Esthetic Pale


Hope

Esthetic Pale - Hope ©2000 Spice Records
1. The Seeds
2. The Ivory Tower
3. See You There
4. Lifetime
5. Summer
6. Hope
7. Laura

This disc is very hard to find, but let me urge you to start looking now. I finally got mine from DURP (www.durp.com) after a long period of searching. I'd first heard Esthetic Pale a couple years on one of the compilation CDs released by DURP. I was struck then by the depth of the song writing and the singing.

This disc is hard to pigeonhole into any one category and have it fit for every track. It swings from light, mellotron driven progressive rock to Rush-like AOR to heavy, crunchy progressive metal, often during the same song. This band can rock!

All of the songs save for the short title track are seven minutes long or longer. Two of them are nearly fourteen minutes long giving the band plenty of room to flex their musical muscle and show their stuff. The four male members of the band provide the musical backdrop for the two female vocalists. The harmonies that come from the singing are wonderful! They approach the unearthly harmonies of the Roches. The singing is outstanding, and there is a lot of it.I don't know when I have seen lyrics so wordy and thoughtfully soul searching. The singing is matched by the play behind it. The songs are well played, mostly in the progrock stylings of Renaissance, Marillion, IQ or similar bands, but with a really healthy dose of heavy crunch sprinkled in to keep you on your toes. Outstanding on this disc are the two lengthy tracks, "Lifetime" and "Laura". Especially touching is the track "See You There" written to honor the memory of someone who must have been very close to the songwriter.

If you're looking for a quality album of top-notch progressive rock with a bit of bite to it, look no further. Fans of Renaissance, Lana Lane or Marillion will like this. So also, I think, will fans of The Gathering's How to Measure a Planet? or Theater of Tragedy's Aegis. I am eagerly looking forward to the next release from this group.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 04/2001

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