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Bittertown: Scenes From The Box

Just like light, which can be both a wave and a particle, so too can progressive rock be both a boundless musical philosophy and a well-defined genre, containing certain elements patently its own. Some bands like to push the envelope, so to speak; while others seem to look for a very comfortable niche in which to reside. The Netherlands' Bittertown lies squarely in the latter camp. Scenes From The Box borrows from many warmed over clichés and sounds like dozens of bands the astute fan of progressive rock has heard many times over. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I guess it depends on your likes and dislikes.

Released in August of 2008, Scenes From The Box. is a concept record about "what happens when you open the box that contains all of your fears and worst nightmares". Three vocalists share duties as different characters . Have we not had enough "concepts" about angst and woe in this genre to last us many lifetimes over? Apparently not. In an age of "me too", there's always room for one more player it would seem. I don't pay attention to lyrics nearly as much as I once did, so the "concept" never fully sank in with me. Musically, the band does have some interesting moments, but many of them are of the "been there, done that" variety. If you own discs by any of the 90s melodic symphonic bands , chances are you've heard many of the ideas this disc can throw at you. If you can't get enough of that genre, here's another one for your collection.If,however, you've just discovered progressive rock today, let me give you an overview. Most tracks tend to be on the mellower, more melodic side of things. Lots of acoustic piano and mournful vocals permeate this disc. Once in a while, the music goes into slightly longer instrumental passages, with some decent keyboard forays and strong bass playing courtesy of Mr Tom Janssen, but it's really about the lyrics, so they're front and center on most tracks. The vocals are decent but sound like many other male/female prog acts out there. The lyrics tend to be a tad uninspired and didactic at times. The combination of these things still manages to work, but mostly on superficial levels.

As stated previously, this disc seems to be targeting a very specific niche market. If it sounds like something that might be right up your alley, then by all means seek it out. However, if you own all the melodic symph you need, this one won't make you appreciate the genre any more as it doesn't bring much originality to the table. Your mileage will definitely vary with this disc.

Track Listing:

  1. The Box
  2. The Shadow Of The Wind
  3. The Train To Nowhere
  4. The Story Begins
  5. Project Mayhem
  6. The Chase
  7. The Keeper
  8. Miss You
  9. Under The Bridge, Near The River
  10. You're Not Alone
  11. The Box (reprise)
  12. Kick The Habit
  13. The Sound Of August
  14. The Better Year

Added: March 19th 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
Related Link:
Hits: 2002
Language: english

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