Twenty-Six Other-Worlds
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Twenty-Six Other-Worlds

Marsa, Il-Marsa, Malta | SELF

Marsa, Il-Marsa, Malta | SELF
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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"OTHERWORLDLY"

Prior to hearing the group’s recordings, I have seen them twice perform. The first time was at the Extreme Maltese Metal Festival 2008 which was one of their first performances and played a thirty minutes set. The second time was so memorable, that I made it a point I had to meet the band, which I did later that night. It was at the old power-station in Valletta at the beginning of this year, where they played a one hour set. I am now enjoying their debut album, as much as I enjoyed those two nights.

Twenty-six other-worlds have done what no Maltese progressive metal band has done before. In an era where solos are not appreciated, an era with plain simple lyrics and catchy tunes, the band has recorded four technical, yet melodic masterpieces and hence the debut: ‘Manipulated’, which brings to mind Dream Theater with a pinch of Iron Maiden and Queensryche.

But don’t be mislead, Twenty-six other-worlds copied no one and offered four fresh progressive metal songs that should be the start to put them in the worldwide progressive nation. Take notice Mike Portnoy.

Already, as I write this, the second track on this cd, ‘Incubus’ has been included in the Progpower USA promo cd, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. That alone is already an achievement that few other bands have done on their debut. Another song ‘When Beauty Danced’ (first track on the album) was also released as a radio edit single, although personally I prefer the longer version on the album. This song was featured exclusively on Rock Moods.

The technical wizardry of the guitars is shared between Adrian Zammit and Steve Said Sarreo and complimented with the steady rhythm drumming of Jonathan Briffa, making Cedric Debono’s playing bass seemingly relaxed to the listener, though playing with great vivacity. All this is turned into a sound for sore ears with the regal voice of Chris Grech, a singer that can be clean and rough, melodic and heavy at the blink of an eye without missing a beat.

In my opinion this debut has one snag, it is two tracks short. This is because it is so enjoyable listening to, that once the fourth song ‘Lady Deadly’ comes to an end, you’ll be wanting more. But as this is the band’s debut it’s also reasonable.
This is one album that should not be missing from any true rock fan collection, whether Maltese or not.

Noel Mifsud
Rock Moods
12 July 2009 - Skylife magazine


"TWENTY SIX OTHER WORLDS: MANIPULATED (EP)"

Twenty Six Other Worlds is young metal band from the small island of Malta in the Mediterranean (find Italy, then Sicily, and head due south). Awash in a mammoth amount of inspiration from the likes of Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind, Symphony X, Machine Head, and Liquid Tension Experiment, 26OW plays complex and often heavy progressive metal. Their first EP Manipulated may contain only four songs, but it is not brief with all songs clocking in better than seven minutes each. And every song is a sonic adventure enveloping diverse compositions of intriguing movements, tempos, and musicianship. They venture into more modern nuances on As I Call on the Dark and Lady Deadly with some well-developed riffing and menacing vocals. Yet nowhere is melody or delicate compositional strategy shortchanged. Twenty Six Other Worlds pulls out all the stops on their premier Manipulated for a result which shows a maturity beyond their collective experience. - Dangerdog.com


"Thoughts of Metal"

I'm going to keep it short, because Cedric, the bass player, wrote a very nice and funny biographical text about the band on their website. TWENTY-SIX OTHER-WORLDS was in a first instant known as ANGEL DUST, who played mainly IRON MAIDEN covers. And yes, they even got the chance to open up for the NWOBHM veterans. The Maltese Metal band was formed in 1996 but several years and a split later later, the core of the band (Cedric, guitarist Adrian Zammit aka Skid and drummer Jonathan Briffa aka Luni) sought and found two new members to complete the line-up for what would then become TWENTY-SIX OTHER WORLDS: Chris Grech on vocals and Steve Said Sarreo as second guitarist. ANGEL DUST could not be used anymore for several reasons, one being that there was already a well-known band called like that, hailing from Germany.

The Maltese TWENTY-SIX OTHER-WORLDS can be catalogued under Progressive Metal and released their debut album (or EP, as there are only four tracks and a playtime of between 30 and 40 minutes) on the 4th of September and titled it "Manipulated". The band isn't signed and given this fact one must give them kudos for not promoting their music with a simple CD-R, but a pressed CD in a digipack. Ok, no booklet, but the lyrics and technical information are printed on the digipack, so nothing to nag about here. With this low number of tracks and in comparison long playtime you're set for long songs. In Progressive Metal that's a common thing and personally, I'm not against that at all.

"Manipulated" starts "When Beauty Danced"'s ambient intro. Rain is added to make it all more lively, but soon enough the music takes over. Midtempo Prog with gentle singing at first, a fuller voice later on. As it's not a 3-minute song, the band takes its time to progress and develop the track, giving the tempo a boost in the chorus. Instrumentalism is important and the Maltese offer a nice variety of rhythms and tempos, going for a fiercer approach over halfway. And yes, there is a guitar solo. Right when you think the song is nearing its end, the band gives it another twist in true DREAM THEATER style. For starters, this song is already very good. And without keyboards!

No ambient intro for "Incubus". It's the drums that set this song in, the guitars follow a little later, complementing Jonathan's hits, while the tempo gradually increases. Chris sings with a low voice and somehow sounds more passionate than before. Musically everything advances at a solid pace and good rhythm, which gets slowed down by the chorus. Melody then claims attention, mainly through the vocals. Keyboards would have been useful here, despite the actual result being quite flawless already. Comparable bands here are ANGRA and STORMENTAL (and similar, obviously), but these are just mentioned as indication. Chris's singing (clean with a rough edge) is good in the chorus, but it's not perfect (yet), even though he's a capable vocalist. It's a small detail and something that can be worked on for later releases. Over the middle of the song it's time for an instrumental moment where variability is applied to different aspects of this song. The band managed to neatly implement a Jazzy piece, which is a surprising and positive twist. When the solo is due, the tempo gets a kick in the rear. In the last part the chorus comes back again and the whole ends at an energetic peak! Second song done and here as well, nothing but positive thoughts. But as good as these two tracks are, there's an even better one - well, two - comping up.

Drums in "Incubus", the guitar (though gentle) in "As I Call On The Dark", sounding smooth and relaxing. And does it sound good? Hell yes, it does. The drums fall not long afterwards, adding an exotic touch, not to say Jazzy. With Chris adjusting his singing this piece might as well have been written by ANGRA. In other words, top job by the Maltese in this first part. Jonathan prooves to be a valuable member as he makes his drumming more interesting through fills and the playing in general. The verses are devoid of heaviness while the chorus has it all, though being slow at first and heavier/more powerful in a second instant. Later on as the music flows at a good pace the chorus benefits from that, too. The drums were put high in the mix, but rest assured the guitars don't suffer from that, not even when they try to break the barrier a little with solos (short at first, later a longer one). Before they can be played there's an instrumental transition which seems to group influences from Progressive Rock and Metal, AOR and Hard Rock. Strange but true. Linearity is not a word in TWENTY-SIX OTHER-WORLDS's dictionary and that is without question a very positive aspect.

Last but not least there's "Lady Deadly", a slow to midtempo Progressive Rock song, even entering the Power Metal zone as the tempo goes up. A super enjoyable moment and one that reminded me of the song Martin "Marthus" Skaroupka (drums, CRADLE OF FILTH) plays here. But after that all slows down and the verses are set in with clean, yet careful singing. A more aggressive outbreak is reserved for the chorus. The bridge comes up with heavy grooves, but slow pounding Metal and Chris's clean vocals are too light to properly counter that. The contrast is too big. The chorus is again the keeper of melody and sounds very nice. The uptempo Power Metal of before returns here afterwards for a brief moment. Midtempo Metal then takes over command again, allowing a DREAM THEATER-styled part to be played. The chorus is done once more, together with so much more that makes up this song. And suprise, not two, but three times an eargasm is reached as the music turns towards Power Metal again for the solo. Absolutely awesome moment here. Everything comes to a close, falling silent and letting calm guitarwork carry the last notes to rest.

And so I've come to the end of this review. Another unsigned band managed to pleasantly surprise me, even though this review is somehow overdue and my thoughts were confirmed many weeks ago. Anyone seeking quality Progressive Metal in vein of DREAM THEATER, PAGAN'S MIND, ANGRA, STORMENTAL, VANISHING POINT and so on, played with passion and integrity, and without (!) keyboards - it can't get any more pure - is advised to check out the Maltese band TWENTY-SIX OTHER-WORLDS and their debut album "Manipulated". Sheer quality is on offer, though with some rough edges here and there, but nothing that time cannot correct.

More info at www.26ow.com.

Line-up:
Chris Grech - vocals
Adrian Zammit - guitar
Steve Said Sarreo - guitar
Cedric Debono - bass
Jonathan Briffa - drums - Tim Vervaeke


Discography

Album Name: Manipulated (independently released in 2009)
Tracklist:

1. When Beauty Danced (07:25) (also available as a radio edit)
2. Incubus (08:07)
3. As I Call on the Dark (11:05)
4. Lady Deadly (08:35)

Album Name: Progpower USA X Sampler CD featuring "Incubus" from our album "Manipulated", CD 1, Track 11

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

SO WHERE DO WE STAND EXACTLY?

Maybe claiming originality in today’s musical world would sound a little too far-fetched and pretentious, but we certainly try to do our own thing and move away from the cliché. “Twenty-Six Other-Worlds” is essentially a Progressive Metal band composed of five members, each one attacking the style in different and marked ways, creating a rather interesting aural journey. This is a case of diversity unifying and strengthening the musical style rather than tearing it apart.

Influences and inspirations are drawn from several bands including Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Helloween, King Diamond, Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind, Symphony X, Machine Head, Pantera and such projects as Black Light Syndrome and Liquid Tension Experiment.

We have come a long way since our initial steps as “Angel Dust” (a name which we had to discard upon discovery of another band by the same name). As Angel Dust, we built a strong local fan base, which eventually gave us the opportunity to play as opening act for heavy metal legends Iron Maiden. Now, with a solid line-up and a consistent stream of new material, we are playing regular shows at top rock and metal venues on the island and cultivating a constantly growing fan base.

Making it big requires determination, hard work and a double helping of good luck… and then some. It is said that once, a fan of the great piano virtuoso Arthur Rubinstein told the great master, “Maestro, I would give up my life to play like you do!” To which the pianist replied, “I already have”. And if that’s what it takes to bring our musical career to the highest peak possible, then we’re in for it with all we’ve got and more. The stages of the world await us, as do the keen ears of great audiences all across the globe. And we’ll do our best to leave them entertained, fulfilled and best of all, wanting more.

As of right now, we are working extremely hard to promote our new album “Manipulated”, our very first recorded work. Created out of our best material, “Manipulated” is our first lunge into the international scene with the intention to showcase our material to record labels, management companies, international metal festivals and fans the world over.