Chain - Reconstruct - 2003


“Reconstruct” is a journey through time, from before the beginning of life to a time when life on our planet is no more. Then it starts all over again.

With “Reconstruct” Chain offers their musical interpretation of theories about the origin and development of life on earth, based on the works of Charles Darwin, Douglas Noel Adams and Richard Dawkins. The band was originally formed in 1994 and existed only one year. In 2002 guitar player Henning Pauly used the rehearsal recordings to produce this album. The rest of the line-up on the album is as follows: Matt Cash: vocals; Stephan Kernbach: keyboards; Christian Becker: bass;
Thorsten Hannig: drums.


I'm generally not too enthusiastic about progmetal, but the instrumental "Before There Was" (5:00) with it's fantastic and intriguing interplay between piano, guitar (heavy riffs and subtle chords) and orchestra really kicks ass! This is the second track after the ambient opening track "Earthscape I" (1:15). Parts II up to VII with this same title are a series of "narration breaks" with a diversity of voices (male, female, opera-like, distorted) and sounds (heavy guitar and keyboards riffs, violin, ambient noises).

With "First Life" (4:38) things tend to become more basic metal, but happily some good keyboard solos make this piece also digestible for me. "Before There Was" (5:00) with it's complex rhythm and nice piano play and ''Impact'' (5:38) with a good guitar solo and church organ accompaniment are again at the same high level as “Before There Was”. The vocals are acceptable but now and then sound as may expect with this type of music. ''Imcommunicado, Prisoner of Silence'' (6:37) starts with guitar chords and a synth melody, than the sound becomes more or less gothic (orchestra with heavy guitar) and it develops into a heavy rock song.

Track 8. "Missing Link" (4:53) is a restful piece with acoustic guitar, flute and a nice orchestral accompaniment. "The Planet IS Fine" (6:04) is also more subdued. High level keyboard play are strong features of "The Augmented Animal” (7:13, piano intro and synthesizer solos) and the up-tempo "Conspiracy" (6:18, clavinet intro, soaring organ battling with speedy guitar). The vocal harmonies in the former are quite surprising. Towards the end of the album things tend to become a little less interesting, although the speedy keyboard parts in the varied piece ''Signs'' (6:25) still holds my attention. "Earthscape VII" (4:47) is the official last track of the album, but after a few minutes of silence a humoristic bonus (track 42!) shows to be the final piece.


As already mentioned I am not to keen on progmetal, but this album of Chain is a pleasant exception to the rule that heavy guitar riffs dominate this type of music. Compositions and arrangements are on the one hand, especially for this genre, very refreshing, well-considered and certainly progressive. The sound of Chain offers a pleasant balance between (of course) heavy riffs, speedy solos and melodious, more delicate parts. Especially the keyboard play of Stephan Kernbach attracts me very much. This should certainly appeal to all devotees of progressive rock.

author - date - rating - label

Wim Verweij - February 2004 -   - ProgRock Records