Deep Thought

a progressive rock adventure

Reviews - Shadows of the past

Progressive World

Stephanie Sollow

Deep Thought are a five-piece from Switzerland making music with a decidedly neo-progressive bent. The title track Shadows Of The Past develops along the lines of Script For A Jester's Tear period Marillion, as heard through a Tristan Park/IIúvatar filter, with hints of solo Fish. Vocalist Patrick Merz sings Fish like lyrics with a Fish-like voice (a line like "a mask in the crowd"; cf. Vigil In A Wilderness of Mirrors). Though in general he sounds nothing like Fish. Which is a good thing, as there are far too many vocalists out there who try very hard to sound like Fish (or Gabriel, or Anderson [either one], etc.). His voice is more at the higher end of mid-range, pleasant but average sounding. I'm also brought to mind of Epilogue.

The IIúvatar comparison comes in with guitarist Marcel Oehler's tone, which is light like Dennis Mullin (especially as on IIúvatar's first release). Dominik Pfleghaar's keys swirl in a Script-era Mark Kelly-like fashion, though a bit more parpish (if that's a word). Ice for example seems to have lifted its keyboards from "Garden Party" raised the pitch and increased the speed.

Three tracks make up this EP release; Simple Man, the longest at 10:14, and is a bit Rush-like its dark intro. You half-expect "Freewill" to begin, but instead it moves into a sedate section with guitar atmospheres over shimmering cymbal accents by drummer Martin Altenbach (think Landberk, perhaps). But the whole "Garden Party"-like vibe is back for the second verse, as we get a bouncy, lively passage that leads into a nice guitar solo... Bassist Dominik Rudmann comes to the fore next, supporting some sparkling guitar phrases by Oehler... there are so many paths this track takes as it fluctuates between a rock context and an ambient context... like waves crashing on the beach that the titular character is stranded on. Lots of nice ideas here, but I doesn't really go anywhere...which, again, is like the Simple Man of the song.

We are also given to edited versions of the first two - heavily edited, as the 7+ minute Shadows Of The Past is distilled down to close to 4 minutes; the 10+ minute Ice is trimmed to just over 3 minutes.

All in all, Shadows flows together nicely, and is actually a rather nice CD, the title track is the strongest. There does need to be a bit more punch in the production, but the playing is quite good, even if you can spot passages seemingly lifted from elsewhere. A band to watch for.