Sebas Honing -
The Big Shift

(CD 2016, 1:02:00, Freia Music, THOR28)

The tracks:
  1- Big Shift(1:11)
  2- Life [Part I](5:12)
  3- Ditching Fear(4:14)
  4- Mercury Retrograde(3:59)
  5- OMG(3:33)
  6- All You Are(4:05)
  7- Freedom(4:07)
  8- Mild Smile(4:47)
  9- Hometown(4:19)
10- Full 180(3:03)
11- Flickering Heart(5:21)
12- Homeless(4:17)
13- Falling Down(3:07)
14- Life [Part II](4:51)
15- Lost(5:47)

Website      Freia Music

The Big Shift is Sebas Honing's third (or fifth, I'm not sure about that) solo album. Sebas is a talented multi-instrumentalist and sings a lot of the lead vocals. He's accompanied by his wife Petra Honing on lead and backing vocals and Christiaan Bruin on drums. It's a concept album which gives a view into Sebas Honing's current life. The music is a combination of metal, progressive rock and even pop rock. It's a mixture of powerful uplifting tracks and more quiet (semi) acoustic rock songs. You can also hear some repeating musical themes come back in several songs. There are no long tracks on this album as all tracks are in between three and six minutes long. I quite like the apocalyptic-like artwork on the sleeve and it is very nicely done.

The title track Big Shift is a short instrumental intro. Life [Part I] starts calm but after two and a half minutes it becomes a lot heavier. The heavier parts of the song reminds me of a combination of Dream Theater, Ayreon and Knight Area. Ditching Fear is my favourite track from the album. I like this up-tempo track because of the special effects on the vocals. Mercury Retrograde contains a lot of heavy guitar riffs and a splendid guitar solo. The fade out surprises me as it's in the middle of the last chorus. Fifth track OMG reminds me of early Metallica versus female fronted metal music, which is very interesting! All You Are is a quieter song that becomes very uplifting and filled with instruments after two and a half minutes. Freedom is a real pop rock track that would do great as a single-a catchy and simple song. Mild Smile carries the same riffs as Big Shift, you can see that track as some sort of successor to the first track. Hometown has a pop-rock vibe which reminds me of a lot of the popular music you hear on the commercial radio these days. Full 180 is a real contrast to Hometown because it's a heavy instrumental metal track. Flickering Heart is a softer track that is again, very ballad like. Homeless features a lot of contrast points in heaviness and rhythm. Heavy guitar riffs make room for soft guitar parts and vice versa. It even has some sort of folk metal vibe. Falling Down is a short metal track while the guitar intro and outro are very quiet and serene. Life [Part II] is very similar to Life [Part I] when it comes to the music. Last track Lost is also the longest track on the album. It starts with a piano, guitar and Sebas singing. After two and a half minutes the track changes itself into a heavier track. The outro itself is quiets again just like the intro.

The music on this album is very tight, doesn't have any sloppy moments and it's very pleasant to listen to. Sebas does a good job when he sings, but he misses some power in his voice, although I do like the way he sings on the track OMG. I wonder how the album would have sounded if another singer would have done his vocal parts. This album is not a super-spectacular masterpiece, but an album you can recommend to your friends to listen to!

**** Iris Hidding (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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