Sebas Honing’s music has been presented here before, and every time I recommended you to go check him out. Yet he apparently felt it was time to up his game again. Besides playing guitar, bass and keyboards, he took singing lessons from his partner Petra (also present as vocalist here) and asked Christiaan (“Chris”) Bruin to take care of the drums. And yes, the lessons paid off as I do think he sounds more confident! Just listen to OMG for proof. Additional backing vocals are from Tessa Struijs.
Once again the album is a melting pot of influences, so it still qualifies as progressive rock, even when it hints at metal and pop. And once again it impresses me with especially his guitar playing and the quality of the songs. Beautiful melodies that suck you into the album, light and dark, dynamic, it is all there. So whether it is the addictive almost poppy Life (part 1), the prog metal of Ditching Fear or Mercury Retrograde, this is a damn good album, and probably the best so far.
And since he has decided to form a band and take the whole thing into the live circuit, I presume the result will be that the growth will not stop here. To commemorate that Freia Music have also released his 2012 instrumental album Artificial Memories, available at those concerts. Great album, get it!
Part two for Sebas Honing, another Dutch multi instrumentalist, this time moving from the sea to the Middle East and even further to the east. But you probably figured that out already… First some bad news, from the 9 songs on this CD, only 5 are new. The other 4 are single edits from songs on either this album, or it’s predecessor.
On the other hand, these 5 songs again impress me. First song The Moon Decides has a great eastern flavour and on top of that some excellent counter vocals by his partner Petra. Also the way various styles of prog and metal, world elements (tonal and percussion) and more ambient parts are combined throughout the album is a highlight for me. Just take a listen to Escape From Arabia and you will know what I mean. Ode To The Sun also shines with its calm guitar opening, evolving into a joyous melody sung by Sebas accompanied by percussion and acoustic guitar. And slowly the song builds to a grandiose finale, beautiful. Moving even further east, we get Ramayana with a strong India – Indonesian influence and Perang Poepoetan (Indonesia). Some great electric guitar playing and just love how his influences are presented here.
Sebas Honing is a young and talented Dutch multi instrumentalist with a clear mantra: no matter how loud it gets, it must remain beautiful. This release is the first of 2 concept albums. And actually this album holds 2 concepts at once. First is the subject, all songs are about water. Second is that all songs are in the key of C.
And Sebas really is a one man band. Everything, except for one track which is sung by his partner Petra, is done by him. Soundwise I would like to compare this a bit to what Devin Townsend does. It is massive and versatile, with Honing proving himself as a very adequate guitar player with the capability to surprise and to awe. His singing is not his greatest feature however. His voice does not stand out like his playing. Not that it is bad or anything, it is just more average. For a part he covers that up with adding lots of harmonies, which again reminds of Townsend.
Still as a whole I like this album very much. The songs are built to last. Lots of dynamics and still a great flow (pun intended). Sometimes it rocks (hard), sometimes they breathe, but there is not a dull moment in sight. Easy to listen to over and over, so make sure you check this out. Curious for the next one, hope it is just as good!