metal talk
Search here...
metal talk


  TOUCHSTONE
'Oceans Of Time'
(Hear No Evil Recordings/Cherry Red Records)
Release date: 7th October 2013


Michael Foley

michael foley



touchstone

The latest Touchstone single, 'Flux', is a tasty little morsel to be sure, however like all lite-bites it does not satisfy ones hunger, and so let's stuff our faces on the main course, their fourth studio album, 'Oceans Of Time'.

Are we going to enjoy a Nigella-esque sensuous feast for the soul, which will leave us smiling and satisfied, or will we be doubled up over the loo, after enduring the aural equivalent of a Fanny Cradock creation? Pull up a chair, pour the wine and your Rock & Roll waiter will guide you through the menu.

Along with the hook filled hard rock songs, and contemplative slower numbers that are the core ingrediants of the Touchstone sound, a few unexpected flavours have been added to spice up the recipe, giving this new album a refreshing flavour from the very first song onwards.

Article continues below...



Take opening number 'Flux' for intance; it's a lengthy prog-tinged rock song, featuring a lovely slower tempo middle section, and is the kind of quality piece that Touchstone excel at. What gives it a refreshing twist is the addition of very contemporary techno/dance influenced sounds, especially in the opening bars.

I don't expect to see Touchstone banging out choons at the next rave party, but little touches like that do give this album a sonic texture that will make it more accessible to listeners beyond the prog and metal crowd.

touchstone

For another break from the norm do check out 'Fragments' which mashes Middle Eastern themes, treated vocal from Kim Seviour, metalllic guitar courtesy of Adam Hodgson, plus a drum pattern that Bill Bruford would be proud of, and it works brilliantly. Little sonic surprises like this pop up throughout the album, although the overall sound is still definitely Touchstone.

Fans of previous Touchstone albums, 'Wintercoast' and 'The City Sleeps' will be pleased to learn that the song 'Oceans Of Time' is a sequel to the title tracks of those two works, whilst previously explored themes are continued on 'Shadow's End', which is the concluding part of the Shadow Trilogy, started on debut album 'Discordant Dreams'.

It's this kind of long term view that makes their work so fascinating. The majority of acts treat each album as a self contained entity, whereas Touchstone are happy to revisit and develop themes previously experimented with on earlier albums. Each album works as a stand alone collection of songs, but listen to all four back to back, and one can hear that each album is continuation of its predecessor, despite the constantly evolving musical palette employed by the band.

In fact one song here, 'Solace', is remake of a tune previously heard on 'Wintercoast', which the cynical may say is just lazy, although I reckon it's reprised here because it's subject matter gels well with other songs here. I find it to be superior to the fine original take, having as it does a much fuller sound both in terms of production and musicianship.

The producer is John Mitchell, known for his work with likes of Funeral For A Friend and You Me At Six, who through his sumptuous production has done a superb job of highlighting the strengths of the songs, along with the individual talents of the players. The music on 'Oceans Of Time' is much more guitar driven to than on previous albums, with Adam Hodgson playing like a demon throughout, and proving himself to be one of the best players out there right now.

Hodgson might be the prominently featured musician here, but all the band play and sing superbly on this album, with bassist Paul Moorghen and drum thumper Henry Rogers combining together to bring a powerful and intelligent foundation to the music. Keys are provided by band founder Rob Cottingham, who conjures up some startling and inventive sounds, in parts reminiscent of his solo LP 'Captain Blue', especially on the more pop and techno infused influences that cheekily pop up through the course of the music.

Lead singer Kim Seviour excels herself on this album, with the most expressive singing of her career so far. She brings a haunting, chilling quality to the slightly sinister 'Solace', whilst on the heavy numbers such as 'Shadows End' she displays a range and power worthy of any Scandinavian Metal Siren.

Kim has always sung well, but on this collection she reaches new heights of confidence and emotion. The male voice heard on the album is that man Cottingham again, and he too sings excellently, both in harmony with Kim, where their two voices combine beautifully, and as a lead singer in his own right.

I've listened to this album about a dozen times (at least!) while writing this, and I have not tired of hearing any of the songs. 'Oceans...' is packed with songs, that are hook laden, intelligent and memotable, with none that could be described as weak, although obviously some tunes are proving to be real standouts, especially the hard rocking 'Through The Night', and the epicly magnificent title song.

I'd love to hear this one performed on stage, where it deserves to be their 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Matty Groves', not that it sounds like either of those classics. That it bears comparison with records of that calibre, says a lot about the quality of this song.

I hoped that 'Oceans Of Time' would prove to be satisfying, especially after having my appetite whetted by the single of 'Flux', and I can confirm that the main course of this particular feast is as delicious as that morsel promised it to be, so it's going to be washed down with five full foaming pints! Now pass the cheese board please, Nigella. Nom, nom, nom!

Track List:
1, Flux
2. Contact
3. Tabula Rasa
4. Fragments
5. Spirit Of The Age
6. Shadow's End
7. Solace
8. Through The Night
9. Thunder & Crickets
10. Oceans Of Time

Band Lineup:
Kim Seviour- Lead Vocals
Adam Hodgson- Lead Guitar
Rob Cottingham- Keyboards & Vocals
Paul Moorghen- Bass
Henry Rogers- Drums


beerbeerbeerbeerbeer





29.8.13








 

extreme GET THE FUNK OUT! EXTREME TO HEADLINE RAMBLIN' MAN FAIR
"We are honoured to be headlining the Ramblin’ Man Fair. Extreme has always had a special relationship with the UK fans..."

scorpions EXCLUSIVE: SCORPIONS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN EARLY 2018 AND CONTINUE TOURING
Brand new opus will be their first with Mikkey, who was Motörhead drummer for twenty-three years...

nidingr EXCLUSIVE UK PREMIERE: NIDINGR RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM
"To me this song solidifies a thing that is fucking great about Nidingr - no rules..."

iron maiden BREAKING NEWS: CELLAR DARLING SIGN WITH NUCLEAR BLAST
"We are proud and excited to have found partners who understand our music and share our vision..."

iron maiden BREAKING NEWS: IRON MAIDEN TO TOUR NORTH AMERICA IN JUNE/JULY
Support on all North American dates will be Ghost and tickets go on-sale from next Friday...

iron maiden HOME OF METAL TO JOIN BLACK SABBATH ON THEIR FINAL DATES
"Fans are our lifeblood, they've always been there to support us. The audiences have been getting bigger as the tour progressed..."

hammerfall EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: HAMMERFALL UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'BUILT TO LAST' TITLE TRACK
Hammerfall are currently on tour throughout Europe and there are plenty of dates left to catch their new epic show...

grim reaper GRIM REAPER'S STEVE GRIMMETT SEVERELY ILL IN ECUADOR
"Unfortunately the operation didn't work and Steve is currently in the operating theatre having limbs removed..."

bill price GUNS N' ROSES AND SEX PISTOLS PRODUCER/ENGINEER BILL PRICE HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY
Price worked with Rod Stewart, INXS, Pete Townshend, Elton John, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Big Audio Dynamite...

fish marillion FISH CELEBRATES 30th ANNIVERSARY OF 'CLUTCHING AT STRAWS' WITH UK TOUR
"These are the only dates this year as because of my shoulder operation next month with the extensive recovery period..."

ross the boss UK EXCLUSIVE: ROSS THE BOSS ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES AHEAD OF SPECIAL GUEST SLOT ON MetalTalk RADIO THIS WEEK
"We are going to devastate every audience, every night, without mercy..."

dokken WAS BREAKING NEWS: CLASSIC DOKKEN LINE-UP CONFIRMED FOR RAMBLIN' MAN
Dokken, Lynch, Pilson and Brown will play together in England for the first time in around a quarter-of-a-century...

grand magus DEF LEPPARD AND POISON ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN DATES
"I could not be more excited. I know all of us will give one thousand percent on stage..."

grand magus VIKINGS TO INVADE YORKSHIRE: GRAND MAGUS TO HEADLINE KEIGHLEY FESTIVAL
"Get your tickets now and prepare to raise your fists and bang your heads for the glory of Metal!"

armored saint ARMORED SAINT UK TOUR DATES AND 'MARCH OF THE SAINT (LIVE)' VIDEO ARE HERE
"We're really looking forward to playing these select UK shows in March..."

screaming eagles SCREAMING EAGLES TO FEATURE IN NEW AMAZON PRIME SERIES STARRING BRYAN CRANSTON
The band will be releasing a live mini-album in spring 2017 and will be touring in the UK, France and Germany throughout the year...

martyrd MARTYRD SET TO OPEN FOR METAL ALLEGIANCE, MARTY FRIEDMAN AND GUS G
"NAMM is a blast, total musical sensory overload from every direction. It’s like getting lost in a hurricane - I can't wait."

john garcia EXCLUSIVE WORLD PREMIERE: JOHN GARCIA UNLEASHES 'GIVE ME 250ml'
"This record is one of the most important of my career, difficult and challenging to do, but worth every minute of sweat!"

avenged sevenfold WAS BREAKING NEWS: AVENGED SEVENFOLD TO OPEN LONDON POP-UP STORE
The shop will be hosting in-store raffles and giveaways of exclusive and signed merchandise...

avenged sevenfold ROCK MEETS CLASSIC 2017 EUROPE LINE-UP IS HERE
Rock meets Classic has a terrific vibe and the legendary cross-over-project combines emotional classic with world-famous rock songs...

paddy goes to holyhead PADDY GOES TO HOLYHEAD ARE BACK FOR THE CRAIC ON ST PATRICK'S NIGHT
The band supposedly played their last ever gig two years ago in celebration of their 30th anniversary...

nightlord EXCLUSIVE THE UNKNOWN BAND WHO INFLUENCED METALLICA AIRS ON MetalTalk RADIO
Also featuring is the very first UK radio airplay of Cellar Darling, the band created by former Eluveitie members...

epica EPICA RELEASE 'BEYOND THE MATRIX' VIDEO - WATCH IT HERE
"The energy that lives within 'Beyond The Matrix' is extremely contagious. It will sweep you off your feet when the melodies enter your mind..."

nightlord JOHN COGHLAN'S QUO BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN
John Coghlan's Quo have announced UK dates across the Kingdom that will see them busy throughout the year...

jimmy bain JIMMY BAIN'S WIDOW NEEDS OUR HELP
"Jimmy recently passed away without a proper will in place and now his better half is in trouble..."

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST 'LIVE' TOKYO FEATURING BARDEN, BONNET AND McAULEY OUT IN MARCH
Features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker...

ozzy osbourne OZZY OSBOURNE OVERDOSED WHEN SHARON HAD CANCER
"I watched him scoop his hands into a bowl of pills, swallow a handful of something, and then wash it down with vodka..."

eluveitie ELUVEITIE NEW LINE-UP IS COMPLETE, FIRST GIGS GO DOWN A STORM
"Above all we're super happy and thankful that we're complete again and given the chance to have such gifted musicians on board..."

gene simmons GENE SIMMONS RESTAURANT HONOURS US VETS
"The opening day of every Rock & Brews is dedicated to our vets, the public is not allowed in."

deep purple DEEP PURPLE SUE THEIR LONG-TIME ACCOUNTANT FOR FOUR MILLION
"I'm completely irresponsible. I'm ignorant about money as a commodity — I have never really understood it."

tony iommi UK EXCLUSIVE: VINCE NEIL FIST FIGHT WITH BOY GEORGE STOPPED AS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SHUTS UP PRESIDENT TRUMP
"They screwed up. That was a huge miss and someone should have a talking-to."

tony iommi GLENN HUGHES: "I'M THRILLED TO BE TOURING THE UK IN JANUARY"
"Let's get 2017 going with a killer night for ROCK lovers, movers and shakers. I'm in. Let's go!"

tony iommi TONY IOMMI HAS SUCCESSFUL THROAT OPERATION AND IS CANCER-FREE
"We had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous. But it turns out it wasn't, which I found out Christmas Day..."

ronnie montrose RONNIE MONTROSE REMEMBERED: ALL-STAR MEMORIAL CONCERT TO TAKE PLACE AT NAMM 2017
"Ronnie helped light a fire in me and made me want to approach guitar playing with that kind of zeal and expression..."

motorhead beer PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE TO APPEAR AT MOTÖRHEAD BEER LAUNCH IN LONDON
This is sure to be one superb night with beer, live music and Motörhead, but not necessarily in that order...

tony iommi BLACK STAR RIDERS PREMIERE 'TESTIFY OR SAY GOODBYE'
Black Star Riders are set to release their forthcoming album 'Heavy Fire' on 3rd February via Nuclear Blast...

tony iommi BREAKING NEWS: TONY IOMMI DROPS HEAVY METAL AND JOINS THE CHOIR
"It's a bit different to Sabbath!" says Tony, in probably the biggest understatement of all time...

tony iommi ROCK MUSIC IN SUPERHERO MOVIES
It's pretty wild to think that this whole ride that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe started off with a little AC/DC...

jimi hendrix JIMI HENDRIX'S WAH-WAH PEDAL AND AMP SURVIVES AUCTION HOUSE BURGLARY
"It was a very positive and uplifting experience to work for Jimi. He was like a shaman, a medicine man, a preacher.."

alestorm ALESTORM ENTER FLORIDA STUDIO BUT A CHALLENGE AWAITS THEM BACK IN BLIGHTY
"It is full of epic songs about pirates, drinking, and pseudoscientific cryptogeography..."

queen QUEEN GUITARIST BRIAN MAY WANTS TO BRING ROCK TO A NEW GENERATION
"It was actually all very planned and deliberate and came totally out of Freddie's fevered imagination..."

phil lynott MASS TRIBUTES PAID TO PHIL LYNOTT ON ANNIVERSARY OF HIS PASSING
"God bless my old friend, thanks for the faith you showed in allowing me to record your music..."

black country communion BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION ENTER STUDIO TO BEGIN WORK ON FOURTH ALBUM
"One thing I want to make clear to everybody across air nation is that Joe Bonamassa and I never fell out..."

hair metal heaven BLAZE BAYLEY BRAND NEW ALBUM AND WORLD TOUR DETAILS ARE HERE
'Endure And Survive' is set for release on 3rd March 2017 and will be accompanied by a world tour totalling some 120 shows...

hair metal heaven HAIR METAL HEAVEN FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIRST ACTS FOR INAUGURAL EVENT
The Hair Metal Heaven Festival has a very eighties feel to it, as the team behind it explain here...

motorhead EXCLUSIVE TEST PILOT DROPS TWO GRAND ON NEW MOTÖRHEAD VIDEO SLOT
"A few spins later and I turned up a row of gold Snaggletooths which promptly caught fire and the voice of the man himself commanded: 'Turn it up!'"

deep purple DEEP PURPLE RELEASE NEW 'inFinite' TRAILERS AND EXPECTED ALBUM FORMATS
'Time For Bedlam', the first single which was revealed late last year, is available as instant grat as part of the digital album pre-order...

hollywood AEROSMITH FAREWELL TOUR COULD LAST FIVE YEARS
"We had a talk a few weeks back about going into the studio. When that'll happen, though, I'm not sure. We certainly have plenty of ideas..."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE MEGADETH MAINMAN DAVE MUSTAINE REVEALS HE'S AN ARSENAL FC SUPPORTER
Megadeth, formed in Los Angeles in 1983 after Dave left Metallica, are currently enjoying a rich vein of form...

hollywood FORMER PEARL JAM DRUMMER HITS OUT AT THE BAND
"We need music, each other and the spirit of Rock & Roll now, more than ever before..."

hollywood HOLLYWOOD SIGN CHANGED BY PRANKSTERS TO READ 'HOLLYWEED'
"An artist's role throughout history has been to create representations of the culture he exists in..."

metallica METALLICA GUITARIST KIRK HAMMETT'S HOME FOR SALE FOR £16m
Apparently a house like this doubles its asking price every six or seven years...

kiss EXCLUSIVE KISS' GENE SIMMONS DROPS BIGGEST HINT YET THAT ACE FREHLEY REUNION IS ON
Over 7,000 likes later, fans are in big speculation that it really is going to happen...

rick parfitt WAS BREAKING NEWS: BLOODSTOCK UNVEIL SECOND 2017 HEADLINER
"Megadeth had a blast last time and I can't wait to bring the Dystopia World Tour to Bloodstock this Summer."

rick parfitt EXCLUSIVE JOHN COGHLAN REVEALS TWO NEW TRACKS WITH RICK PARFITT ARE NEARLY READY FOR RELEASE
"It was going to be Status Quo PLC [Parfitt, Lancaster, Coghlan] and that was Francis' idea originally."

wizz wizzard WIZZ WIZZARD VOCALIST WIZZ BEAUPREZ HAS PASSED AWAY
Wizz Wizzard were signed to Rock Sector Records and labelmate Chris Appleton of Absolva led the tributes...

ronnie james dio RONNIE JAMES DIO TO TOUR IN 2017
"It was very emotional. I didn't think that I was gonna cry, but I did. I broke down...."

metal talk
© All written site content is copyright MetalTalk.net 2008-2017, unless otherwise stated, and is not to be used without prior permission.
Ads raid data recovery