First of all, I think it has been a number of years since Tom De Wit and myself met for the first time. The relationship we developed was a musical one as well as a personal one, therefore my nagging about his TDW release Scrapbook; a limited edition of 200 pieces in 2011, finally paid off. Due to a major screw-up by the album's manufacturer of the booklets, a number of the albums became available as the Scrapbook - Misprint Edition. I consider myself honoured to now own one and to share my thoughts about Tom De Wit's early recordings.
What you can find on S-ME is a real mature progression of songs that both could have been the groundwork of Tom's band Mind:Soul, regarding the album; The Way It Should Be (2013, see review), but also the compositions already have hints of TDW's compositions he would release on his Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To album (2014, see review). When you are reading this it might seem I am dawdling and not coming to the point of the individual songs. There is a reason for that; for sure I can give you my opinion about the 2011 release and how great the music is, on the other side I can only advise you to wait until 2017. Which is a quite busy year for our Thomas, as first there will be the release of his double album The Antithetic Affiliation. Besides this promising release Tom will be working on a renewed version of this album; Scrapbook.
OK, it's just fair to reveal something about the music on Scrapbook, so I would like to point out the most memorable parts of the double album. King Of Lies; a song that takes the power of Mind:Soul, but adds a more melodic keyboard based element to the overall atmosphere. The trashy guitar riffs and rollin' drums are levelled by the symphonic keyboard parts and Tom's distinguished;( read not traditional) metal voice. Answers; a, what it seems to be is a traditional piano ballad, with great guitar and synth parts towards the end. Tom's vocals are backed up by Tom in this one. Highlight of CD1 unmistakably must by the almost fifteen minutes long A Drive Till The End, a song that in this version sounds perfect to me. I am looking forward to hearing the outcome of a tweaked and updated version of a wonderful tune. Voided Eyes; Toolish and atmospheric. This one blends a Toolèske atmosphere with grunts and a melodic twist. De Gecontroleerde Chaos; in English Chaos in control, a strong powerful instrumental. The Fine Art Of Perseverance is another fine epic, highlighting a fine bass line and tense guitar riffs, reminding me of Machine Head. This epical tune is much more focussed on the metal side, but still holds the, what has become “typical Tom De Wit” treatment. I do have to mention Unorthodork, a tittle that couldn't be more appropriate to a song, nevertheless Tom's vocals shine on this one. All That Stands Will Remain, Part 2; the final chapter of CD2, more experimental, creating a different sphere, but still acting as a coherent parts and worthy end of a cool double CD.
I can only suggest to try to get your hands on this pre-“worldfame area” of Tom De Wit. Scrapbook - The Misprint Edition is a wonderful trip through Tom's musical mind. I really hope he finds the time to re-create this album. The second CD could use a bit of re-production and mixing in my opinion, just for the vocal balance and clearness of the vocal parts. But this is the only criticism I could think of.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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