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Soul Enema: Thin Ice Crawling

Anyone who is up on the progressive music scene knows all about the talent coming out of Europe, especially Scandinavia the last few years. Who would have thought Israel would have produced two of the better albums so far this year. First Orphaned Land's The Neverending Way Of ORwarriOR and now the first full length release from Soul Enema entitled Thin Ice Crawling.

Soul Enema consist of some wonderful players including Irina Sherr (vocals), Yevgeny Kushnir (electric and acoustic guitars), Constantin Glantz (keyboards, sound effects, vocals), Max Mann (bass) and Oleg Szumsky (drums). Thin Ice Crawling is one of the most interesting releases I have heard so far in 2010. The music is very keyboard heavy with a variety of sounds to enrich any keyboard lover's palette. At times their sound is quite retro, recalling bands like Genesis and Yes. The symphonic arrangements are outstanding and the melodies excellent. While keyboards are integral to the band's sound there is also some fine axe work throughout the CD. Chugging riffs, edgy rhythms, melodic lead work and sweet acoustic interludes combine to give this music plenty of muscle and although there are progressive metal moments, Thin Ice Crawling is more about classic symphonic prog with elements of folk, ethnic and jazz fusion. I love the Middle Eastern motifs which at times remind me of Orphaned Land. The band is very good at varying the pace of the music and provide numerous tempo changes along the way. They have a great flair for the dramatic while never sounding dated or ridden with clichés.

While all the players are very good musicians special mention must be made of the vocals of Irina Sherr. She has a great voice, almost operatic in nature but never sounds over the top as she is able to show just the right amount of restraint. My only complaint are the heavily accented male vocals which I found to be a bit of a distraction. This is only a minor flaw as they do get better as the CD progresses.

Soul Enema have made an intriguing album, both lyrically and musically. Rich melodies abound but never take away from the inherent complexity this music has to offer. I found Thin Ice Crawling to be a rewarding listen and look forward to hearing more from the band as they should be around for quite some time. Highly recommended for all fans of progressive rock.


Track Listing:
1. The Land Derailed
2. The Last Night
3. Quicksand Lies
4. Crystal Territory
5. Splinter
6. Other Line
7. Unholy Ghost
8. 911
9. Thin Ice Crawling – Outro

Added: September 9th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2381
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Soul Enema: Thin Ice Crawling
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-09-09 18:02:17
My Score:

Formed back in 2001 Israeli prog rockers Soul Enema have been diligently putting together their debut album Thin Ice Crawling which has finally seen the light of day courtesy of the Russian label MALS.

If you're a fan of symphonic prog then you should find plenty to get excited about here. The band is largely centered around the beautiful operatic vocals of Irina Sherr, the dazzling keyboard passages supplied by Constantin Glantz and the often metallic riffs of guitarist Yevgeny Kushnir. Together along with bassist Max Mann and drummer Oleg Szumsky these musicians are more than just the new symphonic proggers on the block though as they demonstrate a flair for injecting a myriad of different styles and themes into their overall sonic palette.

The music, especially the lush, organic feel of some of Glantz' keyboard runs, has a very distinct retro feel to it and yet it also comes across as fresh and inventive at the same time. They way they craft their melodies and incorporate the odd Middle Eastern motif into their multi-textured arrangements are nothing short of brilliance, even if to them it probably feels like second nature. I also particularly enjoyed the subtle use of alto sax on the final two tracks "911" and "Thin Ice Crawling".

There's just so much to be impressed about here; it's no wonder it's taken the band as long as it did to get to this point, but I can honestly say that all the time and effort they've put in pays off in the end for the listener in a big way. I have to admit that symphonic progressive rock doesn't normally grab me and hold me captivated the way Thin Ice Crawling did, so I'm definitely going to have these guys on my radar from here on out.



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