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Sonic Pulsar: Out Of Place

Sonic Pulsar's previous album Playing The Universe was very good.  Out Of Place, however, elevates the band into the big leagues.

The new record retains the band's "Spacey-Metal" sound - an interesting style that ranges from regular progressive metal through hard rock and on to a heavy, ambient, spacey sound with occasional electronica, moody effects and well-enunciated voiceovers.  But it's far more complex than the previous effort, with tighter composition and a fuller sound, and despite presence of two guitar virtuosos this album is less dependent on fretboard gymnastics.

Most of the 11 tracks are broken into sub-parts, and they're unified by the theme of someone feeling 'out of place' and dreaming of himself as an alternate being, in a different world.  Very spacey.

Portuguese Hugo Flores is the principal motivator behind the band, and on this CD his collaboration with bassist Nuno Ferreira and guitarist Carlos Mateus appears to be tighter than it was on their previous release.  Our review of Playing The Universe made reference to the programmed percussion.  There's still no drummer, and although the programming is more effective this time around, it still can't replace the real thing.  Flores again provides fairly well sung vocals, in a lightly accented mid-range.  Josepha Mario contributes occasional female vocals which sound wonderful, and Sonic Pulsar would be well advised to use her more often.

"Schizophrenic Playground" is a 10+ minute, 5-part instrumental that starts off with an intro that could have been lifted from Tangerine Dream, and quickly develops into a guitar / piano driven piece.  It alternates between Flores's frantic distorted solos and an elegantly simple piano line that floats over the top of a controlled metallic chaos. It is the piano that defines this and several other tracks (like "Moving Engines") - not because it dominates, but because of the stark melodic contrast it provides.  "Instrumetal" is a very similar piece, driven by an aggressive guitar, and the standout track "I Heard of a Place Called Earth" is another 10-minute 5-part mini-epic with vocals and a far more 'progressive' structure.  To follow the storyline, keep the track listing with you.  It helpfully spells out the starting and ending point of each sub-section, and the titles make it easy to follow.

Out Of Place falls somewhere between Ayreon and hard rock.  Lightly metallic, very technical, well constructed and characterized by good melodies.  Well recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Out of place (5:36)
2. Burning Inside Me (5:63)
3. Schizophrenic Playground (10:08)
   i) Falling Asleep (0:00-1:11)
   ii) The Dream Begins (1:12-3:01)
   iii) Nightmare (3:02-5:34)
   iv) Innerspace (5:35-7:22)
   v) Awakening (7:22-10:08)
4. I always knew (3:34)

A Chain of Events" (44:11)

   5. Intro (1:58)
   6. I Heard of a Place Called Earth (10:07)
      i) Prelude - Beautiful Planet...(0:00-2:02)
      ii) Getting out of control (2:03-5:08)
      iii) War (5:09-5:54)
      iv) Post War (5:55-7:33)
      v) An Out of Place Planet (7:34-10:07)
   7. Ghosts of the Lost Planes (1:54)
   8. Solitary Star (10:07)
       i)The Story (0:00-5:09)
      ii)Supernova (5:10-8:21)
      iii)Part of the Universe (8:22-10:07)
   9. Instrumetal (6:51)
      i) Starting Engines (0:00-2:04)
      ii) Desolation to Joy (2:05-4:01)
      iii) Death Into Life (4:02-4:36)
      iv) Silence into Rhythm (4:37-5:55)
      v) Engines Stop (5:55-6:51)
   10. Moving Engines (6:05)
   11. Time has been broken (solitary particles) (7:05)

Added: August 17th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Sonic Pulsar's Web Site
Hits: 4430
Language: english

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