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23 Acez - 'Redemption Waves' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/1e/a5/67/23-acez-redemption-waves-12-1424896393.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 25, 2015    
 
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Proves that musical boundaries can be crossed with ease and without losing any identity or integrity.

I can't remember too many Belgian bands coming my way in the past so I had no real idea what to expect before playing 'Redemption Waves' for the first time. This Modern Rock quartet have been together since 2010, releasing a debut album just a year later. Founder member vocalist/guitarist Benny Willaert has now a stable line-up around him and, though I haven't heard the first release, I'm assuming that can only benefit 23 Acez in terms of the music. Alongside Tom Tas (lead guitar), Tom Mundez (bass) and Jonathan Breaeckman (drums), Willaert has created a Modern Rock record that takes in a number of styles, proving that musical boundaries can be crossed with ease and without losing any identity or integrity.

'Loopholes' gets things underway with some galloping drums and crunching riffs, featuring a hook that borders on AOR, before breaking down to an energetic Tas solo. 'Alone' is similar in attitude and style to the opener and the structure also incorporates a number of the 'Loopholes' ideas whilst adding keyboards to enhance the sound.

Just when you think you have 23A nailed 'The Bigger Picture' comes along with its bouncing riffs and distinctly Scandinavian melodies. Keyboards are pushed to the fore and another imaginative Tas solo strengthens the more AOR-like comparisons. 'Colors On The Ceiling' beefs up the sound and has a dirtier vibe but once more pushes the keys forward to compliment the power of the guitar.

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The title track is something of a mini-epic, coming across like a Heavy Metal version of a Modern Rock band, full of angst and aggression but still with melody to burn. 'Descending' has elements of Kings X during the verse and though it's by no means Progressive, there are a number of time shifts during its brief running time.

The production values on 'Redemption...' are a little thin at times and Willaert occasionally wavers on the vocal front. I'm guessing that budget limitations dictated the recording process, meaning fewer takes, but there is still a lot to admire. Lyrically the themes revolve around the search for solving problems on an emotional and personal level, without being too much of a Dr Phil, and though there are no ballads the overall balance of 'Redemption Waves' is not affected due to the quality of the material.

23 Acez are not an easy band to pigeon hole as they incorporate a number of styles well into each song. I imagine with the backing of a bigger label and a bigger budget they can only get even better.

Dave Bott

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