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Released: 2000, Nightmare Records/ H&H Records
Drummer Ernst Van Ee has been kicking around for the last 20 years in such bands as Highway Chile and Helloise. He has also played on recordings by guitar players Peter Magnee and Tamas Szekeres. He has toured with Vengeance (Ian Parry’s old band), Misha Calvin and has played in Ian Parry’s live and recording band. He has recorded with the death metal band Thernody and recorded the first Ayreon album with Arjen Lucassen. He is still involved with Helloise and Thernody who expect new albums in the near future. Now here is Ernst Van Ee with his first solo CD POWERPLAY. Is this guy busy or what? For all his accomplishments I have to admit that I have never heard this guys name before. Shame on me I have to admit! Well now I have the CD in my hands so I can begin my education of his other work. Some of which I own but just never paid that close attention to. Van Ee brings in some friends to work on this CD. On guitars is old friend Peter Magnee, and vocal duties are split by Stan Verbranek of Helloise and Robert Soeterboek from Ayreon. A very impressive vocal duo if I do say so.
Even though this is an Ernst Van Ee solo CD it doesn’t really feel like it. The band definitely gels well and its only on the instrumental drum tracks "Triplet Thing" , "Takketoeketakka", "Tricks and Chops" and "Dance With An Angel" which is Ernst’s tribute to one of his idols, the late Cozy Powell, who is a drum legend in the metal world having played with the likes of Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Whitesnake. The release opens with the smoking track "Shot Down". This is definitely one of the better tracks on the disc with Soeterboek delivering a strong vocal performance. It is on this track than Van EE sets the pace for the rest of the CD. The disc is rife with a slight progressive overtone similar to the work of Ian Parry which gives it a very distinctive edge. The cover of "The Sixteens" originally done by The Sweet (another of Ernst Van Ee’s idols) is done superbly and the sound is updated with a great crunching guitar sound and Van Ee’s powerful and great sounding skins. He gets the perfect sound from his kit. One of the things which I liked so much about this CD. "The Story Never Ends" is a very emotional ballad which is a great change of pace with Verbraaks clearer voice showing the he will not be upstaged by Soeterboek. Ernst Van Ee shows his heavier side with "Faces of Death" and closes the disc out with the cruncher "Devilzone".
This is how all solo CDs should be done. Here we have a drummer who could have ruined every song with over the top playing and trying to steal the show. He didn’t. Besides the four instrumental tracks Van Ee keeps his playing to what the songs require and the tunes themselves are great. Ernst Van Ee has himself a winner with POWERPLAY. Hopefully the world will catch on to what a great Cd this is. To get more infor on Ernst Van Ee and all his projects check out his website. http://www.threnody.com/evanee/uk/index.htm
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