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Hess & Franzen: {ClosedLockedSealed}

{ClosedLockedSealed} is the debut album from British musician Hans Hess and Brazilian instrumentalist Renan Franzen. It may seem odd that two musicians half a world apart are able to cut an album without actually playing in the same room but in this day and age of file sharing and advanced technology it is actually becoming more and more common.

{ClosedLockedSealed} is an interesting album. It is heavy for sure but not your typical progressive metal fare. Sure there are lots of heavy riffs but the duo also add electronics, symphonic bombast, fusion and pure progressive rock into the mix. The musicianship is also very good and many songs abruptly change direction without a moment's notice. The band definitely does well to keep the listener's full attention.

The album's first track "Quick Space Threat" starts with a distant siren coming closer and closer before progressive metal guitar and keys enters the fold. Organ is also prominent making this a solid symphonic prog metal piece.

Snippets of Dream Theater can be heard in the guitar and keys of "Gobi Desert Search For SS Cotopaxi", the album's longest track. Quirky rhythms and change ups add to the song's progressive nature.

In the heavy "Three Stripes" excellent keyboard and guitar interplay turns into a real jam style tune with the riffs coming from every conceivable angle and Eastern style vocals near song's end.

The band lets us collect our breath with the slower paced "Mantis", a more atmospheric piece that still manages to make some interesting twists and turns.

Electronics also creep into some of these tracks like the symphonic "China Inox" and in the intriguing "Words Mean Nothing" where sparse piano and drum beats make this the quietest track. The prog metal returns in the heavy "Doomsday Device" complete with staccato riffage and mellower keyboard parts.

Hess & Franzen have made a fine progressive metal album in {ClosedLockedSeal} able to step outside the box adding their own unique stamp on a genre steeped in talent but at times lacking originality. Recommended!

Track Listing:
1. Quick Space Threat (5:33)
2. Gobi Desert Search For SS Cotopaxi (7:00)
3. Three Stripes (3:56)
4. Mantis (5:39)
5. China Inox (3:51)
6. Doomsday Device (6:20)
7. When I Get Out Of This Place (3:59)
8. Words Mean Nothing (4:14)
9. Magic Cat (6:02)

Added: January 26th 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2413
Language: english

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