Tiles


Fence The Clear

Tiles - Fence The Clear ©1997 InsideOut Music
1. Patterns
2. Beneath The Surface
3. Cactus Valley
4. Another's Hand
5. The Wading Pool
6. Gameshow
7. Fallen Pieces
8. Changing The Guard
9. Gabby's Happy Song
10. Checkerboards

Fans of Rush, are you listening? You absolutely must check these guys out. Tiles are an unsung band playing a blend of progressive rock and progressive metal with flawless precision and stellar song writing. The comparisons with Rush are obvious and there are many areas where they have gone beyond Rush to offer something even more tempting for their audience: consistently intelligent songs. I've mentioned before how I loathe the term "thinking man's metal," but these guys are on a par with Pain Of Salvation for thought provoking lyrics.

Those lyrics are delivered cleanly and clearly with emotive singing. The singer is backed by a band that is playing layered, complex music that is somewhere between Rush and Dream Theater without being a carbon copy of either. They manage to incorporate some distinct influences and meld them into a sound that is neither band and yet both bands at the same time. The end is a sound that is refreshingly new and yet familiar. The mixture is metal and jazzy, swingy progressive rock. Think of Rush during their Moving Pictures and Signals era and you'll have a very good grasp on the sound of this disc.

The disc has a couple very short instrumental pieces on it making room for some longer tracks. The cornerstone of these is the almost fifteen minute "Checkerboards", which carries the listener through numerous changes and turn each more delightful than the last. Everything Rush used to be, Tiles are. What Dream Theater could not live up to, Tiles do. This disc is stunning on every level, a real auditory treat.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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Presents Of Mind

Tiles - Presents Of Mind ©1999 InsideOut Music
1. Static
2. Modification
3. Crossing Swords
4. Facing Failure
5. The Learning Curve
6. Ballad Of The Sacred Cows
7. The Sandtrap Jig
8. Taking Control
9. Safe Procedures
10. Reasonable Doubt

The third disc from Tiles signals a leap into the arena of progressive improvisation. The disc is filled with abstract themes intricately arranged around a loose melody structure. The contradictions in that sentence are purposeful since the disc presents many contradictions in the music.

Tiles move from the Rush and Dream Theater sound they had on Fence The Clear into a realm dominated by Shadow Gallery and Enchant. The music is atmospheric on a vast level. The vocal melodies excel and the songs are more thoughtful than on the previous disc. There is a greater use of acoustic instruments and ballad structures. The disc still rocks unashamedly along when the music turns to the heavier edge. Whether heavy or mellow, the music is well orchestrated with lots of layers. The songs feature lengthy jam sessions and unpredictable changes keeping your attention as you listen. The epic "Reasonable Doubt" leaves no doubt as to the level of talent in this band. Intelligent lyrics abound and the level of play is consistently high track after track. Once again Tiles have produced a disc you can sink your teeth into, a very satisfying listening experience.

From the opening wail of feedback to the closing vocal sustain, you know that this is a disc that will stay in your player for a long time. For fans of progressive rock and quite possibly for fans of progressive metal, this one gets a "must have." Fans of Rush who miss the bygone days of Grace Under Pressure and earlier efforts will welcome this disc. Fans of Enchant who are looking for something with a bit more bite will enjoy this release. Music this intelligent is hard to find, but well worth finding.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2000

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