Sieges Even

To talk of a comeback in the original meaning of the word wouldn’t be quite correct, after all Sieges Even never disappeared completely, having brought out a brilliant album in 'The Art Of Navigating By The Stars' only two years ago, following an extended creative hiatus. So their latest album release, 'Paramount', does not arrive totally unannounced, yet it surprises with an artistic complexity and stylistic diversity that is difficult to find in this genre. The album forges an atmospheric arch to the band’s beginnings back in the late eighties, documenting the topicality of their music at the same time. After all, prog rock and prog metal are more popular at the moment than they have been for a long time, and Sieges Even are among Germany’s elite when it comes to these musical directions. “Compared to our previous CDs, we focus more on the song itself these days,” guitarist Markus Steffen describes Sieges Even’s present attitude, adding: “We don’t think so much about how many notes we can cram into a particular number. The new songs are more compact in themselves, and certainly occasionally tougher than the compositions on 'The Art Of Navigating By The Stars', but always supported by a strong melody. Although we love 'Navigating', we wanted to embark on a different path without betraying our roots. I think we’ve become more open to different stylistic influences since Arno’s arrival.”

Steffen is referring to vocalist Arno Menses, who joined Sieges Even three years ago and has been at the epicentre of this perfectly measured soundquake ever since. Together with the brothers, Oliver and Alex Holzwarth (bass and drums), Steffen and Menses have concentrated on the essence of their talent more than ever before. Paramount consists of ten fascinating songs that take the listener on an adventurous journey, setting free a diversity of emotions. Sieges Even’s lyrics consciously do without messages, or indeed indoctrination. Menses: “We go about our lyrics the same way we go about our music: every one of them is intended to create its own movie in the listener’s mind. Interpretations by us would only have a manipulative and irritating effect.” Yet the contents of the songs are anything but mundane. The title track and ‘Bridge To The Divine’, for example, are about the wide range of things people dream of, while ‘Tidal’ is more personal and allows the listener the freedom of individual interpretation.

Musically, Sieges Even operate at the most accomplished level. The above mentioned ‘Tidal’ contains pretty much all the components that make Paramount a complete work of art: toughness, melodiousness, progressive parts, melancholia, e-guitars, acoustic guitars, discreet keyboards and tasteful synthesizer sounds. The instrumental, ‘Mounting Castles In The Blood Red Sky’, is a kind of musical version of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, contrasted by the folk prog AOR ballad, ‘Eyes Wide Open’, which is carried by Mense’s vocals and seems the kind of track that few people would have expected from this band. “Before Arno’s arrival we wouldn’t have risked such a number, but now it seems totally conclusive and fitting,” Steffen points out.

Paramount was recorded in collaboration with sound engineer Kristian ‘Kohle’ Kohlmannslehner at his studio in Seeheim/Jugenheim. Kohlmannslehner also mixed the songs, his colleague Kai Stahlenberg taking care of the mastering. The result is a perfectly arranged, cleverly produced and extremely melodious album that invites its listeners to dream along to and promises to work well on stage, too. That’s why the band’s fans should seize the opportunity to check their latest release out in an audio-visual context: Sieges Even are scheduled to embark on a tour of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland in October.

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Sieges Even