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Hubi Meisel
May 2004
Released: 2004, Lion Music
Rating: 3.7/5
Reviewer: Waspman

It’s funny how things sometimes work out. On one of my daily scans of the Metal-Rules message boards, I noticed that someone had recently “hauled” a CD by some guy named Hubi Meisel with the interesting title of EMOCEAN. I was intrigued but didn’t think too much about it. Well, low and behold a couple of days later I get a package in the mail from EvilG, and one of the included CDs is this very Hubi Meisel disc. OK, obligatory long introduction aside, let’s get to it!

As many people probably haven’t heard of Hubi, a little background is probably in order. A German singer possessing extremely powerful pipes, Hubi began to make a name for himself in the 90’s as the vocalist for German progressive metallers Dreamscape, joining them for the VERY album. After leaving that group to strike out on his own, Hubi recorded and released his “tribute to the 80s” album CUT, featuring his metalized versions of various 80s pop hits. In early 2002 Hubi met French keyboardist Vivien Lalu who eventually agreed to compose the music for Hubi’s debut solo album, the concept album EMOCEAN.

Right from the start it is apparent that Hubi has put a lot of effort into this disc, as it is easily one of the most researched discs that I have ever come across. The lyrics are extremely worked out and somewhat difficult to follow, so Hubi has posted a PDF file on his web page containing explanations of each song. Basically the album is a moral tale that takes into account various aquatic legends like Atlantis, Sargasso Sea, and the Bermuda Triangle. Sprinkle in a little Greek mythology and you’ve got EMOCEAN.

The music accompanying the concept is your fairly standard progressive metal, heavily influenced by Dream Theater circa 1992. In fact there were some guitar tones and riffs that I could pick out that were straight off of IMAGES & WORDS. That’s not to say however, that it’s not any good, rather, it is very good in a “heard it before” kind of way. Of course, all of the playing is top level, with no complaints on any of the instrumental performances. And what of the main man himself? Hubi’s vocals, while very strong, have a slight tendency to grate on my ears. I can’t quite pinpoint why, but there are times when his vocals make me wince. The closest comparison I have is to the more shrill moments of Andre Matos. It’s a small quibble really, but it is there nonetheless.

Overall, it’s obvious that a lot of care and effort has been poured into this album, and it’s a great starting point for further explorations down the road between Hubi and Vivien. Fans of progressive metal will definitely want to dive into this one.
Track Listing

1)Lost in the Waters of Sargasso
2)Poseidon’s Trident
3)Nocturnal Breeze
4)Dolphin’s Wake
5)Underwater Fears
7)The Souls of Atlantis
8)Sapientia Vitae
9)Azure Dreams
10)Aqua Phoenix
11)Aero Nautical
13)Crystal Moon (bonus track)
14)Tears of an Enchanted Sea (bonus track)


Hubi Meisel: Vocals
Vivien Lalu: Keyboards
Marcel Coenen: Guitars
Daniel Flores: Drums
Jean B. Affonco: Bass
Joop Wolters: Guitars and Bass on tracks 13 & 14

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by Waspman

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