Sculptures – Heartscore
The latest release from Dirk Radloff’s project of Heartscore could be seen as either a way of reinventing oneself or perhaps he’s taken onboard what many of the older mainstream artists are doing these days by putting out newer mixes of their older albums. However, you look at it, this is not really a new album but a remake of his debut album Sculptures he originally released back in 2002.
To be perfectly honest this is not the kind of thing I personally do not like to see and you would have to do something quite spectacular to convince me that a remake of an album is better than the original. I am even dead set against artists putting overdubs on albums later on and you will soon see how disappointed I was when reviewed the Expanded Deluxe Edition of Barclay James Harvest’s classic album Everyone Is Everybody Else here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/lee-speaks-about-music-16/
The only album I ever thought that was improved upon by doing such a thing was what Mike Oldfield did with his remake of Tubular Bells back in 2003. He himself had good reasons for re-recording some of the instrumental sections of the original 1973 album and they were down to much of those sections being muddy in the mix. As much as I myself love the original album I was never happy with the mix myself because it was muddy in parts.
The original album also never benefited from the 5.1 mix either and if anything, it made it worse than do it any real justice. Whereas the 5.1 mix of Tubular Bells 2003 is simply to die for and one of the best recordings I have in my entire collection. It’s totally GORGEOUS! and very much now a surround FREAKS! paradise and blows the 1973 mix out of the window by miles 😁😁😁. Which is a damn site more that I could ever say for the remakes of both Wishbone Ash’s Argus and Camel’s Snow Goose albums that I also picked up on in that BJH review.
Being in closer contact with Dirk and having more or less near enough his entire back catalogue of music. I do know that he does have his own personal reasons to want to do a remake of this older album of his. The original album is also one of my personal favourite albums of his, and this remake is certainly going to present me with a real challenge to review.
The question is have I just wasted my money in purchasing Sculptures 2020? Before I answer that question and delve deeper into the new release, let’s first take a look at the packaging and artwork.
Packaging & Artwork…
The album has been released in 2 formats (if you count the physical extremely Limited Vinyl Edition) the cheapest option is the Digital Download and its just as well I no longer collect vinyl 😁😁😁. However, to a certain degree I can understand the amount of pride one will get by having their album pressed onto vinyl even just to display it on a shelf.
Thankfully he has seen sense once again to stick with the Digital Download being more of the priority release and not wasted his money on having a load of CD’s made to clutter up his garage. The Digital Download will not break your bank account either and is reasonably priced at €7 (Euro).
Limited Vinyl Edition.
Like I mentioned the vinyl release is extremely limited and only 3 copies have been made available to purchase. Dirk is not an artist who sells albums by the bucket load which is why he no longer has a couple of hundred CD’s knocked up and is perfectly understandable.
With any physical format the more copies you have pressed the cheaper and more viable it is to sell them at a respectable and reasonable price. Having any physical product knocked out in small runs is going to cost you an arm and a leg and in the case of vinyl it will often work out to costing more money than its actually worth and in this case, he is even selling it for less than it cost himself.
Just as well he’s only got 3 of them for sale otherwise this might very well be one of most foolhardy decisions, he has ever made 😁😁😁. Hopefully he can generate enough money back from the sales of the Digital Download to compensate towards some of the loss. Though at the end of the day the money side of things has never been of any great importance to him in relation to getting his music out there. Most vinyl lovers will often pay more money for vinyl and its higher price tag might even seem a fair price for an extremely limited edition.
The extremely Limited Edition is pressed onto 180-gram Clear vinyl and is priced at €45 (Euro). It also omits 2 tracks from the album due to vinyl restrictions. Though it does also come with a free digital download of the album so you are not entirely missing out on the extra couple of tracks.
The cover design for the album cover was done by Dirk Radloff himself using photos and a background that he’s pieced together. He’s gone with something entirely different for the new release in comparison to his original idea as you can see in the artwork that was done for both the original and new remake of the album side by side below.
I can understand to a certain degree as to why the need for a change in relation to how he’s brought the music more up to date by remaking it to fit in with the metal genre side of things. However, regarding the albums actual title of “Sculptures” this new cover design looks like something out of Star Wars in relation to the picture of Stonehenge which happens to be a sculpture 😁😁😁.
Personally, I would of thought something more along the lines of the Stonehenge sculpture being made out of metal instead of stone would have been more fitting. The other thing I thought to be rather strange is that both albums have exactly the same title and I personally felt that it would have been better to title the new version “Sculptures 2020”.
However, I did confront him about the title and it was something he did think about, but as he explained that most bands don’t rename a reissue, even if radical changes have been made. He gave me Ozzy Osbourne‘s remake of Blizzard of Oz as an example that had newly recorded bass and drums on the 2002 reissue of the album. Which was really down to both Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake suing him for writing credit royalties.
To be honest I was not aware of it and brought the album on vinyl upon its release back in 1980. I also later brought it on CD later on in the 90’s. The new reissue would not have any interest to me either and personally just because other bands and artists give exactly the same titles to remakes of their albums would not alter my way of thinking either. Simply because when it comes to music there are no rules.
The Album In Review…
Sculptures by Heartscore was released on the 3rd October 2020. The album just like the original debut album of the same title contains 10 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 45 minutes, 24 seconds and is almost a minute longer than the original. Although there is a logical explanation as to why the new version of the album is a tad bit longer and that is because this new version has been remade completely from scratch.
A lot of things have changed over the years in the Heartscore camp in particular with how the vocal side of things are now handled. Since the release of the self-titled album Heartscore back in 2016, Radloff’s project has very much become a 2-man outfit simply because he himself no longer feels confident enough to take on the vocal duties by himself like he did for his first 4 albums that were released between 2002 – 2009.
As a matter of fact, since the release of Black Riders (Part 2) he has relinquished himself from all vocal duties including his QUEEN-ESC! harmonies. However, the 2-man operation thing may very well have been what he wanted from the very beginning because on the original debut album Sculptures it did also feature Oliver Harstack singing lead vocals and contributing some dramatic vocals on 4 of the songs.
To be perfectly honest Dirk Radloff has never really had what one would call a rock voice and I quite often seen his voice as more along the lines of somebody like Kevin Rowland the lead singer of Dexys Midnight Runners who sang pop songs such as “Come on Eileen” for example.
I would also say that his choice of vocalist he chose to sing on his later albums Heartscore and Black Riders (Part 1) who he hired Courtesy of Studiopros.com namely Chris. Never had what I would call a rock voice either and was somebody that sang along the same lines of Ashley Holt who Rick Wakeman had as his vocalist for many years and had more of a deep baritone operatic voice.
The vocalist he has now and who sang on his last album Black Riders (Part 2) namely Giacomo Rossi is 100% of what I would call a rock vocalist and his vocal range can also stretch out to some of the finer operatic qualities that certainly fits in with Radloff’s music. Not only the music he has written more recently either, but could also easily fit in with his earlier material such as the material he wrote for the original Sculptures album which was more rock and pop orientated.
However, no matter what qualities any singer may possess when it comes to remaking any album, replacing the original singer will be very hard for many people to accept. There is no doubt in my mind that Rossi is by far the best singer the Heartscore project has ever seen. But even for myself remaking an album such as Sculptures with a singer of this calibre is going to present me with a real difficult challenge to be able to accept it. Especially knowing the album as well as I do over the years of having it.
If I was to look at the Heartscore catalogue the only two albums that are really out of place in my eyes are the last two Black Riders (Part 1 & 2). This is simply because it has two different singers delivering the songs from the same project and for some people this might seem rather odd. Not only that it was this project that started the change in the musical direction were Radloff decided to go down the road of metal in relation to the earlier albums that were more prog-rock, rock and pop orientated.
Black Riders (Part 1) would certainly have been my choice to redo and would have been simple enough just to replace the vocals with Rossi’s voice. Not because it was a bad album and that Chris never had a good enough voice. That was far from the case. But I do feel that Rossi’s voice is more suited to the metal genre and will fit in with it more precisely like it does on Black Riders (Part 2) which is really an album I personally felt should have attracted a lot more attention because of his voice.
I am pretty sure for any artist who only does studio work and does not go out and play their songs live on a regular basis, going back 20 years to completely remake an album from scratch would present them with quite a challenge. Especially if they were like myself who never writes anything down apart from the lyrics. It would very much be a case of having to learn to play the songs all over again.
However, in Dirk Radloff’s case he very much writes down all the music before he’s even played a note. Hence the reason for the name of his project being called Heartscore. So, he may very well still have the original musical manuscript. But the way he has gone about remaking Sculptures he may very well have had to write it all over again because this is not quite a carbon copy of the original songs on the album where everything is played exactly the same and there is a slight difference and more of a difference regarding the new production.
As to how different we shall find out later when I run through the tracks in the album tracks section of my review, but first let’s take a look at the album credits.
Musicians & Credits…
All music composed, arranged and produced by Dirk Radloff. Lyrics written by Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings and E.A. Robinson. Mixed & Mastered by Dirk Radloff at his home studio. Artwork and sleeve design by Dirk Radloff.
Dirk Radloff: Composition, Arrangement, Instruments.
Giacomo Rossi: Vocals.
The Album Tracks In Review…
One of the things I instantly picked up on when listening to this new version of the album is that the track order has been changed. At first, I thought this may have been done down to vinyl restrictions and him rearranging the tracks to fit. However, he informed me that his reason behind this was because the songs on the first side of the original album were influenced by Yes and Led Zeppelin. Whilst the songs on the second side were more orientated on 80s Metal. By flipping the sides, he felt it would achieve a good connection to his previous album Black Riders (Part 2).
One of the things that perhaps fitted in with his previous couple of metal-based albums with the Black Riders project was the lyrical content. Radloff does not write his own lyrics and uses poems written by American poets. Stephen Crane wrote more along the lines of the darker sinister side of things which portrayed the sort of evil that can be associated with most heavy metal-based music. Whereas Sculptures uses the words from 4 different poets that are quite different and may also reflect some humour along the way.
Langston Hughes was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry, and was best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the few prominent black writers to champion racial consciousness as a source of inspiration for black artists. Most of the novels he wrote depicted the history of the Negro in America. This could also reflect in some of his poetry too. Although his poetry also portrayed the struggles, joy and laughter of life and was also put to music. He was featured on the 1958 album Weary Blues by Charles Mingus & Leonard Feather reciting his poetry and also contributed lyrics to Randy Weston’s 1960 album Uhuru Afrika.
Emily Dickinson like many was one of those unfortunate people to become more on an important figure after her death. She did however manage to get 10 of her poems published during her lifetime. However, it was not until her younger sister discovered the bulk of her work after she had passed on that she became one of the most important figures in American poetry.
It’s said that she spent most of the latter years of her life as a recluse and never married. She also responded to most people via the many letters she wrote. However, through her poetry it was quite evident that she took the time to observe life around her and treated everything including animals, plants, rocks, and homes as equals.
Often regarded as one of the most important American poets of the 20th century. E.E. Cummings wrote approximately 2,900 poems and associated with modernist free-form poetry. Much of his work has idiosyncratic syntax and uses lower case spellings for poetic expression. He was also a playwright and wrote four plays Santa Claus: A Morality perhaps the most successful one he wrote back in 1946. His first book of poems was published in 1923 entitled Tulips and Chimneys which was rather a strange title. However, many of his poems are sonnets often with a modern twist and are also often rife with satire.
E.A. Robinson was one of the most prolific American poets of the early 20th Century and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry on three occasions and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times. Although he described his childhood as stark and unhappy and his early struggles led to many of his poems having a dark pessimism side about them. He also hated his Christian name “Edwin” to which it took his parents 6 months to give him the name due to them wanting a girl. The name was also drawn out of a hat of boy’s names.
The album Sculptures mainly features the poetry of Langston Hughes and just by having a quick glance at the history of the four poets he used here, I would say that the dark pessimism side of E.A. Robinson‘s poetry would be perhaps more fitting to Metal genre of music. Though looking at some of the words that appeared on his 3rd album Many Directions that also included poetry from Robinson, Hughes and Dickinson they might all very well fit the bill to a certain degree. “There’s Been a Death in the Opposite House” shows how observant Emily Dickinson was.
So, let’s now take a look at it all has turned out as I take you through the individual tracks from the new version of album and see if the metal structure that has now been given to it really works.
Track 1. The Saddest Noise, The Sweetest Noise.
There is no doubt that placing this song as the opening track on this newer version of the album works more effectively in drawing you into the album than the original opening song “Men Treats Woman” that was more of a pop song. To be honest even though musically it might feel heavier than the original, it’s really the bass, drums and the recording that give it the extra weight and not so much the electric guitars. By adding the extra weight to how the guitars have been re-recorded does take away some of the finer nuances that could be heard on the opening riff on the original recording.
For example, the opening riff is played more or less spot on even down to how the guitars were originally panned from left to right. However, the incrementation is much wider on the original panning and you will also hear some of the nuances coming from the strings bleeding into the right channel that are no longer evident on the new recording. The guitars pretty much rocked in the first place and I do feel it’s not so much them that are behind the process of giving this song more of a metal edge, because they already had that in the first place.
The biggest change is in the vocal department and the original song was sung by Oliver Hartstack with Radloff’s harmonies supporting him in the chorus and on a few of the verses. Both are quite high and sweeter, they might also appear to be a bit light hearted for the songs potential power.
All the vocals on this newer version of the album are handled by Giacomo Rossi and are a bit more unified with the one voice. His supporting vocals work more like backing vocals and not so much like a harmony as in the chorus of the original. I always call Radloff’s harmonies QUEEN-ESC! because they do have that Queen presence about them and they are influenced by his love of that band.
There is no doubt that Rossi’s voice does have more of the right expression and weight to match the songs potential power, and when paired with the more weight that’s been added by the bass and drums and how it’s been recorded this is what really brings this newer version more in line with his previous album Black Riders (Part 2). Though for myself to say this version is better is hard to say, simply because the density that’s been given to the musical side of things does strip away some of the nuances and atmosphere the original recording had.
This is the only song on the album that features one of Emily Dickinson’s poems and “The Saddest Noise, The Sweetest Noise” she wrote back in 1764. Like I mentioned earlier it was quite evident that she took the time to observe life around her and the words she wrote here are written in a paradox and a contrasting way that describes how the seasons change. She was very observant to notice how happily the birds could be singing away happily in the spring and no longer be there in the winter. It’s quite a haunting poem that takes in the sweeter side of life and sadness of death.
To be honest having looked more into the Dickinson’s words here I would say that the darker density that has now been given to this newer version of the song is perhaps more fitting for her words and a very good overall job has been done here.
Track 2. Judgement Day.
Written by Langston Hughes in 1927 the subject matter we have here is very much in line with the poems of Stephen Crane that Radloff chose for his Black Riders project and like many of the poems he does tend to choose they do tend to have some dark sinister side to them. I guess that’s down his love of horror films and it’s easy to see why they would fit in with the Metal side of things.
I think the most notable thing about most of the poems he uses for his songs is in general they can be very short. Though I will say that he does not seem to have any problem getting more miles to the galleon out of a shorter set of words and will quite often stretch them out by doubling them up. Using them for both verse and chorus in some cases.
“Judgement Day” is one of the couple of shorter tracks on the album and travels along at quite a rushed pace. To be honest no matter what version you listen to they both purely ROCK! Radloff may not have the rock voice Rossi possesses but his voice works well on the original song and it does sound as if it’s stretched out a bit more even though it’s not.
What does help is the reverb and I think that even works better for musical side of things and the darker density does tend to hide a good few of the finer details the original production had. There is no doubt this new production brings it up to date and in line to what he is doing today. But for me to actually say this is a better production what the original album had would be very hard especially, listening to both of these songs back to back.
Just listening to the opening guitar riff on the original version sounds like we have a wall of sound here reverberating back at you it’s a very cool effect and works extremely well. The overall spread of the sound has much more space to breath in and it has a much wider dispersion about it all. The newer version sounds more closer in proximity it’s still very good but if you are a Surround FREAK! like myself you will most likely be paying closer attention to every detail.
You can hear all the notable differences between the both versions for yourself when you listen to them back to back. I always find it helps to listen to the original version first.
I do quite like the attack on the short lead guitar solo on the new version better though and it does feel like it has more of blistering pace about it. The drums also have more of a punctuation about them as well.
Track 3. Little Julie.
Another Langston Hughes poem and this is about a teenage delinquent and if memory serves me right the word “Delinquent” was even put in brackets at the end of the title on the original album. Quite a few of the titles on the original had extensions to their titles to which do not appear on this new remake. Though I am sure they are not necessarily needed.
This is another song that Radloff gave to Oliver Hartstack to sing on the original album and I much prefer his own voice to his. Rossi’s vocals give this song a much better attack and are much better suited to the song and I prefer this newer version to the original. It also ROCKS! harder with everything that has been done here.
Track 4. What If a Much of a Which of a Wind.
The forces of nature and the evil force of mankind are taken onboard in this poem written by E.E. Cummings. Destruction is the menace whether it comes in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes or atomic nuclear power and the music has the right driving force and energy to portray the menacing destruction we have here and it drives along at quite a blistering pace.
Even though both versions musically have been played more or less spot on even down to the twin guitars and solo. The song itself I find can have a totally different feel to it with how Radloff and Rossi deliver the words. For some reason the way the original song sounds with Radloff’s voice puts me in mind of “Stand and Deliver” by Adam & The Ants. Musically it does also sound like there is a duel going on and I get this visualisation of him riding on horse at high speed speaking the words through a megaphone in a way of heeding every one of the dangers that lies ahead.
The newer version with Rossi’s voice makes it sound like more of a full blown out rock song and his voice I do find has more of the power to deliver the words to marry up with the music. Though I quite like both versions and there is some really GREAT! guitar from Radloff on this song.
Track 5. John Evereldown.
This next song is my favourite track on the album and it’s very much one of the two more PROGMATIC! tracks on the album. The story behind the poem that E.A. Robinson wrote pertains to lust for women and the way the character he wrote about sneaks about like a thief in the night trying to keep out of sight, might even have you thinking of something along the lines of Jack The Ripper. Whatever he was up to was mischievous and no good.
To be honest I am surprised more Folkies have not picked up on his poem because it does have that sort of folklore element about its story. It’s also quite fitting to the subject matter that bands such as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span would present in the way of a English traditional folk song and it’s story does tend to have more of an English trait about it.
This is another song that features some GREAT! guitar work from Radloff and I’ve always liked it for its progression. His voice on the original version is without doubt excruciatingly high and easy to see why he no longer sings on his albums today. Rossi’s voice on this new version handles it with ease and it gives the song a bit more aggression. There is no doubt he is clearly the winner out of the two though both versions do not give me a problem listening to them.
The newer version does sound like it’s slightly running along at a faster pace and it is actually 14 seconds shorter than the original version. Though to be honest it’s quite hard to notice even playing them both back to back. There is however a slight difference with how the lead solo was played but once again it’s quite hard to notice because it does run over the same lines more or less.
Track 6. Blue Bayou.
The title and the subject matter behind it may very well suggest something like this picture I chose above. However, the words in this poem by Langston Hughes are pertaining to a lynching and the sun really has gone down on more than one occasion here. I’ve always seen this one as more of a commercial rock song despite the brutality behind its story.
Like the previous song there is a notable difference in the timing and once again the newer version is played at a slightly faster pace and is 13 seconds shorter than the original song. There is also more of a notable difference on this song and the newer backline of the bass and drums very much give it more of a groove which enables Radloff to play both the guitar riff and the lead work slightly different almost giving it more of a funky feel to it.
There is no doubt the original recording does once again have more of that wider space in the field for everything to breath in. However, this newer version is much better because Radloff’s voice on the original did tend to make it sound like it was dragging the song out too much, were as the slightly faster pace and Rossi’s voice has much sharper attack to give the song more of the right edge.
Track 7. All I Want Is You.
The words in the title of this one is taken from the Langston Hughes poem “Madam and Her Might-Have-Been“. They were in brackets like thus: “All I Want Is You (Madam And Her Might-Have-Been)” on the original version. Hughes wrote a series of these poems to convey the delicate conflict between a wealthy white woman and the black woman that portray and the struggle and plight many black women had back then.
Musically this song has a bluesy Led Zeppelin vibe about it and the only difference between both versions is the vocals and the darker density that has been given to this new recorded version. Even though once again Radloff’s voice is excruciatingly high I would still go with the original version myself, because I like the presence of the atmospheric space the recording has to offer.
Track 8. Men Treats Woman.
Just like the previous song the title is taken from a sentence contained in the Langston Hughes poem “Lover’s Return” he wrote back in 1931. I can see why he chose the sentence for the title and it does have a bit of satire side to it with how some men are seen to be treating women like an old pair of shoes and kick em’ around a bit.
Oliver Hartstack sings the lead vocals on the original version and his voice does suit this particular song and Rossi also does an admiral job on the vocals on this version. Musically the song follows suit regarding its structure and the way it was originally played.
The notable differences are with how guitar sounds on the verses and the on the original version they do have more of a plucky vibe sort of like what Hank Marvin gave to some of The Shadows tunes or perhaps something along the lines of what you would find on surfing songs.
This version takes that feel away from it even though the plucky vibe is still present. I do prefer how more punctuating the bass and drums are on this new version and would give this version the slight edge over the original.
Track 9. When Sue Wears Red.
The words in this love poem by Hughes reflect beauty and how it stands out so clearly with its fiery colour. This is another song that features some excellent guitar work from Radloff and it has some GREAT! progression along its path too. It’s the second of the shorter tracks on the album and no matter what version you listen to they both very much ROCK!
Track 10. Aunt Sue’s Stories.
This poem of Hughes dictates black slavery and the aunt’s stories in this case are real ones rather than children’s fairy stories so to speak. Both this track and “John Evereldown” are the longest tracks on the album weighing in over 6 minutes. They have always been my personal favourite tracks on the album and this newer version is some 20 seconds longer than the original. Though were the extra 20 seconds come from it’s hard to tell even listening to the both versions back to back. My guess is somewhere along the long instrumental section.
The song itself has been structured around a dominant bass line and its heavy guitar riff and they are the main driving force behind it, though it also has an organ to fall back on also for support. The keyboard is one of the easily noticeable changes because on the newer version the organ has been replaced by an electric piano. The other major change is right at the beginning where the opening guitar riff is no longer supported by the bass.
This is another song that featured Oliver Hartstack on the lead vocals and his voice is quite expressive enough on this one to deliver the words very well. The same can be said for Giacomo Rossi on this new version.
However, if I was to say there was anything any better with this newer version, I would say it was how more punctuating the bass and drums sound and that is perhaps not enough to make me choose this over the original. Though it’s always going to be hard to beat any original unless it was completely bad in the first place.
To sum up the new 2020 version of Sculptures by Heartscore. Like I mentioned in the introduction of my review this was always going to be a difficult album for me to review. What we have here is an album that has been given two productions and I could not honestly put my hand on my heart and say this new production is better than the original. However, there is no doubt that this newer production brings things in line with what Dirk Radloff is doing today and he has very much achieved what he was aiming to do in the first place.
The chances are that its most likely that unlike myself nobody as even heard the original and if you were to hear his last album Black Riders (Part 2) you would easily identify it with what Heartscore is about today and it would not sound out of place either.
The fact of the matter is that both versions of the album have been very well produced and I can take good and bad points from them both. I certainly think that most people would prefer Giacomo Rossi’s vocals too and in the past Radloff has been heavily criticized for using his own voice on his albums. Which is why he originally stopped making music for a while and decided to get in others to take on the vocal duties.
Personally, I never had a problem with his own voice and his harmonies in particular I have always seen as very cleverly constructed. However, listening to both of these albums back to back it is quite evident that Rossi’s voice is way more controlled and is not overstretching the boundaries. Whereas Radloff’s voice can at times sound excruciatingly high which might have been off putting for some of those earlier critics.
There are many singers in this world who are not the best and one does at times have to get more accustomed to accept and be able to appreciate them. For example, many people could not listen to Steve Howe of Yes sing. Personally, I do not have that much of a problem with his voice even though it’s not the best at times at all. But I would rather listen to him than Bob Dylan any day of the week 😁😁😁. But we are all different of course and all have different acquired tastes.
The one thing I certainly do not see anybody being able to do is criticize Giacomo Rossi’s voice. He is by far the best singer I have ever heard on any Heartscore album and to be honest I am surprised that Radloff’s music is not enticing more people to take more notice of it.
My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Judgement Day“. “John Evereldown” and “Aunt Sue’s Stories“. I would also include both “Little Julie” and “Blue Bayou” because I do feel those are the two tracks that have been improved upon over the original versions.
To conclude my review of Sculptures 2020 by Heartscore. There is no doubt that a lot of hard work has been put in to remake the album from scratch. However, as to why Radloff decided to do this in the first place is perhaps a bit beyond my comprehension. To a degree I can see that some of the tracks on the original album had an 80’s metal structure to them, but that is far from the grinding metal that you will hear on Black Riders (Parts 1 & 2).
The material on the original album Sculptures is more rock based than anything else it has a few PROGMATIC! moments but nowhere near as much as his second two albums that followed it Straight To The Brain and Many Directions. Granted this newer version does bring it in line with what he is doing today though I would not entirely say it had the same grinding metal that we heard on his last two albums to which metal is more of the direction he heading in today.
The album Sculptures is not what I would call a solid album but nevertheless it is one of my favourite albums (though not his best) because it does have the right amount of power to rock on many of the songs upon it. There are also certain PROGMATIC! aspects that make the album float my boat more so than the biggest majority of metal albums that are out there that are not to my personal taste.
Some people may very well prefer what Judas Priest were doing in the way of metal from the 80’s onwards but that does not appeal to my taste in relation to what the band was doing in the 70’s with the album Sad Wings Of Destiny. For me what they went on to do later in the 80’s lacked a lot of the variety that album had and they became too sterile like Status Quo churning out the same thing all the time.
The album Sculptures does not lack variety and I can say that about the music Heartscore has always presented to me throughout the years I stumbled across Dirk Radloff and his project. Remaking the album I personally do not feel makes it any better than what it originally was and like I mentioned earlier if there was an album that needed to be redone. It would have to be Black Riders (Part 1). Simply because it makes no sense having two different vocalists on the same project.
However, there are some improvements on a couple of songs like I mentioned and getting back to my original question in the introduction as to if I have waisted my money in purchasing Sculptures 2020? The answer has to be No! Simply because its cheap enough to purchase for the Digital Download of the album and I can still get some pleasure out of hearing it done this way. It’s also given me much to talk about in my review here too.
You can listen to the album for free or purchase the album here @ Bandcamp: https://heartscore.bandcamp.com/ It’s also available to purchase from other outlets such as Amazon, Apple Music etc.
Newly Re-Sculptured To Fit In Today…
The track listing of the album is as follows:
2 thoughts on “Lee Speaks About Music… #166”
First I want to thank you for this unbelievable comprehensive review. I can see how much work went into it. I can deal with constructive critic and I knew it would be heard to convince you with a remake of “Sculptures”, especially because you like the original. We both agree, that Giacomo is by far the better singer and he has done a terrific job on this album. Regarding the production it is very interesting for me, that you miss the width of the original, because I remember, that the mastering-engineer, which I had hired used a spatial expander to widen the stereo-field. On the other hand I remember, that he complained, that I had used too much reverb on the mix, a common “mistake” of beginners. However in music there is nothing wrong or right regarding mixing and reverb can add a lot of atmosphere to a mix. During the new production I was tempted to use more, but I resisted, because I wanted a more modern sound. Modern productions tend to be dry. It’s also interesting, that you advice me to remake „Black riders part 1“, because I have the same thought. In fact I directed myself into a dead-end on „Black riders part 1“, the decision to use electronic drums was definitely wrong and Chris obviously struggled with the material (while I think he did a great job on „Heartscore“). So I would also like to make a new version with Giacomo. Actually I think about how to go on and a remake of BR part 1 is on the list. But more likely I will try to come up with new songs in 2021 and move the remake of BR 1 to 2022.
To sum up I understand, that not everybody needs another version of „Sculptures“. My intention was, to polish the album so much, that it is more accessible for today’s listeners. Of course you loose then a bit in the department of „uniqueness“. By the way I could still not sell one vinyl-album, so I am happy, that I have just made five.
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So glad you liked the review Dirk and I have to admit back in the days when I was leaving comments on Soundcloud there was not that many like yourself who could take constructive criticism. But with me I will always speak how the music comes across to myself and point out the good and bad points I hear in it.where I can.
I do know what you mean regarding the overuse of reverb and even when I listen to most of my own work it can be saturated to death with reverb. These days I tend to either avoid using it or use a very minimalistic bit of it. The original album is far from saturated with it and what the mix has is very much the right presence I feel to give it the right atmosphere.
The new mix is also very good and it does not need the extra width and is not cluttered or muddy in any way. It is more in line with how most mixes are in that genre of music today like you said and suits the album and Giacomo’s voice. For anybody who had never heard the original album. I personally feel that they would still prefer the newer version over the older version because they heard it first.Had I have heard the newer version first I might very well be saying the same things about the older version 😁😁😁.