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Non-Prog CD Reviews



Review by Scott Prinzing

Vestibule is a unique band with an unusual lineup that creates a distinct sound.  Their definitely hard rock sound incorporates elements of prog, ‘80s synth pop and punk.  Lead vocalist Tim Austin has a style that might not be for everyone, but sticks out as different from most new singers I hear these days.  What makes them so unique is that the instrumental accompaniment is just drums and keyboards. 

I have found that after just one listen, every song sounded memorable upon following listens, but distinct from one another.  While the synth-heavy sound reminds me of a less ominous Borzum, the live drums give it a more organic feel.  I do think their sound would benefit from guitar and/or bass without taking away from its individual aura.  After several songs, a bit of sameness pervades.  I put the album on shuffle and have enjoyed each track on its own, but am not sure how many times I would want to listen to all twelve tracks in a row.  The production balances between live demo and studio-produced polish.  I actually prefer it to the over-compressed walls of sound that are the bane of most modern recordings.  

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Open Fire
This starts with a melody played on what sounds like a glockenspiel.  The vocals remind me a bit of Robert Smith from The Cure; the instrumentation evokes Depeche Mode, as well.  The combination creates a distinct sound that carries through the album.
Not Afraid

The near-orchestral intro leads into a song that sounds more like it has programmed drums.  Again, the description from the first song can apply here.

This is one of the best songs on the album, so it comes as no surprise that it’s the title track and was used for one of two videos on the album.  The Gregorian-style chants could use a bit of tightening up, but should provide for some great audience participation.
Upon Collapse
The drums start out with a cappella vocals before droning keyboards build underneath for strong imagery.  The lyrics describe an apocalyptic world, as do many of the songs here.
Are You with Me
I like this song a lot.  It plods along, but has a sense of urgency throughout.
What It’s Like
As the first real up-tempo song on the album, I’m surprised it wasn’t placed earlier in the song order.  It’s a real toe-tapper.
Feels Like Heartache
This is another mid-tempo song with a verse that sounds like a chorus.
The pulsating synth intro to this tune belies its regal chorus.  The melody is simple, but almost recalls U2.
If You Want It
The kalimba -like intro is a nice departure as far as the basic sound goes.  The heavy synth riff would sound great played on a seven-string or down-tuned guitar.
Doesn’t Love Anymore
This is one of the few tracks on this album that is up-tempo. . . almost like a power punk song played on synth.
The tempo contrasts even more here, with an almost dirge-like hymn.  The middle section sounds rather like a crazy calliope.
Light My Self on Fire
Closing the album is another up-tempo song with a strong synth melody. 
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