Released: 2003, Insideout
There was a time when keyboards were the enemy of metal. That is clearly not the case today however there is till some hesitation in some circles to fully embrace the sound of the keyboard. Accordingly I’m going to do three quick reviews of three solo albums by three keyboardists, all on the Insideout label. They are Tomas Bodin, Ryo Okumoto and Derek Sherinian.
Considerably different from last year’s PINUP GURU Mr. Bodin does not disappoint, but this is for serious prog-dudes only. Barely bordering on heavy rock at times, it takes an open mind to fully embrace this disc. Bodin is the keyboardist for The Flower Kings and I have never fully embraced them either.
Influences are easily identified as Rush, Genesis and others of that ilk which is not a bad thing, but again not all that heavy by any means. There is some tasty guitar smattered about the slow album, but it is used to accent the keyboards. Practically the entire line-up of his main band is on this disc which asks the question why?
The whole thing is fully laid back and mellow with of course the obligatory world-class musicianship at all levels. Great production and admittedly quite interesting songs almost hymn like at times…almost like a soundtrack at others but still, an acquired taste. Weird (but standard for prog bands) titles like, ‘The Happy Frog’ and ‘The Horses From Zaad’ left me wondering if it is some part of a joke I don’t get. Although other cuts like ‘Back To The African Garden’ are clearly an homage and experimentation with African music and add depth and intelligence to an already musically deep album.
A deep and serious album for serious fans of serious music and although I like it a lot, but it’s one of things, in all fairness, I wouldn’t highly recommend to anyone but fans of Spock’s Beard, Marillion, Transatlantic and of course, The Flower Kings.