by Aaron Gidney
Dutch Neo-Proggers Timelock return with their first full-length album in 14 years after their 2021 resurrection and release of the ‘…Stay Awake…’ EP in June last year. Their last album prior to this was 2008’s ‘Buildings’ and the band now describes themselves a ‘Symphonic Hard Rock’ following their reformation and reinvigoration.
Previously known for their Saga-like songs, this new set of songs treads a slightly different path with a harder, modern edge but with all of their good traits left intact from their previous four album back catalogue.
Opener, ‘Moving Landscapes’ wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It’s closer to the Indie Prog-leanings of bands like Mansun and Paul Draper’s newer material, and a great energetic way to start the album. The latter parts of the track introduce more typical Prog leanings with the full introduction of the synths, but it’s a great kick-off.
‘Stay Awake’ begins with a choral acapella section drenched with echo and reverb – you get the feeling Devin Townsend may be an influence here which is not a bad thing at all. Once the rest of the band jump in, it drops into a more typical Neo-Prog backdrop with some added female backing vocals to mix things up. The main melodic themes are well crafted and serve as a great hook under the muted stabs of the guitars and bass. The Synth solo is absolutely amazing, echoing the best work of messrs Nolan and Kelly at their peak. The short outro Guitar solo is also a tasty piece of work.
‘Everlasting’ drops the tempo into slighter more sinister territory with it’s almost Doom-like shuffle in the verses, before being lifted by the gorgeous pre-chorus chords and melody leading into a majestic chorus.
‘The Devil’s Hour’ introduces Organ and Guitar riffage in its opening bars, harking back to classic Deep Purple before picking up the pace in an almost half-gallop with some added wah-wah to funk up the verses. The stereo mix comes into it’s own here with panned hard left/right Guitar call and response lines before exploding into the big-vocal chorus. The latter half of the track twists and turns through instrumental section after section before reintroducing an expansive choral arrangement under some staccato guitar riffage.
Penultimate track, ‘Heart of Mine’ brings the choir back, backed by acoustic guitar for a gentle ballad that sets up an epic and glorious finish to the album with the 19 minute ‘The Great Cover up Story’…
The epic album closer is the real piece de resistance here and a lot of time, thought and energy has clearly gone into this. It quite rightly starts with a soundscape atmosphere to build the tension – there’s full-on Vangelis Blade Runner-era vibes here, which is fantastic. It takes its time before crescendoing in and then out to allow the sole piano motif to back the intro vocals. Its the perfect way to build the track and unexpectedly, adds some spoken word into the mix. At the 7 and a half minute mark, the song takes another turn and moves into a political commentary in Part II. War of Words:
‘politicians and other criminals take their chances, busy hiding their lack of insight only spending your money…’
Part III. Revolution takes an aggressively dark vocal turn in the delivery and the lyrics: ‘it’s the hunger for a revolution, we take over the streets and none of us will get out alive’, before launching into a Synth solo section (Part IV. The Glimpse).
The penultimate Part V: Footprints In The Sand is the final vocal section which has a suitably majestic end-of-epic feel before transitioning into the final Part VI. Sole Survivor orchestral instrumental section to round things off. The track is ‘…dedicated to all politically oppressed people…’
The album was really enjoyable to listen to and I hope the band don’t leave it as long before the next release.
Ruud Stoker / lead & backing vocals
Martin Hendriks / lead & rhythm guitars
Julian Driessen / keyboards, synthesizers
David Guurink / bass
Rob Boshuijzen / drums
Arjen van den Bosch / orchestral keyboards
Coby van Oorschot / backing vocals
Laura Eradus / backing vocals
Eline Ossevoort / vocals (3)
Nino Thomas / grunts (4)
1. Moving Landscapes (4:56)
2. Stay Awake (6:09)
3. Everlasting (7:20)
4. The Devils Hour (9:12)
5. Heart of Mine (5:39)
6. The Great Cover-Up Story (18:59) :
– Pt. 1: Time Slips Away
– Pt. 2: War of Words
– Pt. 3: Revolution
– Pt. 4: The Glimpse
– Pt. 5: Footprints in the Sand
– Pt. 6: Sole Survivor