ROUGH SILK End Of Infinity |
(Point Music) (2003)
I still remember the day when John, one of the craziest people in the world
and well known DJ, came running to my house. He was so excited over an album
he had listened called "Mephisto". He insisted that I should listen to it,
and so I did. I will never manage to thank him enough for introducing me to
"Mephisto", the fourth effort of a German band called Rough Silk. This story
took place in 1997 and I am ashamed to admit that "Mephisto" was the only
Rough Silk album I have ever listened to, for many different reasons. The
band managed to combine the lyricism and melodies of Queen (probably their
biggest influence) with the strength and aggression of bands like Metallica,
and they were damn good!
Six years after the release of that album and with one less member in the
line up (Vocalist Thomas Ludolphy left the band in 2002) the band recorded
their seventh album "End Of Infinity". The line up consists of Ferdy
oernberg (lead vocals, keyboards, slide guitars - also trumpet, dobro, pedal
steel, lap steel, accordeon, bouzouki, hawaiian guitar, saz, ukulele, piano,
hammond-organ), Herbert Hartmann ( lead-vocals, drums - also : percussion,
additional guitars & keyboards), Ralf Schwertner (bass-guitar -
also : trombone, harmonica, "death-metal"-vocals, percussion ) and Nils
Wunderlich ( lead-vocals, guitars - also : mandolin, flute, tin-whistle,
acoustic guitar). These four very talented musicians made a big mistake with
this album - they decided that they would share the vocal duties instead of
hiring a new singer!
After a one minute intro called "Who Killed The Vinyl?" comes "Isolation". I
never expected to listen to such a song from Rough Silk, simply because it
is a typical German power metal song in the style of Gamma Ray and Primal
Fear. The vocals in this album are quite good and so is the song in general.
Things will change dramatically with "Lucifer's Hotel (hang over city)" a
quite average hard rock song - it's also time for the first "bad vocal
experience" (unfortunately won't be the last).
Next comes one of my favourite songs on the album, "Restless Heart", which reminded me of the
glorious "Mephisto" days, only until the vocals decided to make their
appearance (what a shame). I love the sound of Piano, so the first notes of
"Ambrosia" managed to put a smile on my face, a smile I managed to keep
after I realised that the vocals which accompanied the song were actually
good. This song proves how much the band was influenced from Queen. Rough
Silk were constantly on the road these past years and one of the bands they
toured with were Savatage(the two bands became really good friends).
The influence of Savatage's music is obvious in "What If Darkness was
Brighter Than Light" with the only difference that the American monsters
have John Oliva as a singer - yes, you've guessed right, the vocals once
again were worse than expected. "My Little Friend" starts with a bluesy
feeling and ends up sounding like a Barclay James Harvest song. The second
song which managed to impress me a lot was "The Fiddler On The Skeleton
Horse", a very emotional song which would have sounded much better with the
Remember when I said that this band manages to successfully combine
different styles of music? Just listen to "Carry On" a classic hard rock
tune which somehow manages to turn into Reggae round the middle. The band
also experimented with Southern Rock tunes and choirs in "The End Of
Infinity", quite a bad choice as far as I'm concerned.
On the other hand songs like "Mrs Jealousy & Mr.Greed" allowed the members of the band to
unleash their creativity - it would have been an excellent song with the
right vocals (deja-vu?). "Set Me Free" is nothing really worth mentioning in
comparison with "Dolly The Sheep meets Frank the Stein" another weirdo which
starts with a strong Hard Rock riff and somehow manages to become a Hawaian
love song with the addition of the proper instruments.
I think that the band needs to make some serious decisions: First of all they need to find
themselves a good vocalist and secondly they need to decide what kind of
music they want to play. By the end of the day the band responsible for the
creation of "Mephisto" deserves much more than that.
Review by John Stefanis