Deep Thought

a progressive rock adventure

Reviews - Shadows of the past

Jerry Kranitz' Music Pages

Jerry Kranitz

Deep Thought is a Swiss band that plays neo-progressive rock with hints of earlier classic progressive. The band consists of Martin Altenbach on drums, Patrick Merz on vocals, Marcel Oehler on guitars, Dominik Pfleghaar on keyboards, and Dominik Rudmann on bass. Shadows Of The Past is their second CD, and they've also released two cassettes.

The disc opens with the title track. An element of Deep Thought's sound that appeals to me is the fuzzy guitar sound that gives it, but not the music itself, a slightly psychedelic edge. The keyboards play a textural role on this track providing a subtle but critical background. The music is standard neo-prog on the one hand, but some of keyboards are highly orchestral and mellotron sounding making for a more classic symphonic progressive sound. I like symphonic progressive but I like to rock out too, and Oehler's guitar wisely chooses to include a dirtier rockin' sound instead of sticking exclusively to the typical clean, soaring licks, which contrasts nicely with what is otherwise a standard neo tune.

Ice is a more full-blown symphonic neo-prog track that IQ and Pendragon fans will love. The keyboards are much fuller, but there are also quieter, gorgeously melodic moments. The fuzzy guitar from Shadows soon takes over briefly giving us that early classic progressive sound heard on Shadows, but then launches into a killer IQ-sounding keyboard run. A really beautiful song with lots of well placed tempo changes.

Simple Man is a great song that has some cool atmospheric passages at the beginning, but soon launches into a full-blown, fast-paced, sympho stunner of a tune. There's a keyboard bit in there that reminds me of "Market Square Heroes", but it's brief. Again, Deep Thought doesn't let the listener settle into any one groove, changing pace continually as the best of progressive rock does. I would, however, have liked to hear the earlier heavy rock section be developed a little further.

The last two tracks are "Edit" versions of Shadows Of The Past and Ice, and, quite frankly, I'm a little confused as to why they've been included. After having just heard really solid full-length versions of these songs I wasn't particularly interested in these shorter versions. I would have preferred another new song.

In summary, Deep thought will appeal to fans of IQ, Pendragon, and early Marillion. There's nothing new here, but what they do is done VERY well. There is only 35 minutes of music, but this is also an Enhanced CD which includes the contents of Deep Thought's internet web site, a film from a recording session, photos, and PDF files. A nice package, but again, I would have preferred the space on the CD be filled with more music.