The challenge seemed worth taking. Multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly, who last year berthed the debut Chain album and the Frameshift concept album with Dream Theater singer James LaBrie, needed a break from creating progressive rock and wanted to make a straightforward rock record. So he laid down parameters for himself: Write, record and produce 13 songs in 13 days using strictly electric and acoustic guitars, basses, the Warr Guitar, a banjo and drums. All instruments, save drums, would be played by Pauly.
Mission accomplished. Sort of.
While 13 Days isn't so much a rock album as it is an amalgam of metal, blues, alternative, pop and yes, even prog, it is still more accessible than either Chain's Reconstruct or Frameshift's Unweaving the Rainbow. This aural baker's dozen boasts 11 singers, including the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Jody Ashworth on the aggressive blues-rock opener "I've Had Enough," and Chain singer Matt Cash on "Six," an oddly arranged piece that finds Cash moving from rock to AOR to heavy metal during the course of the song. Most of the vocalists here are unknowns such as Joe Capraro on the Peter Gabrielesque "Three," Maya Haddi (the haunting acoustic ballad "Forever Young" and the bitchy "No Little Girl"), Edward Heppenstall (the dusty rocker "I'd Like To" and the mystical ballad "When Kings & Queens Collide"), Charles Chemery (whose chanting adds a world-beat flavor to the title track) and Nik Guadagnoli (who lets loose some black-metal yells on "Infrared"). Pauly obviously didn't even take the time to give some of these songs proper titles, yet the music doesn't sound – and, more importantly, feel – rushed.
But if this ain't proggy enough for you, a second album by the eclectic Chain, dubbed chain.exe is on the way …
1) I've Had Enough (4:51)
2) All I Ever Wanted (4:42)
3) Three (5:07)
4) Forever Young (3:53)
5) I'd Like To (5:44)
6) Six (5:46)
7) Seven (5:30)
8) No Little Girl (4:49)
9) Infrared (6:41)
10) Nothing Is Forever (6:19)
11) Waiting For A Revolution (4:51)
12) When Kings & Queens Collide (5:40)
13) 13 Days + Pauly's Commentary (15:58)
Total Time: 79:57