Review by

This is a dynamo of an album.
Several coincidences and chance encounters brought this unlikely cast together, which eventually resulted in this album. It is an unusual collaboration that brings a well-known vocalist by the likes of James LaBrie from Dream Theater with a lesser known, but incredibly talented, Henning Pauly from Chain. Nik Guadagnoli plays much of the bass on the album, Matt Cash offers the lyrics, and Eddie Marvin, despite having a different name, is actually Henning's older brother and drummer for this album. Shawn Gordon, a keyboardist contributes a solo on, "Nice Guys Finish First," while Steve Katsikas, a saxophonist contributes his own on, "Bats," the heavy track.

1. LaBrie's style is similar to his second Mulmuzzler project with clean angelic vocals, many times overdubbing himself with backing harmonies from his own voice. Pauly, on the other hand, is a jack-of-all-trades, but far from being a master-of-none. Pauly is well-studied in the art of progressive music, mainly the side-projects involving members of Dream Theater as he concocts creations that range from Liquid Tension Experiment all the way to Transatlantic. If that's not enough, he takes this a hop, skip, AND a jump further by integrating funky, groovy, and symphonic elements that are seemingly out of place, but often intriguing. Pauly not only provides some excellent songwriting, but supplies the music with guitar, bass, synthesizer, piano, B3, Warr Guitar, banjo, hand percussion, loop programming, orchestration, and even engineering and mixing. The music is a perfect blend between rock and metal offering up pieces that are sometimes heavy-handed, sometimes slow and sweeping, but mostly a combination of the two within the same piece. I found myself staggered a few times with many incantations that first lulled me into a trance and then jumped out from around a corner to grab my attention. The album is about the philosophies behind science and how they affect society. The works of Richard Dawkins (famous author in the study of evolutionary biology, including the book Unweaving the Rainbow) and Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, need I say more?) inspire much of the music. Each track is a commentary on specific teachings of Dawkins, sometimes citing concepts or chapters from his books. The awe and humor of Adams puts a twist on this perspective.

The highlight of the album is, "Off the Ground," which is an amalgamation between progressive rock and progressive metal by performing a balancing act between melodic, harmonious, metallic, and subtle influences. In much the same way evolution has uncovered mysteries and raised new questions, the music ebbs and flows in many directions, starting in fresh patterns, springing surprises along the way, or just bringing closure.

"Above the Grass" both starts and ends the album. First, as a short introduction and then as a means to leave you with a question about what truly lies beyond and what it means to look at life, the universe, and everything from a different perspective.

If you like either progressive rock or progressive metal, give the music a chance as it touches upon a ton of different elements found in the genre. Likewise, it is cerebral enough to compel a listening session with the lyrics. It is colorful and complex as a rainbow. With fifteen tracks that clock in thirty seconds shy of eighty minutes, this album will take you on a long-lasting journey before you've completely had a chance to weave your mind around it.

Review by Cassie Tobin - Radio DJ

"Above the Grass Pt. 1"- a gentle invitation to open one's mind and not be afraid to learn and change. Nicely segues to "The Gene Machine"- We go through our days oblivious to the constant dialogue we are having with our own genetics. Minute but powerful conversation: "I need you to survive", says the gene to its host. HP makes this relationship compelling lyrically & musically (I like the techno flourishes) and James' delivery is spirited.

"Spiders"- We gaze at the web of the spider and see a metaphor for the intricacy of the universe, but we are conversely repelled by the creature that fashioned it. "I know you fear me" says the spider, challenging us to see beauty even in an elegant assassin. This song introduces the James LaBrie University Ensemble Chorale, under the baton of Maestro Pauly, in some pretty stunning a cappella.

"River Out of Eden"- A devotional hymn to the source of all life, Water. "Progress never cease"; the continous motion of water signifies the progression of growth & knowledge. A luxurious melody played & sung sweetly.

"Message From the Mountain" is my favorite track. An anthem ushered in with a martial beat proclaiming that even though life began as primordial ooze, it has risen in strength to boundless achievement. I fell in love with this lyric: "Inch by inch we built this world of wonders" and the exhilarating synth line following it. JLB really takes off in this soaring & transcendant performance.

"Your Eyes"- Irresistable melody, sweet playing and of course priceless because of the line "each one lashes out at me". LOL!

"La Mer" = The masterpiece of this project. Humans are the only species that yearn for meaning in their surroundings and ache to understand how they fit into it. The narrator experiences just such a quickening only to find enlightenment in the seemingly mundane. A "simple shell" teaches him to once again marvel at the patterns of nature ("circles filled with treasure"). HP's words & music combine tenderness and sympathy for a lost man rediscovering wonder. James sings it with nobility and grace.

"Nice Guys Finish First"- Good rockin' Yes-laced fun. Slammed me back to the 90125 era. Especially at the jaw-dropping "Cooperate-defect" chorus. Folks have been snickering at the "tit for tat" part but I actually think that makes it *more* Yessy.

"Arms Races"- Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So, let's eat!!! This song is about predation and the cycle of life. Even the tiniest of microbes has violence on its agenda: eat or be et. Hunger drives all species and actually impells anothers' adaptations. JLB is deftly savage with his vocal stylings here. Very Reznor. I approve. "Origins and Miracles"- Asking the question, can all this perfect and ordered beauty be the product of chaos, or miraculous intent? Heartfelt and lovely piano work here.

"Off the Ground"- This song tickled my proggy bone in a big way, chock full as it is of chunky Emersonian organ and retro guitar licks. Argent, anyone? And it's about flying squirrels!!! An amusing image to illustrate how need + will = adaptation.

"Walking through Genetic Space"- Another heavenly appearance by the JLB University Ensemble Chorale... feels like a sequel to "La Mer". Having pondered the shell, it's time to share that revelation with others.

"Cultural Genetics"- Evolution not only occurs at the bio-organic level, but also at the socio-anthropological. "Your mother taught you how to sing a song". We are distinguished from other species in that we evolve culturally (and morally?) by applying or discarding behaviors learned from our progenitors. And what an astonishing and refreshing arrangement by HP to express that. Nice!

"Bats" will definitely end up on my Halloween playlist. Love the ripping sax solo! Your perception of reality is shaped by your environment; bats are nocturnal, hence they can "hear in color"... EEP!

"Above the Grass Pt.2"- The epilogue/reprise. If we've learned anything about the workings of nature, it is ultimately that we're not through discovering. "Three sides to every story... not one will win". Simply enjoy.

Review by

Frameshift is a very interesting new progressive rock project written and produced by Henning Pauly of Chain for James LaBrie; the voice of one of the best prog metal bands of this time Dream Theater. The music on this album is based on the books on evolution by Richard Dawkins. Composer Pauly has used a lot of different musical styles, like e.g. metal, ambient, techno, orchestral, rock, pop and also loop based music. Knowing that James would be doing the singing, he wanted to offer him an opportunity to sing like he has never done before. As you probably know James is a huge Queen-fan and so Henning uses a lot of large vocal arrangements in the songs (like in La Mer). Some of the songs were even written with a few a capella parts (Walking Through Genetic Space) and remind me of superb progressive rock bands like Spock's Beard or Gentle Giant. Some Dream Theater fans (at least they claim to be so) criticised James's vocals on DT's latest killer album Train Of Thought; stating that he was just "screaming". Well, those criticasters should really dig this album, because on Unweaving The Rainbow, James proves them wrong. He can sing, but we already knew this for a long time ...

The CD features 15 tracks, which are basically 14 songs, framed by Above The Grass Parts 1 & 2. The underlying idea was to reach three goals: produce an album featuring James LaBrie in ways that no one has heard him before, combine elements of progressive rock, film scoring and modern production and last, use the work of Dawkins as a concept that connects all the songs. Well, I can tell you that these three goals are definitely reached, listen to the album several times and you will be "hooked". Right from the start with The Gene Machine, which is filled with excellent guitar hooks, dreamy keyboard parts and awesome vocals, you will love this album. Message From The Mountain, the longest track, starts with a bombastic musical intro and later on it turns into a very melodic rock song, with dominant keyboards and James singing like a young god. On this track, his vocals remind me of the part he sang on the Leonardo-Project; really top notch. For listeners who like their music a bit heavier, there are songs like Nice Guys Finish First (mysterious, complex and filled with staccato guitar riffs) or Cultural Genetics, a song with some Dream Theater characteristics.

Further highlights are: Above The Grass Part 2, with a beautiful orchestral overture, an overwhelming guitar solo and amazing singing, Off The Ground, a really fast track, and the almost "jazzy" vocals of James in River Out Of Eden. However there are two songs that are not really my cup of tea, Your Eyes, which tends to become very boring after 1 minute and I have "problems" with Bats, which sounds spacy and I do not like the sax solo in there. But, all in all, this is an excellent progressive rock album, and James is really second to none here. Buy or die!

Review by

Mit Superlativen sollte man ja immer etwas vorsichtiger umgehen aber bei der vorliegenden CD von FRAMESHIFT, ein neues Progressive-Rock-Projekt, das unter Hauptfederführung von Multiinstrumentalist Henning Pauly (CHAIN) entstand und wofür er als Vocalisten keinen geringeren als "Meistersänger" James LaBrie (DREAM THEATER) dazu gewinnen konnte, muß es ganz einfach mal wieder sein: Gegen Ende des eines musikalisch ereignisreichen Jahres 2003 kommt mit "Unweaving The Rainbow" quasi im Schlußspurt noch ein Progmetalhammer erster Kajüte und der absoluten der Kategorie Album des Jahres heraus, da kann auch die neue Scheibe von DT (leider) nicht ganz mithalten. Im Gegenteil FRAMESHIFT kann mit einem äußerst filigran-eingängigen Stil fast nahtlos an das legendäre "Images & Words" Werk der New Yorker anknüpfen und bietet 80 Minuten feinsten ProgressiveRock-Metal modernster Prägung mit zeitlosen Melodien. Ein zweites "Pull Me Under" gibt's natürlich nicht aber einen legitimen Nachfolger von "Surrounded" ist mit "La Mer" und einer Hookline für die Ewigkeit durchaus gefunden. Wir hatten ja auf MI bereits vorab ohne die Musik überhaupt zu kennen im September ein ausführliches Interview mit Henning gemacht und waren dadurch schon sehr gespannt aber die CD übertrifft die kühnsten Erwartungen. Die Songs sind La Brie perfekt auf den Leib geschrieben und zeigen einige neue Facetten dieser genialen Stimme, er klingt irgendwie befreiter als bei seiner Stammkapelle und man hört den Spaß bei jeder gesungenen Note heraus. Die Stimme führt bzw. trägt alle 15 Titel spielerisch leicht. Elemente von modernem Metal mit klassischen progressiv rock Parts werden mit Filmmusikartigen Songstrukturen ("Above The Grass 2") verbunden, so daß ein genialer Mix aus in erster Linie super heavymäßigen sowie balladesken Tracks, die außerdem mit einigen opulenten Orchesterteilen arrangiert sowie diesen göttlich, eingängigen Refrains versehen sind, entstanden ist. Epische Passagen wie u.a. bei dem monumentalen "Message From A Mountain" wechseln sich ab mit härteren Riffs ("Spiders"), Hammondorgelsounds röhren liefern sich rasante Duelle zusammen mit "normalen" Keys und ein wuchtiger Drumsound sorgt für ein Übriges. "Unweaving the Rainbow" ist zwar ein Konzeptalbum kommt jedoch ohne reine Instrumentalstücke aus. Es wird keine einzelne Geschichte erzählt sondern das gemeinsame (Über-)Konzept verbindet alle Songs, denn dieses Album beschäftigt sich mit evolutionären Theorien, jeder der Songs basiert auf einem Kapitel aus einem der Bücher von Richard Dawkins, einem der meist respektierten modernen neo-darwinistischen Authoren. Henning Pauly hat die meiste Songs alleine geschrieben, wobei einige Lieder mit Nik Guadagnoli entstanden sind sowie ein Chorus von Stephan Kernbach (von CHAIN und jetzt auch TRANSMISSION) stammt. James war beim Schreiben der Gesangsmelodien ebenfalls beteiligt. Die Texte wurden von Matt Cash und Pauly geschrieben. Besonders erwähnenswert sind noch einige über das Album verstreute tolle Chorpassagen mit YES-artigen Ausprägungen im Stile der 901525 Phase u.a. herausragend bei "Nice Guys Finish First". Hier gibt's genau das "richtige" will sagen ausgewogene Verhältnis zwischen Technik & Songs, Tiefe & Emotionen z.B. das leicht folkige "Your Eyes" oder fast schon mit einem popigen Refrain versehene "Off The Ground", nicht zu flach aber trotzdem gefühlvoll und mit einer Weite ausgestatte Songs, die den Zuhörer abtauchen lassen in den abwechslungsreichen Musikkosmos von FRAMESHIFT- sensationell gemacht. Genreübergreifend werden hier alle Rockfans bedient und wenn diese CD kein Erfolg wird dann weiß ich auch nicht. Also macht euch auf die Socken, damit "Unweaving The Rainbow" so schnell wie möglich zur aktuellen Lieblingsscheibe mutiert, denn daß passiert - garantiert!! (maio)

Review by

There could not have been a better concept to produce the Frameshift project, other than combining the ideology of the literary works of Richard Dawkins, copulated with music that tends to tread the fine line between soundtrack music and progressive rock/metal, and who else to add the vocal endurance to this project than none other than James Labrie.

Being a project straight from the mind of Henning Pauly, a concept album that talks about evolution being screwed by scientific research and so forth, using technical biological terms, and the whole controversial gene theory type subjects without going overboard outside reality or into science fiction territory.

Such a concept deserves such discreet production, combining all types of sounds on this record; for which there are elements of all types of prog and metal artists. Starting out with "The Gene Machine" keeping a quick pace, with Ozric Tentacles neo-techno/industrial rhythms and ambience, and an unsurprising approach to the Dream Theater sound with "Spiders," setting the tone for what you might think is going to be one completely aggressive record; but let us switch gears here. More laid back and mellower cuts are on the way, such as the "River out of Eden" and "Your Eyes," which sound like some of Spock's Beard's or The Flower Kings' more pop oriented material, while "La Mer" adds an emotional piano ballad to this record.

"Nice Guys Finish First" is one of the more diverse tracks, beginning as power pop meets Yes harmonizing which leads into more of an introspective and atmospheric opus, "Arms Races" and the symphonic "Message from the Mountain" are returns to the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence vein of aggression. The more power ballad oriented material include "Origins and Miracles" and "Walking through Genetic Space," containing absolutely no cheese factor. "Cultural Genetics" and "Bats" are the most avant-garde cuts, complete with your noise overtures to add a more confusing atmosphere to compliment the lyrics, sort of ending the record on the aggressive note, however the final cut "Above the Grass Part II" is like a finale that ends all confusion, being more or less an eased back ballad to bring Unweaving the Rainbow to it's final close.

Other than the songs on this record, and the copulation of different styles, the musicianship is way above par, giving many of today's guitarists, keyboardists, and drummers a hell of a run for their money, the playing in retrospect is not weak by any means, and it's surprising that these players don't really receive the same stature that many other top notch prog and metal guys do, but maybe things will change with this record.

Overall it's an all around awesome record, not dark by any means, pushing all the doom and gloom bullshit aside, almost in many cases sounding like a coked up version of OSI. To sum it all up, it tends to be a perfect cross between Images and Words and Feel Euphoria with a little more of a soundscape environment involved, otherwise it makes for one great album, and don't be surprised if you too are blown away by it.

Review by

Frameshift is basically a musical collaboration between multi-instrumentalist, Henning Pauly (Chain) and vocalist James LaBrie (Dream Theater). It combines cinematic soundtrack features with hints of prog metal and heart felt ballads. At time this reminds me of Dream Theater's Images And Words cd but on a more technical side.

This release is very important, not only for Progrock Records but the prog-metal genre. By that I mean, the genre has for lack of a better term, gone stale. Most bands are clones of other bands that camebefore them. The only link to Dream Theater is really James. But here you get to hear James' vocals in a different way. In Dream Theater the music was the most important compenent and James' vocals are almost an after thought.

Here on Frameshifte, Henning built the project around James' vocals and added insturmentation that fitted properly. To me this is the way it should be done if you have a frontman in any type of band. This is a true progressive recording thanks mainly to multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly. This guy is by far one of the most underrated musician in music today, progressive or not. He incorporates musical instruments not associated with prog metal such as Warr Guitar and Banjo. He is joined by Eddie Marvin on drums. Unfortunately I'm not aware of Eddie but he's a really good drummer and knows his craft.

Other reviewers will chime in on the technical side of this CD but I want to let the listener know this is a fun way to spend almost 80 minutes and there's no filler. The 80 minutes goes by without even noticing.

This is, in my humble opinion, Progrock Records crowning achievement. I just hope it gets the proper exposure and let's also hope it doesn't get overshadowed by Dream Theater's Train of Thought release. Please do your ears a great favor and buy this release. Heck buy two copies and spread the word. Frameshift is here!
Ron for [January 13th, 2004]

Review by Prognosis

After gaining positive attention for his previous release as Chain, Henning Pauly follows that fine recording with a new Project cd, in Frameshift, Pauly is joined by DreamTheater's vocalist - James LaBrie, who finds himself in yet another form of music outside his role in DT.

Pauly's music is not progmetal as a rule, he does utilize some of progmetals' nuances, yet his background as a film musical director finds his tastes running far and wide with what he is willing to inject into his direction with this project. Pauly plays the role of multi-instrumentalist, doing all the guitars, keyboards, some bass, and also provides all the writing, production, and arranging. Obviously knowing these fact while listening to Frameshift, one cannot overlook the talents of this person. He is also joined by a drummer Eddie Marvin, and bassist/stick player - Nik Guadagnoli.

One thing about this cd is apparent, even after the first song, with James Labrie as your vocalist, you can not escape the Dream Theater comparisons, even though Pauly has a much different compositional approach, Labrie's voice is so unique to that bands sound, however, I do like the many different ways that Pauly has charted his voice in harmonies, which show a new side of LaBrie's talents. Unlike Dream Theater, Pauly seems to compose more from the keyboards, whereas DT's music is very guitar based. I'd haev to say that this music more closely resembles what LaBrie did with Keneally & Matt Guillory on the Mullmuzzler cds. Though I find this music more admirable and unique.

If you were aware of the news of this cd and were thinking that this would be another DT cloning experiment, you would be far off in those assumptions, Pauly, who has such a diverse background musically, also has a deep well for musical ideas from which to draw from. This is not a cd for fans of the metallish side of progressive music, but aimed more toward the fans of symphonic, grand, ambiously detailed progressive music. In certain places I am reminded of Magellan, but with better vocals, other sections are reminescent of some of progrocks legends, yet overall, Henning Pauly has found the niche for individuality that he was striving for when he began this endeavor into prog territory.

Frameshift seems to exist between many known progressive subgenres, which is always a good place to be, it means that the artists involved are constantly expanding the set boundaries of the musical spectrum, Pauly's intentions of using the complex and diversity of creating film scores and translating them into progressive music, has proven to be a success from what I am hearing on this cd, this is one well worth your attention, metalheads beware.

Review by

Similar to Jeff Hodges (Man on Fire), composer Henning Pauly has a wide experience in many music styles, including film music. Last year he released Reconstruct, with the band Chain, an album that had been written years before but never recorded. And he started working on two other projects, both concept pieces, one of them being Frameshift (the other one is a musical in the vein of Trans Siberian Orchestra, called Babysteps) and it turned out James La Brie (Dream Theater) was very interested, so he got involved. The story of Unweaving the Rainbow is based a book by Richard Dawkins, a writer on evolutionary biology.

In Frameshift Henning Pauly not only mixed traditional progressive rock with film score elements, he also wrote the music with La Brie in mind and managed to use La Brie's voice in many different ways. Together the truly created an album unlike any other. Besides Pauly and La Brie, the line up is completed with Nik Guadagnoli (bass and Chapman stick) and Eddie Marvin (real lastname is Pauly, and yes he is the brother of) on drums. After the first track, 'Above the Grass - part I', which is more an introduction to the album, 'The Gene Machine' immediately shows this innovative style of music, with lot's of electronic sounds, loops and fast drums. Pauly's heavy guitar is omnipresent on the album, but there is room for some vintage sounds, like in 'Message from the Mountain', where the intro reminds me of early Genesis work. Another thing I like is the bass sound of Guadagnoli, which is not too upfront, but definitely present and at times it gives the songs a warm sound.

The press release mentions both Pauly and LaBrie are huge fans of Queen and Spock's Beard, and it will be no surprise elements of these bands are found in the music. In 'Spiders' LaBrie is also doing backing vocals and his vocals are layered to create a spacey effect, a bit in the vein of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Besides the heavy guitars and electronic loops, there is room for some acoustic work, like 'your Eyes' and 'La Mer', which are among the most beautiful songs on the album. As I said, this is an album unlike any I've heard in a long time and there is much variety in the compositions, like 'Nice Guys Finish First', which has more Spock's Beard influences and a melody that has a hint of the Caribbean in the beginning.

OK, I'll tell you about one more song…'Arms Race'. Why? Because this is another example of progressive song writing! This track opens with a short but truly shredding piece of metal, followed by haunting vocals, something in the vein of the recent work by Pain of Salvation. Powerful drums and a fabulous guitar solo top this one off. Of course there is much more to tell about this album, as just about every song is so different from the other and shows more of the unique talents of Henning Pauly and James LaBrie, but I can only urge you to listen to it yourself. That is the only thing that will do justice to this album.

If there has been one album, released in the past year, that truly deserves to be called progressive and innovative, but still created with love and passion, it is Frameshift. Although there are influences, hints and references to other bands, it is very hard to compare Frameshift with any other band. First class music, great production and lasting compositions from a man, of whom there should be many more, Henning Pauly. Similar to Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), he knows how to get the best of out other musicians, as shown here by James LaBrie (who later this year will also appear on the new Ayreon album!). Very highly recommended, although it will need some time to grow on you and reveal all its secrets. But still, highly recommended.

Review by

James LaBrie (Dream Theater) and Henning Pauly (Chain) team up to form the band Frameshift. Their ambitious project Unweaving The Rainbow is ready for admirers of progressive rock listeners worldwide to feast their ears upon. Richard Dawkins' series of evolution-themed books are what the recordings are based on. While the subject matter is out of the ordinary for the genre, the music is unmistakably prog-rock in some of its finest moments.

For LaBrie it is a big departure from his role in Dream Theater and Mullmuzzler ( LaBrie commands a vocal range that allows for a strong performance in any setting he puts himself in. While this is indeed progressive rock, the textures and tones of the music are much different from what he is accustomed, yet he takes it to task like the pro that he is and successfully adds another pearl to his ever-growing resume. Henning Pauly is a multi-talented individual that not only plays a myriad of instruments, he engineers and mixes the project superbly. The two form a dynamic duo in the studio.

Tracks like "Arms Races" bare an incredible resemblance to something that Yes would perform, with all of that wonderful rhythm and focus. LaBries' vocals are used to their fullest on every track; some of the compositions feature his voice in layers, as if he was answering himself with a chorus. Its very provocative and quite beautiful, and really a marvelous feat of mixing and engineering. So there you have it, a story, great music, and technical wizardry all wrapped up in one album…an effective combination of all the right elements, making this one of the prog-rock albums of the year.

Review by

Frameshift is a side-project almost totally carried by the talented German musician Henning Pauly, who has been living in the States for a few years. He wrote this album exclusively for James Labrie's voice, who also contributed to the writing and who recorded the vocal tracks in only two weeks. The work is a concept based on the books by Richard Dawkins, one of the most important neo-Darwinist teachers. In fact, the lyrics are complex and therefore you can find some help on the official website for the project, and this way everyone can be involved. Even though the album speaks of the same topic during the whole length, recurring themes can be discovered only on the two parts of "Above The Grass," which bookend the album.

Unweaving The Rainbow shows all the skills that Henning has and proves his versatility both in playing instruments and writing music. Although the instrumental part of the release is very important, the vocal section is the main side of the disc, where James can demonstrate that he's still got his vocal goods.

To give you an idea of what the music represents, it should be defined as a prog rock with some metal extracts that carries on the journey of the giants of the past like Yes (some echoes in "Nice Guys Finish First") and Gentle Giant ("Spiders"). Moreover, there are a lot of ballads where Labrie gives his best, like "La Mer." Plus some orchestral arrangements like the music of film scores and a few cool electronic loops, all done with perfect production. In my opinion, it's one of the best releases of the year.

Review by

The great thing about being a consumer with a limited network is that you usually have to find out about what's going on by yourself, and much of the finding out is serendipitous. So it was that, while I was doing some research on Dream Theater, I came across the press for Frameshift and Unweaving The Rainbow. I was surprised to learn about the Frameshift project, and immediately ordered the album. I received my CD in the mail just over a week ago and I haven't listened to much else since then.

Frameshift consists of Henning Pauly (Chain) and James LaBrie (DT, of course) with a hefty assist from Nick Guadagnoli and Eddie Marvin. Unweaving The Rainbow is Pauly's concept project based on the written works of Dr. Richard Dawkins, a neo-Darwinist (huh-what?), and written specifically for vocalist LaBrie. Each song deals with some aspect of evolution, from genetic mutation and DNA to the co-evolution and flight, and incorporates a boatload of modern rock and film soundtrack elements, both of which lie well within composer Pauly's realm of expertise. His deft combining of progressive elements, electronic loops and treatments, and familiar rock and pop forms has produced a fine album that is thought-provoking, accessible, packed with great hooks, and highlighted by what may be LaBrie's finest performances to date.

If you're a fan of the big vocals harmonies of Queen and Yes - or just vocals in general - then you'll go nuts over Unweaving The Rainbow. Pauly's precisely choreographed vocal charts permit LaBrie to explore the limits of emotional range and create huge walls of sound by using layers of overdubbed harmonies. Every song features a bravura performance from LaBrie, from soft, plaintive solos to huge choral passages to counterpoints and rounds a la Yes, Queen, Gentle Giant, Spock's Beard, and even 10cc (remember "I'm Not In Love"'s big vocal orchestration?). Pauly also "treats" LaBrie's vocals in spots to good effect; in "Arms Races" and "Cultural Genetics," LaBrie's voice is manipulated to reinforce the scary, visceral aspects of each song.

And, although this is LaBrie's tour de force, the music must not be overlooked. Pauly, Guadagnoli, and Marvin are extremely talented musicians, and their efforts are truly equal to LaBrie's singing. All work together to create the appropriate atmosphere for each topic, in a dazzling array of forms. Acoustic balladeering ("Above The Grass - Part 1"), techno-looped speed rock ("The Gene Machine"), soulfully funky riff metal ("Spiders"), AOR power ballads ("River Out of Eden," "Walking Through Genetic Space," "La Mer"), jaunty happy-sounding pop ("Your Eyes"), it's all here, and that's not the half of it! "Nice Guys Finish First" reflects Yes' - particularly Jon Anderson's - fascination with the Caribbean sound and big vocal arrangements. For B3 lovers, "Off The Ground" really gets things going with its Emerson-meets-Kansas riffs and Leslie-drenched chords. My personal favorite is "Walking Through Genetic Space" which features LaBrie's acapella vocals and lush harmonies, Rush-style guitar arpeggios (a la "The Oracle" from 2112), and Pauly's elegant piano in an emotive power ballad that inspires intimate slow-dancing (yes, dancing!) and ends far too soon - a prime example of AOR done right!

But, in the end, it's not just LaBrie's vocals or Pauly's songs that make Unweaving The Rainbow great album. Instead, Unweaving The Rainbow transcends the sum of its parts to provide an eclectic, rocking experience that should satisfy even the most discriminating progressive rock listeners, one that needs to be heard to be believed.

Review by

If I told you I’d heard a genre-defying mix of prog-metal and symphonic rock that addresses a body of scientific principles, you’d probably roll your eyes and say this experimental prog stuff has gone too far. But the man behind this project is an accomplished musician and the vocalist is Dream Theater’s James LaBrie, and this unlikely experiment works!

Henning Pauly of Chain grew up in Germany, and studied at Berklee where he graduated summa cum laude. He wrote and produced Unweaving The Rainbow with James LaBrie in mind. It is a theme album, with each song based on a section of Richard Dawkins’s books on evolution. And beware – the subject matter is very complex.

When I think of modern progressive metal, one of the first things that enters my mind is the sounds of James LaBrie. So while reviewing this music I had to constantly remind myself to view it purely on its merits, rather than as a prog-metal piece. You have to listen to this music on two very distinct levels – the vocals and the instrumentals. Pauly’s instrumentation moves from metal to hard rock to symphonic prog and back again. The singing ranges from metal to power ballads to an interesting overdubbed choir of LaBries singing in unison. There’s an occasional disparity between the instrumentals and the vocals that took some getting used to.

A look at who plays what will assure you that this is a Henning Pauly project. Several artists contributed, mainly on drums and Chapman stick, and Prog Rock records boss Shawn Gordon played keys in a one track guest appearance. But Henning plays electric and acoustic guitars, bass, synthesizer, piano, Hammond B3, Warr guitar, banjo and hand percussion; as well as handling loop programming, orchestration, engineering and mixing. As talented as Pauly is, I missed the interplay between separate musicians with different personalities and emotions and idiosyncrasies and so on. The instrumentation is very busy and there’s little space here – you’re up against a wall of sound in almost every passage of almost every track.

Some of the earlier tracks feature instrumentation that I couldn’t easily reconcile with the vocals, although I felt the quality of the pieces improved as the album progressed. Imagine LaBrie’s emotive wailing over a synth-pop rhythm with staccato keyboard passages. But having said that, most pieces are strong, and “Arms Races” is a personal favorite. It is a moody 8-minute piece with big changes in tempo and some of the longest instrumental passages on the album.

Although Pauly’s instrumentals are rich and varied, this album really revolves around the vocals and it highlights just how talented LaBrie is. He was given a lot of interpretive latitude, and all 15 tracks for Frameshift, plus 3 for an upcoming double album rock opera set for release in March 2004, were recorded in an intense 2-week session of eighteen songs in thirteen days with just one day off. The complex and catchy melodies of Unweaving The Rainbow are a perfect showcase for his interpretations and his stylistic range.

A friend whom I consider to be an expert on progressive metal warned that this CD requires many listens before it even begins to make sense, and he was right. But he also said it was closer to classic Dream Theater than their newest release, and I can’t agree with that. Unweaving The Rainbow will have equal appeal to fans of symphonic rock, neo, and progressive metal. It features James LaBrie; but that does not necessarily make it metal. If you listen closely you’ll probably hear more Yes than Dream Theater in this music.

Whether you love this album or you hate it, you can’t deny that it conveys one clear message: Henning Pauly is an artist to be watched closely, and we can expect big things from him in the future.

Review by Strutter Magazine

Although the new DREAM THEATER CD is a great album, it is a shame that DREAM THEATER is putting so much other music influences into their sound on each new album. A lot of DREAM THEATER fans long back to the earlier DREAM THEATER albums that showcased a pure Progressive Rocksound, and more importantly, hear JAMES LABRIE singing the way he sounded at his best. Well, the wait is over, because James handled all the lead vocals of this new Progressive Rock/Metal masterpiece, which is based on the books on evolution by Richard Dawkins. Besides James on lead vocals, this project is entirely written and produced by Henning Pauly of the band CHAIN. What you get is an 80-minutes counting Melodic Progressive Rock epos that will please all fans of classic DREAM THEATER and RUSH. This is definitely a high quality record, with an important part for James' vocals that sound better than ever! Highlights are such great uptempo Melodic Progressive Metalsongs like "The Gene Machine", "Message from the mountain", "Arms races" and "Off the ground" and the wonderful ballad "Your eyes". Concluded, this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Progmetal masterpiece that I like even more than the new DREAM THEATER album.

Review by

Little in this world will ever top the sheer joy that blossoms the very first time that James LaBrie sings on Unweaving The Rainbow. His first utterances on "Above The Grass Part I" are the stuff that careers are made of. And, given the amount of albums that LaBrie's lent his talents to and given the number of those that are forever fixed in the firmament of brightly-shining progressive rock moments, that's saying something.

While his recent work with Dream Theater remains as strong as ever, the purity and innocence of his voice on tracks such as "La Mer," "Your Eyes" and "Origins and Miracles" proves groundbreaking for him, tapping into parts of his voice that have probably been there all along but didn't seem to shine as brightly as they do here.

Of course, Frameshift would not exist without guitarist Henning Pauly of Chain, who produced the album and penned the material with LaBrie and others. It also wouldn't exist without the subtle touches of drummer Eddie Marvin, who adds not just beats but deep musical textures that resonate as deeply as anything else on this hour-plus platter.

It would almost be a shame for this band to collaborate again, as it seems that they've come closer to perfection with Unweaving The Rainbow than should be allowed by mortals. But if they must, then they must and here's at least a small hint of a hope that they will.

Review from

Wer sich diese CD kauft und hofft, ein Festival an progessiven Metal zu hören, wie man es von Dream Theater kennt, der wird enttäuscht... oder überrascht, denn LaBrie ist nicht gleich LaBrie. Zumal ihm hier nicht seine Stamm-Kombo sondern Henning Pauly von Chain zu Seite steht.
Inhaltlich dreht sich das Album um die Bücher des Evolutions-Forschers Richard Dawkins. Pauly und LaBrie wechseln gekonnt immer wieder zwischen, rockigen, jazzigen und popigen Elementen, so daß es natürlich purer Prog ist, der in Ohr geht und den man gerne wieder hören möchte. Wem der letzte Dream Theater Silberling zu hart war, der fühlt sich hier vielleicht besser aufgehoben. Aber auch - wer wie ich - das letzte DT Album liebt, wird die Scheibe mögen.

Manch einer mag sagen, daß es nicht möglich ist Sideproject mit Stamm-Kombo nicht vergleichbar ist oder Vergeleiche unfair seien. Darum noch ein kurzer Abstecher zu LaBries letztem eigenen Project Mullmuzzler: Sanfter, melodischer, zuweilen intelektueller kommt Frameshift rüber. Mullmuzzler wirkt dagegen - trotz der Virtuosität - brachial, obwohl ich auch hier mindestens vier Sterne vergeben würde. Trotzdem ist eine klare Weiterentwicklung LaBries in seiner "Spielecke" seinen Sideprojects.

Fazit: absolut hörenswert für solche, die prgogressive Musik jeder Art mögen und die erfahren möchten, zu was James LaBrie auch kompositorisch in der Lage ist, weil er bei DT ja eher im Schatten der anderen vier steht.

Review 2 from

Wen es schon immer gestört hat, dass James LaBrie bei Dream Theater eigentlich nur Beiwerk ist und dort wenig Einfluss auf die musikalische Entwicklung zu haben scheint, der wird mit dieser CD darüber aufgeklärt, dass der gute Mann einiges mehr auf dem Kasten hat, als er bisher zeigte.

Die bisherigen Soloprojekte des Herrn LaBrie (z.B. Mullmuzzler) hatten ja schon gute Ansätze, konnten jedoch nicht so recht überzeugen. Aber mit Newcomer und Multiinstrumentalist Henning Pauly (der Typ spielt bis auf die Drums einfach alles auf diesem Album - welch ein Gott für uns Hobbymusiker...) haben die beiden ein Album hingelegt, dass ein echter Lichtblick in dieser musikalisch oft so grausamen Zeit ist (Welches Pickelgesicht war jetzt gleich Deutschland's Superstar?).

Wer auf eine Mischung aus den Yes - Arrangements der Neunziger, dem anfänglichen Dream Theater Sound (Images & Words), angereichert mit einer Portion Ayreon steht, wird mit diesem Album ein Stück in seiner Sammlung haben, dass erst nach langer Zeit - und auch dann nur kurz - im Schrank verschwinden wird. Wobei diese Komposition durchaus mehr ist, als nachempfundene Werke anderer. Der ganz eigene musikalische Stil ist über die gesamte Spielzeit präsent, gleichwohl die musikalischen Vorbilder der beiden Musiker nicht zu überhören sind.

Musikalische Perfektion unterstützt, zum Teil unglaublich, eingängige Melodien (hier sind ein paar echte Ohrwürmer dabei). Abwechslungsreiche Grooves, einfallsreiche Gitarren-Riffs und wunderschöne Instrumentalphasen runden das Konzept ab. Ach ja, bei "unweaving the rainbow" handelt es sich übrigens um ein schlüssiges Konzeptalbum, dessen Grundidee auf den Evolutionstheorien von Richard Dawkins basiert. Die Qualität des Albums weckt durchaus das Interesse, sich mit den Arbeiten von Prof. Dawkins näher zu beschäftigen.

Genug der Lobhudelei. Kurz zusammengefasst, liegt hier ein Album vor, das an musikalischer Güte mit den "ganz Großen" locker mithalten kann und auch produktionstechnisch ein echter Hörgenuss ist.

Bleibt eigentlich nur die Frage, warum der Silberling bei Amazon nicht mehr geführt wird und nur gebraucht oder als teurer Japanimport zu haben ist.

Review 1 from

5/5 WOW! I like it.
First off LaBrie is just a awesome singer. The best in Prog hands down. Now I thought it seemed kind of mellow at first but after each song was finish I just thought "what a great song". So when I reach the end I played it again. Henning Pauly just blew me away. What a talent this guy is. Plays everything on this cd minus the drums. And the drummer is very good as well. The lyrics center around a Richard Dawkins book. Very nice concept. I say Buy it if you like Prog rock/metal. LaBrie fans:this is a must buy!

Review 2 from

5/5 Another in agreement!
I love the genre of melodic, big production metal, so I actually wasn't expecting anything when I received Frameshift. In fact many of the reviews I had read elsewhere were far less than "a must buy". One key word caught my attention however... eclectic! Just like ARK - Burn the Sun, this project has a little of everything, and it's all over the top in production, technicality, quality, composery, you name it. Spiders even makes my skin crawl. Labrie is awesome! Revives memories of Images to Words. I can reccommend this album to anyone who likes proggy / rock / pop / metal. It's the perfect album for headbangers to slip into the cd player on that family vacation cause it is something everyone will like!

Review 3 from

5/5 A masterpiece from both: Henning Pauly and LaBrie!!!
Based on Richard Dawkins' evolutionary biology books, Henning Pauly (who studied at Berklee College of Music) started writting this progressive rock album. James LaBrie (we ALL know him)was the one in charged of the vocals, and the results were outstanding. The album also features Eddie Marvin (drums) and Nik Guadagnoli (Additional bass, guitar and Chapman Stick). The combination of classic prog-rock elements with a wide variety of styles (ambient, jazz, big band, orchestral, solo piano, pop, rock, metal, a capella, minimal, musical and film scores, among others) makes this masterpiece an unforgetable prog-rock record!!! For more information visit:

Review 4 from

5/5 Masterful composition
This album is fantastic and a must-own for progressive rock fans. It gets better with every listen. James LaBrie has been involved in his share of side-projects, and this is definitely the greatest one so far. To reiterate what other reviewers have already mentioned: the composition of this album is exceptional. The music has great variety in terms of style and feel, from crunchy to symphonic, from funky to ambient, but what's so fantastic is the way it all flows together into a wonderfully cohesive whole. The musicianship is very strong in every department, and yet the album is not overwrought with 'prog' excesses of virtuoso soloing and the like (not that there's anything wrong with that ).

"Message from the Mountain" is a majestic masterpiece (clocking at just under 10 minutes) with a strong symphonic rock feel and a great instrumental section near the end (the bass solo, although short, is very nice). The other longer track, "Arms Races", is an aggressive metal piece, yet with soaring symphonic highlights. "Your Eyes" is almost pop in its catchy sound. "La Mer" is a beautiful ballad with piano as the primary instrument.

James' voice is the focal point of the album, and he exhibits vocal diversity to match the diversity of the music. His voice is soaring and melodic on tracks such as "La Mer" and "River Out of Eden", and growly and gritty in the bone-crunching tracks like "Arms Races" and "Cultural Genetics". The effects and layering that they use on his voice is fantastic: "Spiders" has a multi-part vocal section strongly reminiscent of Gentle Giant (or more recently of Spock's Beard), and the harmonies in the chorus of "Walking Through Genetic Space" are equally breathtaking.

The lyrical content is thought-provoking and helps give the album focus and flow. The subject matter is really perfect for this type of project, as I think it really gives the album direction.

This album is top-notch; my highest recommendations.

Review 5 from

5/5 Progressive Masterpiece!
All I can say is that this release is one of the best things around right now. James LaBrie singing is even better than anything he has previously done with Dream Theater! Much more versatile and beautiful. Nice, nice tunes. Great songwriting and delivery.

Review 6 from

5/5 There are only a few reviews, but we're all agreeing
For some reason, vocalist James Labrie, despite his 12+ years in Dream Theater, has always been criticised severely by some DT fans and prog fans in general. I personally have no problem with his vocal delivery. On the contrary I'm of the opinion that, given the opportunity to contribute to the writing, Labrie actually has a lot of interesting musical ideas to add to the flavour of the compositions. He doesn't get to write much in DT; therefore he is always open to other side projects such as Mullmuzzler, Leonardo, and recently in Ayreon. I know he didn't really compose much in the latter but he definitely was given the room to experiment with his vocals and inject his own personality into the music.

And Frameshift is no exception. Originally Henning Pauly's project of the prog rock band Chain, most of the songs were penned by Henning with Labrie on mind. Obviously Pauly hoped he could somehow get in touch with Labrie at some point and convert his dream into reality. What's more is Labrie actually co-wrote each song except one ("Your Eyes") and the result is simply stunning. It is quite a departure from his role in Dream Theater (and even Mullmuzzler). His vocals are placed delicately right in the centre of the compositions, and they are used to their fullest on every track. Henning Pauly obviously wanted to offer Labrie an opportunity to sing in ways he hadn't sung before. The vocal arrangement is amazing. Pauly left a lot of space for Labrie's vocals and therefore they are the most important element on the album. The layered vocal harmonies reminiscent of Queen and acapella parts in the tradition of Yes and Gentle Giant are other characteristics of Unweaving the Rainbow that lend this record to the genre of 70's progressive rock. I'm not sure if these are good recommendations, but I believe bands like Spock's Beard, Porcupine Tree, Nightingale, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra may also appeal to you if you're a fan of Frameshift.

To bring more depth into the album, Pauly has worked with other talented musicians like Nik Guadagnoli (bass, guitars) and Eddie Marvin (drums). Henning Pauly plays pretty much everything else from guitars to bass to piano and synths. His notion of orchestration is one of the strongest points of this album ranging from a sublime symphonic feel to more concise classical touches. There is no instrumental prowess going on here because the compositions don't require it. Still Pauly lays down some beautiful guitar solos and piano interludes that are minimalist in structure but progressive in style. His playing is modest and to the point. Combined with Labrie's heartfelt vocal delivery the artistic messages are conveyed perfectly.

This is a concept album dealing with rather unconventional subject matters like DNA, genetics, and evolution of mankind. Most of these themese were inspired by the works of Richard Dawkins. I have yet to decipher the plot but I'm in no hurry. The music is so beautiful that I just don't want to get to the lyrics yet, though I'm positive they are all thought-provoking and important in their own right.

Review 7 from

5/5 Great music, great content... fascinating CD!
Synth, Wah, Funk... it's all here! I'm only on track 5 and I can tell this CD was WELL worth the wait -- not only for its superb musicianship, but also because of the lyrical content. The song titles are ABSOLUTELY perfect for the messages they convey.

All of the music is top-notch. Expect a new level for LaBrie's vocals... impeccable. Lots of layering, harmonizing, and vibrato. Great stuff!!! "River Out of Eden" is an amazing song, with a chorus that'll hook you on the first listen.

My wait is over, and the empty position in my CD changer has been filled! I expect this to stay in rotation with Mullmuzzler for a long while.

***After many listens***

Well... the music's had time to sink in, and I now have even more feelings for the album. Don't listen to this CD and expect Dream Theater. The only aspect of Dream Theater you'll get (obviously) are the vocal stylings of James LaBrie. Having never listened to Chain, I have much respect for Henning Pauly's musical versatility. There are more mellow/laid back songs (Your Eyes, La Mer) on this disc, as well as straight out rockers (Off the Ground).

Stand out tracks:

Your Eyes - Expect a Wait For Sleep or Silent Man type song here.
La Mer - Beautiful song about the oceans (again in the same vain as Your Eyes)
River Out of Eden - Great chorus, catchy song... had me from the first listen!
Arms Races - Good song musically, but the real amazement is the lyrical standpoint of this song (weighing advantages and competition in the animal world).
Walking Through Genetic Space - Almost Gregorian Chant like at times. AMAZING vocal harmonies.

**I can't say ENOUGH about the variety of music types and moods. Synth, strings, wah, funk, rock, nearly operatic, jazzy... even a BANJO is utilized!!!**

This is the perfect CD for a fan of Dream Theater and a lover of science. I'm not sure if you need a good base of science knowledge to fully appreciate the album, but listening to the lyrics and relating to the messages are truely rewarding.

Review 8 from

5/5 Superb musicianship
Not much has been written about James LeBrie's "Frameshift", which is a shame, considering it's an energizing, well-conceived album. There is creativity to burn here, all punctuated by James' excellent vocal delivery. "The Gene Machine" is a bone-grinding rocker, with catchy melodies and thoughtful lyrics. The next track is a bit funky, not my favorite of James' styles, but it's still a solid tune. The next few songs are all terrific, with "Message from the Mountain", "La Mer", and "Nice Guys Finish First" being my favorites. "La Mer" especially is exquisite, with beautiful lyrics about the sea and learning life's lessons from a simple shell. "Message from the Mountain" is grand and eloquent, with a rousing chorus. "Nice Guys" is a preening, infectious song with soothing piano work and a thundering, operatic chrous.
"Walking through Genetic Space" and "Origins and Miracles" have gnawed their way into my head and left a satisfying impression. "Arms Race" is more of a thrashy head-banger, with ferocious singing that verbalizes the battle of predator vs. prey. I also enjoyed "Off the Ground", which has some dexterous keyboard work. As mentioned before, these are well-crafted songs, not displays of virtuosity, so there isn't a lot of extended instrumental interplay. No matter. The songs are fun, there's great diversity, and James shines throughout. The other contributors offer exemplary melodies, guitar and keyboard work, and expert support. I like this CD better than the "Mulmuzzler" albums, and possibly better than the new "Dream Theater" CD. It's more focused and less derivative. Inspiration flows through this work, and it's a nice departure from the vapid mediocrity of some side projects.

Review 9 from

4/5 A great album...
I wasn't sure what to expect with this album, but I have to say that it is diverse, original, and damn good. Labrie sounds awesome, and the album weaves through many different styles to create something interesting and engaging.

Review 10 from

5/5 Progressive Rock the way it should be...
Man what a great cd! The subject matter is a bit complicated but it makes you really listen again and again to figure it all out. I have never heard James Labrie sound this good. Not a dull moment on this cd.... some parts are almost prog metal but still have a lot of structure to them, not just a bunch of mindless jamming. The way this cd goes from metal to ballad and back and adds a lot in between really makes you feel the experience....

Review 11 from

5/5 Amazing...
damn.... the album is just excellent.. better than many DT albums.. It is progressive rock, but in a way we havent heard before.. it combines new elements (electronic??) its just great!!... after hearing six degrees and train of thought i began wondering if james labrie was getting old, and this album proves me wrong... james labrie rocks!!!! his vocals on the album are simply amazing... I strongly recommend.. noo if u are a DT fan I URGE u to buy this album, u wont regret it, perhaps u ll find it weird at the beginning but after few tries , it will beome your favourite album.

Review 12 from

5/5 Simply Excellent!
Excellent talent from Henning Pauly, music is incredible, but most important, refreshing...very good combination of classic progressive rock with progressive metal and other genres. LaBrie`s voice fits perfectly. Eddie Marvin is a phenomenal drummer (he graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in May 2003 with a degree in drum performance, come on!!), and the collaborations from Nik Guadagnoli and Matt Cash are superb, lyrics and music are deep...amazing! Just buy it, now! Pauly`s band, Chain, is my next step...

Review 13 from

5/5 THE Best Release of 2003 and will be played all of 04!

First of all, Dream Theater is my favorite band. After hearing all about Frameshift I always put this CD off. Then one day I said what the hell...

WHY DID I WAIT???!!!! This CD beats alot of Dream Theater material. Every song one this CD has it's place and fits in perfectly. This defines progressive rock/metal.

ABOVE THE GRASS PT. 1 - A nice 43 second intro. basically previews the final track. Good for what it is.

THE GENE MACHINE - A fast-paced song to start it off. KILLER chorus, good verses. Short keyboard break fits in perfectly. Can't find anything I don't like about this song.

SPIDERS - This song has a great groove to it. Starts off with James singing a funky verse. Good guitar. The "Queen-ish" interlude where James layers himself is great. Good song.

RIVER OUT OF EDEN - Here the CD mellows down a bit. The guitar intro is interesting. Good slower song. Not the best of the CD though.

MESSAGE FROM THE MOUNTAIN - EXCELLENT two minute intro. one of the 3 best intros on the CD. (The other being Off The Ground and Above The Grass Pt. 2) Finally breaks in with a great verse followed by a great chorus as well. Great solo and outro. This song deserves:

YOUR EYES - Catchy song, all acoustic. It's kind of poppy, but doesn't fail to impress.

LA MER - This song reminds me of why I love LaBrie's slow ballads. Incredible piano/vocal work. Very emotional song. The song picks up later on with the full band, and hits you head on with emotion. Then back to the piano and James. Incredible ballad.

NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST - Faster-paced song. Decent verse and chorus. I find it to be lacking something. Good keyboard solo! Probably my least favorite of the CD.

ARMS RACES - THE metal song of the CD. Not one bad moment in this song. The intro hits you hard and never stops. Verses are GREAT. The chorus is the best on the CD hands down, so melodic you won't believe your ears. The songs slows a bit in the middle, and is incredible.

ORIGINS AND MIRACLES - After a song like Arms Races you need a nice slow song to calm you down. And this is it. Another great performance by James. This is a candle-lighter (if they ever tour). Great slow song.

OFF THE GROUND - Great intro. The guitar solo in the intro is the one of the best on the CD. Great rocker. Another song full of great verses and choruses. Not a thing wrong with this song either.

WALKING THROUGH GENETIC SPACE - This song starts off with a layered James, singing alone...soon accompanied by a piano...leading into just the clean guitar and piano. The chorus (which is also what starts the song off) is amazing on this song.

CULTURAL GENETICS - Another metal rocker. Can be up there with Arms Races. Great intro, hits you harder than Arms Races. Solid song with nothing wrong with it. And yes...there is a banjo.

BATS - Pretty heavy song. Not as good as Cultural Genetics or Arms Races, but still good. Decent song.

ABOVE THE GRASS PT. 2 - GREAT symphonic intro. This song finishes what Part 1 started, and goes much further. As a closer, this song fits perfectly. stays pretty calm until the AMAZING guitar/orchestra solo!!! what a way to end a CD.

The best songs on this CD are:
Message From The Mountain
Arms Races
Above The Grass Pt.2


Review 14 from

3/5 Love the subject matter, even if the music isn't my thing!
This is simply a matter of taste: I didn't care for the style of music on this album. Yes, I love prog, I like a lot of prog-metal, and I love most Dream Theater. Frameshift do sound a lot like "Images and Words"-era DT, but...I dunno...there's more of a "hair band" aspect to their sound if you ask me. I just didn't connect with this musically. But that's just my taste. If you like that sound you'll love this.

But I still have to commend this band, because they have chosen to write a concept album about evolution, based on the writings of Richard Dawkins. I admire anyone who has respect for solid science, especially during the G.W. Bush years, when the Religious Reich is doing everything it can to promote "intelligent design" creationism in the schools.

There's nothing wrong with critiquing evolution, but any criticism of science has to be scientifically strong itself. The ID crowd hasn't got that. The work of Michael Behe and William Dembski has been refuted in detail. So has Moonie Jonathan Wells. The ID movement, in all honesty, isn't scientific, it's political. First they want to get students to doubt the truth of evolution, once that's done they want them to become receptive to ID, and finally they want to segue back into old-style Biblical six-day creationism.

The ultimate goal is to have fundamentalist Christianity, which does not represent the beliefs of all Christians, promoted in public schools (and you can bet they don't care if some students might be Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, atheist, or "other"), using the "wedge strategy" of science education to do it. They've all admitted it. Philip Johnson has admitted it. The creationist Discovery Institute has admitted it. But they're all pretending they haven't. They demand equal time in schools to "teach the controversy." But in the scientific community, there IS no controversy. The "controversy" only exists in the minds of the public, because creationists make use of the media to spread the idea. Giving "equal time" to creationists in biology class is as inappropriate as giving "equal time" to Holocaust deniers in history class, or Flat Earthers in geology class.

So I have to praise Frameshift for using their music to educate people about what modern science really has to say about life on earth. Even if I don't dig the "hair metal" sound, thousands of fans who do might learn something cool.

Anyone who digs this album and wants to know more about what Frameshift is singing about would do well to order these books from Amazon:
TOWER OF BABEL by Robert T. Pennock.
You can also visit the TalkOrigins Archive and EvoWiki online for more facts about evolution that will be handy if you ever find yourself dealing with an annoying creationist.

"Evolution: It's in Your Genes!" :-)

Review 15 from

4/5 Fantasic Music
I must confess that when I listened to this amazing album for the first time, didn't like it that much. I thought... "What happened to LaBrie? Where are Dream Theater-esque tracks?"
Some weeks have gone by... Today I bumped into this one when looking for something to listen while going to the office, and decided to give it another try. Wow! I was blown away... those guys are really good! The musicianship is superb, LaBrie's vocals fit the lyrics perfectly and the instrumental passages are just damn good.
If you're looking for Dream Theater like music, skip this one... but if you're a open-minded progressive-rock fan, give it a try... It takes some listens to get into, but after that it'll become a must for you.

Review 16 from

5/5 James for President!
This release is very important for progressive metal. Today, when most bands are clones of other bands you find Frameshift standing along with few other heroes on the metal battlefield screaming for uniqueness hoping someone will hear. I did and hope you're going to count yourself.
Is there Dream Theater? NO! The only link to Dream Theater is James and that's it. Even his known vocals sound different, interesting and still mighty. I'm sure you'll agree, no matter how big DT fan you are, that in DT the music is the most important compenent. Well, Frameshift has James vocals as 'a base of the building' and then and added insturmentation that fitted properly.
This is one of the progressive metals crowning achievements. I just hope it gets the proper exposure and it doesn't get overshadowed by Dream Theater. Do your ears a great favor and buy this release.
I'm gonna spread the word!!!

Review 17 from

5/5 Worth more than most
I'd read a lot of hype online about this album. so when i found it at a local record shop, i had to check it out. Though most of the hype i'd read was from the band's record label, i have to admit, i think it stands up to the hype.

A lot of listeners in the progressive selections admit their disgust for Dream Theater wannabes and such. so to those, i'll have to recommend this album. though the songwriting really isn't that strong in my opinion. the music and the enthusiasm that's been put into this album more than make up for it. plus, these songs are really catchy, even enough i'd say they're meant for radio (not just net radio). the album's production is definitely up there with some of the best and it's obvious the musicians are excited about their sounds.

For anyone out there looking for something new, that isn't just another imitation. i recommend this cd. for those open minded musicians out there, possibly looking for new influence, i recommend this cd. it may not strike everyone out there positively, but i suggest checking this band out.

Review 18 from

5/5 Quite incredible...what a joy
Okay. I like Dream Theater, and I like The Flower Kings/Transatlantic and all assorted side projects of different neo 'prog rockers' that are presently out on the market. I have ordered solo projects from different bands (Neal Morse solo's) etc... but they all are very good, and I enjoy them, but rarely does a side project rival the original group from which the member came from....

James Labrie from Dream Theater shines on this CD. The whole CD is wonderful. His singing is great, the songs are tight, and if you weren't paying attention, you might mistake this for a new DT cd.

Sometimes in Prog rock, the music can be totally excellent, whilst the lyrics or the singer not be really with it. The lyrics are either put in the song as an afterthought... a speed bump on the way to the music muscle. And, we as music lovers will tolerate the dada lyrics as long as the music carry's the day. However, the great prog songs also had decent/good lyrics that you could enjoy or at least sing along to (Close to the edge, down by a river...) I guess the point I am making is, this CD was produced with an emphasis on good harmonies, and wonderful lyric writing. The music is flawless, but the vocals and lyrics also are very strong. This makes a very strong package, which is the main reason it gets a FIVE instead of a 4. Or a 5- .. due to strong music.

The whole CD is enjoyable but there are some standout songs here that one should pay attention to: (in order of ppearance)

1. River out of Eden. This is a great song. I enjoyed from the initial time I heard it and it sticks in my head.

2. Your Eyes. This song sorta, kinda, in a way, reminds me of classic Kansas. Not totally, but done very well. I really enjoy the chorus. Catchy and meaty at the same time.

3. La Mer. This is my favorite song on the CD. I really enjoy the emotion, the grandness, the overall PROGNESS of this song. The vocals are really put together well here.

4. Above The Grass Prt 2. This song is great. It was the first song that 'caught me'. I bought this CD with two other prog releases, the new Neal Morse 'one' cd and the new Tangent. I first listened a lot to the new NM cd, and put this CD in on occasion... it wasn't till I heard this song that I started to listen deeper to this CD. Very strong song. Good end cap to the CD.

If you like prog rock, I think you will like this CD. If you like Dream Theater, you will most certainly love this CD.

Have fun.

Review 1 from

Music that stands alone
Being a Dream theater fan, I fell in love with LaBrie's voice when I first heard it. This album showed a very different and incredible side of his unique voice. The music was outstanding, the songs all had their own identity and were very well written. This is the first time I had Heard of Henning, I have to say that playing all the instruments, beside percussion, was excellent. Being that DT fan, the drumming was very pleasing as well and suited my need for a variety of drumming technique. This album is just incredible, well rounded, excellent melodies and vocals but most important it stands alone of everything I have heard. Unique in every aspect in my opinion. I would recomend playing this album in any mood I was in. Have to listen to believe.

Review 2 from

James - the best prog voice
I couldn't imagin James sing something like that. The album represents a great combination of prog metal and electronic music. James's voice connects the "different sides" of music together. This record represents a new side of his talent. It also proves that there are no limits for development and creativity in prog metal.

Review 3 from

Amazing !!!
Henning Pauly presents an amazing idea for this CD. The conept of the evolution of humans is fantastic. The music is incredible, with everything from soft beautiful piano parts to riff laiden heavy guitar parts. For all of you Dream Theater fans out there LaBrie does not dissapoint. His voice is so incredible and is worth the purchase alone.

Review 4 from

Rainbow Replication
This CD is pretty good. It won’t disappoint Dream Theater fans. James Labrie's singing, if you want some type of measuring analysis, is as beautiful as his solo CD Mullmuzzer 2 and as heavy metal prog as Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The music isn’t all like you’d expect. There isn’t a lot of grunge heavy power chords. Or battery like drumming. But there is a lot of melodic melodies, beautiful and guitar piano solos, some Yes like harmony singing. A light motif theme of recombinant DNA splintered and spliced in the lyrics. If you’re a Dream Theater fan, Flower Kings fan and a Yes fan This is a CD for you.

Review 5 from

LaBrie does it again
For fans of Dream Theater, this is an excellent showcasing of the unlimited talent of James LaBrie. The entire album concept focuses on neo-Darwinist writings and the album takes the listener through an evolution of musical expressions. There are the quieter, ballad type songs and the heavy sounds reminiscent of Dream Theater or Asia. A great buy, you won't be disappointed!

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Frameshift is a very interesting and ingenious musical project lead by Henning Pauly (Chain), who among others is accompanied by James LaBrie from Dream Theater on vocals (plus helping with the writing of the music). By interesting I mean lyrics, music, contributors and the production, so an open-minded approach to this disc is advised. Unweaving The Rainbow is an extremely complex and at times difficult album to grasp, but like these things often are, time and patience will be rewarded. There roams a lot of musical directions on this record, classic and modern, heavy and soft, complex and simple, and after some time it slowly melts together in a rather fitting and mentally pleasant journey, balance is a key word.

The lyrical core of the record evolves around the writings of ethnologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, so there is plenty of writings on this album that are occupied with the themes of living organism, progress, rivalry and collaboration.
Some lyrical aspects like that of ambition, searching for answers and the chance for a better world can be seen as themes in themselves in a more relatable scope.
There exist many interesting passages and overall the lyrics have quite a lot to offer, and then it’s only a plus that they are well written too.

I’ll dig a bit into some selected songs:

The Gene Machine is a pretty good example of the different styles and approaches this album has to offer. Tight rhythm guitar, deep bass lines, technical drums, advanced keys, sophisticated computerized backgrounds and of course LaBrie’s amazing and varied voice mixed into a very progressive stream of detours and at the same time binding elements.

River Out Of Eden represents a more down to earth and rock orientated side of the album, a slower song with very interesting and atmospheric keyboard work. Acoustic guitar rhythms and mellow piano melodies is mixed into the song in a very cool way and the melodic guitar solo fits right in.

Message From The Mountain is a very symphonic composition featuring a relaxed and innovative key solo and a subsequently key/guitar duel. An almost 10-minute technical show off in the good meaning of the word.

La Mer is one of the best songs in my opinion, a soft and warm piano lead ballad with James LaBrie delivering a performance that is truly remarkable; his special, reassuring and yet vigorous voice is just perfect for stuff like this.

Nice Guys Finnish First has a cool jamming vibe to it; I just think the chorus line is a bit over the top. Anyway this is all in all a good song with a down to earth atmosphere.

Cultural Genetics has very loose structure and I think the effect sounds becomes just a bit too weird, this is one of the few times where I think that some elements are a bit too complex. Anyway it has good stuff too, like the great keyboard solo and the advanced and ultra varied drumming.

As a nice round up we are treated with Above The Grass - Part 2 nicely opened with a soundtrack-wise symphonic touch, and the following acoustic guitar/vocal part is just fantastic and so damn catchy. A great relaxed ending song with some magical vocal lines from James.

Due to fact that the album works out very well it’s hard to say what could have made it better. But I think that a bit more melody and lesser advanced parts from time to time would have worked out quite well.

Just as the music on this disc is well balanced and complex so is the sound of it. The result is quite impressive when taking in to consideration the high amount of layers and considerable use of effects that is found in many songs, a special sound for an even more special album.

The musical level is on all fronts of very high class, James’ vocals are a central focus point because the songs rely on them very much, but he certainly does a fantastic job I must say, all in all technicality is a general quality.

Extremely experimental music that remains structured in a fascinating way, Unweaving The Rainbow is a welcome contribution to the art of progressiveness.

Review by

Frameshift is another project put together by Henning Pauly from Chain. Henning wrote the entire album with the thought and hope to have James LaBrie (Dream Theater) sing on the album. Pauly wrote 80 minutes of progressive rock on this theme album based on the books of evolution by Richard Dawkins. All of the 15 songs on UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW deal with a different evolutionary concept.

Henning Pauly has worked with a lot of different music styles and projects. Just before this project he was writing film music that included a lot of different music variations like a mix of metal, ambient, techno, orchestral, rock, pop and loop based music. All of those musical elements lend itself to a perfect genre of progressive rock and Pauly decided to have the same approach in this project. He didn’t want to limit himself to have just a rock lineup; he wanted to have the same tools that a film composer has. Despite that, he hasn’t forgotten the elements that progressive rock contains, he has just taken an altered approach to arrange the music for Frameshift.

Once Henning knew that James LaBrie was going to sing on the album he gave LaBrie the freedom to sing things in his own way. LaBrie is in that top of the mix and a lot of this album circles around the vocals. UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW is very varied musically with a lot of diverse music styles represented. The foundation is in progressive rock influenced by melodic hard rock. It takes a while to get into this album, it has to grow on you. I have listened to it several times now and I have grown to like it. LaBrie has an amazing voice that really carries up this music brilliantly.

I can strongly recommend this album. Look for LaBrie on the album MADMEN AND SINNERS - also a release from Frontiers Records.

Review by

For a longer time than today, we know that James LaBrie is equal to a quality label for all things progressive rock and metal. Not that the man turns everything he works on into gold. No, he carefully chooses what he lends his voice to and finishes the product, blessing it with at least a golden border. Think of his work with the godfathers of progressive metal Dream Theater, his solo albums under the Mullmuzzler moniker, Trent Gardner’s progressive rock masterpieces “Leonardo” and “Explorers Club” and Shadow Gallery’s opus “Tyranny”. The chance that this would also be the case for Frameshift was very likely, which explains my curiosity for this “Unweaving The Rainbow” album.
The brain behind this project however is multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly, known for his work with Frameshift label mates Chain, who are planning to release their second album “chain.exe” soon, and also busy writing and producing his own musical “Babysteps”, which will feature LaBrie as well as Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Jody Ashworth and Chain’s Matt Cash and is due out in the first part of 2004.
With Frameshift, Pauly wanted to achieve 3 goals: to write an album that would enable LaBrie to sing in a way no one has heard before, to blend elements of progressive rock and movie soundtracks using ultramodern production techniques and to use the work of Darwinist and author Richard Dawkins as inspiration for the project’s concept and lyrics.
As far as I’m concerned, these 3 goals have indeed been achieved. LaBrie delivers a top quality performance, the album’s production is of a very high standard and the songs, ranging from traditional and emotional progressive rock to quite aggressive progressive metal, are far above today’s average. Nevertheless, only a few pieces on the album really grabbed me, which – call me a spoiled listener – is the main reason for this album’s not getting the maximum score. I miss more songs of “The Gene Machine”, “Arms Races”, “Walking Through Genetic Space” and “Above The Grass – Part 2” calibre. But don’t understand me wrong here, the overall quality level of “Unweaving The Rainbow” is quite high and with ease lifts the album up to the five stars range. In other words: not to be missed for proggies and definitely worth checking out for the rest of you.

Review by

James LaBrie (Dream Theater) and Henning Pauly (Chain) team up to form the band Frameshift. Their ambitious project Unweaving the Rainbow is ready for admirers of progressive rock listeners worldwide to feast their ears upon. Richard Dawkins' series of evolution-themed books are what the recordings are based on. While the subject matter is out of the ordinary for the genre, the music is unmistakably prog-rock in some of its finest moments.

For LaBrie it is a big departure from his role in Dream Theater and Mullmuzzler ( LaBrie commands a vocal range that allows for a strong performance in any setting he puts himself in. While this is indeed progressive rock, the textures and tones of the music are much different from what he is accustomed, yet he takes it to task like the pro that he is and successfully adds another pearl to his ever-growing resume. Henning Pauly is a multi-talented individual that not only plays a myriad of instruments, he engineers and mixes the project superbly. The two form a dynamic duo in the studio.

Tracks like "Arms Races" bare an incredible resemblance to something that Yes would perform, with all of that wonderful rhythm and focus. LaBries' vocals are used to their fullest on every track; some of the compositions feature his voice in layers, as if he was answering himself with a chorus. Its very provocative and quite beautiful, and really a marvelous feat of mixing and engineering. So there you have it, a story, great music, and technical wizardry all wrapped up in one effective combination of all the rightelements, making this one of the prog-rock albums of the year.

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Das Rezept für ein gelungenes Progrock-Album scheint eigentlich recht einfach zu sein. Man komponiert einige Songs und sucht sich eine bekannte Stimme, die diese Kompositionen bestens in Szene setzt. Doch diese Annahme ist bei FRAMESHIFT vollkommen fehl am Platz. Dieses progressive Rockprojekt ist ein neues Highlight im Progrock-Bereich und müsste eigentlich auf Rezept erhältlich sein. Der in Los Angeles lebende deutsche Film- und Werbekomponist Henning Pauly zauberte rund 80 Minuten hochwertigste Musik. Als diese abwechslungsreichen Songs in die Hände von Ausnahmesänger Mr. Dream Theater James LaBrie gelangten, nahm das Schicksal seinen verdienten Lauf. James zögerte nicht, sich diesem FRAMSHIFT-Projekt anzuschließen und durch seine überragende Stimme den Kompositionen einen weiteren positiven Aspekt hinzuzufügen. Also feilten James und Henning an diesem „Unweaving The Rainbow“-Album, das mehr als eigenständig ausgefallen ist. Thematisch behandelt Henning dabei die interessanten und nicht von der Hand zu weisenden Theorien des Neo-Darwinisten Richard Dawkins. Was hier mit Vogelgezwitscher und „Above The Grass – Part 1” bzw. „The Gene Machine” so virtuos beginnt, entpuppt sich von Song zu Song als wahres Meisterwerk progressiver Rockmusik. James bringt mit seiner mehr als abwechslungsreichen Stimme die jeweiligen Stimmungen zum Ausdruck. Wenn auch die Musik auf „Unweaving The Rainbow“ sehr differenziert und teilweise modern elektronisch untermalt wird, so überwiegen eindeutig die rockigen Elemente. Natürlich dürfen auch die ruhigen Passagen nicht fehlen und gerade die Wechsel zwischen langsamer und härterer Gangart, machen das Salz in der Suppe aus. So entwickeln sich „Spiders“ oder das fast schon wahnsinnige „Message From The Mountain“ zu wahren Songmonstern, die jeder Progrock-Freak einmal in seinem Leben gehört haben sollte. Selbstverständlich bleibt aber auch genügend Luft, um eine Ballade wie „La Mer“ richtig auf sich wirken zu lassen. Diese schmeichelt sich sofort ins Ohr und bietet ausreichend Nahrung für das angeschlagene Herz. Sämtliche Songs triefen vor aufrichtig durchlebten Gefühlen und man erkennt an allen Ecken und Enden, dass die Songs James LaBrie direkt auf die Stimmbänder geschneidert wurden. Dieses Gefühl hatte man in der Vergangenheit bei einigen Dream Theater-Songs gar nicht mehr. Hört euch unbedingt auch „Nice Guys Finish First“ an, es lohnt sich. Wer sich mit Dream Theater nicht zufrieden gibt und die anderen stimmlichen Seiten von James LaBrie erkunden möchte, der sollte FRAMESHIFT unbedingt auf seinen Einkaufszettel schreiben. Ich bin mir sicher, dass dieses Projekt zu einem echten Geheimtipp wird. Progrock der Extraklasse, mehr sog i ned!

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Ich gelte gemeinhin ja nicht unbedingt als Prog Rock-Freak, aber hin und wieder schaffen es auch einige Scheiben aus dem progressiven Genre in meine "melodic-verseuchte" CD-Mühle. Allerdings erreichen nur wenige Alben den Status der Dauerrotation, da der Großteil dieser Veröffentlichungen entweder zu frickelig oder zu unruhig ausfällt. Eine große Ausnahme bildet das Progressive Rock-Projekt FRAMESHIFT. Hinter diesem Namen verbirgt sich der deutsche Multi-Instrumentalist Henning Pauly (CHAIN), den es schon vor einigen Jahren in die USA verschlagen hat. Als Sänger konnte er keinen geringeren als James LaBrie gewinnen. Der hauptberufliche DREAM THEATER-Stimmbandakrobat hat nicht nur die Nummern eingesungen, sondern war auch weitestgehend ins Songwriting miteinbezogen und kann sich daher viel freier und facettenreicher als bei seiner Hauptband präsentieren. Thematisch befasst sich "Unweaving The Rainbow" mit evolutionären Theorien, die allesamt auf den Büchern von Richard Dawkins, einem bekannten neo-darwinistischen Autor, beruhen. Musikalisch schöpft das Trio aus dem Vollen, denn von Klassik ("Massage From The Mountain") und Jazz ("Bats") über Pop und Rock bis hin zum modernen Metal ("Arms Races") ist auf dieser Scheibe so ziemlich jede Musikrichtung vertreten. Ab und an bedient man sich sogar der einiger Elemente aus dem Techno- und Dancefloor-Bereich ("Cultural Genetics"). Hier treffen u. a. messerscharfe Riffs ("Spiders"), dominante Bassläufe ("Origins And Miracles") und prägnante Drums auf gefühlvolle Piano-Parts ("La Mar") und röhrende bzw. galoppierende Hammonds ("Nice Guy Finished First"), die sich zu einem wunderschönen melodischen Sound vermengen. Obwohl es sich hier um ein Konzept-Album handelt, kann jeder Song problemlos für sich alleine stehen. Dass die Scheibe ohne nichtssagende und unübersichtlich verschachtelte Instrumentals auskommt, erweist sich als weiterer äußerst positiver Aspekt. Selten ist mir ein Prog Rock-Album untergekommen, das trotz seines extrem hohen Niveaus zu keiner Minute überladen wirkt. Außerdem wage ich zu behaupten, das Ausnahmesänger James LaBrie auf dieser Scheibe den besten Job seiner bisherigen Karriere abgeliefert hat. Da kann man nur zu den Prog-Göttern beten, das dies nicht die einzigste Zusammenkunft zweier Genies bleibt. Einfach klasse!

Review by

Personalmente non riesco proprio a capire per quale motivo in questo periodo le idee più originali i membri dei Dream Theater le tirino fuori non nell’ambito del proprio gruppo, bensì nei loro side project. Come se non fossero già bastati il lavoro degli OSI (a mio avviso una delle migliori uscite del 2003), che vedeva Portnoy dietro le pelli, o gli ottimi Mullmuzzler di James La Brie, ora si aggiunge alla lista il lavoro di questo superduo, composto dal già citato La Brie e da Henning Pauly di Chains. Va detto ad onor del vero che il buon vecchio James si trova ora, forse per la prima volta da dieci anni, in uno stato di grazia; ad ascoltare le sue performance (sia in studio che dal vivo) con i Theater c’è infatti da rimanere allibiti per la sua ottima forma, dunque perché non sfruttare il momento favorevole? In questo “Unweaving The Rainbow” le aspettative non vengono certo tradite. Ambizioso concept basato sulle teorie del genetista Richard Dawkins (“Il Gene Egoista”, “L’Orologiaio Cieco”, ecc.), il disco si dimostra da subito come una delle più interessanti uscite del 2004, merito di uno straordinario lavoro di Pauly, poli-strumentista notevole e dalla grande maturità in sede di songwriting, e dalla non indifferente prestazione di LaBrie, al quale viene lasciato ampio spazio per l’arrangiamento di linee vocali letteralmente da brivido (ascoltare i cori di “Spiders” per credere). Il sound è arricchito da campionamenti, complesse orchestrazioni e pirotecniche divagazioni strumentali, riuscendo ad evitare così facili schematismi: c’è molto prog, ma anche tanto altro e le splendide suite come “Message from the Mountain” o “Arm Races”, intervallate da episodi più soffusi (“La Mer”, “Origins and Miracles”), sono lì appunto per dimostrarlo; si aggiunga a tutto ciò un grandioso lavoro sulle dinamiche, che rende ogni pezzo un connubio di spunti differenti ben amalgamati fra loro. Ottima anche la produzione, molto pulita e precisa, il cui unico neo, forse, è un mixaggio un po’ “originale” delle chitarre, relegate in un angolo a tratti. In definitiva, consigliato l’acquisto a tutti i fan del prog degno di questo nome, non c’è pericolo di pentirsene.

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Frameshift is a Progressive Rock project started by Henning Pauly, a member of the band Chain. Vocalist of the project is no one else than James LaBrie, who is of course the frontman of the best Progressive Metal band ever, Dream Theater. All the other musicians are also very experienced and gifted. "Unweaving The Rainbow" is a concept album written about a book by scientific writer Richard Dawkins that carries the same title as this CD. But for me the music is the most important and I must say that I was very impressed by it. It mixes the best elements of old and modern progressive rock and most of the songs have a melodic twist, which makes this album easy to listen too. There are even some pure melodic rock songs to find on this album. Some songs also include some electronic parts, but they don't have a negative impact on the songs. James LaBrie has also delivered one of his best vocal performances ever and I personally think this album is far better than the last Dream Theater album, which is far too heavy and modern for me. Let's hope we will hear many more of this band/project in the future.

Review by

This year surely treats the Dream Theater and prog fans well, it hasn’t even been long since the last release of DT album, when Chain mastermind Henning Pauly comes with an album written for DT vocalist James LaBrie and me just reviewing another album also featuring LaBrie. Another important guest in Frameshift is Nik Guadagnoli, who plays the Chapman Stick, Pauly himself Warr guitar. ”Unweaving” deals with different evolutionary concepts and the work perfectly follows the theme. The mood is very massive, reaching that film music pompousness, leaving you in awe. This is certainly one of LaBrie’s best works, as he proves in ”La Mer”. Eventhough the album is very entertaining, pop and very light sounding, you can’t go wrong with it if you’re open to almost any genre of music and want sense in the lyrics. One of Pauly’s goals for this album was to combine the elements of progressive rock, film scoring and very modern production and he can be proud of himself, he’s reached them all.

Frameshift goes further than average progressive rock. The music mixes different styles and some of those styles aren’t usually heard in prog. Frameshift’s disco, techno, funky, poppy, ambient, even ethnic experience definately raises a lot of emotion and when digging deeper to the theme, even questions. The orchestrations are great, they’re quite massive and the vocal harmonies also, having even as many tracks as 35 and moving to the steps of Gentle Giant, Queen, Spock’s Beard, Marillion, even Yes. If these bands ever touched you, Frameshift will do it too. It sounds like a massive rock opera and succeeds well where many have failed lately. Even in being an entertaining album, it doesn’t fall in the boring radio play category. It’s still relaxing, but requires your full attention to keep in track.

The album is inspired by the books of Richard Dawkins, one of today's most influential neo-Darwinist writers. ”La Mer” gives goosebumbs with its mixture of classical and rock atmosphere and chillingly warm vocals and the happily rocking, light and funky ”Off The Ground” was another tune which stood out the best from here. Songlist: ”Above The Grass - Part I”, ”The Gene Machine”, ”Spiders”, ”River Out Of Eden”, ”Message From The Mountain”, ”Your Eyes”, ”La Mer”, ”Nice Guys Finish First”, ”Arms Races”, ”Origins And Miracles”, ”Off The Ground”, ”Walking Through Genetic Space”, ”Cultural Genetics”, ”Bats”, ”Above The Grass - Part II”.

This album will leave a mark on you. And even put a smile on your face, one of those moments being the album concluding thought: ”If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat”.

Review by

I will keep this review short - DREAM THEATER's James LaBrie has NEVER sounded better on disc than on this project he became involved with during the later part of last year. It's without a doubt a disc intended to showcase the sheer power, delivery and diversity of his voice and I can only say I wish the last Dream Theater disc was as good as this amazing project.

Sounding like Dream Theater mixed with QUEEN and 90125-Big Generator YES, the songs are extremely strong, well written epics, touching on many moods within a single track and often creating amazing atmosphere and emotion with amazing, completely flawless delivery.

Henning Pauly, mastermind behind this project and key instrumentalist/writter, is a force to be reckoned with. His songwriting and arrangement talents are superb, and his guitar abilities are terrific. I can't say I have a particular favorite track, because each song is absolutely captivating and wonderful. If your a fan of the high-end Progressive Rock scene, or a vocalist looking for inspiration, find this disc and get's without a doubt, one of the top 10 of the year.

Review by

I’m not going to give in to temptation and call Frameshift’s Unweaving the Rainbow, a new project with Dream Theater singer James LaBrie, the album LaBrie's main band should have released in lieu of the love-it-or-hate-it Train of Thought. But I am going to say that this album sounds more like classic Dream Theater than Train of Thought could ever hope to, and it picks up right about where the first disc of Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence left off, both musically and lyrically.

Written and produced by multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly (a member of the progressive-rock band Chain) specifically for LaBrie’s voice, Unweaving the Rainbow contains a series of songs based on the writings of neo-Darwinist Richard Dawkins. In fact, the album’s title comes from one of Dawkins’ books of the same name, and each song is based on a different chapter from the professor’s various books about evolution. But don’t let that deter you. This is an astounding album that maintains its strength for all of its 79 minutes and 30 seconds. Pauly plays guitars, bass, keyboards, banjo and percussion while also handling programming, orchestration, engineering and mixing. A trio of other musicians helps out on drums, guitar, bass and sax, but the main emphasis here is on guitars, piano and (naturally) LaBrie.

Pauly encouraged the singer to experiment with many different vocal styles that recall Queen, Savatage, Rabin-era Yes and even Marilyn Manson. Countless overdubs make LaBrie’s voice sound like it never has before, as he makes all lead, harmony and modulated vocals his own. Organic ballads like "Above the Grass," "Your Eyes," "La Mer" and "Origins and Miracles" slide in seamlessly with such scorching progressive-rock/metal tracks as "The Gene Machine," "Spiders," "Nice Guys Finish First" and "Arms Races." It’s hard to believe that LaBrie recorded 18 songs (these 15, plus three others for a forthcoming multiple-artist rock opera called BabySteps) in 13 days, belting out mind-swelling lyrics for up to 10 hours a day.

This is a complex album that requires several listens before it even begins to make sense, thanks to the depth of the music and the subject matter. As the liner notes state, attempting to explain the disc’s connection to Dawkins’ work in the fields of genetics and biology: "These songs can only hint at the complexity of the chapters they are based on — they do not attempt to be a summary of Dawkins’ ideas."

I wish I’d have heard Unweaving the Rainbow in time to include it on my Top 10 of 2003 list. Hey, Mr. Editor, can it go to 11?

Review by

Tengo que confesar que el metal prog, asi como el neo prog, no son precisamente santos de mi devoción y es que ambos me parecen géneros de receta, la cual es usada hasta la saciedad por varios grupos que a fin de cuentas acaban sonando muy parecido ¿cuantos grupos metal suenan a Dream Theater y cuantos grupos neo suenan a Marillion? lo dejo a su sabia opinión.
Sin embargo, en ambos generos surgen quienes aspiran a una identidad propia, a romper un poco lo cuadrado de los esquemas y labrarse su propio camino. Tal es el caso del grupo Frameshift, al cual la etiqueta de metal prog le queda francamente chica.
Frameshift es un proyecto originalmente creado por el compositor Henning Pauly (guitarras, bajo, teclados, orquestacion, ingeniero, vamos ¿se puede mas?) en el que invito al vocalista de Dream Theater James La Brie, que como buen fan de Queen y Gentle Giant, pudo ver en este proyecto la oportunidad de experimentar con grandes y complejos arreglos vocales. El grupo lo completan Nick Guadanogli (bajo, stick) y Eddie Marvin en la bateria.
El resultado es un disco conceptual explosivo, de soprendente energía y originalidad, el cual trata acerca de la teoria de evolución genetica. Contrario a los clásicos discos de metal, en este no se busca que la guitarra nos presuma sus 110 notas por minuto o lo alto de sus decibeles. El disco es fenomenalmente equilibrado tanto en los instrumentos como en sus composiciones. Es uno de esos materiales que desde la primera canción nos hacen parar la oreja y en ningún momento nos aburre o nos cansa. Tiene canciones muy potentes al igual que otras de corte mas tranquilo, provocando diferentes estados de animo pero que siguen una lógica coherente, como si cada canción conformara las piezas de un rompecabezas en las que no falta ni sobra nada. Unweaving the Rainbow es el primer lanzamiento de la prometedora disquera progrock records, la cual, de seguir con este tipo de grupos, seguro tendrá un exito tremendo.
Este es el tipo de discos que uno desea compartir, especialmente con aquellos que disfrutan el rock energetico, por lo que si todo marcha bien, en breve lo podremos conseguir en México. En el inter, pueden visitar su página oficial, no se van a arrepentir.

Review by Antithetik

Taillé sur mesure pour James LaBrie. Telle a été l'ambition du musicien allemand Henning Pauly en concevant cet album. Encore que le matériel proposé a été écrit il y a des années de cela. Il était en fait destiné à Chain son ancien groupe. En exhumant ces démos, Pauly ne se doutait pas qu'elles arriveraient jusqu'aux oreilles de LaBrie. Le hasard ? Le destin ? Appelez ça comme vous voudrez. Toujours est-il qu'au moment ou Pauly réactivait le projet (il était diffusé sur une radio en ligne), les deux hommes furent mis en contact via un label. En 2002, le chanteur de Dream Theater accepte de participer au projet. Il va même jusqu'à se proposer pour chanter l'intégralité des titres. Pour dire sa motivation ! Henning Pauly, lui, évolue dans le milieu musical depuis pas mal d'années. Il a, entre autres, écrit des musiques pour le cinéma. Et c'est en voulant combiner ses multiples expériences musicales qu'il a élaboré ce concept album. Les bases étaient écrites depuis longtemps mais elles avaient été retravaillées. L'occasion de les servir à LaBrie sur un plateau d'argent était trop belle. De plus Pauly voulait lui offrir l'opportunité de chanter comme jamais il ne l'avait fait auparavant. Musicalement cela se traduit par des compositions aux sonorités résolument modernes. Rien à voir avec l'univers de Dream Theater. L'approche de Pauly a été de mêler différents styles (métal, ambient, techno, orchestral, rock, pop) afin de donner naissance à une musique qui va au-delà des clichés rock. Le résultat est évidemment progressif. Ce projet a nécessité 6 mois d'enregistrement et 2 semaines pour le chant. Quant au concept, il tourne autour des écrits de l'auteur Richard Dawkins qui lui-même est influencé par le néo-Darwinisme. L'évolution, via des métaphores, est donc au centre de cet album. Alors en abordant ce disque, il faut faire abstraction du passé de LaBrie. Car ici, il évolue, non pas dans un registre différent, mais dans un contexte différent. Le chant se fait plus naturel, il se transforme en un vecteur d'émotions. La voix est l'élément qui prédomine. Elle se dédouble sur "Spiders" pour former un chœur. Alors certes, on trouve des points communs entre les compos de Pauly et les titres de Dream Theater. Sur les morceaux heavy l'énergie dégagée est comparable à celle du groupe américain. La différence se situe surtout au niveau des arrangements. La tonalité de l'album est orchestrale. C'est en partie dû à la mise en avant des claviers. C'est aussi le résultat de l'association du progressif et de la musique de film. Les 80 minutes de l'album alternent titres heavy, ballades et un morceau sautillant ("Nice Guys Finish First"). Henning Pauly, multi-instrumentiste, a concocté une musique assez technique à l'image de ce "Spider" sorte de heavy funk aux plans syncopés. Aux côtés de Pauly, on trouve Eddie Marvin à la batterie et Nik Guadagnoli à la basse, guitares additionnelles et stick Chapman. Le reste (guitares, basse, synthétiseur, piano, B3, Warr guitar, banjo, percussions, loop programming, orchestration, prise de son et mix) est assuré par Pauly lui-même. Mais au final, c'est sur les ballades que LaBrie fait des merveilles. Sa voix est chaude. Suffit d'écouter "La Mer", superbe pièce au piano, sur laquelle il vous donnera le frisson. "Message from the Mountain" est pour moi le meilleur titre de l'album. Ce morceau orchestral aux multiples changements de thèmes résume à lui seul le talent de tout ce beau monde. Sinon, on peut juste reprocher à l'album sa longueur. Il accuse une petite baisse de régime sur la fin. "Origins and Miracles" et "Bats" n'apporte plus rien (si ce n'est au concept). Ceci dit, on ne va pas bouder son plaisir d'autant que "Unweaving the rainbow" est superbement produit. Ce disque est une réussite, artistiquement et mélodiquement. Il offre à James LaBrie une occasion de mettre en valeur une des multiples facettes de son immense talent et à Henning Pauly il va apporter la reconnaissance dans le milieu du prog. Finalement, tout le monde s'y retrouve, ce qui est déjà énorme en soit.

Review by

Je kunt van de leden van Dream Theater alles zeggen, maar niet dat ze lui zijn. Zijn ze niet in studio of op een podium te vinden met deze band, dan lenen ze hun stem of instrument wel voor een project uit en als het maar even kan dan staan ze er ook nog eens mee op het podium. James Labrie heeft aan het einde van dit jaar nummers ingezongen voor de nieuwe Ayreon die volgend jaar gaat verschijnen. Naar het schijnt zal hij daarop ook meer zingen op een andere manier dan hij vaak bij Dream Theater doet. Meer rustig en met een normale zangstem en veel minder vanuit zijn tenen. En dat is maar goed ook want daar kan ik niet zo goed tegen. Op Frameshift's Unweaving The Rainbow laat LaBrie ook horen dat hij echt nog wel aangenaam kan klinken. Het komt vooral ook door de muziek die Henning Pauly (het brein achter Frameshift) geschreven heeft. Deze laat veel meer ruimte voor Labrie om te doseren. En dan klinkt hij gewoon op zijn best, met dank aan Pauly. We mogen Pauly overigens uberhaupt wel dankbaar zijn, want met Unweaving The Rainbow levert hij op de rand van 2004 toch mooi nog even één van de betere symfo-platen van 2003 af. Het 'zware' thema van Richard Dawkins boek met dezelfde titel heeft hij vertaald in 15 uitdagende, maar toch redelijk toegankelijke nummers varierend van meer Dream Theater-achtige venijn tot bijna popachtige nummers die refereren aan Yes, Spock's Beard en Flowerkings, maar ook aan Queen. Dawkins mag in zijn boek dan de droom van de pot goud onder aan de regenboog in diggelen doen uitspatten, Frameshift's Unweaving the Rainbow is 18 karaats goud, met LaBrie als de glimmende ingelegde groeibriljant.

Review by

This progressive adventure is the brainchild of the composer Henning Pauly who stands behind the music and most of the instruments except for drums which is handled by Eddie Marvin,bass played by Nik Guadagnoli and the lead vocals by James LaBrie of Dream Theater.
This newly released album contains 14 songs which is rather unusual for a progrock album,they usually are very long and with few tracks so thumbs up for that !!,it´s out in the U.S now but will be distributed by Frontiers/Atenzia in Europe and Scandinavia on Jan.21.
I have a few things to say about this album,the good parts are the instrumental variation and arrangements that makes the whole effort very enjoyable to listen to.
I really like the a capella parts where LaBrie shows his best side but also the string arr: has some major film score vibes over them and gives the songs a fresh sound.
The minor good parts are the drumsound that is too thin and some melodies could be sung with more feeling from LaBrie(he sounds a bit uninspired). If you for one second think that it sounds like Dream Theater,don´t look any further because Frameshift reminds more of Gentle Giant and that older school of progrock. The song "Message from the mountain" is the highlight of the album and it´s a shame that there aren´t anymore songs of this calibre but the rest is quite good too so don´t get me wrong.
I know of many progrock albums that is better but I also know a lotta albums in this genre that is much worse,"Unweaving the rainbow" is a bit like the ordinary meal you´re having tastes good and satisfies for the moment but it´s the a la carte on the weekends you´re waiting for and on that point-Frameshift ain´t no a la carte!

Review by

A Frameshift project 2003-ban jött létre a multi-hangszeres zenész és zeneszerző Henning Pauly valamint a Dream Theater énekes James LaBrie találkozásával. Kettőjüket a ProgRock Records hozta össze, miután Chain nevű zenekarával Henning ehhez a kiadóhoz szerződött. Aki a legutóbbi Dream Theater lemezről hiányolta a dallamokat és nem ijed meg egy kis elektronikától, az ne keressen tovább, mert ezt az anyagot neki írták.

Az album meghatározó elemei a billentyűs hangszerek, a különböző loop-ok, elektronikus és egyéb zajok, effektek. A The Gene Machine például teljes egészében szintetikus hangokból épül fel. Kissé árnyaltabban, de a Cultural Genetics is hasonlóan gépies megközelítéssel bír. Annyi a különbség, hogy itt már a szaggatott gitár riffek is hozzájárulnak a hangulat megteremtéséhez. Szerencsére azért nem csak rideg puttyogásból és éles üveghangokból áll az Unweaving The Rainbow. Az albumot valójában James LaBrie hangja uralja. A DT-ben kiaknázatlanul maradt energiáit sűrítette bele az anyagba. A nóták felépítéséből adódóan rengeteg teret kap, és ki is használja becsülettel. Legkifejezőbbek a lírai, melankolikus énekdallamok, de az is nagyon hatásos, amikor 3-4 szólamot énekel egyszerre, mint például a Spiders-ben, vagy a Walking Through Genetic Space-ben.

A zenébe a már emlegetett cyber világon túl sok minden belefért. Olyan lehelet finomságú zongoradarabok, mint a River Out Of Eden, vagy a La Mer. Filmzenés, musicalszerű tételek, mint a Message From The Mountain és az Arms Racer. Napsütötte, vidám jazz rock a Nice Guys Finish First-ben és az Off The Ground-ban. Aztán itt van a zaklatott szaxofonszólóval felvértezett kissé barátságtalan Bats. Vagy a chapman stick egyszerre simogató és borzongató hangján megszólaltatott Origins And Miracles. És az album legszebb dala a Your Eyes, ami egy összeölelkezős, akusztikus lírai, egy igazi szerelmes dal. Nem aprózták el a témákat az urak, a 15 dal 80 percnyi MUZSIKÁT ad (így nagybetűvel).

Az anyagot hárman jegyzik: Henning Pauly, James LaBrie valamint Nik Guadagnoli, aki hangszeresként is részt vett a produkcióban (főleg basszusgitáron, de ő játszik chapman stick-en is). A dobos Henning bátyja volt, aki a bookletben Eddie Marvinként szerepel. A szövegírásba Nik és Henning mellett a Chain énekese Matt Cash is beszállt. Ha végignézed a dalcímeket, gyanús lehet, hogy van közöttük valami összefüggés. A neo-darwinista gondolkodó, prof. Richard Dawkins könyveihez kapcsolódnak a dalok, és lényegében az evolúció és a géntudomány témakörében mozognak. Nem egy konkrét sztorit mesélnek el, inkább különböző érzéseket öntenek szavakba és zenébe.

Review by Planet Metal Reviews

Initiator und Cheffe von FRAMESHIFT ist der deutsche Musiker Henning Pauly. Im Alter von 22 Jahren zog es den jungen Mann in Richtung der Vereinigten Staaten, um auf dem Berklee College von Boston Musik zu studieren. Scheinbar war Henning vom Ami-Land dermaßen angetan, dass er es vorzog seiner alten Heimat den Rücken zuzuwenden (Ob Deutschland oder USA is eh a scho blunz´n irgendwie... Andi). Da Musik seinen Lebensunterhalt darstellt, versucht er nun mit FRAMESHIFT reussieren zu können. "Unweaving The Rainbow" zeichnet sich durch fein strukturierten Prog Rock aus, der immer wieder durch Sequenzen, die Soundtrack-lastig klingen, aufgelockert wird. Als Sänger ist kein geringerer als DREAM THEATER-Mann James LaBrie zu hören. Weitere Unterstützung erhielt Henning unter anderem von seinem Bruder Eduard, der den Schlagzeug-Part übernahm. Unbedingt erwähnt werden muss noch ein Herr namens Matt Cash, der für das lyrische Konzept von "Unweaving The Rainbow" verantwortlich ist. Dieses beruht auf dem gleichnamigen Buch des amerikanischen Wissenschafters Richard Dawkins, der sich mit den Evolutionstheorien von Charles Darwin auseinander setzte und dessen Lehre weiterführt. Als Leitfaden kann festgehalten werden, dass sich vorliegendes Album mit der Stellung der Wissenschaft in unserer Gesellschaft und deren Auswirkung auf die heutige Kultur auseinandersetzt. Ähnlich schwer zu begreifen wie der lyrische Hintergrund des Werkes ist auch die Musik, die einige Durchläufe benötigt, um richtig aufgenommen werden zu können. Eine intensive Beschäftigung mit "Unweaving The Rainbow" lohnt sich aber in jedem Fall, schon allein wegen der eher untypischen, einfühlsamen Gesangsdarbietung des Herren LaBrie.

Review by

Так получилось, что поставив в первый раз в проигрыватель данный диск, я не удосужился посмотреть ни буклет, ни инфо о группе в интернете, либо еще где. Даже толком не посмотрел, что за группа и какого года альбом. Потому, при первых звуках я опешил, особенно, после того, как услышал вокал. Ба, да это же Джеймс ЛяБри собственной персоной, уж не новый ли это альбом DREAM THEATER? Хотя, не прошло и три месяца, как вышел "Train Of Thought". А может, это какие-то неизданные вещи группы? Да нет, что-то непохоже. Некоторые моменты очень напоминают DREAM THEATER, но еще большее количество моментов в совершенно несвойственном группе духе. Для progressive-rock этот материал весьма тяжел, а для progressive metal несколько попсоват. Вот и получается музыка тонко граничащая с прогрессивными роком и металлом, напоминающая смесь DREAM THEATER, SPOCK'S BEARD, YES и GENESIS. Восемьдесят минут прослушивания не заставили меня скучать, но в то же время, ничего выдающегося я не услышал. Очень добротный и качественный материал.
В результате, оказалось, что данный проект называется FRAMESHIFTER - это детище мультиинструменталиста Henning Pauly, известного как сочинителя и продюсера музыки в разных направлениях, от ambient, jazz, big band, orchestral, solo piano, pop, rock, metal, progressive rock, a capella, minimal, musical и музыки к фильмам. За основу этого концептуального альбома было взято произведение известного писателя-дарвиниста Ричарда Доукинса "Unweaving The Rainbow". На роль вокалиста был ангажирован James LaBrie, превосходно справившийся со своими обязанностями. Специально для своего проекта Henning собрал опытных друзей-музыкантов, работающих в музыкальной индустрии. Результат их работы способен оправдать ожидания всех любителей прогрессивной музыки. Тем более, что, как оказалось, с каждым новым прослушиванием, этот альбом приобретает новые черты и окраски и нравится все больше и больше. Так что смело покупайте этот альбом и приятного вам прослушивания.

Review by

Componist Henning Pauly en Dream Theater-zanger James LaBrie zijn mannen die de evolutietheorie hartstochtelijk willen promoten. Unweaving the Rainbow is vernoemd naar het laatste boek van neo-darwinist Richard Dawkins. Het verwijst naar de kritiek die Newton te verduren kreeg, toen hij vertelde dat aan het eind van de regenboog geen pot goud staat. Dat de regenboog voortkomt uit het breken van licht hoeft volgens de twee progrockmannen niet te betekenen dat het fenomeen regenboog minder intrigerend wordt. Evenzo met de evolutietheorie: de werkelijkheid wordt zelfs mooier, wanneer je die met de theorie in het achterhoofd beziet.

Zo krijg je inhoudelijk lachwekkende nummers als 'The Gene Machine', waarin vanuit het perspectief van een gen gekeken wordt, en de vakkundig geschreven tranentrekker 'La Mer'. Een ballad is toch geloofwaardiger, wanneer hij over de Liefde, of desnoods over de Dood gaat in plaats van over de vraag waar jij in de lijn der evolutie staat.

Alles is met het nodige pathos gezongen door James LaBrie, die een kunstmatige trilling in zijn stem gebruikt die hij gemeen heeft met de vroege Joni Mitchell. Dat zorgt snel voor een haat/liefde-verhouding met de vocalen. Zijn stem, die sterk op de voorgrond is geplaatst, wordt meestal ondersteund door virtuoze hardrock die doorspekt is met bliepende elektronica. Wat dit album echter interessant maakt, is de variatie. Er wordt gewiseld tussen elektronica, (orkestrale) hardrock, rock en popmuziek. In dit geheel zijn invloeden van Gentle Giant, Spock's Beard en Queen te horen. Het album is bovendien erg helder geproduceerd. Dat maakt de zware thematiek van het album in de meeste nummers goed te verteren.

Review by KCOU 88.1 FM

When I received a pile of Prog Rock Records releases in the mail, I knew I wanted to save this one for last to review. And was it worth it? You bet your ass. Since it’s first spin, I’ve listened to Unweaving The Rainbow on five consecutive days and it just keeps getting better. For modern progressive fans, this release will just soar beyond expectations – and mine were high. Frameshift is a three piece studio group headed up by multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly (Chain). Although Pauly’s amazing genre-crossing instrumental work is enough to make this album fly, he invited Dream Theater’s virtuosic vocalist James LaBrie along for the ride, and some truly amazing music ensued. Not to be left alone, drummer Eddie Marvin does a very tasteful job behind the kit. Pauly’s compositions are generously suited for a heavy vocal contribution, and LaBrie gets to show off his magnanimous voice in full effect. “Message From The Mountain” would make kings cry, if they would ever listen to prog rock – LaBrie’s voice is even more impressively displayed here than in his other solo efforts (Mullmuzzler, Ayreon, Tim Donahue). Contributions from Nik Guadagnoli, Shawn Gordon, and Steve Katsikas shouldn’t go without mention either. The impressive sound of this relatively smallish group is as good as could be guessed, and better. The contrast of remarkable digital offerings with solid songwriting and near-flawless delivery make for a great expedition. I could go on and on, but it will suffice to say that this is one of the very top progressive rock records of 2003. I truly hope that this isn’t the last we hear from the Pauly/LaBrie tandem...

Review by Heavy Metal Portal

A distanza di circa tre mesi dalla pubblicazione negli Stati Uniti, esce anche in Italia Unweaving The Rainbow, disco che probabilmente darà il giusto risalto all'etichetta Progrock Records anche nella nostra penisola. Progetto concepito quasi interamente dal polistrumentista tedesco, ma residente negli States, Henning Pauly, che ha scritto le partiture esclusivamente per la voce di James Labrie, il quale ha collaborato nella scrittura e nella realizzazione delle melodie vocali in appena due settimane. Il disco è un concept basato sugli scritti del professor Richard Dawkins, uno dei massimi esperti noedarwinisti. I testi, pur essendo estremamente affascinanti, sono piuttosto ermetici anche per un buon conoscitore della lingua inglese, data la complessità delle teorie. Pur trattando la stessa materia lungo tutta la durata dell'album, non ci sono molti richiami musicali, se si eccettuano la prima e l'ultima traccia. Unweaving The Rainbow dimostra tutte le qualità tecniche e compositive di Henning Pauly, che si occupa della maggior parte degli strumenti presenti, ma soprattutto rappresenta la prova tangibile della sua versatilità nella scrittura dei brani. Connotazione più evidente del lavoro è che, nonostante ci sia una fondamentale base strumentale, la sezione vocale ricopre il ruolo più importante del disco, con un James Labrie in ottima forma, e perfettamente a suo agio. Per dare un'idea tangibile della musica con cui veniamo a che fare, si può statuire che è un progrock con qualche influsso metal, che porta avanti il discorso dei grandi del passato, come Yes (evidenti richiami in Nice Guys Finish First) e Gentle Giant (Spiders); in più vi sono una serie di brani che possono essere definiti come la naturale evoluzione delle ballads di Falling Into Infinity dei Dream Theater (La Mer). A questo si devono aggiungere arrangiamenti orchestrali in stile musica da film e alcuni loop elettronici, che rendono il sound piuttosto moderno, reso tale anche da una produzione quasi perfetta.

Uno dei migliori dischi del 2003

Review by Progwereld

De van oorsprong uit Duitsland afkomstige multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly is al vele jaren woonachtig in de Verenigde Staten en is daar ongetwijfeld in contact gekomen met het werk van professor Richard Dawkins. Het werk van deze neo-Darwinist is voor Pauly een onuitputtelijke bron van inspiratie. "Unweaving The Rainbow" is de titel van een boek van Dawkins en de nummers zijn gebaseerd op hoofdstukken van zijn boeken.

Voor dit debuut heeft Henning Pauly gebruik kunnen maken van de zangkwaliteiten van James LaBrie. Pauly heeft geprobeerd om LaBrie anders te laten klinken dan bij Dream Theater. Hij is daar slechts ten dele in geslaagd. Het materiaal heeft duidelijk raakvlakken met Dream Theater en dus zingt LaBrie een groot aantal nummers in dezelfde toonhoogte. Toch heeft Pauly "Unweaving The Rainbow" een eigen geluid meegegeven. Het werk van Frameshift is subtieler, perfect uitgewerkt zoals het geweldige Message From The Mountain. Het grote verschil zit ‘m echter in het kleine, een extra toetsenpartij, een vervorming op de zang enz.

De cd start pas echt met The Gene Machine, want Above The Grass – Part 1 is niets meer dan gefluit van vogels , akoestische gitaar en James LaBrie. In dit nummer komen gedachten bovendrijven aan Chrome Shift. Zal wel aan de naam liggen. Jammer is echter wel dat een drietal rustige nummers, River Out Of Eden, Your Eyes en La Mer wat dicht bij elkaar liggen. Gelukkig worden ze onderbroken door één van de vele hoogtepunten van de cd; het al eerder gememoreerde Message From The Mountain. Heerlijk rustig toetsenspel valt samen met gitaarspel en langzaam voegen zich meer instrumenten toe en wordt het geheel ook steviger. Natuurlijk vinden er de nodige breaks en sfeerwisselingen plaats, maar er gebeurt zo onvoorstelbaar veel binnen een nummer dat het ondoenlijk is dat te verwoorden. Zet een hoofdtelefoon op en u hoort dingen die anders voor u verborgen zouden blijven, zeg maar de onzichtbare kleuren van de regenboog.

Pauly is behalve een begenadigd componist ook een uitstekende gitarist, toetsenist en bassist, zoals hij laat horen in de solo’s, duetten en het swingende basspel. Nice Guys Finish First is hiervan een goed voorbeeld. Een heerlijk swingend nummer met Hammondachtige partijen, samenzang, rustige gedeelten en een duet tussen gitaar en toetsen. Het opvolgende Arms Races is lekker stevig, snel en de zang van LaBrie wordt zo nu en dan fors vervormd. Tel daar de dreigende drumpartijen, de algehele orkestratie (alsof er een kompleet orkest wordt ingezet) bij en het geheel ademt iets onheilspellends en massaals uit.

Origins And Miracles brengt het geheel weer in evenwicht. Een nummer om weer lekker weg te dromen. Ook Off The Ground kent weer van die lekkere vette toetsenpartijen en een venijnige gitaarsolo.

Het met allerlei vreemde geluiden startende Cultural Genetics laat een heel andere kant van Frameshift horen. Een industrieel aandoend geheel waar dan weer banjo tegenover wordt gezet, zodat het heel apart klinkt. Een nummer genaamd, Bats, moet natuurlijk onheilspellend zijn, want bij vleermuizen denken de meeste mensen aan bloed en Dracula. Pauly moet hetzelfde hebben gedacht, want het nummer is sinister, bevat een saxofoonsolo en driegende toetsenpartijen. Deel twee van Above The Grass laat weer een rustig Frameshift horen. Akoestische gitaar, de zang van James LaBrie en de mooie opbouw naar de climax, een complete regenboog aan kleuren, emoties, variatie. Laat mij nog eenmaal genieten van deze pracht.

Henning Pauly gebruikte voor zijn regenboog alle negen kleuren en mengde er vervolgens lustig op los, zodat een "Unweaving The Rainbow" een uitgekiend kleurenpalet laat zien van grote klasse. Volg de regenboog en u komt uit bij een grote pot met goud.

Review by Planeta Rock

Proyecto en conjunto de James LaBrie (Voz de Dream Theater) y Henning Pauly miembro de la reconocida banda Chain. Obra conceptual acerca de la relación hombre-máquina, sobre lo que somos hoy en día, acerca de cómo nos hemos transformado, nuestros valores, nuestra frialdad y egocéntricos fines...

Digo metal progresivo, y muchos se imaginan que el protagonismo se lo llevan los solos o partes instrumentales, pero, agraciadamente en “Unweaving the rainbow”, por sobre todas las cosas priman las canciones y el argumento o tópico de esta obra, mediante canciones que no necesariamente y por suerte siguen la misma línea, sino que lo único que se mantiene y se desarrolla de manera continua es la historia de este álbum.

Disco tras disco, encuentro en James LaBrie cada vez más fuerza, versatilidad, sentimiento y belleza en su voz, siendo uno de mis favoritos por lejos.

Para ser sincero, en mi primer escucha el disco no me mató, pero al haberlo escuchado ya un par de veces, mi parecer cambió rotundamente y mientras escribo estas líneas, disfruto plenamente del gancho y encanto de este trabajo, lleno de recovecos repletos de buen gusto y hermosa música.

Si me preguntan por una canción, te respondo el disco entero, porque es una narración y obra de la cual no podes perderte parte alguna.

Review by Artrock

Ta płyta ukazała się w okresie gdy nerwowo generowaliśmy gwiazdkowe prezenty. Widocznie byłem grzeczny gdyż św.Mikołaj przeciskając swe grube cielsko przez kaloryfer (nie mam komina:-) umieścił zgrabnie paczuszkę z płytą pod rozłożystą choinką mrugającą zalotnie z rogu mego pokoju. Nie powiem, uradowałem się, głównie z dwóch powodów. Po pierwsze cały czas jestem pod wrażeniem albumu Chain Reconstruct (patrz niedawna recenzja na Caladanie), którego leader Henning Pauly jest głównym pomysłodawcą i kompozytorem Frameshift. Drugim powodem radości, chociaż początkowo i obaw była zapowiadana obecność Jamesa LaBrie, frontmana Dream Theater, za którym ..hmm.. nie do końca przepadam chociaż teraz......ale nie uprzedzajmy faktów. Kolejnym czynnikiem budzącym mą ciekawość były totalnie zróżnicowane opinie krytyków. Od zachwytów (niektórzy okrzyknęli ten album płytą roku) po skowyt rozczarowania lub wręcz nienawiści. I jak tu nie posłuchać muzyki budzącej tyle spolaryzowanych uczuć ?

Faktycznie, dla niektórych Unweaving The Rainbow może wydawać się kontrowersyjny. Z pewnością do tej grupy należą głównie ci, którzy nie znali wymienionego przeze mnie wcześniej albumu Chain oraz fani szukający nawiązań do Teatru Marzeń lub choćby do którejś z solowych płyt Jamesa opatrzonych nazwą Mullmuzzler. Frameshift wydaje się kolejnym krokiem na przód po Reconstruct, który mimo, że wydany w 2003 roku skomponowany został w 1994. Podobnie jak Chain Unweaving The Rainbow jest bardzo eklektyczny mieszczący się w dość obszernej definicji progresywnego rocka. Poza tym muzyka zawarta na tym krążku jest bardzo...zimowa. Jakoś nie wyobrażam sobie aby album mógł się ukazać latem. Dużo przestrzeni, ulotności i zadumy czyli klimat jak ulał pasujący do rozhasanych za oknem płatków śniegu:-) Przejdźmy jednak do szczegółów.

Album otwiera króciutka miniaturka akustyczna Above The Grass – Part 1, która powraca pod koniec płyty. Po niej pojawia się brawurowo zagrany The Gene Machine. Utwór ten może być wizytówką Frameshift głównie ze względu na dość oryginalne brzmienie klawiszy nadających właśnie wrażenie rzeczonej ulotności. Dość mocno skontrastowany, dynamiczny i melodyjny progrock z wyraźną nutką ambientu. Już w tym momencie zostałem zaskoczony wokalizami pana LaBrie, o których później. Spiders jest już mocniejszy, stanowiący pierwszy akcent progmetalowy na płycie (a jakże mogłoby być inaczej:-). W tym momencie wydawać by się mogło, iż dynamika albumu wzrośnie. Nic podobnego. Kolejny track River Out Of Eden jest nostalgiczną balladą, których wiele na Unveawing The Rainbow. Mimo, że zaprzeczyłem wcześniej analogiom z Teatrem Marzeń można z przymrużeniem oka ustawić ten utwór obok The Silant Man czy też Hollow Years. Zaznaczyć należy permanentną obecność ambientowych keyboardów. Message From The Mountains jest zaskakującym ukłonem w stronę twórczości Arjena Lucassena. Bajkowy klimat z charakterystycznym, skocznym i odrobinkę celtyckim motywem przewodnim. Momentalnie zacząłem się zastanawiać jak wypadnie James w kolejnej odsłonie Ayreon - The Human Equation, który ukaże się w maju tego roku..... Po chwili szaleństwa kolejne uspokojenie. Your Eyes to kolejna ballada tym razem przy akompaniamencie gitary klasycznej i wiolonczeli. W podobnym nastroju, choć może bardziej onirycznym, utrzymany jest La Mer rozkołysany tym razem w dźwiękach fortepianu z patetycznym zakończeniem. Ładniutkie chociaż niecierpliwy słuchacz może troszeczkę ziewnąć:-). I znowu zaskoczenie. Nice Guys Finish First wyrywa się niczym przysłowiowy Filip z konopi. Dziwny, infantylny kawałek z szantowym refrenem, który za nic nie pasuje do koncepcji całej płyty. Od kolejnego utworu Arms Races poziom Unveawing The Rainbow wyraźnie zwyżkuje. Opłacało się czekać te czterdzieści minut. Rasowy, choć odrobinkę leniwy progmetaler z niesamowitą atmosferą i typowymi dla gatunku patentami. Po dawce adrenaliny znowu zostajemy kładzieni do snu za sprawą Origins And Miracles. Piękna kompozycja znowu świetnie pasująca do zimowej aury, z nastroju której wyrywa nas dynamiczny Off The Ground. Łapiemy się na skojarzeniach z The Flower Kings lub Spock’s Beard tylko, że w wydaniu bardziej „heavy”. Przyzwyczajeni do huśtawki ze spokojem słuchamy kolejnej kompozycji Walking Through Genetic Space. Nie jest to zwykła ballada. Utwór napiętnowany jest bardzo zgrabnymi liniami melodycznymi z łatwością wpadającymi w ucho. To typowy kawałek, przy którym ma się ochotę falować w wyimaginowanym tłumie z wysoko uniesioną zapalniczką. Po nim oczywiście czas na progmetalowy czad w postaci mojego ulubionego utworu Cultural Genetics. Z zaskoczeniem pośród połamanych riffów, loopów i kaskad gitarowo-klawiszowych odnajdujemy grasujące.....banjo (LOL!). Nie inaczej jest z Bats. Powiedziałbym, że to jakby ambient-progmetal. Na uwagę zasługuje wspaniałe lekko kakafoniczne saksofonowe solo, które nadaje smaczków znanych z płyt Magellana. Świetne zwieńczenie albumu. Na deser otrzymujemy króciutki powrót-klamrę do początku płyty w postaci orkiestrowej wersji Above The Grass – Part 2.....ufff, czy to możliwe? Za nami blisko 80 minut muzyki!!!

Nadszedł czas aby skrobnąć parę słów na temat mego pozytywnego zaskoczenia wokalizami Jamesa „Serka” LaBrie. Wygląda na to, że Henning Pauly dał Jamesowi wolną rękę, a ten skwapliwie z tego faktu skorzystał pozwalając sobie na śmiałe eksperymenty, których wynik jest całkiem pozytywny. LaBrie jako zadeklarowany fan Queen raczy nas wieloma wokalnymi nakładkami i niezłymi harmoniami. Zdecydowanie wypada on w formule tej płyty bardzo dobrze. Ba, powiedziałbym nawet, że jest jej poważnym atutem. Myślę, że z Unweaving The Rainbow powinni zapoznać się przede wszystkim Ci, którzy mają do pana LaBrie poważne zastrzeżenia w macierzystym Dream Theater. Czyżby Petrucci i spółka trzymali „Serka” na króciutkiej artystycznej „smyczy” ? :-)

Tytułem uzupełnienia dodam jeszcze, że recenzowane wydawnictwo jest koncept-albumem, którego liryki powstały pod wpływem twórczości neo-Darwinisty Richarda Dawkinsa, który popełniłążkę o tytule Unweaving The Rainbow.

Jak zwykle ma opinia na temat tej płyty jest wypośrodkowana. Nie sądzę, że Unweaving The Rainbow jest płytą genialną, należącą do czołówki wydawnictw z 2003 roku. Nie uważam również, iż jest to popelina. Ot, ciekawa muzyka, świetnie zrealizowana i wykonana. Jeśli będziecie mieli okazję posłuchać tej płyty to namawiam. Warto.

Review by Movimenti Prog

Un altro dei mille progetti nei quali James LaBrie, voce dei Dream Theater, si è lasciato coinvolgere; i Frameshift sono formati dai fratelli tedeschi Henning e Eduard Pauly (quest’ultimo incide sotto il nome di Eddie Marvin) – rispettivamente alla chitarra e tastiere e alla batteria – e da Nik Guadagnoli al basso, anche se lui e Henning spesso si sono scambiati gli strumenti in questo disco. Henning Pauly e Nik Guadagnoli sono anche gli autori delle musiche di questo CD (i testi invece sono tutti firmati da Matt Cash).

Nonostante l’importante presenza del vocalist canadese, comunque, questo disco non ha nulla a che fare con lo stile tipico dei Dream Theater, al limite vi si scorgono alcuni tratti nelle melodie vocali che ricordano un po’ i due lavori dei Mullmuzzler (il progetto solista di LaBrie stesso), soprattutto nella bellissima “Message from the Mountain”.

Cosa suonano allora i Frameshift?

Non è un genere facilissimo da identificare e definire; diciamo che il prog-metal è molto presente, più nell’accezione che vi danno i Pain of Salvation che in quella dei Dream Theater, ma si va anche oltre con diversi passaggi che invece potrebbero tranquillamente datare alla prima metà degli anni ’70 (e c’è da notare che – a parte LaBrie – il più vecchio dei Frameshift è nato nel 1975); ci sono anche alcuni momenti in cui si nota addirittura una certa influenza della musica folk americana (in particolare in “Your Eyes”), vicino alle tipiche ballate per piano e voce (“La Mer”) che artisti di un po’ tutti i generi hanno affrontato, dai Dream Theater di “Anna Lee” (da “Falling into Infinity”) ai Def Leppard che hanno cercato di ricostruire la propria carriera su questo stile negli anni ’90 dopo i fasti del decennio precedente a Richard Marx, che solo su questo stile ha basato la propria fortuna; ma anche in questo caso i Frameshift – e in questo caso soprattutto LaBrie con le melodie che segue – sono bravi a fare qualcosa di diverso dal solito.

In più, “Unweaving the Rainbow” è piacevole all’ascolto, per nulla ripetitivo ma nemmeno “originale per forza” tanto da rischiare di stupire negativamente l’ascoltatore: veramente un bellissimo lavoro.

Review by

Laut Info-Material wollte Henning Pauly, der Initiator dieses Projektes, drei Ziele mit „Unweaving The Rainbow" erreichen:

Er wollte Dream-Theater – Goldkehlchen James LaBrie wie nie zuvor in Szene setzen, Elemente aus Progressive Rock, Filmmusik und modernen Produktionen kombinieren und die Arbeiten von Prof. Richard Dawkins als Vorlage für ein interessantes textliches Konzept verwenden.

Und was soll ich sagen: Das ist dem musikalischen Überflieger, der am Berklee College of Music studierte, absolut gelungen. Die Songs sind James LaBrie auf den Leib geschnitten; er kann sämtliche Register seines Könnens ziehen. Tatsächlich war eine solche Bandbreite an Stimmungen und Atmosphären in LaBrie’s Gesang auf einer Dream Theater – Scheibe noch nicht so zu hören. Besonders bemerkenswert sind dabei der häufig mehrstimmige Gesang und Chor-Passagen wie in „Spiders".

Die Musik ist eindeutig Progressive, wenn auch mit nichts zu vergleichen, was ich bis jetzt aus diesem Genre kenne. Dort, wo es ruhig und seicht zugeht, geht es kaum noch seichter, dort, wo verzerrte Gitarren zum Einsatz kommen, knallt es ordentlich. Die Arrangements sind zum Teil sehr komplex, bei anderen Songs dagegen simpel gestrickt.

Das Hauptaugenmerk liegt dabei aber immer auf dem Gesang. Die Anzahl der unterschiedlichen Keyboard- und Synthesizer-Sounds ist einfach unglaublich und bringt eine Menge Abwechslung mit sich. Die „modernen" Einflüsse machen sich durch verzerrten Gesang („Arms Races") oder Sounds und Loops à la OSI bemerkbar. Schließlich wäre dann noch das von Hr. Dawkins entliehene Konzept der Texte. Grob gesagt geht es darum, dass dieser die Meinung vertritt, dass ein Regenbogen, nur weil man sich seine Entstehung mittlerweile erklären kann, nicht minder bewundernswert ist.

Diese und ähnliche Thesen werden in den 15 Songs angesprochen und in entsprechender Atmosphäre musikalisch umgesetzt. Diese CD sollte man sich in aller Ruhe unter dem Kopfhörer zu Gemüte führen, wobei sie genauso gut auch mal im Hintergrund zur Entspannung laufen kann. Für Progressive-Fans und/oder Leute, die James LaBrie’s Gesang toll finden, eigentlich ein Pflichtkauf.