KEPLER TEN – A New Kind Of Sideways (2020)
Boasting a broad and diverse range of influences from the likes of RUSH, TOTO and ASIA to QUEENSRYCHE, VAN HALEN and QUEEN, British trio KEPLER TEN are releasing their new CD “A New Kind Of Sideways“. Fusing together celestial synths with progressive rock tinged riffs, KEPLER KEN maintain the spirit of the ’80s sound and bring their take into the 21st century.
KEPLER TEN is not Melodic Prog Rock, this is Melodic Rock / Hard Rock with a lot of progressive nuances. To put it short: they ‘rock’ more than proggy your world. All served with an awesome, pristine production. Even the excellent cover artwork is reminiscent to Hipgnosis art design group.
You need to listen to these guys.
For a band with a relatively short career under their belts, one could assume they were going in too deep, too soon – after all, ”A New Kind of Sideways” is seven tracks long and spans over an hour of music and, following the three minute welcome of ‘Universal’ audaciously jumps into a track that clocks in a shade over ten minutes.
But KEPLER TEN know what they’re doing, and then some.
This could well be the best melodic rock meets progressive rock album you hear in the whole of 2020, a truly wonderful journey that shows not only how talented the three musicians are at playing their instruments but also displays a mastery in what can be done with a linear line of song beginning and song end.
As ‘Clarity’ moves from a lush guitar intro to a minimal chorus of vocals and pianos with a minimum of fuss, all of a sudden you’re left wondering how you got there so smoothly.
‘Falling Down’ is a lot more straightforward in comparison, combining the vintage strains of RUSH with the modern electronic stylings of of 90s SAGA and turns out a driving, catchy ditty that’s easily accessible and very friendly on the ears.
Something similar to mid-90 QUEENSRYCHE come to the fore in ‘Weaver’ without the need for distortion, and the build from isolated singing to a full band symphony in ‘These Few Words’ is exquisitely executed.
The latter is pure melodic hard rock bliss complete with catchy vocals, riffs & synths
For ‘A New Kind of Sideways’ add equal parts of TOTO, ASIA and SAGA for a fantastic tune, then this review cannot conclude without a mention of closing track ‘One and the Same’; twenty minutes in length and bringing together elements from all the precious songs on the album in a way that doesn’t jar or stilt, instead flowing with consummate ease towards its fade out conclusion.
If the world that enters 2021 is fairer than ever before, the three men who are behind this record should become household names.
Steve Hales’ on drums has a wealth of styles and tempos at his disposal to fit all that KEPLER TEN house within their arsenal and Alistair Bell crafts solos and riffs with a grace and poise that makes it sound like he’s been able to do them since about the age of three.
Rounding off the triple threat is James Duran, not only an accomplished bass players but a chameleonic vocalist – not only is his voice calm and controlled, regardless of the power he’s delivering, he’s able to move between pitches to fit the mood.
In the title track, his high notes bear a striking resemblance to Bruce Dickinson and, indeed, those who have a real love for present day IRON MAIDEN should find plenty to enjoy here. In ‘Icarus Eyes’, he starts with a slight grit reminiscent of Jon Bon Jovi and ends with the soaring might of Bono in his prime; it’s simply staggering at just how good this band are, both individually and together.
Ambition will always pay off in the end and KEPLER TEN have done just that. In ”A New Kind of Sideways”, the planet has borne witness to a truly exciting outfit, one that could easily be world-class if the pieces fall together in the right way.
The best thing is that they can go better than this; they’re only just getting warmed up.
01 – Universal
02 – Clarity
03 – Falling Down
04 – Weaver
05 – These Few Words
06 – A New Kind of Sideways
07 – Icarus Eyes
08 – One and the Same
James Durand – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Steve Hales – Drums, Piano, Backing Vocals
Alistair Bell – Guitars, Backing Vocals