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Tiles: Pretending 2 Run

Detroit's hard rock/prog veterans Tiles have really delivered a statement here on their sixth & latest latest studio release for the Lasers Edge Group, Pretending 2 Run. Not only has the band put together a hefty 2 disc set here filled with some smashing material, but they've also enlisted the help of some notable friends from prog/rock/jazz/metal world, such as Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater), Adam Holzman (Steven Wilson Band), Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Kim Mitchell (Max Webster), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Kevin Chown (Tarja Turunen, Chad Smith), Matthew Parmenter (Discipline), Mark Mikel (Pillbugs), Joe Deninzon, Max Portnoy (Next To None) and others. They join the rock steady Tiles line-up of Mark Evans (drums), Chris Herin (guitar, keyboards), Paul Rarick (vocals), and Jeff Whittle (bass), with unofficial fifth band member, Terry Brown (Rush, Fates Warning), behind the production chair as always, and the always incredible artwork of Hugh Syme adorning the cover.

If you've somehow failed to discover Tiles over their 20+ year career, they've often been compared to Rush with their combination of muscular hard rock riffs and intricate prog arrangements, but there's a truly American side to their music that is all Tiles. Pretending 2 Run is over 90 minutes long, and yes, it's a concept album that tells the tale of a main character who is devastated & consumed by an act of betrayal, and how his life spirals because of it. With some instrumentals mixed in with the vocal pieces, the band incorporate many styled and shades here, making for a dramatic & engaging listen throughout. "Voir Dire" is one of the standout instrumentals, a heavy slice of Rush/Dream Theater styled hard prog, complete with crushing guitar riffs & acrobatic rhythms, and it's sandwiched between excellent vocal numbers such as "Drops of Rain", "Pretending to Run", and "Shelter in Place", the latter containing some sizzling guitar work from Max Webster veteran Kim Mitchell. The intriguing "Taken By Surprise" offers up nearly 12-minutes of atmosphere, raucous prog (including some fiery organ courtesy of Holzman), and tasty jazz, with legendary guitarist Mike Stern popping in for some of his trademark licks, easily one of Pretending 2 Run's biggest surprises. Jethro Tull's Anderson lends his gorgeous flute to the more laid back & textural "Midwinter", while Herin's scorching guitar battles Denizon's majestic violin on the staggering "Uneasy Truce". These are just a few of the many highlights here, as the band have crafted a storyline that flows quite nicely thanks to plenty of musical variety; one minute there is a calming jazzy sax soaring over gentle rhythms, and the next some bruising, complex metallic prog rattles the foundation. It's a wild ride from start to finish for sure.

In a year when we've seen two longtime prog veterans, Dream Theater & Tiles, release lengthy concept albums, I have to give Tiles the nod as the more successful of the two. Pretending 2 Run contains many layers, a wealth of textures, and lots of color, featuring stellar vocals & musicianship from the band and their guests, so make sure you don't miss out on this gem.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Pretending to Run
2. Shelter in Place
3. Stonewall
4. Voir Dire
5. Drops of Rain
6. Taken by Surprise
7. Refugium
8. Small Fire Burning

CD 2
1. Midwinter
2. Weightless
3. Friend or Foe
4. Battle Weary
5. Meditatio
6. Other Arrangements
7. The Disappearing Floor
8. Fait Accompli
9. Pretending to Run (Reprise 1)
10. Uneasy Truce
11. Pretending to Run (Reprise 2)
12. The View from Here
13. Backsliding

Added: April 17th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2931
Language: english

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