Alias Eye - "Field Of Names"
From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)
Mannheim, Germany’s Alias Eye are a talented collection of veterans who play an early third millennial version of neo-prog: all the dexterity and sophisticated musicianship of classic genre bands like Yes, ELP and Genesis with a 80's style sheen that while showcasing good production values, finds me wanting something more dramatic, daring, even avant garde. I want to be thrilled, but unfortunately ‘Field of Names’ leaves you wrapped up in the band’s mellow lyrical cloak, contented on one level, but not challenged. Which is a shame, considering the obvious skills of this quintet — which is both experienced and accomplished.
Alias Eye’s strongest influences are said to be prog band Beggar’s Opera from the early 70's (of which I’m not personally familiar with. However, lead vocalist Phillip Griffiths is the son of Beggar’s Opera’s first vocalist Martin Griffiths, and is said by other reviewers to do justice to his father’s stylings in the latter’s prime). And there are others: the David Gilmour guitar nuances on the closing track ‘An End in Itself’; Best track ‘Driven’ has Phillip Griffiths assuming a David Sylvian-like phrasing and a Steppenwolf-inflected moog run courtesy of keyboardist Vytas Lemke as well as ‘Just Another Tragic Song’s debt to ‘Eve’-era Alan Parsons Project. The disk abounds with other nice touches like ‘The Readiness is All’s salsa-inflected, saxophone-driven midsection courtesy of guest Timo Wagner and guitarist Matthias Richter showcasing his considerable wah-wah peddle skills in ‘Mystery’.
The disk artwork by Mattias Noren is exceptional.
There’s no doubt Alias Eye achieves (and surpasses) what was sought after on a technical level. It’s also clear that there is a solid (and enthusiastic) audience for their brand of light progressive/hard rock. But I rather doubt A.I. listeners would particularly groove to ‘Field of Dreams’ — too polished, too light, too lacking in attack and propulsion. Which is not to say the band may not move that way in subsequent releases. I certainly hope that’s the case.
For more information you can visit the Alias Eye web site at: http://ww.aliaseye.com.
Reviewed by Ian Compton