FRAMESHIFT – An Absence Of Empathy

FRAMESHIFT - An Absence Of Empathy


ProgRock Records
Release date: March 1, 2005

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Ever heard Sebastian Bach sing Prog Rock?

The multi-instrumentalist Henning Pauly has made his second album under the Frameshift banner. The last Frameshift recording, Unweaving The Rainbow, included Dream Theater’s James LaBrie on vocals. This time around, Pauly has invited no one less than Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row) to do the singing.

Those not familiar with Henning Pauly’s work may infer from the label name the genre this music belongs. For a ProgRock Records release, James LaBrie might sound like a more natural choice for a vocalist than Sebastian Bach, but the good old ex-Skid Row frontman handles this task with great conviction.

Except for the drums, all instruments are played by Henning Pauly himself. Pauly has also taken care of the production and the mixing … all of this with great success. An Absence Of Empathy conveys a vast amount of variation –- just like a Prog Rock album should –- but still thoroughly sticks to the golden rule: less is more. If you want an over-decorated Prog Rock album, look elsewhere.

Bach’s vocal arrangements are strangely often treated with a double or multi-layered mix to make the vocals sound fatter or more atmospheric. Still, from listening to the album, vocal effects aside, it is hard to argue against Sebastian Bach carrying one of the Rock genres most powerful studio voices. One might wonder why the man hasn’t performed on more albums than he has since his 1989 debut.

To Skid Row fans who are waiting to see if the original Skid Row line up will join the long line of recent years’ reunited Hard Rock bands –- or while others are just waiting for another Sebastian Bach solo album, An Absence Of Empathy is superb company to share the wait. However, it is not Sebastian Bach alone that should draw attention towards this album. The compositions would bear a lesser singer, and some of the tracks would even deserve some attention as instrumentals. The lyrics, however, carry a story concept about different individuals facing different kinds of violence. Violence — an ever-present theme, it seems.

An Absence Of Empathy is full of stand out songs. “Just One More,” “Miseducation” (more aggressive than progressive — brings back Skid Row memories!), “I Killed You,” “This Is Gonna Hurt” (as groovy as Prog Rock gets!), the laid back and beautiful “In An Empty Room,” and “How Long Can I Resist” — to mention a few — are all killer tracks. Henning Pauly should be very proud of himself.

An Absence Of Empathy, folks — check it out!


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