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I have to comment on the Earthscapes first. They are small parts of musical blur in between the tracks on which a voiceover does Douglas Adams, Monty Python and some other quotes. I really do like Douglas Adams and Monty Python a lot but can't see the point of these Earthscapes. Some of the quotes are pretty funny but it might be I only understood because I already knew them. The music on the album is in no way funny it is serious progmetal/progrock. So I am somewhat doubting but at the moment my opinion is: this album could have done without these Earthscapes.

So that's off my chest now. Chain was formed in 1994 and at the time they wrote a number of songs. One year later the band broke up. And that could have been the last we ever heard of Chain. But one of the members Henning Pauly listened to some rehearsal tapes years later and decided to produce the album in LA. So nine years have passed and the band has risen from their ashes. Nice story for a debut album isn't it?

It does not take too long to appreciate this album or at least I did not need much time to get used to it. All songs are of a well above average quality. Especially Before There Was, which is a perfect instrumental beginning to this album. I bit too perfect almost: in my opinion it is the best song on the album. Six minutes into the album and the best part is already behind you - a perfect combination of keys and (guitar) strings. Modest piano parts that are interleaved by strong guitar and drum parts. To me this is really an energy shot. This song is firm-soft-firm and "my oh my" the piano loops. First Life at first came across to me as a somewhat a ordinary rock song but after listening more often I am starting to enjoy this song. It is the first example of Matt Cash's vocals and what nice vocals they are. Just one slight comment: in some songs his voice is just too emotionless, it is just all on the same tone then.

While Impact has the correct ingredients of a standard progmetal song Incommunicado Prisoners Of Silence leans towards progrock more than it does to progmetal. Parts of this song brought me back to Both Worlds by For Absent Friends. Missing link is a nice ballad carried by flute and acoustic guitar, which gets heavier towards the end. The Augmented Animal at first appears to be one of the Earthscapes but it evolves from a mellow piano and vocals track to a more up-tempo song, via a complex keys solo it returns to the mellow part. This song has a very good build up.

Conspiracy takes me back to a time long gone and I doubt many people remember (or have ever known) but this song sounds like Winter which can be credited to the voices mainly, but also to the guitars. The Planet Is Fine is a up-tempo (and yes, cheery) tune with slower parts and a screaming guitar at the end. In Signs the keyboards, entangled in guitar riffs, play a leading role, however, during the chorus the tempo slows down a little. What There Will Be is a track with complex guitar and keyboard parts and because of the small dose of heavier guitars this is a real progressive rock song.

It is hard to put a specific label on Chain's Reconstruct (but then again who needs that label?). There is not really a consistent style across the album. But on the other hand it is not a number of unrelated songs either. There somehow is a binding principle and the different styles just show that Chain is able to play a broad range.

The strange thing is that I liked this album from the start (but without the "wow") and would have rated it with a '7' but after listening more often it grew on me a bit more and I got convinced that this album needs a DPRP recommended. So there you have it.

Review by

Coming right out of the concept of the Evolutionist Theory, explaining the whole cycle of life from the origins all the way to the cycle's demise, Chain has created a record that stands out among many concept albums, but that is not where the albums creativity ends, the music is what I see as the center of this record.

Mixing elements of conceptual opuses, improvisational jamming, symphonic overtones, heavy metal riff structure, as well as sub ambient atmospheric timbre structure providing the tone for "Reconstruct," Chain brings forth an aggressive album filled with diversity that lacks redundancy that plagues many acts today, making every cut on this record stand out alone.

For openers, "Reconstruct" has it's moments for discrete production where the mix of heavy guitars, Hammond organs, keyboard strings (done very well, almost sounding real) sounding as if there was really an orchestra in a symphony hall, busy Zonder/Portnoy style drumming, as well as analog synths used among the radio noises and vocoders to compliments the records atmosphere.

"Reconstruct" starts out with two instrumental cuts "Earthscape" and the jam session "Before There Was," pre-cursing the elaborate musicianship showcased on this record. The "Earthscape" cuts are more or less interludes (some are completely avant-garde), creating transition between the songs, but "Before There Was," is more of an overture to the record, which seems to be written the same way many overtures to movies/musicals are. For the points when the record has it's moments in the normal song vein; cuts like the Kansas-esque "First Life," mixing the Hammond organ with the strings being brought forward with the thick guitars pulled back to compliment the rhythmic stance of this cut; "Impact" sounding like a more symphonic version of an early Queensryche cut (guitars brought up front in the mix), the Rhapsody style jam session of "What There Will Be," and "Conspiracy" which sounds like a modern Marillion cut, keep the record on the upbeat pace.

There are slower paced cuts like "The Planet is Fine," which starts out as a piano ballad that eventually leads to an emotional Dream Theater related cut, not to mention the dark "Signs" which sounds like a "Misplaced Childhood-era" Marillion cut with a little more guitars.

"Earthscape" in general showcases production, musicianship, as well as putting together the whole concept that Chain has put together. The record is generally bright sounding in mood and tone, the sound effects of the "Earthscape" cuts are executed to enhance the record sonic quality, not to mention that the overall sound is not dense, which is surprising due to the fact that so many layers of instruments were used here, making the engineering skills notable on this record. Since I am on the subject of the instrumentation, I will add that the arrangements cause the instruments to compliment each other without creating a muddy-layered mess, being discrete among the guitar and keyboard solos. Very well done overall, highly enjoyable for Marillion, Dream Theater, Rhapsody, and Threshold fans, and well worth checking out if you have not already heard this on the Progressive Rock For You (Volume One) compilation.

Review by

Chain was founded by keyboardist Stephan Kernbach in 1994 and drummer Thorsten Hannig and bassist Christian Becker when they were 15 years old. They teamed up with guitarist Henning Pauly and started writing and rehearsing but unfortunately the story did not go any further. That is until 2002 when Pauly found the tape they recorded during their rehearsals and started working on them. He found singer Matt Cash and in 2002 they finally recorded the album they should have recorded eight years earlier!

The result is a very good album called Reconstruct, a concept on evolution: It starts before there was life on earth and goes all the way through time, to the moment all life ends and a new cycle begins. The booklet of the CD gives a synopsis of the story with the matching tracks. The album contains 10 tracks, including 2 instrumentals, and 7 so-called 'Earthscapes' which at times gives the album a sort of film score touch. Reconstruct contains balanced progressive rock with many metal influences, fantastic guitar solos and besides the synthesiser arrangements, also piano parts. There are many breaks and melody changes in the album and the 'Earthscapes' also contain spoken parts, as if they are samples from a movie.

It is very hard to talk about the individual tracks, as you should listen to this album as a whole. Chain manages to create a varying atmosphere, from ambient to metal, with an excellent vocalist. In the ballad 'Missing Link' you can enjoy the pleasant sounding voice of Cash, with a slight country and western touch to his vocals. Another beautiful song, again a ballad, is 'The Planet is Fine', where the vocals have more power. But again: it is hard to capture the sound of Chain in words, you just have to hear the complete album to get then idea.
Besides the strong composing qualities, the production is also very good and they have a challenging subject that will give you food for thought. So not only the music lover can enjoy this one, but also philosophers and intellectuals can try this one. Bottom line: excellent prog album with lots of metal riffs and influences and everything else you want. One last thing about the lyrics: in the credits you can see some familiar names: Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), John Cleese and Graham Chapman! Well, it is about the Meaning of Life, in nearly 80 minutes! Enjoy it.

Review by

In 1995, four guys based in Germany wanted to play like Dream Theater, but they couldn't find a vocalist, so they gave up. Some time after those days, Henning Pauly, the guitarist, went to Los Angeles and met Matt Cash and, remembering the material recorded in 1995, convinced him to sing the vocals for this release. So Reconstruct from Chain saw publication by Progrock Records. Reconstruct is a concept album about the evolution of the our planet, from before there was life to the time when the life on the planet is no more. The album is more than 75 minutes long with seventeen songs; some of them are "Earthscape," that is explanations of the story by a narrator.

The release is a very particular prog metal record; it's true that there are some songs in a Dream Theater or Vanden Plas style with symphonic string arrangements, but it sees some prog rock elements, too, and it also has some influences from other genres, like blues-rock riffs, pop characteristics, fusion parts and film score sounds. That makes for a varied album. In fact, it goes from up-tempo songs, where it's possible to find fine instrumental sections, to pop ballads, where melodies are the masters of the field. Melody is one of the most important things on the album.

All these considerations make this CD very interesting. I suggest following the next works from this band.

Review by

Chain was formed in 1994 and existed for one year, then the band broke up.

Years later Henning Pauly re-discovered old material on tapes recorded during a rehearsal and decided to produce the album in LA where he lives.

The end product is, Reconstruct, which that should have been made 9 years earlier was finally finished. The debut features 17 tracks spanning over 75 minutes of some very well played heavy progressive rock bordering on metal without being pigeon holed into the prog-metal genre.

Along with great melodies and memorable hooks, it is a concept album about the beginnings and end of time here on our planet Earth. To help support the concept, there are some spoken word excerpts from "Hitchhicker's Guide To The Galaxy" as well as George Carlin.

According to Henning, Chain is recording an amazing epic follow-up that is sure to please most if not all of the modern progressive rock audience.

This IS a highly recommended CD! One of the better recordings of 2002!! Reconstruct is now readily so please click album cover for more information.

~Ron for [March 14th, 2003]

Review by

Chain is the product of a long and storied history that started with the musical ideas of some 16 year kids that wanted to play some progressive music, of course that was years ago, and no sooner did these ideas get put onto a tape, the band went it's seperate ways. Henning Pauly, the guitarist for Chain, continued on his path for musical growth by attending Berklee in Boston, soon after, he was going through those 'old tapes' and discovered that not only were the ideas credible musical scores, but that was where his heart belonged as a musician. Not long after this revelation, Chain was reformed, writing and recording was to follow, and ultimately the release of Reconstruct is presented by the upstart Progrock record label.

This cd has a lot to offer for fans of many of the prog idioms. There are equal balances of progressive rock, as well as progressive metal. More than a few times I was reminded of the style of Dream Theater only to hear other themes that reminded me of the great seventies progrock bands, and on the other end of the spectrum the music conceptualizes futuristic themes that are enhanced by spoken word and otherworldly keyboard textures. Regardless of what the band is doing at any given time, this is music that stands on it's own as a progressive statement, revealing yet another talented, forward looking group of musicians that show a depth of vision, and a true dedication to promote the progressive scene into the future.

The cd has a long tracklisting of 17 songs, and each seems to present another tangent of the Chain repertoire, to call them a band that is consistant in style from song to song is far from the truth. It is apparent that the members of the group are inspired by the better ingredients that make progressive music what it is, and borrow from progs many personalities. If in fact these are remakes of older material conceived while in their youth, one can only imagine what the upcoming chain.exe material will sound like. I anticipate that it will be as interesting as this debut cd, or better perhaps.

Well, the question is, who is this cd targeting? Definetly progfans that don't mind a bit of the old and new mixed together, some progrock, and some progmetal, some neo, some spacy stuff, acoustical, or whatever they happen to mix in along the way. I can say, that this is not riff rock progressive, granted some soloing is intergrated only in tasteful ways. But the cd as a whole is presented as a continuing conceptual vision from the start to finish, so it's one that you should follow along with to get it's full impact.

Review by

Message for the many Ayreon fans out there: Chain's Reconstruct is for you!!

Why do I say this? Not because the two bands sound alike since they both have their own sound. It's more that they add common ingredients to their music that should appeal to the same fans, that is:

- concept album based on Science Fiction

- progressive rock bordering (at times) on metal

- great compositions.

One main difference is in the vocals. With Chain, a unique vocalist (the powerful Matt Cash) is at the helm, instead of group of guests in the case of Ayreon.

In conclusion, since Chain added to this dish some great musicianship, incredible performance and flawless production, I can then affirm that for fans of this style of music, RECONSTRUCT is a must have.

Review by

"It is a concept album telling the history of the evolutionary time on our planet from a time when there was no life on earth until a time when there will be life no more." Hum ! Big deal, it's a very long and wide hystory." But the band replace our minding in something new here, something we have to think about today, that's why I want to write all the text from the booklet. Here it is...

"The Story starts 'Before there Was' anything on the planet. We then witness the origin of life in the form of the first replications (First Life), making mistakes in their replication, allowing evolution to happen.

Millions of years later the planet is filled with the most amazing lifeforms but most of them should die in yet another catastrophy the planet has to witness. This enabled mammals to flourish, this enabled us to evolve 'Impact'. Once we were old enought to as questions, we started asking ourselves where we came from. So we were digging up our ancestors from millions of years ago, hoping they could tell us what happened (Incommunicado, Prisoners of Silence). We found a lot, but the one evidence everyone is screaming for was never found, the 'Missink Link'. What most people don't understand is that nothing is a link between two species, that would imply a target species, evolution doesn't work that way. Every species at any point in time is a link, there is never a final form, we are the missing link to something coming after us.

But we couldn't let nature take its own course, we had to improve ourselves artificially, which was a lot faster than the slow mecanism (if it have one ??? hein... ) of the evolution, so we became 'The Augmented Animal, not even stopping to look back and realize what it has achieved in such a short period of time.

Some of our species want to know the truth about where we come from and how life works, most of the other hand want to keep the truth away from their children because it contradicts a belief they have been put here in our present form with a high purpose of mind. They go to the extremes and vote Evolution off the curriculum in schools. Keeping the truth away from the public is a crime and it is achieved throught a 'Conspiracy'.

Modern Homo Sapiens are always concerned with the planet, but they are really concerned about is keeping the planet clean and healthy for their own survival. The Planet has seen a lot of things worse than us and it will still be there when we are gone...this day is not to far away (The Planet is Fine)

Culture, Society, human life as we know it is showing the first sign of breaking down, a new catastrophy is near, ready to re-shuffle the cards and make room for yet another species to rise and take over the planet, ready to re-construct it once again (Signs)

Life is gone and we don't know how evolution will shape the planet now...we don't know and we won't be there to witness it.

" was now all, finally, over."

So, you can think want you want about this minding on the evolution, but there is something true under these words.

The music is very changeable, but based on FM and hard-rock music first, being a progressive heavy-rock'n'roll-rock offshoot most of the time on the peak of the songs or otherwise I put my hand into the fire. And then metal (especially the drumming and most of the time as a trend or with small parts of guitar here and there) and with many other rock FM influences that can be heard all along the CD from which DT, pop-progressive-metal like SAGA, ASIA and more. The songs 'Earthscape...' is mostly an ambient song and/or film music, a CRIMSONesque (Discipline era) guitar playing appeard on the track 'Earthscape VI', the last one is more rock like the other songs. I cannot put a name on the rock bands these guys seems to be influenced by, but I found some which came as old as from the 70's heavy-rock scene, I remember them from when I was listening to CHOM FM in the 80's, a rock station from Montréal, and PINK FLOYD.

The music is well variable, played professionnally by great musicians, they are all well great players, it's obvious. It's a long concept CD of more than 70 minutes of music with lyrics on the 'itself destruction of the human race', with surely lot of research within the lyrics, cause is not the same minding as the usual one concerning the 'natural evolution'. But don't think to find here a truly prog CD, really, as I say it's an heavy-rock'n'roll-rock offshoot before and in a second time into a progressive format. This is not a bad CD for all that, a great one in the genre :-).

Review by

Chain was formed in 1994 and existed for one year. Then the band broke up. After 8 years Henning Pauly re-discovered the old material on tapes recorded during a rehearsal and decided to produce the album in LA where he lives. In 2003 the album that should have been made 9 years earlier was finished and is now available at Progrock Records. It is a concept album telling the history of evolutionary time on our planet from a time when there was no life on earth until a time when there will be life no more.

There are two sides to this album. Most of the tracks are a mix between progrock and progmetal. But there are also 7 “Earthscape” tracks to explain the story. These tracks are more ambient, more a soundtrack for a movie.

Progmetal tracks.

“Before there was” is a very good instrumental progressive track. It’s a bit complex but still very enjoyable. The whole song breaths a classical music atmosphere, with some subtle piano in the middle piece. The drums are doing an excellent job.
“First Life” is also the first vocal track. The vocals are not bad at all. Very rocky song with an adorable ELP Hammond solo and a very catchy riff on the guitars. Everything is in perfect balance.
“Impact” is not really making a big impact on me. Less progressive, more hard rock. Although the last two instrumental minutes make up for this lack and also the intro is more symphonic.
A combination of rhythm guitar and keys give a quiet intro for the rest of “Incommunicado, Prisoners Of Silence” that is heavier. Good guitar solo and excellent keys but the track could have been shorter. There’s a bit of exaggeration on the breaks.
“Missing Link” takes off with a flute solo; some quiet plucking on an acoustic guitar and some quite intimate vocals. The vocals are very good in this song. I wonder who’s doing the backing vocals, because there’s nothing mentioned in the booklet, so I suppose they are all done by Matt Cash.
The first minute of ”The Augmented Animal” contains electronic voices. The rest of the song has a sixties feeling, especially the harmony of the voices in the chorus has a strong Fortunes, Hollies reference. This track contains about everything, a sixties chorus, a heavier instrumental piece, superb guitar and keyboard solos...
”Conspiracy” goes heavy again. Excellent work on the bass guitar and the Hammond organ. The vocals in the verses are a bit too narrative for me.
”The Planet Is Fine” is a beautiful semi ballad that gets a bit heavier in the end. Great track! Great guitar solo!
”Signs” alternates between a symphonic keyboard riff and a speedy part. I don’t really like the chorus, because it takes the rhythm out of the song.
”What There Will Be” The last of the non-Earthscape tracks is an instrumental entitled “What There Will Be”, an exhibition of everybody’s skills.


All the songs are linked together with Earthscapes from part I to part VII.
The story is told with electronic voices that are hard to understand. I would have preferred some lyrics in the booklet. Most of these tracks are ambient and could come from a film soundtrack. Sometimes the lyrics are hilarious (from “The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”) but sometimes they are quite boring. It may be fun to listen to them the first time, but after a few times they annoy me. They make me think of Frank Zappa’s Central Scrutinizer on “Joe’s Garage”.

If you like this linking tracks or not, there’s still 57 minutes full of brilliant music, so you can always program your player and skip these earthscapes. That gives you an excellent progmetal album. (with the emphasis on progressive)

Review by

“Reconstruct” is a journey through time, from before the beginning of life to a time when life on our planet is no more. Then it starts all over again.

With “Reconstruct” Chain offers their musical interpretation of theories about the origin and development of life on earth, based on the works of Charles Darwin, Douglas Noel Adams and Richard Dawkins. The band was originally formed in 1994 and existed only one year. In 2002 guitar player Henning Pauly used the rehearsal recordings to produce this album. The rest of the line-up on the album is as follows: Matt Cash: vocals; Stephan Kernbach: keyboards; Christian Becker: bass; Thorsten Hannig: drums.

I'm generally not too enthusiastic about progmetal, but the instrumental "Before There Was" (5:00) with it's fantastic and intriguing interplay between piano, guitar (heavy riffs and subtle chords) and orchestra really kicks ass! This is the second track after the ambient opening track "Earthscape I" (1:15). Parts II up to VII with this same title are a series of "narration breaks" with a diversity of voices (male, female, opera-like, distorted) and sounds (heavy guitar and keyboards riffs, violin, ambient noises).

With "First Life" (4:38) things tend to become more basic metal, but happily some good keyboard solos make this piece also digestible for me. "Before There Was" (5:00) with it's complex rhythm and nice piano play and ''Impact'' (5:38) with a good guitar solo and church organ accompaniment are again at the same high level as “Before There Was”. The vocals are acceptable but now and then sound as may expect with this type of music. ''Imcommunicado, Prisoner of Silence'' (6:37) starts with guitar chords and a synth melody, than the sound becomes more or less gothic (orchestra with heavy guitar) and it develops into a heavy rock song.

Track 8. "Missing Link" (4:53) is a restful piece with acoustic guitar, flute and a nice orchestral accompaniment. "The Planet IS Fine" (6:04) is also more subdued. High level keyboard play are strong features of "The Augmented Animal” (7:13, piano intro and synthesizer solos) and the up-tempo "Conspiracy" (6:18, clavinet intro, soaring organ battling with speedy guitar). The vocal harmonies in the former are quite surprising. Towards the end of the album things tend to become a little less interesting, although the speedy keyboard parts in the varied piece ''Signs'' (6:25) still holds my attention. "Earthscape VII" (4:47) is the official last track of the album, but after a few minutes of silence a humoristic bonus (track 42!) shows to be the final piece.

As already mentioned I am not to keen on progmetal, but this album of Chain is a pleasant exception to the rule that heavy guitar riffs dominate this type of music. Compositions and arrangements are on the one hand, especially for this genre, very refreshing, well-considered and certainly progressive. The sound of Chain offers a pleasant balance between (of course) heavy riffs, speedy solos and melodious, more delicate parts. Especially the keyboard play of Stephan Kernbach attracts me very much. This should certainly appeal to all devotees of progressive rock.

Review by

Note that this is not the new Chain album to which I referred in my review of Henning Pauly’s Frameshift album. “Reconstruct” is the band’s debut album, which was released independently last year and has recently been (re-)distributed by their new label.
Not less than 10 years ago, guitarist Henning Pauly was the fourth member to join the band, just founded by keyboardist Stephan Kernbach, drummer Thorsten Hannig and bassist Christian Becker, who were schoolboys at the time. They wrote and rehearsed quite a lot of song material, but never were successful in finding a vocalist. In the end, they decided to split up and each go their own way, the only proof of their work being a tape recorded during rehearsals.
Pauly moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music and later ended up in Los Angeles where he started to gain recognition as producer. While browsing through some old tapes, he found the Chain recording, gave it another listen and was convinced that the material shouldn’t be lost. He devoted a great deal of the year 2002 working on what would become “Reconstruct” and at the end of the year even found a worthy and co-operative vocalist: Matt Cash, who later would co-write the lyrics of Pauly’s aforementioned Frameshift album “Unweaving The Rainbow”.
If (most of the) material has indeed been written ten years ago, they were far ahead of their time, especially for a high school band. “Reconstruct” offers a modern mix of symphonic rock and progressive metal with ambient, psychedelic intermezzos, albeit that much of the modern sound is thanks to Cash. His voice reminds me of 80s glam singers as Poison’s Bret Michaels and in times of Sylvan’s Marco Glühmann. Needless to say this gives the songs a different feel than if they would’ve been instrumental or would’ve featured a typical prog vocalist. Cash might not really be my favourite kind of vocalist, I must admit he did a fine job on “Reconstruct”. As said, the songs vary in style and in consequence the album needs some time to grow, which is also caused by the so-called “Earthscapes” in between the regular songs. You guessed it: “Reconstruct” is a concept album. It deals with the ‘history of evolutionary time’ and tells the story ‘from before the beginning of life to a time when life on our planet is no more’, inspired by the work of British geologist and naturalist Charles Darwin.
While not an instant classic, “Reconstruct” contains enough quality material to please the moderate progressive rock and metal fan wanting a preview of this band before their upcoming album – working title “chain.exe” – is released later this year.

Review by

“Reconstruct is a journey through time, from before the beginning of life to a time when life on our planet is no more. Then, it starts all over again.”

Masterminded by Berklee based jingle writer Henning Pauly, Chain’s Reconstruct is an ambitious disc dealing with some of the most fundamental existential and anthropological questions. Who are we , where do we come from, and where are we heading. The topic is addressed on this disc in a very intelligent and coherent manner.

This 17-track concept record avoids many of the pitfalls which often befall hard progressive outfits. A balanced blend of harder numbers and ballads are offered up, interspersed by a 7-part track called “Earthscape” which acts as narration as we journey across eons. Musically, the band is solid in all positions with notable standouts Mr. Henning Pauly on guitars and Mr. Stephan Kernbach on keyboards. The vocals are handled by Mr. Matt Cash who, although no singing virtuoso, does manage to not reach beyond his range.

A few steps ahead of most of their hard progressive counterparts, Chain have released a fine example of how aggressive progressive and science-fiction themes should be meshed together. No childish fantasy themes or useless wanking here, Reconstruct is simply one the finest new hard progressive discs I have heard in the last little while. Recommended.

Review by

The band CHAIN has released a concept debut CD titled ‘Reconstruct’. The album is filled with quality Progressive Rock and instrumental it sounds crystal clear, with some excellent guitar and keyboardwork, but unfortunately the vocals are weaker and a bit too raw for this type of music, which is pure Progressive Rock/Metal. The CD counts 75 minutes and is nice to listen to, but it could have sounded better with a different kind of singer, because lead vocalist Matt Cash has a Metal voice and not a clean Prog voice. Nevertheless, highlights can be found in the shape of “First life”, “Incommunicado Prisoners of silence” (big song), “Conspiracy” and “Signs” (best song, on this song everything sounds perfect!). Interested people should check out the band’s website.

Review by KCOU 88.1 FM

As the avid prog fan knows, concept albums in this genre can be a band’s swansong or their disgrace. Two polar examples are the 1969 debuts of prog greats Genesis and King Crimson – the Genesis debut, From Genesis To Revelation, was an underachieved attempt by a group of talented kids, while Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King: An Observation By King Crimson remains one of the defining albums of the early progressive era. But to the album at hand, Chain’s Reconstruct is unabashedly concept, and unlike the aforementioned bands, this group has some real experience under their belts. Originally formed as a high school band in the mid-90s, the members of Chain broke up after a year of rehearsals. Guitarist Henning Pauly (Frameshift) went to school at Berklee, then began producing before he ran across old tapes of his high school band’s early prog-rock works. He was inspired enough to get them back together (adding vocalist Matt Cash this time). They quickly relearned their old material, synthesized it with new pieces, and somehow crafted a very interesting and stimulating concept album about the history of life on this planet in the process. A great story, but how about the music? On Reconstruct, you’ll find melodic prog-metal in the vein of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Ayreon, etc. Though there is definite link to the prog-metal genre, you’ll find a great variety of alternating styles on this album. Pauly’s composition skills shine here (fans of Frameshift should take notice) and his guitar work is well above par. The band has a natural chemistry on the album that really shines through as it jumps out of the prog-metal traps and finds ways to expand. And they’re conservationists when it comes to disc space – Reconstruct clocks in past the 79:00 mark. Now if we all reunited with our old high school bands, I’d brace for a terrible sound emanating from garages worldwide – but in this situation, I’m glad that Chain is back in action.

Review 1 by Heavy Metal Portal

Reconstruct ci giunge idealmente con 8 anni di ritardo, ossia il tempo che è occorso ad una band di ragazzini per maturare e trovare un cantante, quel Matt Cash che perfettamente si adatta allo stile progressivo della band, sovente più metal che rock, se non fosse per una manciata di tracks decisamente soft. Il debutto musicale dei Nostri americani, o impiantati tali, si accompagna ad un concept elaborato che, più che altro, si potrebbe anche ritenere anima portante del disco, in primo luogo in ragione delle sette incursioni "Earthscape" che dipingono l'atmosfera terrestre durante i vari momenti della storia, narrazione che ci è davvero molto vicina, illustrando l'intera storia umana, dalla nascita alla, inevitabile, morte. Parlato, dialoghi e narrazione sono dunque elementi inevitabili per un album lunghissimo, oltre la portata canonica dei 74 minuti, che invita ad immergersi completamente nell'atmosfera spaziale creata dai Chain. Senza questo impegno, buona parte dell'opera se ne scorre indisturbata in sottofondo, attirando l'attenzione soltanto nei momenti topici che più si avvicinano alla tradizionale forma-canzone. Questa è spesso non dissimile da quanto dettato dei maestri Dream Theater, tanto che un paio di punti da "ehi, questo l'ho già sentito!" ci sono, così come sono perdonabili alla luce dell'età e della funzione di questo apripista. Allontanandosi da questi, invece, i Chain cadono frequentemente in trappole di rock diretto, dolce e melodico, come Incommunicado Prisoners Of Silence o The Augmented Animal, singolari in un contesto che parte da orchestrazioni sinfoniche in pompa magna per terminare con l'estizione umana su tonalità decisamente più scure e misantropiche. Immergersi in queste è il modo migliore per godersi un debutto ambizioso in partenza, ma ancora in attesa di una maggiore genialità compositiva. A cui diamo buone chanches di emergere. Il disco può essere acquistato dal sito ufficiale della label

Prog metal più Melodic Rock più Apocalyptic Concept = Reconstruct
Buona la prima!

Review 2 by Heavy Metal Portal

Reconstruct è l'opera prima di questo gruppo prog proveniente dagli Stati Uniti. Si tratta di un concept sull'evoluzione dell'uomo, dalla nascita dell'essere umano fino alla sua totale eliminazione. Per riuscire nell'impresa di esprimere al meglio queste tematiche appare di tanto in tanto una voce filtrata che funge da narratore. Il disco consta di diciassette brani della durata totale di più di settanta minuti, in cui la band passa da un prog metal canonico alla Dream Theater e Vanden Plas, molto articolato nelle melodie e dalle sezioni strumentali con pomposi arrangiamenti di archi, ad un pop molto particolare, mai banale, ad un rock quasi blues, fino a raggiungere in alcuni momenti addirittura sonorità fusion, alternando pezzi molto ricercati a ballads orecchiabili. Inutile dire che i ragazzi conoscono alla perfezione tutti i generi in cui si avventurano, senza mai essere eccessivamente pretenziosi. Infatti, ognuno di loro mostra grande perizia nel suonare il proprio strumento musicale, ma senza eccedere in tecnicismi inutili.

Una buona opera prima. I Chain sono da seguire!

Review by Progwereld

Chain is misschien voor velen een onbekende groep, maar de naam Henning Pauly zal hier en daar wellicht één of twee belletjes doen rinkelen. Hij is de man achter Frameshift, het ambitieuze project met James LaBrie op zang. Pauly steekt zijn fascinatie voor alles wat met de evolutie te maken heeft niet onder stoelen of banken. Net als op "Unweaving The Rainbow" van Frameshift, gaan ook de teksten van Chain’s eersteling "Reconstruct" over dit boeiende onderwerp.

Reconstruct is een reis door de tijd, die begint op het moment dat er nog geen leven op aarde is en eindigt wanneer datzelfde leven verdwenen is. We zullen nooit weten wat er daarna met onze planeet gebeurt, simpelweg omdat we er dan niet meer zijn en die gebeurtenissen dus ook niet meer waar kunnen nemen. Allemaal bijzonder interessante thema’s, daarom is het heel jammer dat een tekstboekje ontbreekt bij dit album. Toch wel een gemiste kans.

Nu we toch bezig zijn met reconstrueren is het misschien goed om het niet alledaagse verhaal van Chain even uit de doeken te doen. De band werd oorspronkelijk al opgericht in 1994 en heeft toen slechts één jaar bestaan. In 2002 herontdekte Henning Pauly het materiaal dat ze destijds, tijdens oefensessies, hadden opgenomen. Hij vond dat de muziek op deze tapes een tweede kans verdiende en dat leverde dus uiteindelijk in 2003 de release van "Reconstruct" op. Inmiddels is de groep al weer druk in de weer met een opvolger. Je zou het de evolutie van Chain kunnen noemen.

"Reconstruct" herbergt maar liefst zeventien tracks. De zeven korte Earthscape stukjes vormen het verbindende element. Dit zijn eigenlijk niet meer dan geluidscollages die vooral gekenmerkt worden door sferische toetsen en gesproken woorden, vaak mechanisch vervormde stemmen. Zo horen we in Earthscape IV kreten met een historische lading als de Diaspora, de Berlijnse Muur en de Duitse identiteit (niet geheel toevallig wellicht omdat Henning Pauly van geboorte Duitser is). In Earthscape VI is ook nog even de stem van Mr. Fawlty Towers, John Cleese, te horen. Een kinderstem stelt in het laatste hoofdstuk, Earthscape VII, levensvragen als: "Why Am I? Who Am I? Why Do I Eat?" en eindigt met de woorden "We Should Go! It’s Time".

We zouden haast vergeten dat tussen deze hoogdravende tekstuele overdenkingen ook nog een tiental uitstekende muzikale composities te vinden zijn. En die zijn er toch echt. Je zou het progressieve metal kunnen noemen maar daarmee doe je Chain’s muziek tekort. Progressieve rock met heavy gitaren, complexe arrangementen, overdadige orkestratie en veel bombastisch toetsenwerk is waarschijnlijk een omschrijving die meer recht doet aan het fraais wat Chain te bieden heeft. Absolute hoogtepunten zijn het afwisselende, lekker lopende Incommunicado Prisoners Of Silence, het met vette baslijnen doorspekte Conspiracy en de prachtig opgebouwde kraker The Planet Is Fine.

Het zou erg jammer zijn als dit schijfje in de vergetelheid zou raken, want daarvoor heeft "Reconstruct" veel te veel kwaliteit. Meer nog dan "Unweaving The Rainbow" van Frameshift? In elk geval zeker niet minder!

Review by Planeta Rock

“Reconstruct” es una obra conceptual sobre el origen de la tierra, desde el primer día, hasta el nacimiento de la humanidad y como esta se fue gestando.

Los encargados de esta arriesgada obra son los norteamericanos “Chain”, que comandados bajo el liderazgo de su guitarrista Henning Pauly, lograron plasmar en su placa debut, un interesantísimo proyecto de metal progresivo.

El álbum por momentos deja de ser metálico, para transformarse en sinfónico, con tintes épicos increíbles, dónde los teclados y la viola hacen el papel principal.

Pero no solo se trata de una banda más de metal progresivo, la combinación de los antes nombrados estilos, con cierta cuota power y atmósferas renacentistas, más la voz bien potente y poderosa de Matt Chash, quien logra impostar la su voz a lo Hetfield de Metallica en varios pasajes, para en otros desplegar impecables tonos a lo Bob Catley con su labor en “The Hound of Baskervilles” de Oliver Wakeman, hacen de Chain una banda muy sólida, con estructuras bien definidas que hacen la diferencia.

“Before there Was”, de lo más Power Metal del CD, es la encargada de abrir la brecha que conforman las canciones diferentes del disco, la cual posee una base de teclado impecable, la misma que impera a lo largo de todo el disco.

Otra canción a resaltar es la rockera y ganchera “First Life”, que no aporta nada nuevo al género, pero que a su vez logra dar cierto respiro al oyente ante tanto tinte épico, sinfónico y metálico. El mismo que rápidamente se vuelve a repetir con uno de los mejores temas del álbum, “Impact”, a su vez de lo mas oscuro y pesado, dónde la viola Pauly hace estragos.

Ya en el séptimo tema, “Chain” logra plasmar todos los antes mencionados estilos en “Incommuniado”, lejos de lo mejor del disco, que demuestra las influencias que posee la banda por grupos como Ayeron o Symphony X.

Nuevamente deviene cierto respiro a tanta parafernalia metalera y sinfónica, con la acústica y pegadiza balada “Missing Link”. Lejos de tornarse aburrido, llega la ultra oscura y virtuosa “Conspiracy”, de frenéticas notas en los teclados de Kernbach y en las cuerdas de Pauly.

A partir de aquí, y ya pasado más de la mitad del álbum, lamentablemente le disco se torna repetitivo, aunque con lo hecho en más de 50 minutos, tengamos en cuenta que dura más de 75´, el resultado final del mismo es impecable, altamente recomendable, ya que éste nuevo proyecto es redondo por dónde se lo mire.

Review by Artrock

Niemiecka kapela Chain niczym Feniks – powstała z popiołów. Zespół istniał zaledwie rok na przestrzeni 1994-95 roku nie pozostawiając po sobie praktycznie śladu. Gitarzysta Henning Pauly przeprowadził się do USA aby zgłębiać tajniki wiedzy muzycznej w słynnej Bostońskiej Berklee College of Music . Jak niesie wieść Henning pewnego pięknego dnia (robiąc zapewne przedświąteczne porządki:-) natrafił na taśmy-demo swej kapeli sprzed lat. Postanowił uczynić wszystko aby ukazać światu czym był Chain. Efektem tych starań jest właśnie album – bohater niniejszej recenzji.

Reconstruct to album konceptualny opowiadający historię życia na ziemi, od jego powstania po futurystyczną wizję końca. Prawie osiemdziesiąt minut muzyki, która budzi słuszny respekt. Mamy tu do czynienia z wielkim rozmachem kojarzącym się z produkcjami typu rock-opera. Stylistycznie wędrujemy od progmetalu, poprzez prog rocka lat 70-tych, neo-progressiv, delikatny fusion, pop i nawet.........ambient. Niesamowite , prawda? Nasuwa się pytanie czy elementy układanki takiego eklektycznego „misz-maszu” pasują do siebie. Otóż...tak. Jedyną rzeczą, która budzi pewne zastrzeżenia są Earthscape’y, czyli siedem krótkich, elektroniczno-ambientownych przerywników, w których występują narratorzy. Dość często głosy mówców-aktorów są zniekształcone co znacznie utrudnia zrozumienie opowiadanej przez nich historii, Należy tu zaznaczyć, iż booklet płyty pozbawiony jest liryk:-( Nie ukrywam, iż owe Earthscape’y nie rzadko pasują do sąsiadujących utworów niczym pięść do oka burząc misternie konstruowany nastrój. Uczyniwszy eksperyment w postaci ominięcia owych muzycznych bohomazów (chwała możliwościom odtwarzaczy CD:-) uzyskujemy bardziej klarowny obraz, płyta wyraźnie zyskuje. Z drugiej jednak strony ta zabawa słowno-elektroniczna może czynić odbiór bardziej niesamowitym, znanym chociażby z płyt Ayreon. Wybór należy do słuchacza. Przedziwnym także wydaje się zabawa z trackami gdyż ostatni utwór na płycie poprzedzony jest paroma minutami ciszy podzielonej na paręnaście utworów (sic!). Co autor miał na myśli..???

Wracając do muzyki.....pisząc o progmetalowej stronie Reconstruct nie mam na myśli thrashowo-DreamTheaterowych harców. Powiedziałbym raczej, że to bardziej prog-hard-rock. Przyczyna leży w „średniej” drapieżności riffów oraz w brzmieniu klawiszy często operujących nieśmiertelnymi Hammondami. Jeżeli do tego dodamy łagodny, Kansas’owski sposób śpiewania Matta Casha oraz popowe linie melodyczne otrzymamy raczej prog-rockowy (bez „metal”) obraz. Mimo, że rodowód muzyki Chain jest niemiecki brzmi ona bardzo amerykańsko często kojarząc się np.z „uhard-rockowioną” wersją Spock’s Beard...

Sprawca odrodzenia się Chain, Henning Pauly już zapowiada całkowicie nowy album. Głośno jest również o projekcie Frameshift, do którego Henning zaprosił James’a LaBrie. Czyżby rósł nam nowy, płodny, progowy artysta? Poczekamy, posłuchamy.....

Reconstruct jest ciekawym i w miarę oryginalnym albumem, po który warto sięgnąć.

Review by Movimenti

Disco d’esordio per la band guidata da Henning Pauly (chitarra) affiancato dai compatrioti Stephan Kernbach (tastiere), Christian Becker (basso) e Thorsten Hannig (batteria) insieme al vocalist americano Matt Cash, arruolato all’ultimo momento, giusto in tempo per scrivere i testi e naturalmente per interpretarli alla grande.

Si tratta di un concept che racconta la storia del mondo, partendo dagli inizi (“Before There Was”) e spingendosi fino al futuro (“What There Will Be”) attraverso tutta la storia dell’evoluzione, passando per l’inizio della vita (“First Life”) e la nascita della specie umana (“The Augmented Animal”), il tutto intervallato da sette brevi tracce intitolate tutte “Earthscape” che contengono molto recitato, spessissimo esplicative e a volte incentrate sulla Germania, patria della band (eccetto Cash), talora anche ironiche, seguite da una traccia bonus sulla falsariga delle sette "Earthscape".

Il prog metal dei Chain e’ una sintesi delle suggestioni del progressive tastieristico degli anni ’70 (ad esempio Emerson, Lake and Palmer) e del tipico metal tedesco di band storiche come Helloween e Scorpions, che emerge soprattutto, per assurdo, nelle parti vocali di Matt Cash, ovvero l’unico non tedesco della band; la tecnica individuale, eccelsa, si sposa benissimo con un gusto di suonare che trapela da tutto il disco.

“Reconstruct” e’ un bellissimo album d’esordio, e gli ascoltatori possono dormire sonni tranquilli, confidando in un futuro pieno di buona musica proveniente dalle sapienti mani di Pauly e dei suoi Chain.

Review by Gondolin

Chain został założony w połowie lat 90-tych przez klawiszowca Stephana Kernbacha. Przez rok zespół spotykał się na próbach, jednak nie mogli znaleźć odpowiedniego wokalisty. Z tego powodu zespół się rozpadł. Po działalności zespołu pozostała jedynie taśma demo nagrana na pojedynczy mikrofon. Ponad pięć lat później taśma wpadła w ręce gitarzysty Henninga Pauleygo, który w tajemnicy postanowił dokończyć album. Dopisał zatem nieco muzyki, a jakość dema okazała się na tyle dobra, że można było je wykorzystać. Henning namówił do współpracy Matta Casha, który w ten sposób stał się z dawna oczekiwanym frontmanem zespołu. Henning postanowił zrobić starym znajomym niespodziankę na święta... nie poinformował zatem kolegów, że pracuje nad starym materiałem. Wypalił 10 kopii, wykonał do tego jakąś grafikę, kilka zdjęć – i oprawa graficzna albumu była gotowa. Oczywiście pomysł był udany – kiedy Henning wręczył wszystkim płyty – wszyscy byli zaskoczeni...

Zaskoczony był również Henning Pauly, gdy zaledwie po kilku razach, kiedy album zagrano w radio, Prog Rock Records zaproponowało Chain kontrakt, który opiewał nie tylko wydanie „Reconstruct”, ale również kolejnych albumów.

Jak przystało na koncept album na „Reconstruct” usłyszymy powtarzające się i przeplatające motywy i melodie, a sam album skonstruowany jest w ten sposób, że regularne kawałki przeplatane są klimatycznymi utworami – przerywnikami zatytułowanymi Earthscape (części od 1 do 7). W owych przerywnikach obecne są pompatyczne klawisze, czasem smyki, czasem różnego typu głosy, teksty rodem z „dzienników”, odczytywane naukowe rozprawy... a czasem różne wygłupy... Czego przykładem jest „Earthscape 5”. Przerywnik wyjęty z kontekstu sprawia wrażenie skrajnie głupiego... co z tego, jeśli pasuje do konceptu. Pozostałe 10 regularnych utworów to przede wszystkim melodyjne rockowe kawałki podrasowane progresywnymi i klasycznymi motywami klawiszowymi. Gdy dodamy do tego klarowny bas i soczyste gitary Henninga mamy niemal pełny obraz albumu – niemal, bowiem na szczególną uwagę zasługuje matowy (hihi) głos Matta Casha. Muzycznie, czasem jest rockowo, czasem metalowo, czasem klasycznie, czasem progresywnie, a nawet elektronicznie... je wyłowiłem również wpływy muzyki country. Libretto zaś traktuje o historii życia na Ziemi od momentu przed jego powstaniem do jego zniszczenia. Zarysowano w tekstach ewolucję i dążenia człowieka, które prowadzą do unicestwienia gatunku... Szkoda, że we wkładce nie załączono tekstów... Cóż byłem na tyle zaintrygowany, że zapuściłem oślizłe macki w czeluści internetu w poszukiwaniu tekstów do „Reconstruct”... Finał był taki, że z pomocą przyszedł mi sam Henning (i podał mi link), bowiem ktoś inny wykupił domenę i strona traktująca o pierwszym albumie przestała istnieć... Teksty do „Reconstruct” znajdziecie zatem pod adresem: http://www.henningpauly.c...econ.htm#lyrics

Na koniec pozwolę sobie na dygresję... aby zasygnalizować coś czego strasznie nie lubię... Wyobraźcie sobie, że słuchacie pierwszy raz albumu „Empire” grupy Queensryche... Jest noc, kończy się ostatni kawałek „Enybody listening?” i następuje cichy szum morza... powoli zasypiacie... a tu magle BUM! Jasny gwint jak j tego nie lubię... Albo słuchacie sobie „Refresh the demon” Annihilatora... album kończy się balladą, zapominacie wyjąć płyty... więc jest trochę ciszy, a tu nagle wchodzi demoniczna, zwolniona gitara – że idzie dostać zawału!!!

Nie lubię długiej ciszy w trakcie albumu, a na „Reconstruct” jest oprócz 17 normalnych utworów, utwory 18-41 to tracki z ciszą... dopiero utwór 42, to bonus z charakterystycznymi dla Henninga Paulego wariacjami na temat albumu...

Zapewne ta recka nie dotrze nigdy do Henninga (bo też nie chce mi się jej pisać w wersji angielskojęzycznej), ale gdyby jednak – Henning apeluję do Ciebie! Nie wszyscy mają takie poczucie humoru jak Ty!

Wiem – zawsze mogę sobie zrobić kopię bez bonustracków – albo ktoś powie, że jestem smutas! Jednak obiecuję, że pierwsza płyta Henninga, która dostanie ode mnie 10, będzie bez bonusów...

Mojej kopii „Reconstruct” bez bonusów daję „9”! Punkcik odejmuję za „Earthscape5”...