Exposé Online banner

Aelian — The Watcher
(Musea FGBG-4061.AR, 1992, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:

The Watcher Cover art

Musea tends to release two kinds of music: reissues of excellent obscure progressive bands and debut efforts by contemporary bands. The latter can be broken down further into bands that learn from the past masters of the genre and extend progressive music to new horizons and the “wanna be” progressive bands that only hint at possibilities.

Aelian is one of these latter neo-progressive bands. Hailing from Italy, they root their music in bands like Yes and Styx. Unhappily they are bland imitators without understanding instrumentation and lyric writing. Too much happens in their music. As Robert Browning so aptly put it, “Less is more,” and Aelian would have benefited by not filling the available sonic space with instruments. You can pick out individual instruments, but Maurizio Antognoli’s keyboards are mixed way below the drums and bass. Vocals are not Aelian’s strong point yet there is only one instrumental. Aelian’s music improves by quantum leaps when they are not making space for their lead vocalist Mark Aixer. He occasionally trips over English and often the lyrics do not make sense. Take for instance this line from "You Don’t Touch Me": “How can I do to explain to you / that you break my heart like an innocent crime”; this line from "One Dream All Together": “We tried to slide in the dark side / but the lamps of envious lights up / the corner of a blind man”; and this line from "The Sun Will Shine Again": “Is there someone of us / who can merit unended whiles?” Then there is the quasi-“yellow peril” song "Y. F." inspired by “A Chinese Ghost Story,” which suffers from the almost racist refrain “And yellow faces in my eyes.” Aelian has the potential for being a good band once they gain more experience in song writing and playing live.


by Peter Thelen, 1994-02-01:

This is one of Musea's new releases, a label which for many years I considered infallible, but in the last few years they have occasionally proven me wrong with releases like Fancy Fluid's first, Overdrive, Deyss' first and others. Case in point: Aelian is a new Italian four piece of g/k/b/d, with the bassist doubling on lead vocals. The music is definitely neo-progressive for the most part, but in this case it's not necessarily a negative, they do fairly well, comparable to bands like Now and Sinister Street. The problem, once again, is the vocalist, with his laughable imitation Fish-like emotions, which are only eclipsed by his lack of understanding of the subtleties of the English language in which he's trying to sing. Add to that two very cheesy pop tracks that break the album's continuity, and you have a near total disaster. Fortunately, they did put an excellent instrumental on as the second track, and there are plenty of instrumental stretches in some of the other tracks as well. Still doesn't save it, though, when judgement comes down. These guys (unlike the previous) do have potential; I think a good recipe for a second album would be to skip the poppy drivel and stick to Italian vocals.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 2 , 1992 releases

Related artist(s): Aelian

More info

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ancient Curse - The Landing – The strains of an acoustic guitar, a soft vocal, then comes the barrage. If I were to contain this review to only word, it would be: Metallica. Ancient Curse do not appear to make any claims at...  (1998) » Read more

David Torn / Mick Karn / Terry Bozzio - Polytown – David Torn (guitars, effects), Mick Karn (fretless bass) and Terry Bozzio (drums, percussion) have all been around the block, and this unlikely trio have released one of the years most interesting and...  (1994) » Read more

Various Artists - Tokyo Symphonic Syndrome – Japanese progressive compilations are always an interesting listen, and this one's no exception — a collection of groups that never made an album but performed live in Tokyo in what sounds like the...  (1994) » Read more

Various Artists - Looper's Delight Compilation CD: Volume 2 – This was an awesome Internet find. I discovered the Looper’s Delight web page one day and am the better for it. A site dedicated to the use of the tape loop; its origins, tech tips and resources...  (2001) » Read more

King Eider - Somateria spectabilis – Two guys, Waalkens and Gerritse from the Netherlands, with help from Pomp on drums and Huigen and Holdtman as occasional vocalists, form King Eider. Somateria Spectabilis (named for a species of...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues