Andeavor - Once Upon A Time


Year of Release: 1999
Label: Progressive Music Management
Catalog Number: PMM 0400
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:33:00

This is what I like about indy bands - they quietly release a 71-minute disc, play a great show at Powermad 99, and go about their business creating new music for their next disc even before the current release has had a chance to take off. It's the spirit and desire of bands like Andeavor that keep this particular genre alive and moving. Although the disc has been receiving great comments and reviews, I feel that the disc still hasn't caught on to many, maybe because they are afraid to try an indy release ? Or maybe there isn't enough promotion ? Whatever the reason, this is not a disc to overlook.

THE STYLE:

Before I bought my disc, I had seen Andeavor play live at Powermad 99, and they put on a great show. Many who I had talked with at the show didn't like the "Rush" similarities, and many who bought the disc blindly stated that they thought the Rush sound was a bit too much for them. Call me strange, but if there any Rush sounds going on in Andeavor, it's in influence only, and maybe in some of the guitar
synth work combinations happening on the disc, but that is it. I hear an interesting blend of progressive rock
light metal, injected with a melodic rock style with catchy hooks and riffs, with just a dash of poppiness here and there. I'll give some of the Rush similarities in the keyboard work, as they sound as if Geddy Lee were on stage doing the foot-key thing while playing bass. Try to imagine what would happen if Aztec Jade crashed into Rush while mixing in with Divine Regale and you might have an idea as to what Andeavor sounds like. The band also takes some dramatic elements and throws them into the music as well, giving the music a huge sense of urgency that grabs the listeners attention with this dramatic approach, somewhat akin to how Ice Age approaches their music. The guitar work is most noteworthy here, with the many synth sounds blending in nicely with the guitars to give it an atmospheric quality. The sounds range from an Alex Lifeson style guitar sound, to a thick, almost crunching approach, and I believe that this is where most people are relating the music to Rush. The guitar
synth combination of sound and atmosphere brings Alex Lifeson to mind immdiately, but the actual playing style doesn't really fit the Lifeson mold to my ears.

THE VOCALS:

Douglas Peck has a voice similar to a combination of Josh Pincus (Ice Age) and Dwight Hill (ex-Divine Regale). If you like either of those singers, then Douglas will please your ears. He sings in a most melodic way, always making sure that his melodies interact with the music in the most melodic way possible, thus the Aztec Jade style of writing vocal melodies to the max while making sure that the vocal melodies walk hand in hand with each other. He's got a dramatic approach, and a sense of urgency in his singing that makes you aware that he really believes in what he is doing. I've read many reviews and comments that said he goes flat in places and I have to agree with this point. There are times when he hits high notes, or has to hold long notes, and his voices wavers a bit and just about any ear will pick up on the pitch waver and fall slightly under key. This does happen in a few places throughout the disc, and not knowing a thing about the band tells me that they couldn't go back into the studio to fix it, or they just didn't hear or mind the wavering. It is quite obvious and I can only guess that the band couldn't go back and fix these apparent parts on the disc that show Doug's restrictions. It will not detract from the music unless you are a perfectionist and have to have every vocal on key at every moment of the disc. With a voice like Doug's, being the dramatic, melodic, naturally sounding voice that it is, it is not hard to detect pitch wavers and strains. These slight vocal passages are the only thing keeping this disc from being labeled as great instead of just excellent.

THE PRODUCTION:

Chris Rodler did all of the sound on the disc, and it's obvious that he knows what good sound is, and what sound he wanted to achieve for his band.

The standouts for the sound are the drums and vocals. First, the vocals are as about precise and clean as you'll get from an indy band. I've always subscribed to the school of thought that it's not money that makes the sound, it's the knowledge of how to achieve that sound and make it work for your band. In this case, Chris Rodler has nailed down good, quality sound. The combination of clean sound with the precision of Doug's voice allows the listener to hear every single word that he is singing. The harmonies are also loud and clear.

The drums have a nice tone to them; thick and boomy. An interesting note is the sound of the snare drum; a major source of controversy amongst sound purists (myself included). For some reason, most prog metal drummers prefer a tinny, almost cardboard-like sound even though their kick drums and toms are boomy to the hilt. The drums here sound full, rich, boomy, and the snare drum sounds natural and full instead of "fixed" to sound good, or artificial. This is a unique sound in drums that I haven't come across yet, and it is certainly pleasing and satisfying to a guy like me who has a problem with drum sounds.

The guitars are full and rich as well; I imagine lots of effects were used during the recording of this disc, and I can picture Chris and Steve tapping away at their foot pedals for lots of nice reverb and chorus effects on their guitars. Nicely done, and this adds an even more epic sound to the music.

The bass is deep, full and not boomy but tight when played through a subwoofer. Chris did an excellent job in the sound dept, and there are many well financed discs out there that sound much worse than this could ever sound. Hats off to Chris Rodler - it's great to see musicians taking matters into their own hands and showing that with a little know-how, it's possible to achieve great sound.

THE VERDICT:

There haven't been many indy releases this year - but I'm voting this one "Indy of the Year" so far. For what this disc is, it's an incredible debut, and shows that this band has a future in the progressive music market if they keep to this interesting formula they've stumbled upon. It's well written, nicely recorded, progressive rock/ metal injected with tons of melodies and catchiness. There are some obligatory ballads, and blend in nicely with the style of this band. Fans of Divine Regale and Ice Age would probably love this thing, and I've been playing this disc at least every other day since Powermad. If you like your prog metal on the lighter side, catchy as hell, well recorded, and dramatic, Andeavor is what you want. Excellent debut.


Tracklisting:
D?j? Vu (4:47) / Spotlight (6:32) / Heaven's Gate (6:17) / One More Day (5:54) / Jigsaw (6:16) / Crimson Tears (5:01) / Face Paint (7:35) / The Long Walk (4:33) / Anybody's Guess (5:24) / False Profit (3:57) / House Of Rags (8:56) / Migraine (6:21)

Musicians:
Steve Matusik - lead and rhythm guitars
Douglas Peck - lead and backing vocals, bass, and keyboards
Steven J. Starvaggi - drums and backing vocals
Chris Rodler - keyboards and guitar synth

Discography:
Once Upon A Time (1999)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: November 17th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.myspace.com/andeavor
Hits: 596
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]