Tightland - Marmeladium

(CD 2016, 41:21, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Living For Today(6:17)
  2- Obsession(5:17)
  3- Deep Jungle(12:04)
  4- Heavy Marmelade(17:41)

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Tightland is a rather new progressive rock act from Germany. The quintet has existed since 2008 and comes now with their debut album Marmeladium. The line-up consists of former Darius and Jack Yello lead vocalist Dirk "BoViE" Bovensiepen, Markus “Stonie” Stein on guitars, Malte Beckamp on bass, Carsten Hausberg on keyboards and Pat Pawelt on drums.

Interestingly enough, Marmeladium has a live and a studio part. The band first serves us two songs, which they recorded in their own studio. The light-weighted Living For Today is an easy to sing along composition, but a great opener as well. It certainly features progressive rock elements and is without doubt a great prog tune. But the band keeps it rather simple compared to the things which are up next in the live section. Also, the second studio track Obsession offers rather compact sounding rock music. For me it is the weakest track on the entire album. It sounds too mainstream, although the synthesizer solo makes it still worth a listen. It is followed by the twelve-minutes long Deep Jungle. This one is of a different order compared to the first two tracks. It is the first song on the album recorded at the Würg Club February 2015. Soon it becomes very clear that the band is most of all a very stable live unit. Even more on the second live piece Heavy Marmelade the band shows what they are capable off. This is how I like to hear them. Playing with a tight rhythm section, a singer with a strong voice and two strong instrumentalists which treat us on amazing guitar and synthesizer solos. The two final songs move very much in the musical direction of Bovensiepen's former bands. Early Marillion and even a band such as Red Sand comes to mind when I hear the excellent guitar solos provided by Stein. His way of playing resembles Steven Rothery's style a lot.

Too bad that the first half of the album wasn't of the same high progressive rock level in compositions, otherwise Tightland would have come up with a really amazing debut album. But for the variety on the album they probably did choose to come up with this musical format. Two songs which are radio friendly and can get a lot of air play on the rather commercial and mainstream radio stations. And two songs which can be played on the progressive rock radio programmes all over the world.

A final word goes out to the excellent mastering done by Eroc. The former Grobschnitt drummer made sure all four tracks are of the same sound quality. Even if two of them were recorded during live performances. This can't be heard at all. Only when I heard the cheering of the crowd I discovered those songs were done in front of a live audience. So bravo for that!

All in all I can say that, despite the start of the album, Tightland from North Rhine-Westphalia managed to entertain me throughout the entire album. With Marmeladium they come up with a very fine debut album. Hopefully their next release will contain even more strong progressive rocks songs as their predecessor. They certainly can do it! No doubt about that!

****- Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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