I doubt that the people in and/or around Ivory Tower read my review of their debut album, done around the autumn of 1998. Nonetheless, however, providence seems to have made it necessary for their latest album, "Beyond the Stars", to virtually immaculately feature just about all that I wished had been done different on their debut: Drums and keyboards more in front of the mix, and more energetic vocals. Way to go!

Ivory Tower have grown a lot in about a year and a half. Their songwriting has matured, their playing skills have increased, and their singer certainly sounds a lot more confident now. This results is a fine album indeed, featuring a blend of progressive rock and harmony with a touch of power metal. "Foreboding" is one of the best tracks on the album, beautifully worked out in 10+ minutes, together with the quite proggy title track. In fact there's only two tracks on the whole album that I found worthy of criticism - "Flight into the Self" which has rather too many cheesy harmonies (but which is saved by a cool instrumental break near the end), and parts of "Treehouse" (a re-recording from their Axe'n'Sex days, which has highs as well as low moments). Other than that, this is a splendid proggy rock album for those, such as I, who can stand vocalist André Fischer's high-pitched singing.



Written May 2000


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