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Unwritten Pages - 'Fringe Kitchen' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/5c/6c/ef/3098_unwrittenpagesfringekitchen_1356396471.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 25, 2012    
 
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A prog rock masterpiece or a very strange set of songs? Make your own decision.

Described in their biog as a group of musicians who play music that encompasses genres as diverse as metal/prog/ambient and psychedelic rock, the Dutch band Unwritten Pages have me confounded. I have played this album quite a few times and each and every time I did, something about the music the songs or the performances changes and then I have to go away and re-evaluate what I’ve just been listening to. This has made this second album by the Epe brothers: Fred, Michel and Lothar a very difficult album to get to grips with, though like me you will probably enjoy the challenge of trying to do just that.

Unlike the band’s debut concept album, where there were a lot of guest appearances to help the brothers out, this time around the whole album has been recorded “in house”. The Epe’s are joined by James Cook, Sander Stappers and John Macaluso (Ark, TNT, Starbreaker etc) on guitar, bass and drums, who have helped them record what can only be described as a very intriguing, complicated and at times confusing album.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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If you need reference points think latter day Opeth and Porcupine Tree mixed with Coheed & Cambria, though again on any given listen I have found those reference points could and did change. Listen to a song like ‘Asylum Tragedy’ in the morning and you hear all the angst of a post neo-prog band coming through in the music, play it again in the afternoon and the song becomes a more rounded prog rock song with miles of depth and feeling, or ‘Cloud Infinite’ which features some inspired harmony vocals, is just the same, changing and growing all the time as you continue to play it. Then they once more give things a tweak and this time change comes in the guise of ‘Wasted Land’, a piano and vocal track that is out of character for the album but still fits in with the other songs so well. Lastly we have ‘Auxiliary Influx’ all guitars and spiky keyboards one minute, then introspective and wistful the next but above all that it is a very perplexing song in the extreme, yet well worth getting to know.

After many play throughs of ‘Fringe Kitchen’ I still haven’t made up my mind as to whether Unwritten Pages have recorded a prog rock masterpiece or a very strange set of songs, assembled to puzzle the listener; maybe it‘s a bit of both. I like what I’m hearing and yet for me the jury’s still out – so its over to you good Fireworks & Rocktopia readers to sample and make your own decision.

Ian Johnson

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