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DIFFERENT STRINGS

Neo-Prog • Malta


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Different Strings picture
Different Strings biography
The beginning:

It was early in the 80's that I started listening to rock music but progressive rock bands always captured me. YES, GENESIS, and PINK FLOYD to mention a few old bands, QUEENSRYCHE, DREAM THEATER, and SPOCK'S BEARD--a few modern bands--dominated my scene, but RUSH were my favorites. Rhythmically they were very precise and melodically interesting. But most of the things that attracted me were the lyrics. Neal Peart, Rush's drummer and lyricist, is a great musician and writer and he definitely deserves admiration. He gave experiences and knowledge of life in his lyrics. I think those lyrics had changed a part of my life and how to approach it.

I was always wondering that I have to learn a musical instrument and finally I did it. In '94 I started taking guitar lessons from a well-known music teacher, Maestro Francis Vassallo. LCM exams were my aim at that time.

The first tunes played on my first classical guitar were "Goodbye Blue Sky" by PINK FLOYD and some great riffs from the mighty Tony Iommi of BLACK SABBATH's 70's repertoire. In the meantime, I was learning classical music and the techniques of Carulli and Giuliani from the 16th century. In 1997, for quality reasons, I changed my tutor to Ms. Graziella Cassar, very well established on classical and modern guitar technique. In the meantime I was self-tutoring piano lessons.

As time went by, I started to listen to a lot of musical styles from rock to blues, jazz to fusion and of course classical to keep my musical background steady. No matter how varied I can be, I'm still charmed by the epic progressive rock sounds. And this is something to share with every music learner. Besides from books and practice, one very important thing to practice is a good quantity of listening of whatever you like.

Band experiences:

My very first band experience was in March 1996, with a non-existent band called "Turmoil", which was practically futile in every sense. I was at my beginning but the lack of quality and interest shown by the other band members encouraged me to leave the band. It was in September 1997 (I know I waited too long!) that I quit.

Things didn't go that bad because a month later I met a friend of mine, Ray Zammit, to join his band, Achiral, as a keyboard session musician for their debut demo cassette called "Dark Waters". Achiral wanted more atmospheric sounds than virtuosity so I think I did a good job. On December 15th of the same year I re...
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Sounds of Silence Part 1: Counterparts by Different Strings (2013-05-04)Sounds of Silence Part 1: Counterparts by Different Strings (2013-05-04)
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Audio CD$35.76
The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The CounterpartsThe Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts
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Audio CD$9.99
$19.99 (used)
...It's Only the Beginning...It's Only the Beginning
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Audio CD$9.99
$15.55 (used)
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DIFFERENT STRINGS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DIFFERENT STRINGS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.73 | 12 ratings
...It's Only the Beginning
2006
3.48 | 12 ratings
The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts
2011
3.30 | 10 ratings
The Sounds of Silence Part II: The Counterfeits
2015

DIFFERENT STRINGS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DIFFERENT STRINGS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DIFFERENT STRINGS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DIFFERENT STRINGS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Dead Man Walking
2004
3.10 | 2 ratings
Victims of Love
2010
5.00 | 1 ratings
Legacy of War
2012

DIFFERENT STRINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.48 | 12 ratings

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The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars DIFFERENT STRINGS is the creative of composer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Mallia, and from his base in Malta he has recorded and released his take on progressive rock since 2004. "Sounds of Silence-1 ? The Counterparts" is his second full length production, and was issued on Mallia's own label Progdome towards the tail end of 2011.

Those who prefer their progressive rock to be of an accessible nature, emphasizing distinct moods and strong melodies within a strictly harmonic framework should make out the key audience for Different Strings. Perhaps not among the most advanced as such efforts go, but a well planned, well made and well executed album. As far as specific recommendations go, I'd hazard a guess that fans of bands like Magic Pie might most easily appreciate this production, but due to similarities in approach more than a distinct resemblance in style as such.

 The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.48 | 12 ratings

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The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Different Strings is a band from Malta. The name of the band seems to be a nod towards Rush. The music is not. The music is art rock, some sort of. Art rock of the more symphonic kind. There is also a lot of Italian type pop music here and some jazz. Some prog metal influences is also detectable.

The vocals here is an aquired taste. It does feels like the music has been composed on a piano. There is a lot of nods towards the great piano men on this album. The instrumentation is pretty standard though with a wide variety of tangents, some guitars, some sampled violins, bass and drums.

The ambitions behind this album is huge. Just look at the artwork to get my drift. An half an hour long song also speaks volumes. There are also some really great stuff on this album. But there is also some merely half decent stuff here too. I don't feel the result is as good as the ambitions behind this album and that is the downfall of it. It is still a good album well worth checking out. But it falls a bit short in my view.

3 stars

 Victims of Love by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Victims of Love
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The EP "Victims of Love" is the third production issued by Malta based act Different Strings, and somewhat unusual for a regular release from an artist it is also a relief album, where the income will go to help the family of artist Noel Cauchi, who died in a tragic accident in 2009.

Of the four songs featured on this EP, the first two are presented in versions edited for radio. Which is very suitable, as both compositions comes across as efforts with strong commercial aspirations. Time and Again is a light symphonic number with a few nods towards the more sophisticated works of The Beatles, while the title track Victims of Love is a well made ballad with a powerful chorus and added sophistication in the shape of a lush symphonic backdrop.

Closing up this EP are two light symphonic instrumental efforts, lush and dreamy affairs of the kind that doesn't really make an immediate impact, but with a certain timeless quality to them that will make you listen to them time and again if you are in the mood for daydreaming or listening to relaxing but sophisticated music.

It was also a pleasant surprise to discover that the production is of good quality this time around, one of the aspects which was a negative on the full album debut by this act.

All in all a nice effort, and one that can be highly recommended to proggers with a soft spot for radio-friendly music.

 ...It's Only the Beginning by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.73 | 12 ratings

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...It's Only the Beginning
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Smaller countries seem to find their place on the prog map.Bahrain,Luxemburg and now Malta have presented some interesting releases through Osiris,No Name,Supper's Ready and this time is Chris Malia from Malta with his project DIFFERENT STRINGS,named after a Rush song.Malia is around the local scene since 1996,playing and recording with various short-lived bands,before going solo,preferering to choose a band's name for his personal work.For his first album Malia played all instruments and was helped by Alan Mayo on lead and backing vocals.''It's only the beginning...'' came out in 2006 on Progdome Records,a label,behind which has to be Malia himself.

The five tracks are placed so,that they start from the shortest one to end up on the album's opus ''Around the world''.I wouldn't call this album a full-blown prog effort,it is rather a straight rock album with prog and psychedelic leanings...A 3-min. nice keyboard-based grandiose intro will lead the listener to the first real track ''All over again'',which is a rocky guitar-driven song in the vein of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT,characterized by its distorted vocals and even some heavy ethnic tunes after the middle,followed by sharp synths.Just a mediocre track.''Dead man walking'' comes next and this was the band's first single back in 2004.Sorry to say,but if I had heard the track at the time of its release,I wouldn't ever purchase this CD.A boring almost alternative rock track crossed with a FLOYD-ian atmosphere,which carries the same guitar melody and flat vocals for over seven minutes.Skip this one!

Seems thing to change on the 10-min. all instrumental ''Beyond infinity''.At least he have to deal with some real prog music here,like DEEP PURPLE are jamming with DREAM THEATER.Though not that exciting,the track offers some good'n'heavy guitar riffing,decent solos,delicate piano work and strong keyboard acrobatics along the way.Finally a sign of Malia's talent.''Around the world'' comes next and I don't know why we have to wait for almost 4 minutes with needless spacey keys,before the rocking entrance in the vein of ''Season's end''-era MARILLION,followed by GILMOUR-ish soloing and a heavy organ-based DREAM THEATER-influenced middle section.A more relaxed and really pleasant atmosphere with piano,light guitars and flutes will introduce you to the ending section,where sharp keyboards return until the end.A track with irs ups and downs.

The truth is I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone,except modern neo prog fanatics.Malia ran out of ideas during the recordings,as some guitar melodies show again and again,not to mention the similarities between the two last tracks on their DREAM THEATER-inspired parts.However,the man seems to have talent in a couple of moments and supported by a regular band would give him the needed push IMO.Anyway,I think that no more or less than 2 stars trully show my feeling after I listened to this album.

 ...It's Only the Beginning by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.73 | 12 ratings

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...It's Only the Beginning
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Interesting debut release by this artist from Malta.

At the mellowest, the music sounds a bit like a mix between Eloy and Marillion, and influences from classic hard rock acts like Deep Purple and more contemporary prog metal can be heard as well.

It adds up to a very interesting release, where the main drawback is a poor production. Both the general mix as well as the vocals suffers from the production.

Still, a nice debut; and worth checking out for fans of melodic prog with harder edges that aren't addicted to high-tech production.

 ...It's Only the Beginning by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.73 | 12 ratings

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...It's Only the Beginning
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by bhikkhu
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars Chris Mallia has put together an impressive debut under the name of DIFFERENT STRINGS. There is some fine musicianship, and quality composition. The only part of this he didn't handle himself was the vocals. I don't know if Chris can sing or not, but Alan Mayo was a very good choice. His voice suits the music perfectly. On the whole, it's low key, but there are some rocking segments. He pulls off a pretty decent ballad on "Dead Man Walking." What's missing is a spark. There is nothing that really gets me excited here. Technically, there are no problems. It just needs a boost of energy, inspiration, hook, or something. I can't really nail it down, but it doesn't pull me in. What I really see here is promise. One person pulling off a debut album of this quality is quite impressive. The talent is evident. If he continues to grow, this will probably be viewed with much more affection. As it is, I can give it no more than three stars.

H.T. Riekels

 ...It's Only the Beginning by DIFFERENT STRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.73 | 12 ratings

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...It's Only the Beginning
Different Strings Neo-Prog

Review by stonebeard

3 stars Chris Mallia's project, Different Strings, focuses on modern progressive rock, primarily of the Neo-Progressive style, but with noticeable metal influences. The music is at times atmospheric, at times quite heavy. I don't think there is a specific well-known Neo-Progressive band that I could compare Different Strings to, but I'm reminded of Everon and Illuvatar every now and then while I listen to ".It's Only the Beginning." I find the music on this record to be slightly more enjoyable than that found on Everon's Fantasma, which while espousing hooks and melodies, seems just a bit lacking in soul. That problem does not plague ".It's Only the Beginning," which is a relief. I have often found that many lesser-known acts tend to focus on technique, as if they're trying to get noticed. That's definitely not the case with Different Strings; the band (which consists of only Mallia and vocalist Alan Mayo) the instrumentation is full-bodied, but certainly not showy. However, every now and then I feel that the instruments are not high enough in the mix, which can make it seem like they're there to support the vocals, something I disdain. If anything, the vocals should add color and texture to the music, not the other way round. This is not a large problem, and I won't degrade the album too much for it.

To continue the airing of negative feelings about this album-a regretful but necessary task-I will say that the production does not strike me as one befitting a first-rate act; I can clearly tell the musicianship is very fine and often intricate, but sometimes the guitar riffs or can sound thin or muddy. Whereas the vocals may seem to me a tad too high in the mix at times, the drums can seem a bit too low, which can give the music a sort of static feeling, as if it is just there, without fully engaging me or surrounding me. I stress that different listeners may have different responses to these supposed shortcomings of the album-these might not even be problems for anyone else-but I feel I must get out in the open all negative feelings I have in order to give spotlight to the positive feelings, which I have plenty of as a matter of fact!

Alright, now with the good news about this fine release. I should say that for a debut album by a up-and-coming act, ".It's Only the Beginning" is far ahead come to expect in terms of level of enjoyment. The music may not be clearing a path through the Great Forest of Progressive Innovation, but I have said over and over and over again that innovation isn't worth the time it takes to speak the word: only the composition and enjoyment of the music counts. One's enjoyment of the music may end up depending on the level of innovation, however. A sad, sad result, I say. ".It's Only the Beginning" delivers most of what I look for when I turn toward Neo-Progressive rock: well-composed, layered, emotional, and atmospheric music. I previously let it be known that I was disappointed with the mix which seemed to put Mayo's vocals at the forefront. This is not to say he is a poor singer. Far from it! I wouldn't say he's the next Gabriel or Anderson, but he's talented and fits the music well. The keyboard, guitar, and other arrangements on "..It's Only the Beginning" are fantastic and deserve the generous amount of presence they receive in the music.

".It's Only the Beginning" is a pleasant release for me, and I suggest it to fan of Everon, Illuvatar, and anyone generally curious about lesser-known neo-Progressive bands.

Thanks to stonebeard for the artist addition.

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