Evil Clocks Reviews
Tommy Hash's review for Ytsejam.
Jon Neudorf's review for Sea of Tranquility
Kerry Kompost's of Mars Hollow review
Christophe Manhès' review for progressia
Erik Lann's review for DPRP
Ron Fuch's review for Prognaut
Geschrieben von Thorsten Dieterle's review for FFM-Rock
Mark M's review for Progressive Waves
Jochen König's review for Musik Reviews
Windhawk's review for Prog Archives.
Bill Knispel's review for Bill's Prog Blog
Pascal Laurent's review for Prog-Résiste
Olav M Bjornses' round table review for ProgressoR
Raffaella Berry's round table review for ProgressoR
Butch Jones' round table review for Sea of Tranquilty
Pete Pardo's round table review for Sea of Tranquilty
Chalkpie's review for Progressive Ears
Ulf's review for MerlinProg
Sid Smith's review for Postcards From The Yellow Room
Silly Puppy's review for ProgArchives
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A prefect cross between Van der Graaf Generator & The Mars Volta, The Rebel Wheel brings the sound of profound dark experimentalism with a modern progressive rock edge. Against the backdrop of synths, Mellotrons, various keyboards, and spacious production, you have the vocals of both David Campbell & Angie MacIvor fronting this along with sax and indie rock infused guitars leading the sensible jam sessions. Challenging at times, yet lush with an Echoes-era Floyd vibe, We are in the Time of Evil Clocks is not only of musical expression, but seemingly a reflection of the turbulent times we are in now, as the often sinister aggression of the improvisations bring a large hostility of a mass of the social strains while the more subdued passages denote to the calm before the storm - a fitting title with a fitting soundtrack.
"Klak" and the title track get to the point when it comes to the intriguing experimental strengths that the band possesses, "Wordplay" conjures up a big jazzy feel, while "Settling of the Bones" brings forth an ethereal vibe - the extended piece, "The Discovery of Witchcraft" is a stunning seven part musical manifesto that has all of the right elements of an extended progressive rock composition, going from an enraging passages to eased down melodic soundfields, where We are in the Time of Evil Clocks sees the band expanding on what they did on Diagramma, pushing forward with more musical might at an accessible level so thing don't get too 'out there.'
Beyond the typical realms of both prog and technical indie/college rock, The Rebel Wheel offers the best of both worlds possessing a hipness and a knack to move forward, with lyrical & melodic depth; and it's on their own terms.
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So far 2010 is off to a great start when it comes to progressive rock in Canada. There have been some fine releases this year and you can add the latest from The Rebel Wheel to the list as it is a superb album. We are in the Time of Evil Clocks is the follow up to their 2007 release Diagramma. The band's personal has changed over the years and on the new release it includes David Campbell (guitars, keys, vocals, bass), Angie MacIvor (saxes, vocals, keys), Aaron Clark (drums, percussion) and Claude Prince (bass), with only Campbell and MacIvor held over from the last album.
To my ears the band plays pure progressive rock flavoured with elements of jazz, fusion, metal and funk. This album completely wowed me from the very first listen and one can tell a tremendous amount of work went into it. This is progressive in the truest sense of the word. Constantly shifting tempos, dynamic arrangements and aural assaults on the senses that will take you by complete surprise. Lets just say there is a lot going on here and while you will hear elements of Zappa, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and even modern progressive bands like The Mars Volta, Rebel Wheel do not tread so much where others have gone before but have followed their own path where obscure dissonance and wild complexity come head to head with melodic progressive rock making this a richly varied and multifaceted release.
This is one talented band and their instrumental prowess is demonstrated early and often. The keyboard play is a definite highlight as is the diverse guitar playing of Campbell. He proves to be an excellent player providing tasty rhythms, gentle atmospheric textures, blistering leads and strangely dissonant chord structures. The music is quite dark matching the album's loose theme of an uneasy and malevolent future for humanity.
The album gets off to a wonderful start with the title track as angular guitar chords and a fabulous rhythm section gives way to acoustic rhythms and melodic vocals. The intriguingly titled "Klak" shows just how diverse the band is as ominous darker sections mix well with more melodic parts, including some tasty sax by MacIvor. Also check out the jazzy guitar lines in "Wordplay", where a quieter section and an ultra cool synth solo morph into choppy guitar rhythms and interesting drum work. I should also add the vocals of MacIvor are very good as she has a soulful and passionate voice. The atmospheric "Settling Of Bones" conveys an aura of sadness and the echo guitar effect works well.
The album's best song has to be the thirty minute "The Discovery Of Witchcraft", a seven part epic of immense proportions with stunning instrumental play and a diversity of moods and musical soundscapes that will leave you breathless.
The Rebel Wheel takes the listener on a wild ride, creating one of the most adventurous albums I have heard this year. I have no doubt We are in the Time of Evil Clocks will be right up there with the best of 2010 come year end. It is that good and I urge all fans of progressive music to give it a spin as this is one album that deserves to be heard. Highly recommended.
I've been kind of obsessing over this album lately.
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This is not your father's prog album; it really doesn't sound anything like most of the offerings of the past few years because The Rebel Wheel don't follow the well-worn paths of the elders or the newer bands blissfuly carrying the torch -- they are clearly speeding down an interstate of their own design, oblivious to passing cliches smouldering like so many wrecked automobles abandoned on the side of the highway, forging a direction unmistakably their own.
The mixture of sonic textures is especially appealing; whereas a band like Wilco (and sometimes Radiohead) has made the application of bleeps-n-squiggles seem arbitrary, on the title track (and elsewhere), The Rebel Wheel incorporate this type of sonic device in a way that is not only musicial, but fresh and honest; there's no hipster sound-of-the-week vibe happening here, it all just works and tastefully at that.
There's a dark, somber, reverb-chamber vibe to the record, but it's not your average bombastic drums-in-a-cathedral offering; it's more organic than that, helped along no doubt by the very cool sax playing by Angie MacIvorn and the detailed acoustic and electric guitar playing of David Campbell. Those two textures alone help differentiate "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks" from your standard prog-rock fare circa 2010, but when combined with the unexpected arrangements, unconventional song structures, intelligent application of dynamics, interesting keyboard sounds, and varied him/her vocals, simply elevates the music to a whole 'nother level.
What I find beautiful is that many of the sonic textures associated with classic "prog" are in full force here: squarewave synth solos, blazing electric guitar passages, brief mellotron appearances, jammy Floyd-ish groove sections supporting angular, breathy sax solos, etc., yet the album sounds like nothing else out there today. No small achievement, that.
Listening to the record is akin to crawling inside the mind of a schizophrenic in the sense that the soundscapes range from dark and dissonant horror-movie soundtrack one second, seamlessly shifting to light and contemplative the next, then into pure musical chaos and back again, often in the span of a single song. It's a breathtaking ride and not a little scary if truth be told.
I freely admit I have no clue as to how this material was composed, which I absolutely love; nothing is more satisfying to me than having my mind opened by a songwriting approach. The Rebel Wheel's song structures are certainly unorthodox but clearly not simply for the sake of it. The songs embody the ebb and flow of traditional song structures but often take unexpected melodic and rhythmic directions; often this can provoke a kind of "lost" or "wandering" feeling to me as a listener, but The Rebel Wheel manage to make it all work in a way that is as comfortable and familiar as a traditional prog song, yet still leads down new paths of exploration.
My favorite part of the album is the "Mad Night" section of the 30-minute album-closing epic "The Discovery of Witchcraft". While the whole epic is a magnificent showcase of The Rebel Wheel's eclectic direction, "Mad Night" really brings it all together, highlighting the musicianship of each band member as well as packing an incredible sinister straight-jacket groove.
I can't say enough about the musicianship of this collective; Campbell really gets out there on guitar, keyboards and vocals, MacIvorn brings her own sense of contrasting identity via her vocal, sax and keyboard work, Aaron Clark provides the perfect-pocket doom-groove on the drumkit, and Guy Dagenais complements and reinforces the music with tasteful and melodic bass playing.
Definitely one of the most interesting and intriguing albums I've heard in many a year -- a heartfelt "thanks" to The Rebel Wheel for bringing forth such a sinister-yet-ultimately uplifting ride of an album.
Désespérant ! C'est à se demander si le milieu du rock progressif ne se comporte pas comme celui de la scientologie : dès qu'il s'agit d'évoquer ses travers, derrière « l'harmonie » et les rêves bleus se dissimule la loi du silence. Des alpages proviennent de trop nombreux disques pour lesquels critiques et fans manquent singulièrement de hargne dans leurs jugements. En plus d'être considérée comme « positive » et donc intouchable, la part onirique de cette musique la déchargerait de la responsabilité de ses faiblesses récurrentes. Touche pas à mes rêves ! Conséquence inévitable, le rock progressif dit « classique » progresse peu et des groupes comme The Rebel Wheel s'offrent le luxe de sortir un second album malgré une immaturité encore trop évidente.
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Ce groupe est – disons le tout net – au rock progressif séminal ce que la margarine est au beurre des Charentes. Il faudrait que ces Canadiens nous expliquent par exemple comment ils peuvent s'associer eux-mêmes à des influences telles que Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa, Genesis ou Rush, et offrir sans complexe un disque aussi mal dégrossi et un brin assommant ? Qu'ont-ils retenu des prestigieux visionnaires du passé sinon les notions vagues de « complexités » ou de « titres longs et à tiroirs » ?
De toutes évidences, ni la cohérence ni la finesse d'interprétation, ni non plus la volonté – souvent obsessionnelle chez les grands anciens – de bâtir des compositions solides à l'identité affirmée. Manquant cruellement de feeling et de vision, We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks donne envie de changer définitivement de crémerie. L'album agace à force d'empiler maladroitement les idées et les styles – « protéiforme », mon œil ! Seules émergent quelques performances instrumentales, trop tapageuses pour être honnêtes.
Soit, The Rebel Wheel n'est pas tout de même si catastrophique. Il y a bien chez eux une volonté de moderniser le rock progressif. Sauf que... « ça ne le fait pas ». Trop lourd, trop distendu, trop maladroitement chanté, trop long, le disque peine à retenir l'auditeur jusqu'au bout. Dans le même style, les Chiliens de La Desooorden ou les Suédois de Ritual sont des formations contemporaines bien plus recommandables.
It is not easy to label the third album of the Canadian band The Rebel Wheel. Perhaps the label progressive rock, in the true sense of the word, might be best to describe it, as these five musicians seem to be on an obstinate quest to renew the genre. Many different styles seem to have inspired them. According to their website, The Rebel Wheel has its roots in jazzy jam sessions, but we also can hear references to the irreverent (indeed: rebellious) side of King Crimson (Thrax period). Also Frank Zappa, Rush, ELP, Gentle Giant and the jazz rock of for example The Fents seem to have had influence on this quintet from Ontario.
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Their search for renewal and unpredictability has resulted in an album with extremes. On the one side we have nasty riffs, dissonant chords, complex rhythms, unusual tonalities and quirky arrangements. The distorted, sometimes monotone voice of band leader David Campbell adds up to this heavy side of The Rebel Wheel. But there is also the other extreme: the dreamy and romantic tracks sung by Angie MacIvor. The contrast of these songs with the heavier ones, makes the warm and pleasant voice of MacIvor feel like a warm bath. Settling Of Bones, a wonderful track with atmospheric (Gilmourian) plucked electric guitars, is a good example. And then there is the funky and jazzy part of The Rebel Wheel, in which the band every now and then takes its time to do some jamming.
Next to singing, MacIvor steals the show with her saxophone improvisations, and virtuoso keyboard solo’s. At least, I think these solo’s are hers, but I am not sure it’s her, as the booklet is not always clear who plays what, and also Campbell does his share of keyboards. In any case, we deal here with musicians that know how to play their instruments individually, but who also know how to create a groovy collective. The leadership of drummer and percussionist Aaron Clark is very important in creating this swing.
We should also not forget to mention bassist Claude Prince, who recently joined the band and seems to be capable to play all kinds of styles. If he plays the fretless bass he sounds a bit like Jones Reingold (The Flower Kings, Third World Electric), when plucking and hammering his bass, he just like Mark King (Level 42) and at yet another point, it is as if Geddy Lee (Rush) personally played some part.
This musicianship makes it easier to bear the production of the album, which is rather dry, even for North American standards.
The extremes make it not that easy to listen to entire album in one go. You should definitely not turn it on as background music but really take the time for it, as if you are watching a movie. We Are In A Time Of Evil Clocks feels like a story, with different actors, sets and unforeseen plot changes. A bit like a concept album. In a sense it is, although not all the tracks fit in one story. The fact that the impressive The Discovery Of Witchcraft consists of seven parts, lasting more than half an hour, contributes to the movie-like sensation. In this epic, again heavy and large (mainly instrumental) parts are alternated with the dreamy, laid back vocal ones.
Despite its qualities, We Are In A Time Of Evil Clocks, is probably not an album which will convince a large audience. For many people, it might be too much having so many different extremes and styles on one disc. From a commercial point of view, The Rebel Wheel might want to make a clear choice: be a prog rock band or be a funky jazz band (or perhaps a jazz rock band), but not all of them at once.
I do like the album though and enjoyed discovering the sometimes hidden gems on it. But most of all, I would like to see them coming over to Europe for some live gigs: with the instrumental capacities of these musicians that really must be fun!
Conclusion: 7 out of 10
After almost a 3 year gap, Canadian progressive rock band The Rebel Wheel released “We Are In the Time of Evil Clocks” (in 2010). The line-up is different than Diagramma, as there’s new blood in the band Joining David & Angie are Aaron Clark (drums) and Guy Dagenais (bass). On this album, the band returns with a more eclectic sound. They’re one of those few new bands that truly defy classification, especially since the don‘t sound like any current band I’ve ever heard.
The sound on this album incorporates a dissonant and experimentation quality, found mainly (the Wetton years) of King Crimson. Imagine that era fronted by a female/male combination and you get an idea of what The Rebel Wheel sounds like.
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The focal point of this album is the 7 part suite, “The Discovery of Witchcraft” (27:54). The fourth part starts out sounding like something that Goblin would have done around Suspira. My only (small) gripe is that this song wasn’t recorded as one track rather than a suite.
The title track (4:49) opens the album starts out with a droning sound that evolves into dissonant instrumentation. Ending off the album is “Evil Clocks 2” (2:47) has that same droning sound and ends the album perfectly.
My favorite track that I go back over and over is “Klak”. It’s one of the more dissonant songs on this album. It features vocals by David Campbell. David reminds me a little of Roger Waters when he sings the softer parts. The dissonant parts remind me of the chaotic section of King Crimson’s “Starless”.
Another favorite track of mine is “Settling Of Bones” which features vocals by Angie Maclvor and David does backing vocals here. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song and also the most mellow of the album.
In closing, I would highly recommend “We Are In The Time of Evil Clocks” to fans of the band as well as King Crimson (Red) and Roger Waters (Amused To Death). This one of the best and my favorite releases of 2010.
"Schräg" ist bei THE REBEL WHEEL Trumpf. Kopf und Gitarrist David Campbell, tüftelte unter Mithilfe von einigen befreundeten Musikern, zu denen unter anderem auch die Saxophon spielende und singende Angie Maclvor gehört, ein nicht gerade leichtverdauliches Progalbum aus, welches man heute wohl ziemlich anachronistisch bezeichnen würde. Der seltsame Titel wurde durch den kleinen Sohn des Bandleaders inspiriert, der ihm die Geschichte eines Wii-Spielers erzählte, der gegen eine teuflische Uhr antreten musste, gegen diese gewann, um anschließend, aus nicht näher genannten Gründen, sein Leben lang als Wal-Mart Verkäufer zu fristen (!). Ihr seht schon, die spinnen, die Amis.
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Wie auch immer: So abstrus die Story hinter We Are In The Times Of Evil Clocks auch ist, musikalisch haben die Uhren von THE REBEL WHEEL vor circa 40 Jahren aufgehört zu ticken. Wer Gefallen an der abgedrehten Fusion Phase alter KING CRIMSON, genauer gesagt an deren Meisterwerk Red, findet, hat eine ungefähre Richtung. Dazu noch etwas GENTLE GIANT und ein Schuss zappaeske Eigenheiten und man weiß, wohin der Hase läuft. Der Opener und Titeltrack ist eine instrumentale Einleitung, bei der sich die Musiker warm spielen. Das anschließende "Klak" kann man nur als tiefe Verneigung vor KING CRIMSON verstehen, der dominante Basslauf lässt unweigerlich an "Starless" denken. "Wordplay" ist klassischer bis altbackener Progrock, ist relativ unaufregend, was auch das Saxophonsolo im Jam-Teil des Songs nicht ändert. Außerdem liegt der Gesang von Frau Maclvor ziemlich neben der Spur, was, ob nun gewollt oder ungewollt, einfach nervig klingt.
"Scales Of The Ebony Fish" ist wie die Nummer davor nicht gerade packend. Der knarrende Bass gibt durchweg den Ton an und der Rest der Band folgt in einen psychedelischen Jam. Mit "Settling Of Bones" folgt die Ruhe vor dem Sturm, oder so ähnlich. Ein Chill out Song mit sanften Frauengesang, der zum wegdriften einlädt. Im Prinzip waren die bisherigen Stücke aber nur Vorgeplänkel, denn mit "The Discovery Of Witchcraft" holen THE REBEL WHEEL zum breitflächigen Umschlag aus. Dreißig Minuten Vollbedienung in Sachen Jazzrock, anwählbar in sieben separaten Akten, Puuh! Verspielt melodisch, dann dissonant und schräg, mal seicht, mal aufgekratzt und natürlich haufenweise Instrumentalparts. Eine Spielwiese für alle Progkinder.
Leider ist das monströse Stück nicht ganz so packend, teilweise sogar langatmig. Die einzelnen Parts unterscheiden sich meist völlig und nur ein bestimmtes Melodiethema wird zweimal aufgegriffen. Eigentlich hat das Ganze mehr mit einem riesigen Jam zu tun, als mit einem einheitlichen Werk. Ich nehme mal stark an, das THE REBEL WHEEL nicht auf kommerziellen Erfolg setzen, dazu ist W.a.i.t.t.o.e.c., welches übrigens das dritte Album der Band ist, einfach zu altbacken und speziell und hat, für Rockverhältnisse, einen zu großen Jazz Anteil intus. Mucke für Progpuristen und Musiker!
Geschrieben von Thorsten Dieterle
Note:7.0/10 | In 2007, The Rebel Wheel released her second album, "Diagramma", album sounds very varied and innovative, even if not always easy to access. The group is the baby of the multi-instrumentalist David Campbell, a veteran of the Canadian music scene. AT his side, since the previous CD, the staff has severely changed. Exit the guitarist/keyboardist Paul Joannis, along with bassist Gary Lauzon, replaced a time by Claude Prince, who plays on the majority of the album (Campbell and a guest also play bass) and now by Guy Dagenais – who could play only on the first title. Furthermore, drummer Alain Bergeron has left the place Aaron Clark. The vocal parts are shared between David Campbell himself, with a warm and intimate stamp (vaguely reminiscent Roger Waters at the very beginnings of Pink Floyd) and Angie McIvor, light and medium voice is quite pleasant but not always very well placed (a little reverb him wouldn't hurt). The melodies are often difficult to remember, voice that somehow part of another instrument as arrangements. The song is sometimes scandé, sometimes susurré, sometimes trafficked to using electronic effects where Campbell, as on the second title, "Klak". Say it is matched to the mysterious atmosphere, sometimes even threatening that exists on one hand important album. There are several instrumental and, even if the majority of the songs is sung, the album leaves an important instrumental parties.
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Musically, the rest group a UFO, so mixing any sort of influences, but the jazz and King Crimson, all combined periods are quite notable. Could add contemporary classical music. There is no doubt that David Campbell, founding member and principal composer of the music of The Rebel Wheel, like Robert Fripp group! Dissonants riffs, the typical stridences guitarist and Adrian Belew, his acolyte of the 80/90s, are quite frequent, with however less cumbersome than the last period of KC. But let's say that the rhythms and unexpected failures, jerky guitar riffs as very Jazz section with solo electric piano on "Invitations To The Dance", are relatively frequent. We have said, jazz is a fairly substantial effect, probably more here than in the past. This is reflected in the set of bass, battery (which may be sometimes quite powerful) and parts of Angie McIvor, which uses more saxophone instrument on "Diagramma".
Curiously, on the previous album, five members were credited to keyboards and this is no longer the case, with only Campbell and Singer/saxophonist Angie McIvor who support these instruments. Keyboards, let's talk, often consist of a mixture of old (head, as the chorus and the flute, mellotron sounds Hammond organ sounds minimoog types) and new (orchestral or modern squarely electronic, sweet, more aggressive, textures). Guy Mahl Nathan LeBlanc comes also play a virevoltant on the threatening "Scales Of The Ebony Fish", which the rate is quite slow and bluesy synth solo! Overall, the place held by these instruments seems a little less important than on "Diagramma". On the other hand, bass, which has always been important in The Rebel Wheel, it is even more on this new opus, where she gronde on many titles, which does not also prevent certain virtuosity. Grondante, thus could qualify this decidedly dark album, the point sometimes become difficult for an inclined to appreciate a certain dose of more classical melodies auditor music. AS such, the longest song, "Wordplay", is probably one of the less successful the vocal melody being somewhat difficult to follow, and the mix of funky riffs and the wanderings of the saxophone allied to the changing pace but jerky leads to a rather loose result. On the other hand, "Settling Of Bones" returned to this side both atmospheric and fundamentally original of The Rebel Wheel: percussion, step stamps of synths, who came from delicate arpèges crystalline electric guitar and, for once, a light, slightly Jazz melody sung by Angie McIvor.
The main course of this album is long suite "The Discovery Of Witchcraft" 30-minute which echoes a little song-under the previous CD, except that this time it's more of a suite of 7 clearly identified pieces. It starts with a title almost instrumental, heavy and dissonant, which sees happen scandées but aerial voice parts sung by duo on an accelerated pace. Along "Madnight" is generally in the same spirit with its tickings whisper, its huge bass, its strange sax parts, his unbridled guitar solo and his synths glazed, including even typed sounds "electro". The variety is however, and this suite contains also three headings calm Sung, relatively short, "Hags" (part 1-3) more or less mysterious atmosphere, dominated by classical or electric guitars to clear sound, and keyboards to the magnificent textures without percussion. Of the very welcome répits between other cuts more adjusted before final instrumental more brutal, which blends in an "Evil fixes Clocks 2" based on cold synths sounds mechanical and bourdonnants... A conclusion to the less experimental!
The Rebel Wheel has a good dose of originality and four musicians are very competent instrumentalists but their penchant for the dissonances and dramatic, even disturbing atmospheres, may end up tired the average listener rock progressive, while seeking the most aventureuses music will find certainly its content. Yet, David Campbell is also known to write beautiful, more apaisées parts while retaining a dose of mystery and originality. Perhaps we should to tip the balance a little more on this side in the future.
This has been translated from French; the original is here .
Even the debut of the year 2003 and the album entered "" Diagramma "is from 2007," in the time of evil clocks "the third publication of the Canadian band THE REBEL WHEEL." A review to the predecessor said: "" all in all a promising album and it can happily expect where it will lead the band with their next release. ""
Rightly. Because what has since developed, is a rough and at the same time gentle version of progressive rocks which based CRIMSON on KING lives close when the bulky moments of STEVE HACKETTs and by its occasional saxophone operations both removed reminds on VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, leads dodgy as a related degree - but not too tricky - jazz.
To join, particularly in the dreißigminütigen seven splitter "" Discovery Of Witchcraft", ambient influences and sound collages which would happen well in a surrealistisch style horror film. That is NATHAN confronted MAHLs guy LeBlanc as guest musician on a piece that fits into the image such as the massive bass playing is in the hands of just three bassist as well.
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Despite of all fractions in tempo, hardness, and alignment, the album looks like a bad together set puzzle. You may miss a last remaining strictness recording acts as zerfaserte vision of game technically gifted prog enthusiasts. Unifying link is although far superior but very appropriate singing of Angie MacIvors, which is responsible for the coherent saxophone game not least the warm. THE REBEL WHEEL musical home have set up is homely one, which is not overcrowded. And they seem very there to feel. And with them the listener.
CONCLUSION: jazz rock, ruppigeren pages of progressive rocks, lyrical, flowing passages, mellotrongeschwängerte melancholy; THE REBEL WHEEL move within a range, and it can fill more than passabel. There is much to discover, while there is a time of evil watches. Although not always gear precisely interlocking enters, but is an extremely charming listening experience through its diversity and opinionated composition. Many quotes be made up to scharfkantigem feenhafter Schnuller JAWS music jazz. It is not boring, adopting it.
PS.: That "we are in the time of evil clocks" is somewhat divided with itself, also shows purely computational duration of tracks is 64 a.m., which Windows but stubbornly 60: 02 minutes displays runtime...""
Available through just for kicks. 12/15
This has been translated from German; the original is here .
Third time's the charm for this Canadian outfit, with a CD as dark in mood and atmosphere as the title implies. Aptly named indeed, although witchcraft and not clocks is the dominating theme.
Clocking in at just under 28 minutes, the brooding, ominous suite The Discovery of Witchcraft" makes up almost half the playtime here, featuring eclectic pieces with a distinct heavy psychedelic sound spiced up with jazzy touches and a calmer, folk-tinged theme in the shape of Hags parts 1-3 nicely connecting the different pieces.
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The dark and eclectic is very much at play elsewhere on this disc as well, from the non-melodic ominous soundscapes opening and closing the album - the former evolving into more of regular composition and the latter staying put with the dystopian textures - while the tracks Klak through Settling of Bones explore a dark, often heavy and always eclectic and varied musical landscape. For references think King Crimson, at least in approach. The overall sound has so much of a personality that for me no references really stand out.
A challenging, dark and adventurous production, that should appeal to those who prefer to emphasize the progressive part of the genre name progressive rock.
The Rebel Wheel holds a special place among the bands I’ve reviewed over my ‘career’ as a progressive music writer. They are the only band I have reviewed a ‘debut’ album for twice, with different tracks listings for both reviews.
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I can explain.
When I first discovered The Rebel Wheel, they were releasing their album Diagramma privately. I was offered a copy for review purposes, which I gladly accepted. I still have that review, and I’m thinking of posting it later today as a retro review for y’all. Not long after this, however, the band was picked up by 10T Records, who wanted to reissue this album. I was pleased as punch for them; it’s cool watching a band ‘grow up’ before your eyes and I told their then bassist, Gary Lauzon, as much. What happened next caught me off guard. First, 10T wanted a longer album; Diagramma came in around 44 minutes, and they wanted something closer to an hour. Second, somewhere along the line it was requested that the private release version review be pulled. I don’t remember the particulars of that. In any event, 10T reissued the album, and I reviewed it a second time, this time focusing only on the newly recorded/added tracks.
Since then, changes. Loads of changes. Bassists galore. Keyboardists. Drummers, if I recall correctly. Just about every slot changed hands save for founder David Campbell, who captained the ship through some very chaotic waters. In the end, he pulled in a bunch of able bodied musicians, and put together a follow up, titled We are in the Time of Evil Clocks. The title comes from a story Campbell’s son came up with when he was just 10 years old, and I’d leave it up to him to retell it, because he does it very well. All I’ll say is that the evil clock in question gets punished in the end with a career at WalMart and leave it at that.
In any event, on with the review!
It’s appropriate that we open with a title track. ‘We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks’ begins with some very cool faux-industrial synth sounds, with an elastic bass line and angular guitar chords battling it out for supremacy. Angie MacIvor’s sax adds in a cool and woefully under-used in today’s prog musical voice. Mostly instrumental, the vocal sections offer brief placidity and respite from the weird and wild musical bits that build around it. It slowly fades into ‘Klak,’ another weird and angular sounding piece, much more vocally oriented. Campbell’s vocals are processed, sounding impossibly distant on some sections, close and personal on others. The words were taken from a pair of poems written by Geordie Robertson; as Campbell recollects…
“Progressive Ears is probably the only web-site I actually spend a lot of time with and through it I have met many interesting and very cool people. There was a thread on it awhile back where a several poets and people of a similar bent, posted their surrealistic stuff. There was a wealth of stuff and one in particular really struck me as a perfect song lyric.
I approached the author, Geordie Robertson, about using the words in a song and he gladly agreed. I also asked him if he had others and he sent me a batch. I wrote Klak using the original poem that caught my eye and also added another that he subsequently sent, as the chorus.”
There’s great bass playing and some wonderfully lyrical sax work as well. While the song feels brief, there’s a lot of ideas going on within its boundaries.
‘Wordplay’ is our first extended piece. Clocking in at 8:21, it opens with some clean, almost jazzy guitar, with a quietly pulsing, heartbeat like drum pattern under it. The bassline is simple, yet beautiful, and with MacIvor’s vocals come in, the smoky jazz club feel is complete. It’s nice to hear a female vocalist who is not mimicking Annie Haslam or Kate Bush; MacIvor’s voice is throatier, a bit raspier, with a lovely alto tone that really suits the music wonderfully. There’s plenty of time and space for the band to explorw on this piece, and while the mood remains pretty consistent, there are several very impressive extended instrumental sections to allow Campbell, bassist Claude Prince, and MacIvor to stretch out on their instruments. I love the groove…perhaps more than might be legal in some states. It’s a hot tune, and one that really shows off what the band is capable of.
The centrepiece of this album is the 30-minute, 7-part epic ‘The Discovery of Witchcraft.’ The title is drawn from The Discoverie of Witchcraft, written by Reginald Scot, an English country gentleman and Member of Parliament to show that witchcraft did not exist. This was a launching point for Campbell and the rest of The Rebel Wheel, who take this idea and run with it like no one else possibly could. Alternating sections careen wildly from out there, angular, Crimsoid prog to plaintive and eerie acoustic balladry. The ‘Hag’ sections are amazingly gorgeous, with MacIvor’s vocals quiet, mysterious, perfect for the song. The restrained, limited musical backing for these pieces adds to the mystery and the mood. Other instrumental bits feature the same intense material heard throughout much of the album.
I want to call special attention to part 5, ‘Invitation To The Dance,’ which for some reason I continue to think of as the band’s Canterbury section. It doesn’t at all sound Canterbury, but the heavy jazz influence heard here, along with some of the way the instruments lock and play with each other, reminds me of the fusiony side of Canterbury so much that I can’t help it. Every time it comes on I sing along to the melody line, bounce in my seat, and think ‘It’s Canterbury time!’ Sorry guys (and girl)…I may have ruined it for you, but I love it. I really do. In an epic that doesn’t feel like something overstaying it’s welcome, it’s my favourite 4 and a half minutes. And that’s saying something.
I loved Diagramma when it came out. I loved it when it came out again. And We are in the Time of Evil Clocks knocks that album all over the place. It’s tighter (and looser), more expansive yet more refined. The changes in the band have not weakened The Rebel Wheel; if anything, they’ve been a crucible that has reforged the group and made their efforts stronger and keener. If you haven’t guessed by this point that I love this album, perhaps I need to be clearer. I love this album, and I think…no, I know…you will, too. Original, but with a respectful eye to the past, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Angie MacIvor (saxes, vocals and keyboards)
David Campbell (guitars, vocals, bass and keyboards)
Guy Dagenais (bass and vocals)
Aaron Clark (drums and percussion)
1. We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks 6:30
2. Klak 5:31
3. Wordplay 8:21
4. Scales Of The Ebony Fish 5:33
5. Settling Of Bones 4:52
The Discovery of Witchcraft (30:26)
6. Convent 5:37
7. Hags 2:36
8. Mad Night 6:38
9. Hags 2 2:25
10. Invitation To The Dance 4:26
11. Hags 3 2:25
12. Cavort 2:47
13. Evil Clocks 2 2:47
The Rebel Wheel est un groupe de rock progressif canadien constitué de David Campbell (guitares, claviers, chant), Angie Mac Ivor (saxos, claviers, chant), Aaron Clarck (batterie, percussions) et Claude Prince (basse). "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks" est le deuxième album du quartet de l’Ontario.
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A l’écoute de ce disque, une première évidence vient à vos oreilles, vous êtes en train d’écouter de véritables virtuoses. La section rythmique est époustouflante, contretemps, changements de rythme, swing, on croirait revivre l’ambiance des albums de Yes sur lesquels Chris Squire donnait la réplique à Bill Bruford. Un jeu de guitare tantôt en finesse, tantôt agressif, et des touches aériennes de saxo qui tombent pile-poil au bon moment?! Le son est également impeccable, presque trop propre. Tout est au point pour produire un chef d’œuvre!
Et ils en sont capables nos amis canadiens, c’est évident! Mais nous n’en sommes pas encore là! La plage titulaire, à mi-chemin entre le prog et le métal débute sur les chapeaux de roues, mais le climat sombre (en harmonie avec la photo de couverture) devient rapidement lourd. D’autres plages telles que "Worldplay" sont beaucoup plus légères, guitare acoustique aidant, mais la partie vocale est lassante, malgré la belle voix d’Angie. Sur "Scales Of The Ebony Fish", ce sont les synthés criards à souhait qui rendent le morceau indigeste.
Un album médiocre alors? Non plus! Parlons d’abord de "Klak", le deuxième titre, section rythmique en avant (et quelle rythmique), du King Crimson pur jus, très réussi! Je vous parlais tout à l’heure de lourdeur, alors en abordant la pièce de résistance, "The Discovery Of Witchcraft" (plus de trente minutes), on craint le pire. Et que nenni! En fait, le morceau est en plusieurs tableaux. Rien de très original pour un titre progressif, me direz-vous. Mais chaque partie est une chanson à elle seule, et cela permet d’écouter ce morceau de bravoure d’un bout à l’autre sans se demander quand cela va se terminer. Cela débute sur "Convent", sombre, crimsonnien, agrémenté de claviers à la Keith Emerson. Les intermèdes acoustiques baptisés "Hags" (1, 2 et 3) apportent de la légèreté entre les grosses pièces, le saxo y contribue d’ailleurs largement. Un peu de monotonie dans le chant malheureusement. "Mad Night" marque l’hommage probable du quartette à Genesis (influence revendiquée par le groupe). Claviers très Tony Banks et batterie jazz digne de Phil Collins. Nous arrivons au petit bijou du disque "Invitation To The Dance", véritable perle jazz, saxo virevoltant devant une splendide base rythmique, un régal.
Alors voilà, le potentiel est là, et malgré un tiers du temps total plutôt insipide, de virtuosité gratuite, sans chaleur, le reste vaut la peine, surtout la partie jazz (on s’en fait un peu plus sur le prochain opus les p’tits loups?). Cette galette n’est peut-être pas l’oeuvre progressive du siècle, mais elle attire l’attention sur un groupe qui promet, vraiment!
Prolusion. The Canadian act THE REBEL WHEEL has been around for a number of years, and while their history can be traced back to the early ‘90s, it wasn't until 2003 that they issued their first album. Personnel changes have been a constant feature with this band. For their third and latest effort, "We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks", issued in the summer of 2010, the rhythm section consists of two new members. As David Campbell and Angie MacIvor are the other regular members, this is a rather different band from the one that issued "Diagramma" back in 2007.
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Analysis. Line-up changes can do much for a band. They can prevent them from settling on a distinct stylistic expression, hamper their evolution as collaborating musicians and generally cause success to be harder to achieve. On the other hand, new blood in a band can invigorate it, it can lead to a new direction being taken and creative impulses added, as people offering new points of view are involved. In the case of The Rebel Wheel, it seems that the new members have had more of a positive effect, as their latest production sees the band creating its best effort so far. While I'm not familiar with their initial effort, their second one is a part of my collection, given to me by the band in a hotel lobby in Philadelphia a few years back. One of the main characteristic traits of that album was its eclectic nature.
Much the same can be said about this disc. The overall mood and atmosphere explored are dark ones. From the menacing non-melodic dissonant industrial first half of the opening title track, repeated at the end of the disc, through the compositions leading up to the epic suite The Discovery of Witchcraft, dark textures, brooding presences and ominous atmospheres are presented and thoroughly explored. Quirky drums and a heavy, often dominating bass guitar form a solid foundation for the proceedings, while the guitar provides dissonant riffs and licks of a Robert Fripp-ian nature as well as textures with more of an inclination towards psychedelic hard rock. Piano and synths add in details and backdrops, while MacIvor's saxophone gets a bigger slice of the limelight with several key solo passages, many of which seems to have somewhat of an improvised nature to them.
The stylistic expression is one belonging to the art rock family, with an approach that should please King Crimson fans and an overall sound not really closing in on any recognized artist that I'm familiar with. The compositions tend to be elaborate and challenging, with several thematic shifts, sophisticated instrumental performances and an above average level of challenging features, dissonances and disharmonies arguably the most common of these. And while most of the tracks reside within the heavier parts of the art rock universe, gentler and more dampened passages have their place as well, and several instances of passages featuring more of a jazz-oriented overall style add a nice degree of variation to the proceedings. In the aforementioned epic suite, which clocks in at just under 28 minutes, dark but gentle acoustic-oriented pieces with an obvious folk music inspiration are in fact a key element, with the three variations over the theme Hags adding a neat continuity to this grand effort. The only major flaw I could find on this CD was the track listing on the back cover, where most of the track lengths were faulty. Although I suspect that this may have been done on purpose, highlighting the thematic title of this production. Apart from that, whatever faults one may find will most likely come down to individual musical tastes, as this is a thorough and well-made effort. Pretty close to a truly brilliant one in fact, and I suspect there are quite a few who will find it to be just that.
Conclusion. Sophisticated, challenging art rock with a great deal of variety in expression, thoroughly exploring dark moods and menacing atmospheres: if this sounds like a venture you'd be likely to enjoy, The Rebel Wheel's latest effort "We Are in the Evil Time of Clocks" is one you should take an interest in, and most likely one you'll enjoy from start to finish.
Olav M Bjornses
Prolusion, Hailing from Ottawa (Canada), THE REBEL WHEEL was originally formed in 1991 as a fusion-based midi ensemble. After many line-up changes over the years, the band finally released their self-titled debut album in 2003, followed by “Diagramma” in 2008, and finally, in the first half of 2010, by “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks”. At the time of writing, vocalist/ keyboardist/ saxophonist Angie MacIvor is on maternity leave, but is planning to rejoin the band in 2011. The Rebel Wheel are continuing their live activity as a trio.
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Analysis. I received The Rebel Wheel’s “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks” a few months ago, together with Mars Hollow’s self-titled release. Though both albums impressed me deeply, I view them as different sides of the progressive rock coin. While LA-based quartet Mars Hollow draw upon such sources as Yes, Kansas and Spock’s Beard, displaying a keen ear for melody and catchy hooks amidst their seamless instrumental proficiency, Canadian quartet The Rebel Wheel delve deep into King Crimson’s and Van Der Graaf Generator’s legacy of controlled chaos and mesmerizing gloom. Though “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks” is not a depressing album by any means (unlike a good deal of the output of progressive metal bands), it is definitely dark-hued, as its title and stylishly macabre artwork clearly suggest.
Most of the songs bear esoteric titles, with the album’s piece de resistance, a 30-minute, seven-part epic, dedicated to witchcraft. However, I am happy to report that there is no satanic subtext here, since we are not dealing with black or doom metal, or any Coven/Black Widow wannabes: the album revolves instead around a gloomily dystopian view of the future, much in the vein of Sinfield-era Crimson.
The Rebel Wheel’s distinctive lineup features guitarist/keyboardist David Campbell and keyboardist/saxophonist Angie McIvor sharing vocal duties, and a very strong rhythm section – Claude Prince’s extremely impressive bass work being, in my view, the real cornerstone of the album. They also manage to shift almost effortlessly between aggressive passages and more subdued ones, with dissonant patterns occasionally lurking in the sax and guitar lines, and an overall sense of driving intensity. Even though King Crimson are undoubtedly the main term of comparison, the band succeeds in presenting their own personal twist on some of the most influential, cutting-edge music produced in the Seventies.
Not surprisingly, considering both the album title and its subject matter, “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks” opens and closes with the eerie, ominous sound of ticking clocks and assorted machinery. Its structure distinctly resembles another impressive release of the past few months – Shadow Circus’ “Whispers and Screams” – though in this case the epic is located in the second rather than the first half of the disc. Like Project Blue, The Discovery of Witchcraft is split into seven sections that function as stand-alone tracks as well as parts of a whole (they are also read separately by CD players). The three short songs (mostly interpreted by Angie McIvor) titled Hags act as interludes between the main episodes of the suite, their mellow yet subtly haunting mood reminiscent of Sinfield-era King Crimson, or even The Mars Volta’s slower numbers such as The Widow. The remaining four parts, however, are very effective at conjuring up the titular witchcraft. Convent is a stunning, bass-led piece with suitably sinister Hammond organ and eerie whispered vocals that may bring to mind a cello-less Anekdoten, and the strident, dissonant MadNight is very much in the mould of King Crimson circa “Starless and Bible Black”, while Invitation to the Dance boasts clear jazz-rock influences (not surprising, considering the band’s beginning as a jazz-rock outfit), enhanced by the swingy piano and sax, and Cavort blends spacey electronics with deep, powerful bass lines in an intense yet controlled build-up. The first half of “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks” consists instead of five songs, most of them in a similar vein to the epic – with the sole exception of the folksy, atmospheric Settling of Bones. Angie McIvor’s distinctive voice – warm and melodic, yet with a slightly plaintive quality – is enhanced by gently plucked guitar and bass strings.
The title-track, on the other hand, opens the proceedings with a forceful, King Crimson-meets-VDGG punch that turns more melodic in the song’s second half. Soothing and menacing in turns, Klak sports a huge bass sound and choppy rhythm in the best tradition of Fripp’s crew’s many incarnations; while the excellent Wordplay shifts from a gentle, acoustic mood to a more intense, bristling pace again reminiscent of Red-era Crimson. “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks” is undoubtedly a striking effort, though in my view it would have had an even stronger impact if it had been a tad shorter. On any account, it seems that the band has finally reached a measure of stability after its many line-up changes, and the overall feel of solidity and maturity projected by the album spells positive developments for The Rebel Wheel’s musical career. Definitely a band to watch and one of the most interesting releases of the year so far.
Conclusion. Lovers of the more angular and eclectic manifestations of vintage progressive rock – as well as those who enjoy some dark and foreboding nuances in their music of choice – will definitely find “We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks” a very rewarding proposition. Such an intriguing, well-crafted album, however, has the potential to appeal to most prog fans, especially on account of the admirable way it manages to strike the right balance between melody and intensity.
Rebel Wheel, The: We are in the Time of Evil Clocks
Posted by Butch Jones, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-09-14 16:49:48
My Score: 3 stars
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Complex Canadian Prog Rock outfit, The Rebel Wheel, have released a very cinematic, dark and sometimes aggressive CD entitled, We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks, out now on 10T Records. A long name, yes, but the title gives you a good insight to what is contained within. This band twists and turns with odd-meter tempoed rants incased in genre-blending Progressive Rock, filled with both female and male vocals that serve as a vehicle to plot out their soundscapes, haunting, stirring and beautiful all at the same time.
Filled with dissonant and intense flavors, along with angelic vocals coming and going throughout this third full-length release, The Rebel Wheel have painted quite an intriguing tapestry. The almost 30 minute in length suite called "The Discovery of Witchcraft", takes up more than half of the entire CD and is delivered in 7 parts. It is an eclectic, chilling opus filled with heavy Prog Rock ideals, tinged with an almost Folk-like element that melds into a Jazzy-experimental almost trippy feel.
The dark and mystical element is very well represented throughout "We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks" giving the listener a very King Crimson-ish vibe. Songs like "Klak" and "Scales of the Ebony Fish" hark back to the early days of English Prog Rock with The Rebel Wheel throwing in some nice Fusiony-shred guitar passages along with Saxophone and Synthesizer styling's for good measure. The musicianship here is excellent. Songs are very avant-garde, taking well more than one go through to grab a hold of and are quite "spacey" at times, but that is what this style of expression is all about.
The Rebel Wheel have delivered quite an ambitious record here and if you are a fan of the more experimental Prog Rock as opposed to the more straight laced fare, then you should enjoy We Are in the Time of Evil Clocks, it is a challenging effort.
Rebel Wheel, The: We are in the Time of Evil Clocks
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-06-29 15:13:05
My Score: 4 stars
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It's been 2 years since Diagramma, but The Rebel Wheel have lost not one bit of momentum with the release of their latest CD We Are In the Time of Evil Clocks, another fine collection of progressive rock tinged with bits of metal and jazz-fusion.
While the bulk of We Are In the Time of Evil Clocks is built around the mammoth 30-minute closing epic "The Discovery of Witchcraft" (itself a wonderful 7 part suite that takes the listener through all sorts of musical journeys, and will no doubt be a highlight for many), there's plenty of other wonders in store for fans here. Opening title-cut is an angular, complex rocker, owing as much to King Crimson, Gentle Giant,Frank Zappa, and Van Der Graaf Generator as it does to The Mars Volta. Nice use of stabbing sax, keyboard, and guitar explorations here, not to mention some incredibly beefy bass riffs. The metallic "Klak" combines jarring heavy rock with atmospheric prog, like a head on collision between Red-era King Crimson and classic Genesis, while the moody "Wordplay", with its cunning use of female vocals, sax, and funky bass lines, offers up a wide variety of styles into its 8+ minute length. You can hear the Crimson influence again on the menacing "The Scales of the Ebony Fish", complete with ominous keyboards, throbbing bass, mysterious vocals, and biting guitar lines, and the eerie "Settling of Bones" has an almost folk-jazz flavor, thanks to Angie McIvory's vocals, which gives the track an ethereal quality.
There's a dark quality to We Are In the Time of Evil Clocks that many are going to find quite engaging. Whether you like the classic prog era or some of the more modern sounds, there's a nice combination of both here that makes for a very enjoyable listen. The blending of jazzy sax throughout also works wonders, as it seems to combat the symphonic and metallic elements quite nicely and create some tension. All told, We Are In the Time of Evil Clocks is one highly rated release that you'll need to seek out this year for sure.
And who says there's not plenty of challenging prog coming out of Canada?
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David and co. - I've listened to the album twice now and I truly love it. Congrads on a superb effort. I absolutely LOVE the epic "The Discovery of Witchcraft". It contains so much I love about progressive music - modal jazz, interesting textures and studio treatments, dissonance, pervading darkness, great harmonies and melodies, and it sounds like a group effort; a bunch of musicians working together for a common cause, not ego-driven chopsters showing off their shit. I also really dig the vocals big time. The Hags 3 section reminds me of some field at dusk in late fall - disturbing yet beautiful somehow. I actually get a Bob Drake vibe from that part and that is a huge compliment coming from me! In a nutshell, it may be the finest 'epic' I've heard in a while, or at least one that connects with me and floats my boat. Fine guitar playing BTW - I really like your tones.
I hope some folks here who normally shy away from the avant sounds of ReR or Cuneiform to give the album a try, I think this album can reach a wide audience here. Finally, the most important aspect of this album is that it sounds *original*! That can be tough to pull off these days, but this band (or at least this album) has a sound that is distinct and it is a bit difficult to point your finger in the direction of artists/composers/bands we've heard before, so that may be your biggest triumph.
Bravo, my friend!
Folks, please give this a listen. This is not some second-rate work by some independent artist on PE here, this is the real deal and arguably one of the most original albums you may have heard in a while. IMO The Rebel Wheel have created a work that is as valid and honest as any effort by any favorite band(s) you can name, and to my ears is more interesting than most works by 'big name' prog labels I've heard in some time.
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These Canadians have actually kept since 1991, and is thus now for the veterans to rain. Style-wise as they stay within many like to call crossover prog, even though the strict taken not say enough about what Rebel Wheel stands for. The album's only number three in their portfolio, but clocks in at 64 minutes older. When the series to show that such different influences as Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Mars Volta, Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa has exercised musical influences. David Campbell is regarded as the lead singer of the band, and has also been involved since its inception.
The band's history is checkered lighter, and draws on the multi-instrument band form drug Larry Stanley And The Family Jewels and not least their improvisations and arrangements has meant a lot to Rebel Wheel. Not to get us stuck in the music historical interpretations, we stop there and go to "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks". A disc that is very diverse and at times exuberant, production somewhat dry, subtle and not least, it is also somewhat challenging music in parts. The lyrics deal with the ever-changing times we live in and the future scenario drawn is anything but bright things.
To tonsette this so used synths, keyboards and mellotronene active and extremely talented and creates the context for these reflections on this theme. In front of the music we find they are often beautiful and expressive voices of David Campbell and Angie MacIvor. Saxophone to Angie MacIvor is also important in the sound, and David Campbell's solid, tasty and varied brew ring of the guitars is also very important in Rebel Wheel sound. A sound that is reasonably well progga and spiced with elements of metal, jazz, fusion and even funk! When we call the music of Rebel Wheel progga it is because events are profound and sharp mist and tempo shifts are succinct and many, and it is indeed a lot going on in the music of Rebel Wheel.
The whole thing is well thought out and extremely well done and all the music for these North Americans should be perfect for any true prog lover. We have certainly spent countless hours in the company of "We Are In The Time Of Evil Clocks", and it is a very enjoyable, exciting and stimulating company. Developing partly because Rebel Wheel explores musical territory where few have previously been. The band also has its own unique twists and sometimes keeps on with the rather unorthodox matters. Wind Crooked dissonance, the most beautiful and purest musical scenarios, and brittle easier infamous complexity creates character in spades. Together with other well performed musical artifacts and plenty of variety, this is a work that rises up sky-high for us. We are very much "full package" in the form of this great work. Fiery guitar playing, middle thrones albeit sparse portions, saxophone solos, Floyd vibe that adds spice and joy, typically progteksturer, lots of "brettistmagi" and wonderful woman and male vocals. LÂtkvaliteten are formidable, and the over thirty minutes long and syvdelte epic song "The Discovery Of Witchcraft" is a classic coming of our musical flair has not dried completely. This image is definitely one of the best 2010 has to offer, and may very well be number one also in 2010 the story so good music is talking about.
Bookended by dissonant electronica, the second album from this Canadian quartet contains a refreshing collision between jazz-rock aesthetics, and gothic, doom-laden overtures thrust onto brain-mangling time signatures.
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The multi-sectioned compositions by guitarist and keyboard player, David Campbell, move quickly between haunting pastorals and oppressive squalls brimming with cavernous bass-end crunches. There are times, such as on the seven-part, 27-minute long saga, The Discovery Of Witchcraft, when the band conjures the kind of malevolent energies which Van der Graaf Generator reliably invoke.
Whilst the fantasy-orientated lyrics based on the work of the Booker Prize shortlisted author, Robertson Davies, may be a touch too Grand Guignol for some people’s tastes, Campbell’s instrumental writing is blessed with power and subtlety in equal measure.
The expansive use of inventive keyboard textures, some exquisitely economic lead guitar breaks (especially on the Canterburyesque Invitation To The Dance) and Angie MacIvor’s often show-stealing sax work ensures there’s no shortage of detail to explore and admire.
This broad church approach makes it hard to pigeon-hole or easily assimilate The Rebel Wheel. However they remind us that progressive music is at its best when it’s at its most challenging.
My first experience with the Canadian band THE REBEL WHEEL is their 3rd album WE ARE IN THE TIME OF EVIL CLOCKS. This is a truly eclectic progressive rock band with a whole host of influences ranging from the eclectic prog champions King Crimson to the spaciness of Pink Floyd and the wild time signatures of classic Yes. There is metal guitar, funky fuzzed out beefy bass lines and jazz-fusion saxophone and keyboard riffs. There are folk passages between highly energetic and heavy ones. There are both male and female vocals trading off when the mood of the piece demands it. In short this is one mighty beast of an album that tackles the ever so occult themes such as clocks turning to the dark side and even worse, witchcraft.
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The majority of the album is filled by nice tastily composed instrumental jam sessions with vocal segments punctuating the often time consuming musical workouts. All is timed fairly well to keep your interest and the variety between the songs is surprisingly diverse. The first five tracks are very well constructed displaying their eclectic nature with gusto with titles like "Scales Of The Ebony Fish" and "Settling Of Bones." All tracks are melodic and have well thought-out developments and progressions. The highlight of this album though is by far the 5-star masterpiece of the album, the 30 minute plus 7-part epic "The Discovery Of Witchcraft." This track truly satisfies the progressive itch like few others do. It has heavy dramatic parts followed by folky atmospheric ones followed by incredible progressive workouts only to come back to a more subtly quiet passage. It cleverly ratchets up the energy and mood building crescendos until a satisfying climax is achieved. It is then ushered out with the ambient finale "Evil Clocks" which adds a terrifying layer of weirdness that makes you wonder how evil the clocks really are and if they are really as sinister and nefarious as THE REBEL WHEEL implies.
Silly Puppy 4/5