Some albums come out of nowhere with no expectations and simply blow you away musically. Tilt’s debut ‘Hinterland’ is one of those albums and I was hooked from the first playing of this album.
The album itself has been in the making these past five years, with the band releasing one EP to date. The line-up is Steve Vantsis (Bass/Guitars/Keyboards/Programming), Dave Stewart (Drums/Percussion), Paul Humphries (Guitars/Keyboards/Programming) Paul Dourley (Vocals) and Robin Boult (Guitars).
Steve, Dave and Robin have recorded and toured in the past as part of Fish’s band and Dave was also drummer in Camel for a time. Joining them are It Bites’ John Beck and the the album is produced by John Mitchell (It Bites/Arena/Frost*/Lonely Robot). An impressive musical pedigree already before you listen to any music I am sure you will agree.
The album opens with the atmospheric ‘Assembly’, a song that builds from a slow electronica start before some rather big guitar riffs kick in and the listener’s first chance to hear the vocals of Paul Dorley. What a find he is for the band, with a clear and melodic tone reminding in places Peter Gabriel and Casey McPherson of Flying Colors. The title track grabs you from the off, with a relentless riff than leans into prog metal territory and it does remind me again of Flying Colors.
The sound and production on this album is something else. Hats off to John Mitchell and the band. Listen to ‘Bloodline’ with all the subtle keys/loops and then big drums/guitars interweaving them. Shortest song on the album, ‘No Superman’, sounds like Pearl Jam if they were a little more prog. Again a striking melody, passionate vocal from Paul Dourley and like the rest of the album, you want to hear the song again as soon as it has finished.
A top 10 album of the year for me without a shadow of a doubt. Albums like this are why I love music and discovering and writing about new bands/albums (although to be fair Tilt have been around nearly a decade now). Melodic, interesting and – when required – complex progressive music make Tilt’s debut album one you really need to hear and own. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
Interview (Steve Vantsis, December 2016)
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