THE TANGENT – Not As Good As The Book

THE TANGENT - Not As Good As The Book
  • 7/10
    THE TANGENT - Not As Good As The Book - 7/10


Inside Out
Release date: March 3, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Andy Tillison’s Band started as a surprisingly entertaining retro-Prog project a few years ago with The Music That Died Alone, an album that cut itself a piece from the pie formerly reserved for The Flower Kings and its derivatives. Of course, with Roine Stolt on guitar and Jonas Reingold on bass, The Tangent almost were nothing but that, but in contrast to most other side projects of the Swedes, Andy Tillison was the main songwriter and musician in this band. After album number two, one of the Flower Kings left the band – and took with him some of the more experimental and Jazzy elements in the sound of The Tangent.

Not As Good As The Book marks the fourth studio release already, and it definitely tops every other Tangent album when it comes to extras and packaging. Several different special editions are available that include nothing less than a 100 page booklet that tells the story of this concept double album and receives the finishing touch with illustrations by Antoine Ettori.

Unfortunately, the story is too complex and also too weird to be adequately summed up here, so it must be enough to state some landmarks: The story spans 80,000 years. Dave, the main character, is a music fan who grew up with 70s Prog. He accidentally destroys the earth by playing the Yes album Relayer (no kiddin’). Many decades later, scientists try to determine what our world was like, and they use several hundred CDs they discovered, and genetically reconstruct Dave.

Of course, the whole story and album is filled with Andy’s typical humor, that sets a welcome contrast to the over-seriousness of this old genre, in which The Tangent is solidly rooted. Throughout the album, many old friends will be cited, foremost Yes, but also Genesis and King Crimson, Rush, and Pink Floyd. The first CD contains several tracks of normal length, not exceeding ten minutes. In this the music is a logical step in the development of the band towards straighter, rockier tracks. And indeed, the Jazz elements have been pushed back even further than on A Place In The Queue, making the songs more plain and accessible. Sometimes, it even seems as if the musicians had had fun creating this work! How unthinkable, everyone knows that Prog is supposed to be hard work for musicians and audience alike, is it not?

Still, no song can be described sufficiently, as the musical abundance of ideas and different parts even within the shorter tracks eludes all attempts of characterization. Fans of the band will not be surprised by these first 50 minutes, and that probably is enough for them to buy this album already.

The second CD contains the other 40 minutes of music, but compiled into only two songs. And this is a step back, full circle, as it shows the other side of The Tangent, the opulent, overflowing side. The only development here is a tendency towards Pink Floyd-ish atmospheric sounds which gives the second CD a feeling of a movie soundtrack. The songs demand concentration from the listener, but reward with sweet melodies on which the band lingers a bit longer than they did on the long tracks of the previous albums.

Overall, The Tangent have not created anything new here, but gather and mix known aspects or Rock and Prog to create their own musical wonderland. Somehow, this works fine even when they don’t exhibit quite the emotion of Dark Side Of The Moon, intensity of Red or In The Court Of The Crimson King, nor the playfulness of Relayer. That still means it targets mainly the Prog community out there and will hardly be able to expand the genre, so if none of the four albums just mentioned put a smile on your face, this work is probably not made for you. Or you for it.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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