Soul Cages

Picture of Soul Cages

Soul Cages

Soul Cages - Soul Cages ©1994 Massacre Records
1. The Narrow Path Of Truth
2. New Horizons
3. Reflections
4. Mindtrip
5. Actors Of No Return
6. Incommunicado
7. Soul Cages
8. Rainbow

Soul Cages was a German band that originally formed in 1990. The six members of this band came from several different speed / thrash metal bands. They were dissatisfied with the limits of their roots and wanted to do something more musically expressive. What they ended up producing was termed “melodic art-rock” by the band. I’d call it outstanding progressive metal or progressive AOR. The group considered their first two albums to be more along the lines of demos than full fledged releases. I know several progressive bands that can’t release “full fledged” albums as good as this “demo.”

Musically, this CD is a great listen. The music never stays in one place. It constantly changes and grows from airy melodic interludes to all-out athletic guitar and bass numbers and back, sometimes within the same song. The band uses two guitars that are playing in unison one moment and then next one is playing melody and the other a counter-melody. The music is very expressive and emotional.

The lyrics are very thoughtful and well written. As much as I abhor the term “thinking man’s metal,” this band certainly fits the definition. The singing is outstanding as well as the band uses a lead singer backed by two female background vocalists and another singer interspersed in with them. The singers accent and complement one another. With so many voices, the vocal melodies are very enjoyable, never getting too busy to follow.

Fans of involved and carefully crafted progressive metal will really enjoy this disc. If you’ve enjoyed recent Fate’s Warning or Dream Theater, you’ll find this enjoyable as well.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 04/2001

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Moments

Soul Cages - Moments ©1996 Massacre Records
1. Freezing
2. The Naked World
3. Moments
4. Methode No.23
5. In Our Hands
6. Elegy
7. Impressions
8. My Spiritual Home

Soul Cages followed their debut release with a disc that upped the ante on every level. When you consider that their debut was a very impressive disc, you understand the enormity of what was accomplished with their sophomore effort.

This disc comes off with a very precise and mature sound. It could be compared, musically, to Perfect Symmetry or Parallels from Fates Warning. The tight and unpredictable rhythm changes that punctuate the disc are very reminiscent of Fates Warning’s style of sudden change. The sound is also more laid back and relaxed. The focus is more on the melody. It becomes evident in the singing that a lot of attention was given to the melody of the song and the vocal parts. Consequently some of the edge present of the self titled debut is missing here. If anything it makes the sound even more progressive. There is more attention paid to the vocals and the interweavings of the voices become more complex. The atmosphere and ambience of the sound is heightened too. The two guitars are used to weave separate melodies into a whole.

The song writing is as thoughtful and thought provoking as on the debut. The lyrics rely on symbols and imagery to convey their intent to you. The lyrics fit with the tenor of the songs very well. The atmospheric sound carries the emotion of the words which is expressed very clearly by the singers.

The bottom line is that this is a fantastic disc. Any fan of progressive metal or progressive rock is going to like this. It is intelligent and very well presented.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 04/2001

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Craft

Soul Cages - Craft ©1999 Massacre Records
1. Pressure
2. A Part Of Me
3. Falling
4. Piano
5. The Light Of Day
6. Imprisoned
7. Force Of A Dream
8. Result Of Convenience
9. Before (for Bert)

Soul Cages is one of my favorite progressive metal bands for many reasons. They have an almost intuitive sense of balance in their music that really touches a chord with me (no pun intended). They use every part of their music like a master artist used the brush. This disc is their very best to date and leaves me hoping very much that they are still active and recording a fourth. I searched for this disc for a very long time and finally had to contact the record label and order it from them. I am glad that the effort was worth it in the end, this is a great disc.

Let me get the negative bit over with immediately. The band had to leave the lyrics off the liner notes. That really bothers me because a part of the magic of Soul Cages has always been their deft use of lyric in their songs. Their lyrics are several steps above the usual offerings in prog metal. In an interview, the band admitted it was a mistake. "We thought not to put in the lyrics in the booklet, because we thought, that really no one is interested in the lyrics. We haven't had questions about our lyrics in the past and so we decided to do it like this. We also thought to put them on our homepage, where everyone can read them or print them, if he likes. The stupid thing, that we haven't kept in mind is, that not all the people in the world have a connection to the Internet right now. We thought and know it only from Germany, that nearly everyone has a connection. That was a big mistake from us. We got the letters and mails from tons of people, who asked for the lyrics. So in the future we will put the lyrics again in the booklet, be sure."

But, since the lyrics are available and the band has acknowledged that people really want them, I'll not dwell on it. The music is the thing that caught my notice most on this CD. Soul Cages have always excelled at creating lushly atmospheric and melodic songs. These are no exception and are among the best that they have written. Each flows into the next seamlessly. The time changes fit perfectly where they are. Once more the attention paid to the details of the music is outstanding. The songwriting is splendid.

The singing again uses the blending of male lead with female backing vocals. The vocal melodies are very much out in the front similar to how Shadow Gallery uses their vocals. The vocals smoothly fit the music as on the past discs. Soul Cages have crafted a very enjoyable disc, easily their best. Dream Theater fans need to give this one a serious look assuming they can locate a copy. Hopefully Massacre will do a better job of promoting the band for future releases. Soul Cages are too good to be overlooked. Fans of prog metal, look this disc up, you won't be disappointed.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 08/2001

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