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Paramount

Paramount

1 Oct 2007

£7.49 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 28 Sep 2007
  • Release Date: 28 Sep 2007
  • Label: Century Media Records Ltd
  • Copyright: (c) 2007 InsideOut Music. All rights reserved
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:01:42
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0034ZE75W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,782 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Agma on 29 Dec 2009
Format: Audio CD
I am assuming before beginning my review you have arrived at this page having heard of or at least have a passing interest in the progressive circles and/or Sieges Even. A progressive band sitting along rather comfortably along the borders of metal and hard rock, this you may or may not be aware is Sieges even's last album and a second (and probably final) split, i must say i'm very saddened at the idea that this is probably the last review of a new release by Sieges Even i'd be writing. As i'm quite fond of this band and have been since i was blown away by "The art of navigating by the stars" back in 2005.

Having a good 2 years to digest this slightly more challenging peace than it's past releases, i feel i have been able to trancend into the majestic soundscapes that Paramount has to offer, that said it has taken quite a while to become obvious as my first listen to "Paramount" back on it's release in 2007 i admittedly felt a little underwhelmed by the compositions, though this is a notion i no longer hold true however.

The tracklisting is rather a strong collection, bookened by the heavy and rather Dream theater esque and keyboard driven "When alpha and omega collide" and the monolith title track, of which i personally appeal more favourably towards due to the heavy riffing, something which will come as no surprise if i was to tell you i was "more into" prog metal than rock.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
In some ways the best Sieges Even album 9 Oct 2007
By Murat Batmaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Paramount is Sieges Even's second album from their recent song-based era. The band embark on a similar sound experiment to the one they displayed on The Art of Navigating by the Stars, but on this platter, they present us individual songs rather than a single theme, while also incorporating some newer elements and creative ideas into their songcraft.

The addition of Dutch vocalist Arno Menses to the band's lineup has certainly paved a new way for Sieges Even. Now they are unafraid to go into directions they would have never risked a decade ago. While it may forever be argued as to which album from the recent period is better, there is no denying that Arno Menses provides a much more confident delivery on Paramount compared to the previous disc, bringing to the table more mellow material as well as AOR-influenced ideas. The vocal melodies are a lot more 'poppy' in that they have a gripping overtone and are wrapped by beautiful harmonies, and they are rarely challenged by technical guitar and bass arrangements, unlike their older albums.

Utilising lots of modern sounds and synthesizers, the album opener "When Alpha and Omega Collide" unleashes a hypnotic synth line in its intro, before Alex Holzwarth's rolling drum battery enters the piece, becoming the instant highlight. His tone, his timing, and his unique style of drumming make this song one of the best drum performances of the year, alongside the first song on John Macaluso's solo album, except that "When Alpha and Omega Collide" doesn't possess the same immediacy. Rather, it comes to the fore upon repeat listens, but I assure you it's so amazing that you will want to hear this album just because of the drumming. The crunchy guitar work during the heavier moments is quickly replaced by clean-toned acoustic guitars and Menses' echoic vocalizations (listen carefully to discover a wealth of nuances in the mix), which are amazing in and of themselves.

Although some have claimed that this disc is a bit heavier than its predecessor, I beg to differ. While it contains some heavier guitar work in some places, overall it's cut from the same cloth as The Art of Navigating by the Stars. Actually it features more prominent use acoustic guitars courtesy of Markus Steffen, whose understanding of melody and arrangement remains unrivaled in German prog. Even the slightly heavier stuff such as "Tidal", driven by a solid guitar attack and manipulated vocals in its first half, boasts plenty of mood-intensive passages, filled with discreet keyboard effects and acoustic guitars. I love how a fat bass figure takes the lead atop repeated synth melodies while atmospheric sound collections waft across the body of the song. And to top it all off, there is a unique acoustic guitar solo at the end.

"Eyes Wide Open" is a testament to the band being open to different styles since Menses' arrival. This is an AOR ballad, carried by a nice melody and an infectious chorus. It is determined by multiple backing harmonies and Menses' lead part that stands out, creating an internal dialogue in a way. While this may be the most accessible Sieges Even song to date, it still brings forth a jazzy bass guitar and shiny cymbal splashes in its middle part.

The use of conflicting moods is successfully achieved on the somewhat politically spirited "Bridge to the Divine" and the faster-paced "Leftovers". The former piece is focused on heavy synths and eerie percussion defined by a happy melody, but the serious narration at the end documenting the surrender of Japan is a total surprise to the song's flow. "Leftovers" maintains a similar aesthetic, as the lengthy drum part and conscious rock sound are contrasted by Menses' incredibly emotional singing, only to be replaced by a grumbling bass and crashing guitar combination.

Bassist Oliver Holzwarth shines best on "Duende", a track presumably developed around his creativity. On "Iconic", he inserts some cool finger-picked fusion-style playing before delving deep into funk-rock atop 80's pop-rock vocals with rich shades of synthesizers. Similarly, "Where Our Shadows Sleep" is chock full of chiming bass arpeggios and Menses' finest vocal delivery on the album. His singing oozes warmth and confidence from start to finish, and the arrangement is superb. Check out the buried vocal bit that resurrects during the song's calmest acoustic section. Also, the last two minutes of this track are arguably their most progressive moment, with cool Maiden-ish bass throbs and guitar accents.

"Mounting Castles in the Blood Red Sky" is essentially Siegen Even's instrumental piece, but it features excerpts from Martin Luther King's well known "I have a dream" speech. However, this track is utterly important in that it highlights Markus Steffen's unique songwriting abilities. Much like most of the album, his echoic acoustic guitar work builds to a wonderful climax during King's most powerful statements. Backed by a low bass drone, the piece occasionally gains speed and tempo at the most unexpected junctures. It has a truly dream-like feel, which is goosebump-inducing indeed.

The title track is a psychological study in dreams and nightmares, populated with myriad soundscapes, spoken parts, and great dynamics. At times, it evokes Fates Warning's Disconnected in that it forges a strong atmospheric arch utilising modern samples and tense silences. However, that's where the similarities end, as the song also features a terrific saxophone accompaniment in its second half. This is one of the most perfect songs they have ever penned.

Paramount is also the band's most accomplished album from a production standpoint. Mixed by Kristian Kohlmannslehner, this is not only the best-sounding Sieges Even album, but arguably the best production of the year. The mix is clever, allowing sharp details to pan from left and right speaker, and the dynamic range is frighteningly good. I won't even mention the bass and drum sound captured on the album -- other bands could only dream of attaining this sonic punch.

Never before did Sieges Even conceive such a unified record, complete in every respect. From songwriting to thought-provoking lyrics to excellent production and melodious flow, Paramount remains in a league all its own. It took me much longer to digest it than the previous album, but now I'm inclined to dub it as a stronger work overall.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I can't believe it! 12 Oct 2007
By Proggy McGee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sieges Even may have topped The Art of Navigating by the Stars. I love this cd and I have listened to it four times today just trying to wrap my mind around all of the incredible musicianship and nuance in this one album. I am so in awe with what Sieges Even have accomplished here. Bravo!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A very complex surprise 28 Nov 2007
By pilgrimsprogproj - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this after Amazon recommended it to me. As another reviewer said, it has excellent nuances and mix. Sometimes it is almost what is not going on that sets it apart. The parts are well thought out. I hear little snippets of familiarity, from Yes, to Kansas, to DT, yet everything is still absolutely fresh.
The lyrics are a treat, with complex meaning.
I am impressed and it has been a long time since an album has affected me emotionally like this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Paramount 2 Oct 2008
By Friend of Metal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Paramount is one of my favorite prog albums of all time. Owing more to progressive rock than progressive metal, the album is beautiful and moving from start to finish. The clean (distortion free), picked guitar parts are unbelievable. The music as a whole is outstanding, but SE creates such satisfying moods when they are melding the clean guitar with the delicate vocals of Arno Menses. As one reviewer pointed out, Paramount has a few songs that talk about God/Jesus/spirituality. I don't see things the way they do, but the lyrics don't in any way take away from the music. In fact, they couldn't. Menses could be reading from a phone book and the album would still be brilliant. If you like most any prog rock, you will probably find much on this album to enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very nice Prog piece. 4 Aug 2008
By K. Owens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you like slick tight production , soaring vocals , atmospheric soundscapes and crunchy guitars you will probably love this. These are meaningful and well thought out lyrics about something that is obviously very important to them ( and me as well). If you are one of those people that are anti religion though you should probably steer clear of this one and find some other form of release.
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