After a hiatus of about a decade and a half, Dutch neo-proggers Timelock has reconvened and released the EP …stay awake… A couple of years ago, guitarist Martin Hendriks, who had played on the band’s Circle of Deception album, sought out founders keyboard player Julian Driessen and vocalist Ruud Stoker to write new material for his MHX Music YouTube channel. The idea to record a few songs quickly escalated and resulted in both in this EP and an album that is ready to be released. The band is pretty much resuming where it left off too, with new recruits David Guurink on bass and Arjen van den Bosch on orchestral keyboards being the only new faces.
Timelock describes it’s sound as being symphonic heavy rock, with much in common with an approach similar to Saga. On the strength of this release though they have quite a neo-prog vibe, although they are more powerful and direct than others in that area. Undoubtedly, Arjen van den Bosch orchestral keyboard style gives the band a broader symphonic sound that could tip them into the symphonic metal of bands such as Nightwish although Timelock remain more subtlety refined than that with a mellower outcome.
The songs on the album are quite varied. The opening track is the single edit of Stay Awake, and is quite an upbeat pop-rock song and proves to be as commercial as anything else on display here. Chasing Echoes and Crazy Life are symphonic rock with an arena attitude and tasty Hackettish guitars and appealing Wakemanesque keyboard solos. The closing track Forgotten Words is the most interesting in a lot of ways. It opens with a skittish rhythm which develops into an orchestral prelude before the band joins in. It sounds not unlike Pallas occasionally, as around midway a tasty guitar solo progresses.This resolves itself with a bit of a muddled section with the vocals returning then the track continues with enjoyable Hammond organ breaks until ending with a delicate solo piano section.
….stay awake…is an enjoyable listen, with much colour and movement in the music. It is well paced, well produced and the musicianship is excellent throughout. There’s not a lot on the EP that is definitively original although it never lapses into pastiche. If it’s a taster for the coming album that album may well be one to keep an ear open for.
1. Stay Awake (single edit) (3:31)
2. Chasing Echoes (4:42)
3. Crazy Life (5:01)
4. Forgotten Words (6:58)
Ruud Stoker – Lead & backing vocals
Martin Hendriks – Lead & rhythm guitars
Julian Driessen – Keyboards & synthesizers
Arjen van den Bosch – Orchestral keyboards
David Guurink – Bass
Rob Boshuijzen – Drums
Coby van Oorschot – Backing vocals
Laura Eradus – Backing vocals [lead vocals on ‘Crazy Life’]
Special guest: Nick van Oorschot – grunts & screams on ‘Forgotten Words’
Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album
Label: FREIA Music
Release date: June 18th, 2021