20 March, 2007 Eddie Lascu ...It's Only the Beginning

If you would listen to this album for the first time, without knowing anything about it, you would say that it's probably a band from UK heavily inspired by Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree playing a fine, spacey neo-prog. Boy, you would be wrong. Different Strings is an almost one-man show, Chris Mallia of Malta being the driving force behind the project. I say "almost" because he does get some help from Alan Mayo who contributes all the lead and backing vocals. Other than that, the music and the lyrics are written and arranged by Mallia. He plays all the instruments and this is where you should get your first shock. The level of skill heard on this album is very high, Mallia seamed equally comfortable as a guitarist, drummer or keyboard player. I tried to think back when was the last time I heard a one-man band that sounded so coherent and cohesive. Not since I got to know Al Garcia's work was I this impressed, but that's a story for another day. As Mallia puts it, this album is home-made from A to Z. He was responsible for programming, performing, recording, mixing and producing the record. I wish the production would have met higher standards, just because the music has so much to offer and with that I laid down the only complaint I have about this album. As mentioned before, the music draws blood from the likes of Porcupine Tree and other bands that play an aggressive kind of progressive rock oscillating from spacey tones to sheer power metal. The 6 tracks are divided between alternating instrumental pieces and songs featuring Mayo's able vocals. During my research I found out that "Dead Man Walking", the third song of the album, became somewhat of a hit in Malta. The highlight of the album is, without any doubt, the 17-minute, 8 part suite "Around the World". Let's really hope that this is only the beginning and we will get to hear more from Chris Mallia. With a bit of luck, he gets his music known and maybe, just maybe, the next release will benefit from a more professional recording environment. Everybody will gain something from that.

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