| Sun Caged - Artemisia (9,5/10) - Netherlands - 2007
| Genre: Progressive
Label: Lion Music
Playing time: 69:56
Band homepage: Sun
years after releasing their self-titled debut, Dutch Progressive
Metallers SUN CAGED are back with a brand new album. Only Marcel
Coenen, guitar player and founder of SUN CAGED, remains from the
previous album. The rest of the members are all new to “Artemisia”.
influences from the like of DREAM THEATER, LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT
& THRESHOLD, but also the likes of MESHUGGAH, the riffing is
thus generally very intricate with long passages, and there are
quite a lot of tasteful odd-time signatures present in the songs.
The songs are pretty long as well, generally being above six minutes in
length, except for “Engembert The Inchworm” which clocks in at four and
a half minutes in length. The long song lengths translates to the epic
quality of the music, with the songs having well written and
intelligently placed instrumental sections that build off each other.
soloing also features some of the best of the year, mainly because of
how intelligently it’s done. It’s not flailing from the beginning of
the solo, but instead it builds up to the shredding part by playing a
melody and then it cuts loose.
CAGED, however, isn’t just built around the guitar playing, as
impressive as it is. The rest of the band is just as well versed in
playing the Progressive Metal/Rock genre as well. The bass is
perpetually holding the groove down while playing around the melodic
elements of the music, and the drummer provides a sturdy foundation for
the rest of the instruments while still going off doing and doing
outworldly fills. The keyboardist is also adding to the melodies of the
songs, by playing chords and subtle patterns underline a certain
melodic sensibility and add harmony of the guitars and bass.
record sits somewhere in between the realms of Progressive Rock &
Progressive Metal, with some of the lighter songs providing simpler
riffs and catchier material (like “Afraid To Fly”) and there are some
intricate and fun riffing in some of the heavier stuff, like in
“Unborn”, which sounds influenced by MESHUGGAH. The intricate riffing,
perpetually moving bass lines and the slick drumming are all done with
the goal of showcasing the songs on the album, which despite being
long, are still very memorable. The length, however, manages to make
the songs very rich in the amount of melodies, which adds to the epic
nature of the songs.
all, one of the best releases of 2007 www.metal-observer.com
SUN CAGED -
ARTEMISIA (B+) Lion Music, 2007
10 tracks, RT: 69:56
[ http://www.suncaged.com/ ]
[ http://www.lionmusic.com/ ]
Describing the music of Sun Caged is no easy task, as the band takes
some of the expected prog metal influences like Dream Theater and Fates
Warning and mixes in some rather unusual elements, sometimes bringing
to mind the dark alternative sound of Alice In Chains and Faith No
More, and this blend actually works quite well on the outfit's second
offering ARTEMISIA. Very conspicuous on ARTEMISIA are the vocals of
Paul Adrian Villarreal, who effectively conveys a sense of foreboding
with lyrics matching his often bleak and disconsolate delivery (imagine
a synthesis of Steve Walsh, Layne Staley and John Arch!). Founder and
guitarist Marcel Coenen once again displays his genius for writing
interesting and intricate riffs with creative solos integrated
brilliantly rather than showcased as the main event. Newcomers Rene
Kroon, Roel Vink and Roel Van Helden (keyboards, bass and drums
respectively) get to display their considerable talents on killer
pieces such as "A Fair Trade," "Bloodline," "Engelbert The Inchworm"
and "Dialogue." The production is excellent, one of the better mixes
I've heard from the Lion camp. ARTEMISIA runs over an hour and the
despondency has a tendency to get to you by the time it's all over, but
otherwise I can fully recommend it to those looking for some very well
constructed prog metal. Note: Sun Caged were supposed to play at the
ProgPower USA Pre-Party in 2004 but unfortunately were unable to make
it, unintentionally disappointing many who were looking forward to
their North American debut; I hope I get a chance to see them there at
some point in the future, as they are a near-perfect fit for the
festival... - Neal Woodall (MysticX9@gmail.com)
Detritus Rock/Metal e-zine
"Rock Hard With A Purpose"
Sun Caged - Artemisia (Lion Music)
By: Joe Florez
Once again, here’s another band that I
have constantly heard of, but never had the opportunity to get a chance
to listen to their work. Marcel Coenen who is the founder and guitarist
of this Netherlands band is the only one left standing as the group has
taken new shape. Now, I have listened to Marcel’s solo work and it’s
more than quite impressive so I would only guess that I am in good
hands with this product. Or at least one would hope. “Lyre’s Harmony”
offers plenty of progressive elements, but it’s calm and not as direct
and in your face. There’s a rhythmic and tribal beat that’s inserted in
the beginning before taking a consistent beat. The keyboard action
provides a nice atmosphere and only comes in when
needed. The guitars are beefed up a bit, but
never go over the top. The one thing on here that was a wonderful treat
was Paul Villarreal’s passionate singing that remains pretty much
subtle and relaxed never hitting the extremely high notes that so many
do in this field. It’s just right as it’s for the most part in the mid
to low range. Dizzying guitar licks come in during the breakdown which
makes for a cool touch. The solo section does get a little tricky and
even spacey, but is always in control. The pacing is perfect and even
though it’s a bit long, it jams and soothes the soul at the same time.
“A Fair Trade” proves to be a real gem with more jamming out and
beautifully layered progressive elements that are akin to track one,
but managing to be even more expressive than before. The solos are
bright and full of energy. “Unborn” takes a turn for the heavier with
meatier licks and a thicker rhythm section that has bit more rage and
muscle to them, but never going over the top. Paul’s vocal ranges gets
slightly higher, but never in the Halford range. This one is darker
than the previous tracks, but still has a classy edge to the material
like the other tracks. The guys show that they are very hip and current
in the scene, but get down and go 70’s classic rock prog during
“Bloodline.” It still has a modern edge, but shows it’s roots and
influence and does a fine job of it. It’s a bit more technical than the
other tracks, but manages to always keep it more on the easy going side
so that it doesn’t exclude anyone. As with all prog records, there’s at
least one instrumental track and “Engembert The Inchworm is it. These
guys really throw down and show what they have to offer. It’s a real
heavy number with even some extreme screams and growls toward the end.
This is a wonderful disc that is enriched with luscious dynamics.
Beautiful singing and an all around environment that is positive and
bursting with energy. I was expecting nothing more than another run of
the mill prog disc that would be decent, but not good enough to make it
in my collections. What I got was a pleasant surprise and something
that I will be spinning in my player for some time to come. A true prog
rock/metal essential. www.lionmusic.com | www.suncaged.com
| Sun Caged – Artemisia
2007 Lion Music
We have waited years for the follow up to their self-titled debut and
finally, Artemisia is upon us. But since 2003, numerous side
projects led to lineup changes, leaving axeman/founder Marcel Coenen as
the last original man standing, which ultimately led to a more refined
approach to the Sun Caged sound.
With Sun Caged paralleling themselves perfectly with
Redemption, Zero Hour, Enchant (melody wise), and Sphere of Souls, Artemisia
is filled with fluid melodies, technical fortitude, and a haunting mood
driven atmosphere. Consistent are songs like “Lyre's Harmony,” “Painted
Eyes,” and “Afraid to Fly,” casting the shadowy vibe on the record
while “Unborn” and the instrumental “Engelbert the Inchworm” are the
two chaotic tracks, being upbeat in tempo, letting lose on the riffage;
overall the songs themselves contain all the catchiness and hook driven
gusto to keep the music within sensibility, and not some overzealous
Another thing about this is that regardless of the new lineup, the band
only came back stronger; Coenen pulled it off, and then some. New
vocalist Paul Adrian Villarreal’s delivery adds a new energetic stance
to the band and with all the rest of the guys in tow, this with
hopefully be the lineup they stick with. Artemisia is a
flawless album in the darkwave progressive realm, proving that Sun
Caged strikes with major might within the world of thought
Added: March 23rd 2007
Reviewer: Tommy Hash www.ytsejam.com
( www.seaoftranquility.org )
Caged's debut album was so amazing that the band found an immediate
cult following upon its release. Its strong mix of classic prog metal
with sprinkles of fusion a la Liquid Tension Experiment and wild,
crushing riffage in the style of Meshuggah and Cynic established them
as a very promising band. However, due to various problems, all members
except guitarist Marcel Coenen left the band, mostly forming their own
projects. So it took quite a while for Coenen to recruit new members,
as all previous musicians were simply top-notch and very hard to
replace. The search took long, especially finding a good vocalist, but
finally, after almost four years, the second Sun Caged album is out.
features American vocalist Paul Adrian Villarreal at the helm, and he
proves quite different from the previous vocalist Andre Vuurboom.
Whereas Vuurboom sang in a more conventional prog metal style on the
self-titled debut, he was able to convey all kinds of emotions from
fear to rage to desperation easily in a sound not too unlike Ray Alder
and James Labrie. Villarreal has a much different approach to singing;
he harmonises a lot more with his vocals, always backing himself up
during the choruses and even pre-choruses. Also, he uses plenty of
wordless vocal harmonies, mostly after drawn-out, mind-bending
instrumental passages. That said, he tends to stay in a safe melodic
range through most of the album, rarely opting for aggressive,
off-the-wall phrasing. That's not to say, however, he isn't capable of
these styles, as the brief yet thundering semi-growled vocal part on
the instrumental "Engelbert the Inchworm" is more brutal than anything
Coenen has ever released. Villarreal's vocals carry a nice warmth to
them, which really come through on the more laidback parts and will
therefore connect easily with fans of melodic prog metal who also like
a good dose of musical dexterity.
elements that perfected their debut album are still present, though in
a slightly more refined context. This album isn't quite as in-your-face
as its predecessor, which I believe stems from the contribution of the
new members. Coenen's playing showcases more restraint, but he still
does cut loose and grace the pieces with his amazing sweeps and tapping
harmonics. On the first song "Lyre's Harmony", a track which does a
good job introducing the new guys, Coenen doesn't jump forward until
the ending when the piece calls for a guitar solo. It begins with deft
keyboards, sparse and well timed drum beats, and some effect-laden
vocal bits before crunching rhythm guitars and keys drive the song to
its inevitable climax, giving way to sweet solo performances from each
member: the bass, the keys, the guitars, and then it's Coenen throwing
in a sweet tapping lick whilst Villarreal's vocals are doubled - it's a
"A Fair Trade"
stands out for its catchy main chorus, but this is far from a
conventional melodic metal song. The riffage here has Coenen's massive
riffing on the debut, backed by sturdy bass, and ethereal keyboards.
Rene Kroon has done the impossible by replacing Joost van der Broek, as
he is equally competent and does a great contribution to this record. I
especially love his vintage keyboard exercises, much like the one on "A
Fair Trade" and "Blood Lines" recalling the masters of the 70's. On the
former, he is followed by the bass and guitars respectively, but it's
again the lead solo at the end that complements the awesome vocal
melody. The last couple of the piece are pure jazz: improvised guitar
work is surrounded by a sweet keyboard patch.
Meshuggah-styled riffery of "Unborn" is pure, unadulterated technical
prog and will disprove anyone who thinks Sun Caged has softened up.
While this album may not be as heavy as the debut, the heavier parts on
this one totally slay. The tight drumming by Roel Van Helden (this guy
is amazing!) and intricate bass lines plow through odd-time signatures
only to be capped by Kroon's tasty synth dynamics. The soloing on this
piece is beyond what the human mind can grasp on first listen, and
Villarreal's wordless vocal melodies perfectly solidify this
masterpiece. On the ballad "Afraid to Fly", albeit a bit long, and the
melodic "Painted Eyes", the vocals are central, even though both tracks
do contain nifty instrumentation. "Afraid to Fly" could actually also
be on Coenen's previous solo album Colour Journey.
constantly moves from heavy to slow, and the transition riff in between
the sections is a lot like Pain of Salvation circa Entropia.
Once again with lots of harmonised vocals, the keyboard solo is another
highlight. Also worth mentioning is the sitar playing by Coenen's
former Lemur Voice band mate Barend Tromp, lending the stomping track a
somewhat eastern vibe, also thanks to the rhythmic percussion.
another band whose sophomore album took years to see the light of day,
Sun Caged are back, though slightly different than before. Fans of
melodic prog such as Dali's Dilemma or Threshold during Extinct
Instinct should grab this album immediately. The production is
amazing, very warm and crisp, and the melodies are certainly going to
appeal to many a listener. If you really like the heavier material on
this album, you need to check out Freak Neil Inc., the band of former
Sun Caged bassist Rob van der Loo, and for darker material there is
always Andre Vuurboom's new band Sphere of Souls, both of which are
also on Lion Music.
- Lyre's Harmony
- A Fair Trade
- Blood Lines
- Painted Eyes
- Engelbert the Inchworm
- Afraid to Fly
- Departing Words
Added: March 18th 2007
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
SUN CAGED ‘Artemisia’ Lion Music (2007) www.lionmusic.com
Sun Caged return for their second album and a
radical line-up change with only guitarist Marcel Coenen left from the
debut album! Paul Adrian Villarreal steps up to the mike stand and also
supplies the lyrics on here. There is a linked theme running throughout
the album looking at people and dreams lost and what might have been.
Again the band swing around genres from
the metal riffs on ‘Unborn’ (very Evergrey sounding) through to
‘Bloodline’, which will delight lovers of classic prog rock (excellent
drumming on this one, lots of cymbal!). For some serious extravagant
soloing check out the (mainly) instrumental ‘Engembert the Inchworm’,
all the band members vie to out solo each other, great listening. At
the songs end you get some death metal style grunts as well! Highlight
for me though is ‘Afraid To Fly’, a beautiful mellow number and one to
highlight the vocals of Paul Villarreal.
Whilst keeping some of the band’s debut sound
Sun Caged have struck out further by adding more solos and in vocalist
Villarreal they have the perfect foil for the band’s prog metal
leanings. For me they are producing music ahead of the latest by Dream
SUN CAGED (B) Lion Music, 2003
9 tracks, RT: 59:00
[ http://www.suncaged.com/ ]
[ http://www.lionmusic.com/ ]
I have been wanting to hear this CD ever since I reviewed GUITARTALK by
Marcel Coenen in issue #241 back in September. At that time I thought
that Marcel was a very talented guitarist and wanted to hear what he
could do in a band situation as his GUITARTALK CD was performed
primarily by himself. Well I am very happy I got a hold of this
release. First, the vocal performance of Andre Vuurboom is awesome.
Very good range and emotional tone set forth, clean, dirty, a wide
variety of styles are layered all over this CD. His voice is a perfect
complement to the progressive and atmospheric music that the rest of
the band creates. Keyboard player Joost van den Broek had a heavy hand
in the production and engineering of this CD which is top-notch and
damn close to anything put out on a major label. This CD definitely
gets me going more than the latest Dream Theater CD, TRAIN OF THOUGHT.
Though Sun Caged will eventually get compared to those fellow
progressive kings, this CD sounds fresher and has more heart than TRAIN
OF THOUGHT. Though I don't want this review to turn into a rehashing of
my disappointment of that album so I will move on to more positives of
this CD. The roller-coaster ride that "Home" takes you on is memorable,
from the slow intro of acoustic guitar and strings that surround the
deep vocals, to the heavy mid-section accompanied by some wailing
vocals, to the progressive ending before sinking back to the spreading
outro. Each time I listen to this CD I like Andre's vocals more and
more! "Hollow" has a very good melody line throughout the song and will
have you singing the lines, "Wasted lies to deny... / wasted time
passes me by..." My only complaint is that in two or three of the
songs, just when a song seems to start flowing real nice they throw in
some off-the-wall part that has no relevance to the song... not just
some progressive passage, but a piece that doesn't fit at all. It is
disruptive to the overall feel of the song in my opinion. In the past
year I have reviewed a lot of CDs from Lion Music and this is by far
the best release that I have heard from this label. Summary: This CD
should appeal to all those that love Progressive music with strong song
writing skills and a lot of atmosphere with powerful and epic sounding
vocals. Marcel Coenen is a fabulous guitarist that really plays with a
lot of heart and singer Andre Vuurboom has a fabulous voice. I really
hope to hear more from these guys in the future. - Sean P. Gahgan (firstname.lastname@example.org)Detritus
"Rock Hard With A Purpose"
Sun Caged - Sun Caged
Mark my words, Sun Caged are going to be
huge. The best debut of 2003? To me it is very close, competing for the
first place alongside Masterplan & Redemption at the moment... Sun
Caged play their own kind of Metal with a great element of surprise.
Through the nine tracks the challenging and well written music twists
and turns through a huge musical landscape. Everything from beautiful
quiet piano parts to wild instrumental passages is here. Highly
technical music while never losing touch with the important melodic
Andre Vuurboom (Vocals), Marcel Coenen (Guitars), Rob van der Loo
(Bass), Joost van den Broek (Keyboards) and Dennis Leeflang (Drums) all
show their great talent on this album and combined they create a sound
that stands out in an already crowded scene.
Two elements in particular give Sun Caged an extra kick of adrenaline.
Guitarist Marcel Coenen and Keyboard wizard Joost Van Den Broek. Joost
does a fantastic job of bringing a unique atmosphere to the songs.
Whether there is need for an atmospheric mood enhancer, a fast solo or
just a beautiful piano interlude, he does it all with a great sense of
melody and timing. I must admit not knowing Marcel's earlier band Lemur
Voice, but here he impresses me and if he is not churning out a heavy
riff, he is in the middle of some wild melodic solo. The way these two
guys play their instruments gives the music that element of surprise I
was talking about earlier. Like in the title track, Sun Caged
where the song suddenly slows down and an emotional passage with just
keys and Andre's soft voice continues. Suddenly the atmosphere is torn
apart with a screaming guitar solo. I love the way the wild guitar solo
completely tears the fabric of the song apart. Definitely my favorite
part of the album at the moment. A nod goes to the cymbals in the quiet
part of the song too. Very nice!
It is a good sign of confidence to start of with a song as complex as Sedation.
The riff that plays in the verse of this song is a monster. Overall
this is a great song with many cool passages, the long guitar solo
starting around the 5 minute mark being the absolute highlight. The
solo nicely leads the song into a powerful passage where the panning
stereo effect gives a great flying feel to the music.
One thing I feel could have made the album even better is a little
trimming of some songs, or maybe I should say tighter songwriting. An
example from Sedation is the Dream Theater-esque
passage from the 4-5 minute mark. It is the only thing I feel drags the
song down. The song would have a better flow if this particular section
had been trimmed a little.
I will not describe all the songs, but just say that they are all of
high quality and have many exciting moments. Some songs stick in your
mind after a few listens but others take many listens before they show
their strength, so be patient and you will be rewarded.
Andre's vocals is another strong point of Sun Caged. Not exactly being
the most original singer in the world he still delivers a consistent
performance and especially in the slower songs his vocal melodies are
excellent and proves that his voice has several dimensions that can be
developed in the future. The title track, Hollow and Unchanging
are songs where his vocal stylings and feeling add something special.
Hollow is also available for download at the
Sun Caged website and it is one of the most immediately catchy songs.
With a blinding chorus it has been one of my favorites right from the
The production is impressive. Very balanced and each instrument is
clearly audible. That is quite an achievement with music as complex as
this. With loads of detail in both the bass playing and drumming it is
also an intriguing experience concentrating on just one instrument.
Overall this is a very impressive debut, but sometimes I get the
feeling that the band is holding back a little and I miss some parts
where they go all out crazy. Maybe it is just that I miss some of the
crazy instrumentals from their earlier demos.
If you like bands such as Dream Theater, Watchtower, Spastic Ink, Fates
Warning or Symphony X then Sun Caged is sure to have something for you.
Their next album will show if they can take the next step towards the
throne the above mentioned bands share.
All in all a fantastic debut album that gives hope of even greater
things to come. A highly entertaining release that should appeal to all
fans of challenging music.
Sun Caged - Sun Caged
2003 Lion Music
Hailing from Holland, Sun Caged seem to be creating somewhat
of a stir on the progressive metal scene without having actually
released any official product as yet - this is their debut. This has
not stopped them however from landing some pretty prestigious support
slots - most notably with Queensr˙che. The band have also managed to
secure the mixing talents of Arjen Luccasen (of Star One and Ayreon
fame) and this album sounds stunning.
Sun Caged are in the same vein as Awake era Dream Theater
with hints of other acts like Faith No More (mostly in the vocals of
Andre Vuurboom), Meshuggah (mainly in some of the 7 string riffage) and
Pain Of Salvation (a dark vibe in a few places). Rest assured that
these guys have their own sound and that sound is darn classy. The band
is composed of the aforementioned Vuurboom on vocals, Marcel Coenen on
guitar duties, Joost Van Den Broek on keyboards, and Rob Van Der Loo
(bass) forming the rhythm section with Dennis Leeflang (drums). All
musicians are extremely talented highlighted on every track here.
Opener Sedation is one of the
most melodic heavy offerings yet there is still some frightening
riffery going on. Carried along by some strong keyboard work the track
is also home to an instrumental section which will give you a glimpse
of things to come elsewhere.
begins with a low 7 string chordal riff before guitar and keyboard
harmonise over an eerie melody. This leads way to an almost DT 'Lie'
type riff before heading into a Faith No More sound on the verse
(mostly in the vocals). The chorus sees a strong circling vocal line
that builds and highlights the vocal abilities of Vuurboom. The track
then breaks down for a restraint passage which then goes back into the
main bulk of the track - impressive stuff.
with delicate acoustic guitar and vocals that really breathe. This is
backed up by almost sci-fi keyboard atmospheric effects and its pretty
mesmerising. 2:30 in its kicks into life for some more Awake era DT
sounds, this is by no means a rip off, its just the best way to
describe the sound. Despite the more simplistic nature of the track
there is a lot going on. Nice changing of time signatures before going
into another restraint texture. This then leads into another very cool
riff that goes through all manner of transitions before heading back
into the classy chorus.
Soil is a
fast punishing track that has quite a quirky riff, not a million miles
from something like System Of A Down, but with much better vocals and
delivery. The chorus is pure magic, slowing things down and its got a
really strong melody, before launching into the killer riff for the
verse. Guitarist Marcel Coenen proved he has the chops on his Guitar
Talk album, but this album is testament to the fact he has a array of
killer riffs and songs under his belt.
starts with a nice piano motif before crashing in with a quite melodic
verse, over a heavy framework. Great lyrics too - Whispered like a
breeze, mute the sound relieves my pain. Midst the machine. Feed upon
his stain... The vocals are again good, yet the chorus that is
the real star of the track with a great vocal. The track then builds
further before a superb doubled guitar/keyboard solo that leads back
into the chorus - great stuff.
sees a darker vibe enter the picture and this is where the Pain Of
Salvation reference mentioned earlier rears its head. The track is
again home to a very strong riff with the keys providing great support
to the main riff. The track cools off for the verse which sees some
very nice chords from Coenen. The track has a pretty classic
arrangement and its quality shines through every pore of the track.
The Eighth Day
is home to more seven string rifferey in an odd time signature.
Vuurboom manages to throw up a very strong melody line over this, which
is not an easy thing to do, yet it all sound so natural it easy to
overlook the skill needed to do this. Overall the track has quite a
dark brooding vibe that does lighten up for the chorus and its this use
of light and shade that oozes yet more class.
A killer riff sets Secrets Of Flight
on its path. Very aggressive stuff that leads into a very quirky
keyboard pattern before leading into a cool solo over yet another riff
- I counted 4 in the first 50 seconds! This is one heavy track yet
retains a melodic appeal that adds another element to the sound. This
is one of the longest tracks on the album clocking in at 9 minutes yet
there is so much happening the time just flies by.
sees the album out with a more ethereal vibe. Some delicate piano work
starts the piece which is augmented by some brewing thunder storm sound
effects. This then leads into a very melodic verse that reminds me a
little of Marillion. Coenen lays down a nice very melodic almost jazzy
part that leads into the second verse. After the sonic onslaught of the
previous track; Unchanging allows a moment for reflection. Fans of
Dream Theater's more melodic moments will find a lot to like here, its
just goes to highlight the band can write material that would appeal to
any mainstream music fan too. Special mention goes to Coenen for a
sublime solo that is very melodic and emotionally, yet still finds room
for moments of guitar flash. Stunning and a superb way to end the album.
Sun Caged have delivered one of the best debut albums I have
heard in eons. Every track has something to offer, the musicianship is
incredibly high yet never takes priority to the song. There are
numerous styles on show, yet it all has the Sun Caged stamp that tells
you this is one the best new bands that has appeared in the last few
years. The band on the basis of this album deserve to be huge.
Spots: Sun Caged, Home, Hollow,
Closing, The Eighth Day, Unchanging.
www.virtuosityone.com review by Andy Craven
SUN CAGED -
Progressive Metal from the Netherlands,this
great new band Sun Caged was formed by ex.Lemur Voice guitarist Marcel
Coenen and ex.Within Temptation drummer Dennis Leeflang back in 99,this
I must say is the progressive label Lion Music´s best release so far
and it´s not so strange Mr.Majestic himself Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon)
wanted to mix the album because this is the album Dream Theater
should´ve made after "Images and words" instead of "Awake".
Great and Big production with phat guitars and Tyson knockout drums,
the songs are heavy but yet melodic and performed with a smart thinking
that the most important thing isn´t to show off with virtuso
musicianship like DT does much too often,no Sun Caged wants to stay on
a more wiser level with the songs and melody lines as the priority.
Keyboardplayer Joost Van den Broek has produced the album and has done
it with a magicians hands,tasteful and massive just as I want a CD to
sound like in this genre!
Singer André Vuurboom is just as good as James LaBrie and also one of
the best new vocalists of progressive metal I´ve heard in a long time,I
can only sit back and enjoy all 9 nine songs with the running time of
60 minutes with a big smile on my face.
Go and download the song "Hollow" from their site right away,if you
settle with just one song from this album....you´re no fan of
progressive music!GET YOUR COPY OCT.22nd when it´s out...any
complaints!-send an e-mail to me!
Sun Caged: Sun Caged
the excitement when Dream Theater's Images and Words hit the
scene back in the early 90's? Well, if you were one of those people who
went gaga over that album back then, and still consider it to be a
classic, I urge you to check out the debut from Dutch progressive metal
band Sun Caged. Guitarist Marcel Coenen was formerly with the now
defunct Lemur Voice, a very polished band that was on the Magna Carta
label. He hooked up with drummer Dennis Leeflang (ex-Within
Temptation), bassist Rob van der Loo, keyboard player Joost van den
Broek, and singer Andre Vuurboom, forming this raging and intelligent
progressive metal band that I predict will create quite a buzz.
kicks things off in grand fashion, with upfront heavy guitar
riffs and symphonic keyboards. Vocalist Vuurboom is a real find, and he
has a powerful, melodic voice that recalls James LaBrie, only he sings
more in a mid range. His distinct style lends a classy tone to the
otherwise brutal complexity of the title track, which is a prog-metal
lovers delight. Coenen displays what a super talent he is on this
raging inferno of a song, slaying the listener with intricate rhythms
and amazing solos, with drums and bass providing the rock solid
foundation. On "Home", Vuurboom opens up with some lovely vocal
passages "Yesterday I saw the sun go down and feast his rest, without
light I saw him touch the ground and sleep at last, together now we
take this trip alone, never ever really leaving home...", then, the
acoustic guitars and gentle synths disappear, and crankin' riffs and
huge orchestral keyboards come crashing into the mix. Coenen lays down
some huge chords and harmonic squeals on this one, sounding like a
combination of John Petrucci and Jakk Wylde. The band rampages through
the brutal "Soil" with sledgehammer guitar & keyboard riffs, also
allowing for some jaw dropping unison lines between Coenen and van den
Broek, and powerful vocals from Vuurboom. Keyboardist van den Broek
really gets to shine on the melodic and symphonic "Hollow", as he
creates a huge wall of sound with piano and synths in addition to
ripping off an incredible solo. Vuurboom proves here that he exels on
the catchier, melodic pieces just as well as on the raging metal epics.
In" has all the epic prog-metal sounds that you can possibly
look for, and knowing that this is a new band you will be amazed at the
poise and tightness that Sun Caged show on this one. Gentle piano leads
things off before the full band enters the fray, with Leeflang's
crashing drums combating for supremacy with Coenens complex riffery. At
times on this track I am reminded of Images and Words or Awake
era Dream Theater, as the songs mixes melody and intricate arrangements
in such a polished and professional manner unlike any other band I have
heard in a while. They then slow things down a bit on the doomy "The
Eighth Day", complete with big riffs and lots of keyboards, plus a
killer chorus. There's so many time changes in the middle of this song,
as well as some great little solos from Coenen and van den Broek, that
your jaw will be scraping the floor. "Secrets of Flight" might be the
heaviest tune on the CD, but still mixes in tons of melody and
complexity, which seems to be their trademark. At this point you will
probably be worn out from the previous eight tracks, so the band ends
things with the beautiful "Unchanging", a song about one persons live
that is never evolving. Vuurboom literally soars on this one, backed by
van den Broek's gorgeous synths and Coenen's liquid guitar lines.
a doubt, I have seen the future of prog-metal, and it is Sun
Caged. Lion Music has a real find here, and it will be interesting to
see how they market them. While the band makes no qualms about showing
their influences, they perfectly meld the styles of bands like Dream
Theater, Pain of Salvation, and perhaps Symphony X, up the complexity a
bit, and add in loads of irresistable melodies. This one's a keeper
folks-don't say I didn't tell ya!
Added: September 20th 2003
Related Link: Lion Music
SUN CAGED - Sun Caged
Marcel Coenen (ex-Lemur Voice) invites drummer
Dennis Leeflang (ex-Within Temptation) to a jam
session on New Years Day 1999. After this successful gig, they both
agreed to begin to write some songs together.
The band started as a studio project, but Leeflang and
Coenen decided to let the band become a full-time band.
Several members go in and out of the band the first years, but in 2002
the lineup in the band is established with Rob
van der Loo,bass, Andre Vuurboom, vocals and Joost van
den Broek, keyboards. Sun Caged release their third
demo in the summer of 2002, just a few weeks after they signed a record
deal. But before the recording of their
debut starts, Sun Caged takes a break and are backing band for
Ron Thal, and Joost van den
Broek tours Europe with Arjen Lucassen`s Star One Project. The
recording sessions first takes place early in 2003,
and the release date for their debut is set to 22 October 2003.
Sun Caged`s music is hard to
describe, but the main line in their music is progressive metal, with
all the under-categories
you can think of, like fusion, jazz, black metal, aggressive metal, but
they also has elements of symphonic rock and
metal. Their album has spent lot of time in my CD player the last week
and after hearing this album at least ten times
now, I`m not sure I am ready to write about the album. I feel I have
lot of listening left to get to know their songs better,
but at the same time I feel their songs grows the more I listen to them
and I have to say I am really impressed over
the instrumental skills this band comes up with. The first band I
thought of when I heard Sun Caged is the Norwegian
prog metallers Pagan`s Mind, who also has the same mix of prog, jazz,
fusion, aggressive metal, black metal in their
music, but with a little more melodic line in the music. The first
song, Sedation, has huge riffs and instrumental parts,
and I admire the great vocal job Andre Vuurboom does on these
songs, it`s not exactly easy music to sing to, but he
does it really great. The song Sun Caged has an opening that
blow your speakers away, but after the opening sequence
it slows down a bit and after exact three minutes and seven seconds
they takes us to a soft ballad-like part with very
fine singing, and the instrumental part who comes right after has an
incredible guitar solo. One of all the highlights on
this album and my favorite song is the third song, Home, a song
who I think present Sun Caged musically very good
with all the different styles they are through on this album. So if you
like progressive metal you definitely need to
check out this newcomers they have come up with an great album really
worth listening to!
Vuurboom - Vocals
Marcel Coenen - Guitars
Joost Van Den Broek - Keyboards
Rob Van Der Loo - Bass
Dennis Leflang - Drums
SUN CAGED - SUN CAGED
You wanna know why you should own this album? You wanna know why you
should breathe? Because you have to that’s why !!
So, hey I’m biased. Sun Caged are one hell of a cool band, very metal
and very progressive edged with flowing melodies, neo-classical guitar
shredding and highly impressive vocal ranges.
How can you fail to moved by the neo-classical bliss of opener
‘Sedation’ which is laced in racing keyboard melodies and luxurious
neo-classical guitar playing that shows Dream Theater influences. This
song is intense.
‘Sun Caged’ continues the progressive and neo-classical racing, only
this time the band stream in a more modern thrashy edge during some
parts, the song is again laced in brainbusting solos and also technical
Dream Theater style melodies and as it grows the song is graced with
subtle beautiful piano passages that give the song a dramatic melodic
feel, pure excellence.
‘Home’ is magnificent and melodic; I was going to say this was ballad
as it begins in a calm mood. I loved the atmospheric feelings then mid
way through the song rips up into a storm of rocking guitars. Its cool
how much like James Labrie singer Andre Vuurboom is like, his voice is
as his names suggests, like one massive "BOOM". ‘Soil’ is experimental
and there are some really interesting and complexed ideas going down
here which keep the intensity alive.
‘Hollow’ is neo-classical/progressive mayhem, this song is killer, the
guitar virtuosity explodes through the speakers reinventing the word
shred, almost crossing Racer X with Dream Theater.
‘Closing In’ is another highly impressive song that is slightly slower
and melodic but just as intense. This is actually one of my favourite
songs on the album, makes me think of Dream Theater’s ‘Surrounded’ and
‘Under A Glass Moon’ with a little more intensity.
Another favourite was the next song, the spooky and magical ‘The Eighth
Day’ there’s some gorgeous piano/keyboard work and neo-classical
guitars that make this song kinda symphonic and melodic, the melodies
are glorious and this is another mature side to the band. A very
intense and heated song.
And the intensity doesn’t end there as the next song ‘Secrets Of
Flight’ continues the neo-classical progressions and is another cool
song that plunges into the depths of experimental weirdness, swirling
keyboards dominate the song and the shredding is shit hot. ‘Unchanging’
is melodic and pure, the vocals are amazing, very huge and dynamic
sounding, what a way to end the album.
As Dartb Vader would say to Luke Skywalker in the duel at the end of
the "Empire Strikes Back", "Impressive, most impressive", and that’s
what Sun Caged are, a fresh and exciting new band that combine the best
of melodic progressive neo-classical shred fests galore. I can only
hope that Sun Caged get the recognition and publicity that they deserve.
www.lionmusic.com or www.sungaged.com
SUN CAGED / Sun Caged / Lion Music
by: DERRIC MILLER www.metalexpress.no
are a lot of bitchers out there who either don’t appreciate Dream
Theater and don’t respect them for being the unbelievable talent they
are, or even worse, used to like them but now feel all of their new
recordings are essentially onanistic blather. So, for those of you who
can’t take it, there is a new band called Sun Caged who have released a
CD with everything great about Dream Theater’s Images and Words but
with a more modern feel. Think of Sun Caged as “Dream Theater light” at
first, and then give them the respect they too deserve. This is one of
those albums that will surprise and astonish you the first time you
Caged are progressive metal, with nuances of, in their words, “fusion
and jazz, death metal, atmospheric and ambient jaunts.” Don’t believe
the death metal hype, though. This is intricate, precise progressive
metal. In fact, the only time you could say “death metal” is at the
beginning of the eponymous “Sun Caged,” where a dark whisper/grunt
greets you at the onset.
Caged” has a haunting chorus of “I steal the sun, I steal the sun
…” that will remind you of Dream Theater’s James LeBrie, and that’s
just fine. In fact, Sun Caged vocalist Andre Vuurboom (Jera, Imperium)
can even make his delicate parts even softer than LeBrie, and his
screams, well, LeBrie never probably couldn’t attempt some of these
notes. “Sun Caged” has a driving rhythm, heavy guitars, intermittent
keyboards and a strange vocal effect during the verses that more than
just remind you of Dream Theater.
is somewhat of a ballad that gets heavier at the end. It is nice
to see the band’s musical range here, going from an acoustic dirge to a
guitar-heavy, screaming metal composition.
in there, anybody home,” says a female’s voice at the
beginning of “Soil,” ominously answered with a male’s throaty, “Who are
you?” The song pacing is very machine-gun, rat-a-tat-tat like in
places, especially with the drums. This song embodies their overall
sound, and is a great place to start, even though it’s song four.
of the songs you won’t compare to other heavy metal bands at all.
At times, they sound like Kansas or Yes. When a band can go from ‘70s
prog rock to death metal and make it all make sense, that’s quite a
feat. Sun Caged does it.
of the other highlights on Sun Caged are “Hollow,”
another slow, atmospheric progressive metal song; and the insanely
groovy and longish (over 9 minutes) “Secrets of Flight.”
Caged probably knows that they are going to get compared to bands like
Dream Theater and their brethren. The interesting part is, they’ve only
taken the best parts of that genre and melded those aspects into
something they can call their own. The musicianship is top notch across
the board, the vocalist has one of the best voices in metal today, and
the song writing is superb. If you want to find a knock on them, it’s
this: you have to listen to the CD a few times before you “get it.” But
if you want your music spoon-fed to you, listen to top 40.
This astonishing tribute to Jason and his courage to fight and
refusal to be defeated is a suitable and lengthy recording covering
select arrangements by the artist. Created by a truly remarkable and
respected artist that had a career that ended much to soon, this
two-disc set puts into perspective the impact and supremacy of his
music and creative energies. That very drive and vigor is what keeps
the man filled with optimism and hope that he will in the end defeat
the disease that has ravaged his body. I honestly don’t know that if I
was confronted with a life-changing situation like that if I could
carry on like he has. I think most people would prefer to give up and
curl up in a ball and die.
Artists from all over the world, new and emerging, well known
and respected, have come together to salute the man that stood out
amongst the crowd with honor and grace. He put all he had into every
bit of music he made. The artists involved in this project reflect
Becker’s spirit on every track.
This is a breathtaking group of songs. There is a good mix of
progressive rock and metal, with and without vocals. The tunes without
the vocals really tell the story. That was Becker’s forte; his guitar
spoke loud and clear by making some beautifully inventive and original
music. He is one of the most technically advanced guitarists that rock
has ever seen. "A Jam For Jason" is absolutely awe-inspiring. The men
that play on the song are dubbed the Cosmosquad, and they are Steve
Morse, Vinnie Moore, Chris Polland, and Jeff Watson. This song happens
to be my favorite although there were several others that really caught
my discerning ears. The combination of rock, blues, jazz, and Latin
influences in this song are simply mind blowing. When I saw Steve
Morse’s name on the credits it all made sense after I heard the song.
And that is just one number of many that rock the house. There are two
full discs of ear splitting, mind bending, electrically charged rock
and roll that will leave an ineradicable impression on you. I prey that
Jason Becker will recover and bring to us once again his remarkable
talent and musical vision. Long live rock and roll and the music of one
great guitar man.
© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
July 28, 2001