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Touchstone - Oceans Of Time

Touchstone
Oceans Of Time
by Lex Mishukhin at 26 September 2013, 10:54 PM

Progressive is a tag that's been overused and abused in recent years, nearly every band that's had a slower part to a song with a bit of faster guitar strumming and keyboards has been labeled or worse, labels itself as being a "progressive". Indeed it does seem that that's all you need to do, in addition of course to adding a bit of electronics and making sure most songs cross the 5 minute mark. And so I got another "progressive" band on my hands with TOUCHSTONE and their upcoming release "Oceans Of Time". Ok, this time it's got a bit of a change as most of the UK's outfits vocals are handled by a female vocalist, but is that enough of a change to interest anyone outside the hardcore fans of the Prog Metal / Rock genre? I doubt it.

"Flux" the opening track is a nice rocker from the start, showing little signs of the Prog other than the electro opening… But wait, here comes the slow part I was talking about earlier. “Contact" is another song which is a nice hard rocker but has some forced electronics added to it making it sound a bit more progressive, the riff is simplistic and so are the vocals. "Tabula Rasa" shows of the band’s UK roots, sounding like a mix between later ANATHEMA and 90's Brit Rock, could of been a good track, unfortunately it was far too prolonged going over 7 minutes for no real reason. "Fragments" starts off with some drums and pseudo rapping, why? I don't know, but it does, it then continues with some oriental melodies, but they aren't very dominant as most of the track continues with a basic riff structure interrupted by some again forced progressive elements. A song which really explains the album is "Spirit of the Age" a slow starter, at times sounding like an attempt to copy ANATHEMA's "Judgment" and again, the song overstays it's welcome, which is one of the most annoying things in Progressive Metal, the bands just never know when to end their songs, luckily, on "Oceans of Time" the band fell into the length trap only a couple of times.

I'm not a fan of progressive, never have been, but there are bands that manage to catch my ear and make me listen, and that's the problem with TOUCHSTONE, other than a female singer, there's very little to differentiate themselves from the "Prog pack". And that's not enough, the vocals are good, and the musicians are top notch, in fact, had the band made a more straightforward Rock / Metal, things would have been much better, the progressive side of things however seems at times very forced and other times outright copying the textbook. Metal bands like the legendary DEATH had made heavy and interesting albums and were able to incorporate progressive elements without it sounding forced or referring to themselves as "progressive".

This band has every building block to be great, a ton of talent and potential, but they need to get back to the drawing board for their next album and see how to make things flow a little better.

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Flux
2. Contact
3. Tabula Rasa
4. Fragments
5. Spirit Of The Age
6. Suffer The Little Children
7. Shadow's End
8. Solace 2013
9. Through The Night
10. Thunder & Crickets
11. Oceans Of Time
Lineup:
Kim "Elkie" Seviour - Lead Vocals
Rob Cottingham - Vocals/Keyboards
Adam Hodgson - Guitars
Moo - Bass/Backing vocals
Henry Rogers - Drums & Percussion
Record Label: Cherry Red Records / Hear No Evil Recordings
     


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