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P.A.W.N. - The Gift of Awareness CD (album) cover

THE GIFT OF AWARENESS

P.A.W.N.

 

Heavy Prog

3.48 | 24 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I was asked to review this debut album from Germany, and as usual I was glad to receive the CD in mail. The package is really good looking! Other reviews have already given a lot of information, so I'll concentrate on my personal reception to the music. In a word, it is ambivalent. On one hand I highly appreciate it, and on the other hand there's something extremely annoying. I'm not fond of Heavy Prog or Prog Metal, and for that reason also P.A.W.N. has extra challenge to impress me in the first place. But, perhaps to my own surprise, the Heavy / Metal elements are not the main problem here. This music is very melodic and powerful in a good way. Both the production and the arrangements are very fine and ambitious, full of progressive hooks and artistic details in an eclectic variety. Almost all compositions are rather long.

I tell you what disturbs me: the male vocals. No, they're not aggressive growls. They could be described as pretty harmless from that point of view - if only they didn't have that robotic coldness in their extremely pushed delivery. I do like Lisa-Marie Rothe's vocals, and thank God she's the main vocalist. Also the moments where Lisa-Marie is backed up by male vocals are decent enough. But sometimes a little detail can really piss you off. For the first time it comes in the second track, in the sections where the male vocals repeat "the - prin - cess - is - out - to - night" sounding like programmed machines, emotionless humanoids. 'A Voyage of Uncertainty' is (to me) seriously ruined by the parts with the numerous lines starting with words "Do you dare..." sung robotically amidst very phoney hand clapping rhythm pattern, which may or may not attempt to resemble a Medieval / Renaissance dance. (An example of slightly similar but much more successful Old Music dance rhythm can be heard on 'Tears and Pavane' by STRAWBS.) In my opinion this "Do you dare..." mess sounds just ridiculous and clumsy, primarily due to the robotic vocals.

The rest of the album with a respectable total length of 78:37 flows better, and it is beautifully finished with a gorgeous 26-minute title epic. It seems I'm not the first one to say the male vocals are the weak link in this music, but surely no one is as disturbed by them as me, and there are also reviewers who don't seem to take it as a problem at all. So I want to end my review on a positive note: this is definitely worth checking out if you like Symphonic and Gothic prog with a Metal flavour. Comparisons include bands such as DREAM THEATER, HAKEN, AYREON and PAIN OF SALVATION. I'm not at my the strongest in this field and have no other names to add, but to my knowledge none of those bands feature a great female voice as P.A.W.N. does. (A pity it wasn't enough for themselves.)

Matti | 3/5 |

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