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Maze Of Time: Lullaby For Heroes

From that wonderful hotbed of music we call Sweden comes another band that until recently I was not aware of. Maze of Time, hailing from Stockholm, are a five piece symphonic progressive rock band consisting of Thomas Nordh (drums), Robert Edman (guitar, vocals), Jan Persson (bass), Jesper Landén (lead vocals) and Alex Jonsson (keyboards). Their music has been compared to earlier Genesis but I also hear bands such as Marillion and IQ. Formed in 2001, the band released their debut album Tales From The Maze in 2006 which I have not heard so I cannot make comparisons. I suppose many would refer to this as neo-progressive, but please do not take that in a negative light. The songs are of decent length, allowing different themes and movements to take their course, but never losing the melodic sense these songs possess. Guitars provide plenty of riffs and solos, but never venture into metal territory. Keyboards and synths are used extensively giving the album a luxuriant feel and provide many beautiful melodies, especially in the albums softer moments.

The music is very well played without trying to blow away the listener with ultra fast solos. That is not what this album is about. This is subtle stuff, with just as many delicate passages as there are heavier riffs. Most of the songs have lighter, introspective parts, with good vocals and some nice background harmonies.

The album begins with "Heroes…", a short instrumental laden with sound effects and a pleasant keyboard melody setting the tone with what is yet to come. "Lullaby For Heroes" contains one of the nicest guitar melodies on the CD with some added crunch here and there and solid keyboards throughout. "Station to Station" has a slower tempo and features a clean electric guitar and synth intro followed by heavy bass and guitar rhythms, pretty background harmonies and mellow and heavier parts used to good effect. The ultra catchy chorus of "Playgrounds" will not want to go away with the only negative being the fade out ending that I could have done without. "Chemical Sleep" has one of the album's more intense parts with heavy riffs a plenty and soaring electric guitar and atmospheric keyboards in the slower moments. Along with some of the best guitar shredding on the album is the quality bass work of Persson that can be heard throughout.

The album ends with the ambitious "Temple Of The Gods", a dramatic piece seventeen minutes in length filled with catchy riffs and washes of lush sounding keyboards. Although not my favourite on the album, that is reserved for "Chemical Sleep", it is still a fine way to end a very good CD.

This album has all of the necessary ingredients to make fine symphonic rock done in the neo tradition. Although not overly complicated, this is still an adventuresome listen and its accessibility should appeal to fans of well constructed melodic rock and of course those leaning towards symphonic and neo.

(originally written for

Track Listing:
1. Heroes… (2:17)
2. Lullaby For Heroes (6:58)
3. Station To Station (9:27)
4. Playgrounds (4:39)
5. Chemical Sleep; Part I (2:15), Part II (7:59)
6. The Great Cosmic Dream (5:10)
7. Do Androids? (8:12)
8. Temple Of The Gods (17:15)

Added: August 18th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2660
Language: english

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