TOUCHSTONE
Metal Related / Non-Metal • United Kingdom

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Touchstone are a band from Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom whose music style mixes melodic and progressive influences to create a sound that ranges between progressive rock and progressive metal. They were formed by keyboardist/vocalist Rob Cottingham in 2001.

Their first industry-standard four-track EP, Mad Hatters, was released in July 2006 and has received much critical acclaim from the music press. The band's line-up at this stage consisted of Cottingham along with Liz Clayden (female vocals), Adam Hodgson (guitars), Paul "Moo" Moorghen (bass guitar), and Simon Cook (drums). Mad Hatters was the only release by the band to feature Clayden and Cook, who were replaced by Kim 'Elkie' Seviour and Alasdair Melville respectively.

Their first full-length album Discordant Dreams was released in 2007. It received praise from well known figures such as musicians Jeff Wayne, Rick Wakeman and actor Jeremy Irons.

A second album, Wintercoast, was released in 2009 featuring
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New LandNew Land
Alliance 1993
Audio CD$9.33
$2.50 (used)
Oceans of TimeOceans of Time
Import
Ais 2013
Audio CD$8.79
$6.86 (used)
JealousyJealousy
Alliance 1993
Audio CD$8.59
$3.66 (used)
The City SleepsThe City Sleeps
Import
Steamhammer/SPV 2012
Audio CD$2.62
$1.62 (used)
WintercoastWintercoast
Steamhammer Us 2012
Audio CD$8.19
$6.37 (used)
Discordant DreamsDiscordant Dreams
Steamhammer Us 2012
Audio CD$6.70
$5.12 (used)
Live In The USA...Live In The USA...
ProgRock Records 2010
Audio CD$5.99
$3.07 (used)
Mad HattersMad Hatters
EP
Steamhammer Us 2012
Audio CD$7.17
$6.31 (used)
Discordant Dreams by TOUCHSTONE (2012-05-22)Discordant Dreams by TOUCHSTONE (2012-05-22)
Steamhammer Us
Audio CD$50.34
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Dick Tracy Madonna Japanese tour programme THEATRE PROGRAM TOUCHSTONE 1990 Dick Tracy Madonna Japanese tour programme THEATRE PROGRAM TOUCHSTONE 1990 USD $33.12 Buy It Now 2h 34m
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Touchstone - Jealousy (CD New) Touchstone - Jealousy (CD New) USD $15.28 Buy It Now 12h
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ANANTA Night And Daydream PROMO LP Touchstone Ilan Chester Mark Francis Spitery ANANTA Night And Daydream PROMO LP Touchstone Ilan Chester Mark Francis Spitery USD $8.43 Buy It Now 1 day
 TOUCHSTONE: The New Land GREEN LINNETT, Hippie Folk VINYL LP TOUCHSTONE: The New Land GREEN LINNETT, Hippie Folk VINYL LP USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Touchstone by Chick Corea. Touchstone by Chick Corea. USD $18.86 Buy It Now 1 day
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Touchstone - New Land (CD New) Touchstone - New Land (CD New) USD $15.28 Buy It Now 2 days
Touchstone-Jealousy Touchstone-Jealousy USD $6.99 (0 bids)
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ARIEL POCOCK**TOUCHSTONE**CD ARIEL POCOCK**TOUCHSTONE**CD USD $6.79 (0 bids)
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Summer - Flying Home - Touchstone Sound Recordings - 1979 #745450 Summer - Flying Home - Touchstone Sound Recordings - 1979 #745450 USD $4.81 Buy It Now 2 days
Chick corea/Touchstone Chick corea/Touchstone USD $5.00 (0 bids)
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Ananta....Night And Daydream......9 Track LP....1978 Touchstone Records Ananta....Night And Daydream......9 Track LP....1978 Touchstone Records USD $2.40 (0 bids)
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Live In The Usa - Touchstone (2010, CD New) Live In The Usa - Touchstone (2010, CD New) USD $15.85 Buy It Now 3 days
"Flying Home" / Summer 12" Vinyl Benefit Album Touchstone Sound Recordings 1979 USD $3.61 (0 bids)
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Touchstone Green Linnet LP 1984 Touchstone Green Linnet LP 1984 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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FLYING HOME SUMMER 1979 A1 B1 TOUCHSTONE RECORDS WATCH IT GO/STEAL AWAY VINYL LP FLYING HOME SUMMER 1979 A1 B1 TOUCHSTONE RECORDS WATCH IT GO/STEAL AWAY VINYL LP USD $10.62 Buy It Now 3 days
CHICK COREA Touchstone P11248 OBI LP Fz4458 CHICK COREA Touchstone P11248 OBI LP Fz4458 USD $0.99 (0 bids)
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New Land - Touchstone (CD Used Very Good) New Land - Touchstone (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.63 Buy It Now 3 days
Jealousy - Touchstone (CD Used Very Good) Jealousy - Touchstone (CD Used Very Good) USD $14.49 Buy It Now 3 days
ANANTA NIGHT AND DAY DREAM  VINYL LP TOUCHSTONE STEREO BBT 112T PROMO COPY ANANTA NIGHT AND DAY DREAM VINYL LP TOUCHSTONE STEREO BBT 112T PROMO COPY USD $7.23 (0 bids)
3 days
`POCOCK, ARIEL`-TOUCHSTONE  (UK IMPORT)  CD NEW `POCOCK, ARIEL`-TOUCHSTONE (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $11.96 Buy It Now 4 days
THE FLOATING STONES Adventures of the Great King Raam TOUCHSTONE BBT114 VINYL LP THE FLOATING STONES Adventures of the Great King Raam TOUCHSTONE BBT114 VINYL LP USD $10.85 Buy It Now 4 days
Azimuth 'The Touchstone' germ press Azimuth 'The Touchstone' germ press USD $7.48 (0 bids)
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ANANTA Night And Daydream LP VINYL UK Touchstone 1978 9 Track (Bbt112T) ANANTA Night And Daydream LP VINYL UK Touchstone 1978 9 Track (Bbt112T) USD $3.79 Buy It Now 4 days
SUMMER Flying Home LP VINYL UK Touchstone 1979 9 Track (Bbt113T) SUMMER Flying Home LP VINYL UK Touchstone 1979 9 Track (Bbt113T) USD $5.06 Buy It Now 4 days
TOUCHSTONE Jealousy LP VINYL US Green Linnet 1984 11 Track With Insert Small TOUCHSTONE Jealousy LP VINYL US Green Linnet 1984 11 Track With Insert Small USD $8.19 Buy It Now 4 days
TOUCHSTONE New Land LP VINYL UK Green Linnet 1982 11 Track Small Sticker On TOUCHSTONE New Land LP VINYL UK Green Linnet 1982 11 Track Small Sticker On USD $10.73 Buy It Now 4 days
ANANTA Night And Daydream LP VINYL UK Touchstone 1978 9 Track With Promo ANANTA Night And Daydream LP VINYL UK Touchstone 1978 9 Track With Promo USD $5.06 Buy It Now 4 days
Jealousy by Touchstone. Jealousy by Touchstone. USD $16.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Adventures of King Roam Floating Stones Vinyl LP Touchstone Label - Excellent Adventures of King Roam Floating Stones Vinyl LP Touchstone Label - Excellent USD $10.85 Buy It Now 4 days
TOUCHSTONE Jealousy CD US Green Linnet 2007 11 Track, Remastered Edition TOUCHSTONE Jealousy CD US Green Linnet 2007 11 Track, Remastered Edition USD $10.73 Buy It Now 4 days
TOUCHSTONE New Land CD US Green Linnet 2008 11 Track, Remastered Edition TOUCHSTONE New Land CD US Green Linnet 2008 11 Track, Remastered Edition USD $10.73 Buy It Now 4 days
Ananta NIGHT AND DAYDREAM vinyl Promotional Copy LP Touchstone 1978 Ananta NIGHT AND DAYDREAM vinyl Promotional Copy LP Touchstone 1978 USD $1.19 (0 bids)
5 days
TOUCHSTONE ~ THE NEW LAND ~ ORIG. FOLK-BLUEGRASS LP..VG++..ON GREEN LINNET TOUCHSTONE ~ THE NEW LAND ~ ORIG. FOLK-BLUEGRASS LP..VG++..ON GREEN LINNET USD $3.00 Buy It Now 5 days
Touchstone - Mad Hatters-Enhanced (NEW CD) Touchstone - Mad Hatters-Enhanced (NEW CD) USD $15.07 Buy It Now 5 days
Touchstone - The City Sleeps (NEW CD) Touchstone - The City Sleeps (NEW CD) USD $12.66 Buy It Now 5 days
Touchstone - Discordant Dreams (Re-Release) (NEW CD) Touchstone - Discordant Dreams (Re-Release) (NEW CD) USD $12.66 Buy It Now 5 days
TOUCHSTONE TOUCHSTONE "WINTERCOAST-RERELEASE" CD NEW+ USD $19.96 Buy It Now 5 days
TOUCHSTONE TOUCHSTONE "MAD HATTERS-RERELEASE" CD NEW+ USD $17.69 Buy It Now 5 days
TOUCHSTONE TOUCHSTONE "THE CITY SLEEPS" CD NEW+ USD $19.63 Buy It Now 6 days
Alan Silvestri ‎Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Touchstone Records ‎64100 Alan Silvestri ‎Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Touchstone Records ‎64100 USD $23.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Chick Corea Touchstone -Japanese Pressed Vinyl Album Chick Corea Touchstone -Japanese Pressed Vinyl Album USD $27.74 Buy It Now 6 days
TOUCHSTONE TOUCHSTONE "DISCORDANT DREAMS-RERELEASE" CD NEW+ USD $18.96 Buy It Now 7 days
Touchstone, The New Land, Green Linnet Records SIF 1040, 1982, Folk, Bluegrass Touchstone, The New Land, Green Linnet Records SIF 1040, 1982, Folk, Bluegrass USD $9.00 Buy It Now 7 days
ANANTA - Night & Daydream - Excellent Condition LP Record Touchstone BBT 112T ANANTA - Night & Daydream - Excellent Condition LP Record Touchstone BBT 112T USD $9.64 Buy It Now 7 days
ANANTA ANANTA " NIGHT AND DAYDREAM " SPECIAL PROMO VINYL LP 1978 EXCELLENT TOUCHSTONE USD $6.02 Buy It Now 7 days
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT Original Soundtrack (CD, 1988 Alan Silvestri Touchstone) WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT Original Soundtrack (CD, 1988 Alan Silvestri Touchstone) USD $29.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Azimuth - The Touchstone CASSETTE ©1979 ECM JAZZ Azimuth - The Touchstone CASSETTE ©1979 ECM JAZZ USD $17.00 Buy It Now 8 days
Night And Daydream 1978 Touchstone Vinyl LP Night And Daydream 1978 Touchstone Vinyl LP USD $6.03 Buy It Now 8 days
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TOUCHSTONE Jealousy LP SEALED US 1984 orig Bothy Band Skara Brae GL 1050 TOUCHSTONE Jealousy LP SEALED US 1984 orig Bothy Band Skara Brae GL 1050 USD $14.98 Buy It Now 8 days
Touchstone - Live In The Usa [CD New] Touchstone - Live In The Usa [CD New] USD $16.54 Buy It Now 8 days
SUMMER - FLYING HOME (TOUCHSTONE BBT 113T) UK 1979 LP WITH PP ARNOLD SUMMER - FLYING HOME (TOUCHSTONE BBT 113T) UK 1979 LP WITH PP ARNOLD USD $6.02 Buy It Now 9 days
CHICK COREA / TOUCHSTONE LP w/OBI Insert Orig JAPAN ISSUE CHICK COREA / TOUCHSTONE LP w/OBI Insert Orig JAPAN ISSUE USD $29.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Touchstone - The City Sleeps NEW CD Digi Touchstone - The City Sleeps NEW CD Digi USD $9.97 Buy It Now 9 days
Touchstone - Mad Hatters-enhanced NEW CD Digi Touchstone - Mad Hatters-enhanced NEW CD Digi USD $12.04 Buy It Now 9 days
FLYING HOME SUMMER VINYL ALBUM TOUCHSTONE 1979 BBT 113 T FLYING HOME SUMMER VINYL ALBUM TOUCHSTONE 1979 BBT 113 T USD $4.83 Buy It Now 9 days
TOUCHSTONE - MAGAZINE CUTTINGS COLLECTION (REF T20) TOUCHSTONE - MAGAZINE CUTTINGS COLLECTION (REF T20) USD $8.38 Buy It Now 10 days
Jealousy by Touchstone (CD, Mar-2008, Green Linnet) Jealousy by Touchstone (CD, Mar-2008, Green Linnet) USD $19.34 Buy It Now 10 days
The New Land by Touchstone (CD, Oct-1993, Green Linnet) The New Land by Touchstone (CD, Oct-1993, Green Linnet) USD $19.34 Buy It Now 10 days
Touchstone - The City Sleeps (2011)  CD  NEW/SEALED  SPEEDYPOST Touchstone - The City Sleeps (2011) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $6.60 Buy It Now 10 days
`POCOCK, ARIEL`-TOUCHSTONE  CD NEW `POCOCK, ARIEL`-TOUCHSTONE CD NEW USD $14.84 Buy It Now 10 days
TOUCHSTONE .. THE NEW LAND .. GREEN LINNET LP 1982 TOUCHSTONE .. THE NEW LAND .. GREEN LINNET LP 1982 USD $1.95 Buy It Now 10 days
Millie Touchstone - I'll Just Use Somebody New CD Private Label Country 1992 Millie Touchstone - I'll Just Use Somebody New CD Private Label Country 1992 USD $11.19 Buy It Now 10 days
ANANTA ANANTA " NIGHT AND DAYDREAM " SPECIAL PROMO VINYL LP 1978 TOUCHSTONE EX/VG+ USD $6.02 Buy It Now 11 days
ANANTA SUMMER SPAIN CASSETTE TOUCHSTONE E-009 1982 FOLK WORLD FLYING HOME ANANTA SUMMER SPAIN CASSETTE TOUCHSTONE E-009 1982 FOLK WORLD FLYING HOME USD $6.02 Buy It Now 11 days
CHICK COREA: Touchstone LP (inner sleeve, partial shrink, small toc) Jazz CHICK COREA: Touchstone LP (inner sleeve, partial shrink, small toc) Jazz USD $10.00 Buy It Now 11 days
Daedelus - For Withered Friends/ Touchstone Promo CD 2008 Daedelus - For Withered Friends/ Touchstone Promo CD 2008 USD $3.32 Buy It Now 11 days
Robert Redford CD-Rom Press Kit Horse Whisperer Multimedia Touchstone Pictures Robert Redford CD-Rom Press Kit Horse Whisperer Multimedia Touchstone Pictures USD $24.83 Buy It Now 12 days
SUMMER - FLYING HOME (TOUCHSTONE BBT 113 T) UK 1979 STEREO LP EX SUMMER - FLYING HOME (TOUCHSTONE BBT 113 T) UK 1979 STEREO LP EX USD $5.97 Buy It Now 12 days
Night And Daydream Ananta vinyl LP Record Vintage Original TOUCHSTONE 1978 Night And Daydream Ananta vinyl LP Record Vintage Original TOUCHSTONE 1978 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 12 days
Touchstone Ariel Pocock Audio CD Touchstone Ariel Pocock Audio CD USD $15.02 Buy It Now 12 days
Touchstone - City Sleeps Touchstone - City Sleeps USD $14.05 Buy It Now 12 days
CHICK COREA Japan 1982 Original NM LP TOUCHSTONE CHICK COREA Japan 1982 Original NM LP TOUCHSTONE USD $29.99 Buy It Now 13 days
MANU KATCHE - TOUCHSTONE FOR MANU  CD NEW+ MANU KATCHE - TOUCHSTONE FOR MANU CD NEW+ USD $17.58 Buy It Now 14 days
Chick Corea / Touchstone / 1982 Warner Bros.Records 12 Chick Corea / Touchstone / 1982 Warner Bros.Records 12"LP USD $6.99 Buy It Now 14 days
ANANTA, NIGHT AND DAYDREAM LP-Touchstone BBT  112-T 1978 Promo ANANTA, NIGHT AND DAYDREAM LP-Touchstone BBT 112-T 1978 Promo USD $8.99 Buy It Now 14 days
Touchstone-Tarot US prog psych cd Grateful Dead related Touchstone-Tarot US prog psych cd Grateful Dead related USD $18.99 Buy It Now 14 days
Touchstone-The New Land CD NEW Touchstone-The New Land CD NEW USD $16.50 Buy It Now 14 days
Very Rare Touchstone Runes Lp Still In Plastic Very Rare Touchstone Runes Lp Still In Plastic USD $577.77 Buy It Now 14 days
TOUCHSTONE .. THE NEW LAND .. GREEN LINNET LP 1982 TOUCHSTONE .. THE NEW LAND .. GREEN LINNET LP 1982 USD $2.95 Buy It Now 14 days
TOUCHSTONE .. JEALOUSY .. GREEN LINNET LP 1984 TOUCHSTONE .. JEALOUSY .. GREEN LINNET LP 1984 USD $2.95 Buy It Now 14 days
ANANTA ANANTA "Night And Daydream"1978 Touchstone BBT-112-T vinyl LP EX USD $5.99 Buy It Now 14 days
SUMMER flying home BBT 113T uk touchstone 1979 LP PS EX/EX SUMMER flying home BBT 113T uk touchstone 1979 LP PS EX/EX USD $13.26 Buy It Now 14 days
Touchstone - Chick Corea Compact Disc Touchstone - Chick Corea Compact Disc USD $20.30 Buy It Now 15 days
CHICK COREA-Touchstone  Rare Japan LP w/OBI CHICK COREA-Touchstone Rare Japan LP w/OBI USD $14.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Touchstone for Manu - Katche,Manu New & Sealed CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping Touchstone for Manu - Katche,Manu New & Sealed CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping USD $19.39 Buy It Now 15 days
Chick Corea - Touchstone [CD New] Chick Corea - Touchstone [CD New] USD $14.04 Buy It Now 15 days
Touchstone - Corea,Chick (1997, CD New) Touchstone - Corea,Chick (1997, CD New) USD $16.88 Buy It Now 15 days
Live in the USA by Touchstone. Live in the USA by Touchstone. USD $19.99 Buy It Now 15 days
Touchstone - Chick Corea (CD Used Very Good) CD-R/Feat. Return TO Forever/ Touchstone - Chick Corea (CD Used Very Good) CD-R/Feat. Return TO Forever/ USD $13.90 Buy It Now 15 days
ANANTA Night and Daydream 12 ANANTA Night and Daydream 12" viynl record Touchstone BBT112-T Promo 1978 EX EX USD $6.64 Buy It Now 15 days
TOUCHSTONE FOR MANU [SLIPCASE] * [USED CD] TOUCHSTONE FOR MANU [SLIPCASE] * [USED CD] USD $12.58 Buy It Now 15 days
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TOUCHSTONE Discography

TOUCHSTONE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.01 | 3 ratings
Discordant Dreams
Metal Related 2007
.. Album Cover 4.47 | 7 ratings
Wintercoast
Metal Related 2009
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 10 ratings
The City Sleeps
Metal Related 2011
.. Album Cover 3.34 | 4 ratings
Oceans of Time
Non-Metal 2013

TOUCHSTONE EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Mad Hatters
Non-Metal 2006

TOUCHSTONE live albums

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in the USA
Metal Related 2010

TOUCHSTONE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TOUCHSTONE re-issues & compilations

TOUCHSTONE singles (0)

TOUCHSTONE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

TOUCHSTONE Reviews

TOUCHSTONE Oceans of Time

Album · 2013 · Non-Metal
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adg211288
Oceans of Time (2013) is the fourth full-length album by UK progressive rock/metal act Touchstone. It continues the naming pattern of their previous albums, Oceans of Time being a phrase heard previously, at least as early as Wintercoast (2009), but overall brings some changes to what I've come to expect from a Touchstone release.

Representing a mellower Touchstone compared to the band which recorded albums such as The City Sleeps (2011) and especially Wintercoast, Oceans of Time is largely devoid of the metal edge that appeared on those prior albums. There are still riffs aplenty but they are clearly rock orientated with only a casual passing reference to anything that could be considered metal whereas previously Touchstone were always on the borderline between rock and metal and in my view Wintercoast at least was as much metal as it was rock. In other words nothing on Oceans of Time is going to hit as hard as earlier songs such as Wintercoast or Zinomorph.

As well as the decrease in the metal elements, Touchstone also made some changes in the way their vocals are delivered. While female vocalist Kim Seviour has always been the lead voice since joining the band for debut album Discordant Dreams (2007) there has previously always been a fair bit of vocal interplay between her and keyboardist Rob Cottingham, an aspect that like with the metal has been almost entirely dropped on Oceans of Time. We don't even get to hear Rob until six tracks in, during Shadow's End. This is a shame because as good as Kim is, and she does sound really spectacular on this album, Rob is also an amazing singer and the two worked well together.

I can't say I'm keen on either of these developments. Both the metallic riffs and the male/female vocal interplay were defining features of the Touchstone sound on prior albums and while the band still produced a decent bunch of songs on Oceans of Time, notable ones beings Fragments, Spirit of the Age and Shadow's End, it somehow feels bland and even a bit drawn out in places by comparison. It simply does not come across as being that memorable, or the sort of album that I expect Touchstone to make. They also rerecorded the Wintercoast song Solace; previously a mellow ballad, the new version is significantly rockier, but it loses some of its charm along the way, much the same way that the whole Touchstone sound has lost charm and appeal between albums.

Oceans of Time is still praiseworthy enough to be a positive experience, but Touchstone have fallen short of their own high standards with it. I respect an artist who sets out to do something different with a new album but throwing out most of what made you great wasn't the way to go for Touchstone, especially since they don't introduce anything new to replace those elements as such, but rather offered a stripped down and more accessible take on what they did before. I can't honestly justify any more than a three star range rating. This was quite possibly the most disappointing 2013 release I've heard. I'll always have a high regard for Touchstone based on what they did before this but such a regard does have to take a bit of a hit after an album like this one so here's hoping that Oceans of Time was just a hiccup in what has up until this point been an excellent career for the prog band and when we hear from them again they'll be back to form.

64/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/touchstone-oceans-of-time-t3298.html)

TOUCHSTONE The City Sleeps

Album · 2011 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Stephen
I just don't get what people hear in TOUCHSTONE's 'The City Sleeps'. This highly praised album felt completely down the average line for me and nothing's really special about a female-fronted band playing a combo of decent hard rock and symphonic touch in a prog metal corridor. The genre sounds a bit complicated and judging from the band's influences which is also quite vast, ranging from Yes, Van Halen, Dream Theater to Alter Bridge, Elton John, and Our Lady Peace, that can be interesting as well as confusing.

There are several great moments though. 'When Shadows Fall' is a nice 10 minutes track. After the long 3 minutes intro, the vocal wrapped in a very melodic fashion in the veins of Dream Theater and Genesis mix, but I'm pretty sure it's too boggy at that length and probably better at 7 minutes. 'Sleeping Giants' is a great ballad, with alternate vocal and beautiful harmonies, the keys solo is enchanting as well. 'Half Moon Meadow' is also very smooth and nice, with a building up tempo in the last 1 minute. But I do think it's an irony for a metal band to lay the strength on slow songs like these.

'Corridors' and 'Throw Them To The Sky' are plain average. 'These Walls' is a straight forward non-prog track, 'Good Boy Psycho' is quite interesting, the verse is okay, and overall a good track, but I'm not entirely sold with this song. 'Horizons' is a good melodic rock track, perhaps also a ballad, but somehow too long for such a linear song. The title track, 'The City Sleeps', which is an epic 11 minutes is also quite dull, bringing the total score to around 65%

TOUCHSTONE The City Sleeps

Album · 2011 · Metal Related
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ChaosAngel
Let's get this out of the way. The metal purists out there are going to howl about this album, saying it's "not real metal", or some other such nonsense.

There... now onto the actual review.

The City Sleeps is, quite simply, amazing. From the opening riffs of Corridors to the closing, with stops in some of the most haunting and beautiful music I have ever heard, this is definitely a ride worth taking.

To be honest, it is largely a symphonic prog album, but it has enough metal bits, in the form of riffage and solos to be included on this site.

Touchstone have, on this album, earned a solid five stars, purists be damned.

TOUCHSTONE The City Sleeps

Album · 2011 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
The City Sleeps is the third album from UK prog act Touchstone. The band, although most commonly described as a progressive rock act, has many progressive metal and hard rock qualities as well, giving them a wide appeal. In a development from their previous album Wintercoast (2009) the band has acquired some strong leanings into symphonic prog territory, along with a general increase in the progressive nature of their compositions.

Whether Touchstone is ultimately more of a rock or a metal act remains up for debate as of The City Sleeps. If you want to consider the dividing line as how heavy the music is, then The City Sleeps is most definitely a progressive rock album, drawing on hard rock certainly but still a rock album overall. Changing the view to a perspective of technique however and things start getting quite a bit more metal. Just listen to the galloping rhythm of the riff in These Walls for a first class example of what I mean. Regardless of where you want to pigeonhole Touchstone however one thing remains constant, they’re absolutely at the top of their game.

Being a part of the female fronted prog scene that seems to have been gaining some popularity in recent years, Touchstone has one of the best lead singers around in Kim Seviour. Her delivery is melodic and emotive and a true asset to the band. But as good as Kim is I want to give special mention in this review to Touchstone’s second vocalist Rob Cottingham (also keyboardist). Rob doesn’t sing as much Kim does, but when he does his vocals are most definitely of the same calibre as Kim’s. His lines during the gentler parts of the epic When Shadows Fall showcase him at his very best and when both singers duet they complement each other perfectly.

When Shadows Fall is one of two epics on the album, the other being the title track. These two make up some of the very best that the album has to offer, but as with Wintercoast there isn’t a bad track on here, although overall now that I’ve given the album time to sink in I have to say that The City Sleeps doesn’t manage to quite match Wintercoast overall, although it does contain some of the group’s best tracks yet and is a very worthy follow-up to the aforementioned Wintercoast. Despite not topping their previous album, I’m very pleased with Touchstone’s development as a band on The City Sleeps and if this is anything to go by, then Touchstone has a bright and successful career ahead of them. The album comes high recommended.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org), scored at 9.0/10)

TOUCHSTONE The City Sleeps

Album · 2011 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
When shadows fall...

Genre: progressive metal/rock

Touchstone is definitely one of the most sensational acts on the modern progressive rock scene these days. Wintercoast was massively progressive and expressive, yet incredibly catchy and full of intelligent mass appeal. The follow-up album "The City Sleeps" is, fortunately, characterized by the exact same qualities that made its predecessor such a great album.

On "The City Sleeps" Touchstone explore further their quite unique metal- and hardrock-infused brand of progressive rock. The album starts out with the quite massive sounding 'Corridors' whose initial eastern touches gives it a dark and exotic feel, while the rest of the tune is rich in melodic and haunting guitar figures and pumping hard rocking bass patterns and grand keyboard effects. The following track, the massively epic 'When Shadows Fall', retains the darkness, but takes the listener on an even grander journey through lots of moods and sounds - from grandiose, almost symphonic passages over retro-prog sections and mellow passages to all out chucking guitar-centered hardrock figures. And this particular track, along with the equally massive and epic title track, is pretty much indicative of the overall sound and variation of this album.

Being the rock dude I am, I really appreciate how Touchstone incorporate hardrock and all out metal riffage into their brand of progressive rock, as in the balls out rocker 'These Walls' or 'Good Boy Psycho', which is more of a progressive metal track, and juxtapose them with more mellow and melodic tunes, like the top class prog ballad 'Half Moon Meadow'. And we are not only talking juxtaposition of tracks; most of the individual tunes on this album contain both ripping metal riffage and soft sections as well as more retro prog parts (and often the different elements co-occur on top of each other).

There seems to be somewhat of a Genesis-influence on this album (the keyboards particularly seem inspired by Duke, while 'When Shadows Fall' reminds me of 'Dance on a Volcano' from A Trick of the Tail. And, I quite like that. I like the idea of Genesis-style elements co-occurring with all out metal attacks. It's this blend of elements from across the progressive rock and metal scenes that makes Touchstone's sound so appealing (to me at least).

The musicianship is top notch as is the song writing, and Kim Sevoir's silken voice fits into the picture like a glove. Fans of progressive music can look forward to Genesis-like keys, odd time signatures, epic songs, complex song structures and so on, and fans of metal can loo forward to hardrocking riffage, pumping bass, double bass drums, guitar harmonies and so on. Essentially, this is a progressive metal album, or perhaps a metal progressive album... in any case, it should appeal to fans of progressive rock as well as fans of progressive metal.

"The City Sleeps" is simply sensational. Should you be a fand of strong potent riffage and massively epic and expressive progressive music, buy this album now or spend the rest of your life in regret.

(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)

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