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TDW: The Antithetic Affiliation (2 CDs/DVD)
TDW, aka Tom de Wit, is a musician from The Netherlands with a fairly extensive discography to his credit. His first album titled First Draft was released in 2004 and has steadily released albums since culminating with his brand new double album The Antithetic Affiliation (also included is a live bonus DVD). He released the Aphrodisia EP earlier this year featuring four songs on the then forthcoming Affiliation disc. It's a very good disc and in case you missed it you can check out my review on this site.
Anyways, back to the music. TDW has been compared to the likes of Pain Of Salvation, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and many others. Although there are moments when these influences do crop up TDW is by no means a copycat and he does present us with an exciting two discs of music here. The discs are individually titled, The Idealist and The Cynic respectively and deal with the concept of emotions and how they affect the human condition.
The first CD The Idealist begins with the epic multi part track "The More We Remember". It's a five part movement that begins with whispered vocals laid over a piano motif and a lovely string section. Soon catchy progressive metal is unleashed upon the listener with fine interaction between the guitar riffs and orchestral strings. The whispered vocals return in Part 2 leading to a mid temp groove warmed by fabulous backing vocals. I have to say the vocals are a high point for as Tom de Wit has a very melodic voice and he has surrounded himself with some great singers. On Part 3 Ayreon came to mind at times recalling that band's bombastic nature and multi vocalist approach. It's a very effective piece, both melodically and structurally with a great flow between the various parts. The next couple of tracks, the heavier "Anthem" and the softer "Lovesong" are both melodic with catchy vocals and many other addictive qualities. Both tracks were featured on the Aphrodisia EP. The last song "Monolith – The Ascent" features a bit more electronics and great vocals returning to that Ayreon-esque approach. Nice intermingling of violin and keyboards with heavier elements makes for some riveting prog metal.
The second disc begins with "Monolith – The Descent", another catchy symphonic metal track. Love the mixture of harsh and clean vocals and the keyboards and orchestrations are superb throughout. The next are two tracks were included on Aphrodisia, the heavy prog/symphonic metal of "Aphrodisia" with its stunningly poignant ending and the lovely "Dirge", an acoustically driven track with a somber vibe and a gorgeous vocal arrangement. The disc ends with the massive five part epic "Lest We Forget", a heavy symphonic metal tune with awesome guitar solos, great riffs, moody keyboards and strings and strong vocals. Even the demonic vocals suit the mood perfectly when used.
The DVD is the band's acoustic set at Progpower Europe 2016. The six musicians on stage create a full and rich sound with songs taken across the TDW discography. They really do have a unique sound that I think will appeal to many progressive rock fans. The lead and backing vocals are really quite good particularly in the excellent "Lovesong" and the poignant "Happy Day". In the opening introduction, de Wit talks about how this was a special night but it wasn't without its problems, especially in the sound department. The disc still sounds pretty good and it's neat seeing this band in a live performance. Certainly a nice bonus to go along with the two CDs.
Before this year the last TDW disc I heard was The Haunts (2008). Now I need to catch up with what I missed. Wonderful stuff indeed!
CD – The Idealist
1. The More We Remember (22:39)
Surprise – Part 1
Gratefulness – Part 2
Overconfidence – Part 3
An educational moment – Part 4
Embrace – Part 5
2. Anthem (6:38)
3. Lovesong (4:39)
4. Monolith – The Ascent (7:20)
CD – The Cynic
1. Monolith – The Descent (7:20)
2. Aphrodisia (8:21)
3. Dirge (4:41)
4. Lest We Forget (23:16)
Shock – Part 1
Gasping for air – Part 2
Anger – Part 3
Sadness – Part 4
Acceptance – Part 5
Bonus DVD: An Acoustic Night At The Chapel
Added: September 21st 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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