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Coenen, Marcel: Colour Journey

Attention guitar players & guitar fans, Marcel Coenen is on the map! Who is Marcel Coenen you say? Well..I said the same thing!!

But...Man, the guy can play!!

Colour Journey is Marcel Coenen's (of the band Sun Caged, and formery of Lemur Voice) 2nd solo release (Lion Music), and it just SMOKES! Marcel is from the Netherlands and is not a household name here in the US, but damn this CD just rocks. Part instrumental, part vocal, but pure Guitar Riffage, Colour Journey is a great voyage for any fan of guitar music..PERIOD. From Prog Metal, to Jazzy and Funky, to "radio friendly", to '80's Metal Shredster's, all of the songs are delivered with a heavy groove and edge. This CD is anything but boring! Fans of Euro Metal style players like John Norum, Ronni Le Tekro, Yngwie, Mike Wead and Michael Romeo and even Dream Theater's John Petrucci, will just eat this up.

With the music as diverse as it is, Marcel employs a bevy of musicians to help round out this release. There are 7 different singers, 3 different drummers, 2 bassists, and 2 keyboardists involved., and it's the variety of the "players" that also makes Colour Journey so good. My favorite track, "Patron Saint" is a Prog Metalist's fantasy! Very Symphony X-ish, with amazing, soulful vocals, perfect off time signatures and a GREAT guitar tone. "La Bella Mira" is a beautiful instrumental that reminds me of Not Of This Earth era Joe Satriani. Haunting , sweet and excellent vibrato phrasing.

Another, "grab you by the ear" stand out track is the pure evil, "Tramatized To The Bone", that features 4 different singers. Vocalist Colleen Gray adds some eerie vocals to the chorus that just makes this song. "Skill Factor", shows off Marcel's Jazzy/Funky chops, while "New Race" is a "go for the throat" shredder's delight!

Colour Journey is a good, no, Great CD. It offers a little bit of everything, and Marcel Coenen delivers on ALL tracks. From shredders to tender instrumentals to Funky/Jazzy rockers, Marcel shows he's a very talented guitarist, that I hope will no longer be a non- household name. He deserves more. And with this release, he just may get what he deserves!!

1.) Waiting
2.) Abstract Impact
3.) Patron Saint
4.) La Bella Mira
5.) Traumatized To The Bone
6.) Skill Factor
7.) That Moment
8.) The Shrink
9.) Verbal Defense Mechanism
10.) New Race
11.) Still Bleeding

Added: March 12th 2006
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Marcel Coenen Website
Hits: 3837
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Coenen, Marcel: Colour Journey
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-12 05:33:46
My Score:

Marcel Coenen is a monster player. Anyone who's heard Lemur Voice or Sun Caged would acknowledge that. His tremendous sweeping technique, his smooth tone, and his maniacal picking attest to his instrumental prowess. If you heard his first solo album Guitar Talk, an all instrumental piece, you should already know what Marcel Coenen can do with the guitar. Now, his second album and displays a different aspect of this amazing musician.

Colour Journey is without doubt the most diverse album Marcel Coenen has put out. I'll be the first to say the album is no where near as fluid and consistent as the Lemur Voice or Sun Caged stuff, but I've always believed that's what side projects and solo albums are for -- to allow the artists to experiment with ideas that would seem way out of place in their own bands. For a start, Colour Journey features a lot of guest musicians, including the current members of Sun Caged. After the departure of all the four members from the band, I was quite curious how Coenen was going to replace them, all of whom were incredibly talented. So I've paid more attention to the third track "Patron Saint", featuring the band's new singer Paul Villareal on vocals and Roel Van Helden on drums. Though Marcel thinks the song is a logical continuation of the stuff on the debut, I beg to differ. This is a more straightforward song, emphasizing Villareal's vocals in a somewhat ballady track. That said, the opening chords are very mathematical and impressive, but overall, this is a laidback piece with a lot of atmospheric keyboard work. We'll have to wait till they release their second album to form a more solid opinion on the new Sun Caged.

The other songs are quite interesting. "Waiting" features Cloudscape singer Mike Andersson on vocals whose raw yet powerful voice fits the piece like a glove. Marcel's slightly neoclassical playing is heightened with groovy rhythms and climaxes with a perfect duel between guitars and keyboards, just like in the old days with Lemur Voice. The keyboard soloing is awesome and deserves a special mention. "New Race" is also a stab at 80's Yngwie Malmsteen but there are no vocals and the song is filled with occasional thunders of Meshuggah. "That Moment" and "Still Bleeding" are the slower songs, the former featuring the amazing Colleen Gray on vocals. Piano driven, the songs are captured with Marcel's beautiful acoustic guitar tone and light shades of keyboards.

The album also contains some instrumentals. "Abstract Impact" is a Joe Satriani type of piece with various whammy dives and nice guitar effects, whilst "La Bella Mira", perhaps the best track, is a song Marcel wrote to his girlfriend. He delivers the solo with a wonderful array of notes, and his tone is simply out of this world. This may quite possibly be the best instrumental song I've heard from him. "Skill Factor" is shorter but equally impressive. This is jazzy funk with killer bass and drum solos (the drumming is sick!) and once again proves how amazing solo albums can be. I don't think we'd ever hear such playing from Marcel in any of his bands.

The heaviest and most technically demanding song is easily "Traumatized to the Bone", which initially evokes Rob van der Loo's recent solo album Freak Neil Inc - Characters with the Engine of Pain singer. There are four vocalists here, including brutal death growls. The piece is god-heavy recalling Meshuggah's finest moments and is formulated by sick grooves, crushing rhythm guitars, and weird percussion beats circulating in the background. From deep growls to ethereal female vocals and back and forth, this is an approach I'd love to see Marcel experimenting with more in the future. More Meshuggah meets Tandjent style riffage are presented on "The Shrink" (with a guest solo by Urus Raskovski), but it is the singer on "V(erbal) D(efense) M(echanism)" that I'll pick as my personal favourite with his Layne Staley meets Chris Cornell in the early 90's style of singing -- grunge with stomping lead guitar work.

A highly recommended album for fans of rock, metal, funk, and even grunge, all played by one of the most amazing guitarists from Europe.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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