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MICHAEL PINNELLA ‘Enter By The Twelfth Gate’
Inside Out (2004)

Michael Pinnella

It has been more than two years since the release of the last Symphony X album (The Odyssey / 2002), and it seems that the members of the band are finding it quite difficult to tame their creative cravings. But thatís not the only reason why Michael Pinnella, the bandís keyboard player, decided that this was the right time to release his debut album "Enter By The Twelfth Gate".

Michael is the latest victim of this well-known disease called "solo career" which apparently affects most progressive rock/Metal musicians at some point during their career. In this case, it took him more that ten years to make that creative step.

Before you start making scenarios of departure from Symphony X (which normally happens when a musician decides to go solo), I urge you to listen to "Enter By The Twelfth Gate" first Ė believe me that all the answers that you need are right there.

My first impression after I listened to the opening track "The White Room" was that this album would be something like a step-brother, or even a sequel to "The Odyssey" - and I have to admit that I was quite uncertain as to whether I would approve of this or not.

It is true that I am a big fan of Symphony X and that I really admire their work on "The Odyssey", but I normally expect more things from the solo efforts of these very talented artists. Well, there is a reason why people say that you should never jump to conclusions.

After the quite Epic/Progressive introduction, Michael decided to complicate things a bit. In the following twelve songs that put together this forty four minute release, he either reveals his knowledge and admiration of Classical music ("Piano Concerto #1 mvt.1", "Falling From the Sky", "Piano Concerto #1 mvt.2", "Piano Concerto #1 mvt.3"), or follows the musical footsteps of progressive giants such as Kansas and Emerson, Lake & Palmer ("Cross The Bridge", "Edge of Insanity" & "Welcome to my Daydream").

Itís also very important to mention that he is quite efficient in whatever style of music he chooses to get involved with, and that is quite a gift.

I finished listening to the whole album for the first time, without having read the press release (I always do that, because it helps me remain as objective as possible). I was very impressed by the bass player who had performed amazingly at times, and could not understand why Michael chose to go instrumental in his first solo effort.

The answer to this question came from Inside Outís information leaflet and completely shocked me. Michael has recorded and performed every single instrument on this album - now I donít know whether that statement impresses you, but it definitely impressed me.

The production is of high standards, and the atmosphere of the album is such, that makes the audition of "Enter By The Twelfth Gate" a very enjoyable experience.

This is not a Pop album, so donít start looking for the song that will stand out. If you do get a little bit more attracted to "The White Room" and "Enter By The 12th Gate" though, I will not blame you.

With the new Symphony X album on itís way, I find it difficult for Michael to hit the road promoting his first solo release. I would really like the idea of having him on stage performing these songs to people who are able to recognise good quality music when they hear it.


Review by John Stefanis

Buy this CD

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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