small melodies are hidden in the music and they pop up unexpectedly with each listen, making for an always interesting experience. Jogi Kaiser's vocals hold a special feel as he delivers the complex lyrics with a sort of cold but passionate emotion that draws me into the music. The song goes through all the motions and finally breaks out near the end and delivers a completely satisfying ending to the album.
The lyrics are heavy and filled with melancholy. They take time to comprehend and mostly touch upon certain darker aspects of human nature. Despair, suicide, depression, self confidence and strength of will are all themes. On the surface everything seems depressive and bleak, yet under these layers shines a clear, inspiring vision to live a full life. How odd as it may sound upon listening to this album, a theme of hope is the one thing that binds these songs together. Finding strength within oneself seems the common denominator. No clearer is this said than in the last lines of the final song where both mood and melody rise along with the lyrics.
To be a whisper on the breeze, to be a stranger on violent seas,
To see the world through orphaned eyes could be a mission
Behind tangerine skies.
For there's no importance in a dream of posthume fame
And I don't want to be a fugitive repatriated, watching
these empty places...
Sieges Even was a delightful band that simply can't be defined. Their albums offer a deep musical universe and in that setting each lives and breathes a life of its own. This was a band that never made it easy for themselves or for the impatient listener. By never taking an obvious route, when creating a song, they always put the listener on the edge and listening to their music, I never ever feel that I have heard all it has to offer. Truly a special band.
Unconditionally recommended to those seeking something unique.
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Change of Seasons
These Empty Places
The Waking Hours