[Review] TDW – The Days The Clock Stopped

TDW is a project born in the early 2000s from the mind of multi-instrumentalist and singer Tom De Wit, whose name comes from his initials T, D and W. Initially was a studio project, while in 2016 Dreamwalkers Inc. was formed which is a ‘ set of musicians selected by Tom to allow him to offer music also live. Since 2004, 2 EPs, 1 live album and 8 full-length albums have been released, the last of which “The Days the Clock Stopped” published on December 4, 2020 via Layered Reality Productions. The album, in concept form, contains 11 medium-long duration tracks, including a fine suite of over 17 minutes, and is available in Digibook CD / DVD and Digital. According to press release “The Days The Clock Stopped” is a concept album that dives head first into Tom‘s medical history and
how he fell ill with a highly potent inflammatory bowel disease at age 19 and dealing with that while also fighting the mental struggles that come along with being diagnosed as a highly sensitive person. The story chronicles the hospital experiences, being trapped inside a body & brain that are giving up, the medical mistakes made and what it can lead to when one is confronted by death not once, but twice. The “Crashscape” opener begins with atmospheric noises and a whispered voice on an orchestral carpet and a sweet piano, which you bring to a powerful symphonic Prog Metal theme. “Clockstop – Insight X” kicks off with the ticking of a clock and an intertwining of male and female whispered voices with a basis of percussion. The singing begins which always sees male and female voices overlapping, this time it is the choir’s turn, while the music is halfway between Prog Rock and Metal. The intensity increases with the passage of the song that immediately immerses us in what are the plots of the album. “Code of Conduct” is characterized by a very marked percussive rhythmic session with a deep bass, to which is added a warm and expressive vocal. The electric guitar adds power to the sound, while the vocal weaves always give that extra touch, especially with the addition of the choral parts. Characterized by continuous tempo changes and symphonic openings that counterbalance the Metal outbursts to which a heavy, almost screamed vocal is added. Good theme development and execution with pleasant personal features and a good guitar solo in the second part. Here we are at the second part of the suite which is divided into the album entitled “Clockstop – Insight 2” with melodic voices and deep bass and the drum toms to mark the time. The atmospheres are dark and melancholy and then with a sudden change they gain power and accelerate frantically. The guitar duets very well with the organ recalling the Derek Sherinian-like sounds, while the drum accelerations flow into the terrain of heavy metal, giving life to the heaviest track heard up to now, proof of the band’s versatility. Elaborate and at times intricate, this track offers excellent solutions and ideas between Prog and extreme Metal with symphonic inserts and original melodies. “Sleepless Angels” begins with an effected piano arpeggio and a rhythmic session with a hypnotic bass on which a warm vocal is inserted. The repeated melodies and sounds surround us and guide us up to the middle of the piece when with a change the choir comes into play and the instrumental part develops. A pleasant intertwined solo of keyboards and guitar on a symphonic carpet lead us to the end of the song. With the sound of the pulsation begins “The Pulse,” and then begins with an accelerated percussive rhythm and an intertwining of stringed instruments. The power slowly increases and then a multi-voice vocal enters and the guitar becomes heavier as well as the drum and the sounds become darker with the organ in the background. The choir always adds that something extra, that original touch, and the melodies become intricate and virtuous between heavy riffs and double pedal. Another good substitute for technique and power, mixing symphonic traits and heavy Metal with ease and top-level playing technique. “Clockstop – Insight 3” is the third part of the suite, this time a short passage of just over 1 minute that softens the tones of a melancholy orchestral background. “Death and Her Brother Greg” is characterized by a distorted bass and intricate electronic sounds, while the sung part creates a choral melody of those that remain in mind, to be sung and re-sung. The melodic structure is both pompous and intricate with a very interesting and technically elaborate guitar solo in the second part. We have reached the epic suite of over 17 minutes “No Can Do,” the true cornerstone of the album and a more unique than rare track, where all the qualities and positive aspects of the TDW sound are expressed at the highest level. The long instrumental sections are an explosion of technique, symphony and power, with a constantly changing structure and development of the main theme as in the best tradition of Prog. Despite the long duration, all the spaces are used in the best way without leaving pauses or gaps, but giving vent to all the creativity of the artist and the technique of the musicians involved. Difficult to maintain a certain intensity in such long and articulated songs, but we are faced with a track that is a masterpiece of Prog Metal of recent times. A song that alone is worth the price of the disc, congratulations to the performers for the impeccable and engaging execution. The last section of the “Clockstop – Insight 4” suite begins where the previous song ends with unhypnotic bass and an echoed voice with melodic features. The Prog Metal component is expressed once again at high levels, with that dark touch that has distinguished this suite inside the album. A winning blend of softer inserts and powerful accelerations and heavy discharges that alternate with symphonic openings. The worthy closure of a song that is the backbone of this production, with a melancholy guitar solo in the finale that accompanies us at the end of the track. Closes the album “A String of Repeats” with a pleasant duet on vocals and the inevitable choral inserts, for a song focused on tempo changes and on guitar / keyboard duets. Constantly changing and the right dose between singing and instrumental parts where the guitar is the protagonist, closing an album that immediately makes you want to listen to it again. TDW is a project that over the years has proven to have clear ideas and a well-defined and original sound, making use of the collaboration of important artists. A very intense album, both from the point of view of the theme and the lyrics and from that of the sound, offering well-elaborated tracks. The long duration of the tracks and their development is technically very engaging and full of ideas where symphony and Heavy sounds marry and intertwine perfectly. A listening recommended to all lovers of Progressive Metal and Heavy Prog sounds in the style of Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery and at times Riverside and Ayreon, always with their own personal touch and the addition of choirs that makes them almost unique. Another excellent chapter in the discography of this project that highlights a personal and mature sound.

Tracklist

01.Crashscape (02:01)
02.Clockstop – Insight X (03:31)
03.Code of Conduct (06:13)
04.Clockstop – Insight 2 (09:30)
05.Sleepless Angels (04:43)
06.The Pulse (07:53)
07.Clockstop – Insight 3 (01:24)
08.Death and Her Brother Greg (04:24)
09.No Can Do (17:56)
10.Clockstop – Insight 4 (07:14)
11.A String of Repeats (08:54)

Lineup

Tom de Wit / Lead Vocals, Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Synths, Orchestrations
Rich Hinks / Bass, Backing Vocals
Fabio Alessandrini / Drums
Remco Woutersen / Cello Solo Parts

With:
Marco Sfogli / Guitar Solo (4)
Daniel Magdič / Guitar Solo (5)
Koen Romeijn / Guitar solo (6)
Chris Zoupa / Guitar Solo (8)
Andi Kravljaca / Lead Vocals (9)
Matthew op ‘t Einde / (9)
Luca Di Genarro / Keyboard Solo (9)
Norbert Veenbrink / Guitar Solo (10)
Lennert Kemper / Guitar Solo (11)

Choir Members:
Laura ten Hoedt, Cailyn Erlandsson, Nicole de Ruiter, Iris van ‘t Veer, Rikke Linssen, Stan Eimers, Ron Brouwer, Rich Hinks, Abraham Sarache

TDW |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Layered Reality Productions |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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