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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 right vocals!

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

***** 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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