Truth & Beauty
Synth Music Direct
This is a collection of previously unreleased tracks (five of them) plus other numbers that have appeared on hard to find recordings, thus the subtitle The Lost Pieces Volume Two. Volume One wasn't bad, but this is a far superior collection. Soft synth pads and metallic shimmers give "Aftermath" a very lonesome and desolate feeling. It first appeared on the Spanish version of STORMWARNING. Even though it is called "Aftermath" deep, distant explosions can still be heard giving it an even darker feel. Next we have a track taken from a 1994 KLEM sampler, "The Majestic Void"; too rhythmic to be ambient, but still an atmospheric jewel done in a way that only Steve knows how. The drum sound and the rhythm itself are just perfect, providing the ideal structure for the synth pads to weave their magic. The next three tracks are my favorites on this CD, all taken from the EARTH ISLAND era and all previously unreleased. Strangely enough though, they sound very different to what eventually appeared on that album. Energetic rhythms dominate the short first piece of the three; this flows into the spellbinding second section "Earthman" with a beautiful electric guitar lead, courtesy of Suso Saiz, floating above it all and played with such heart-rending emotion. This is without doubt one of my all time favorite Roach tracks, completely gob-smacking. You could give me a whole album of this stuff and I would be in heaven.
"Fate Awaits" again makes use of Suso Saiz's guitar skills. A different atmosphere is created from the previous track; if anything the effect is more haunting but the melody is no less beautiful. "Beyond the Blood" is another previously unreleased track, this time taken from the ARTIFACTS era but with ethnic vocal effects added in 1998. A faintly tribal rhythm provides the main focus, but throughout there is a moaning vocal that could almost be another synth provided wash of sound. Occasionally more recognisable vocals come to the fore, but just for a couple of seconds then disappear again. "Before the Sacrifice" is from a compilation album entitled Twilight Earth. It is a rather minimalist, rhythmic affair with just the odd effect, sample or synth pad to create the atmosphere. "The Unreachable Place (Again)" is also previously unreleased, but this time from the DREAMTIME RETURN period. This and the next track "The Unbroken Promise" are the most ambient tracks on the album, all synth textures and the occasional percussive effect. The final track "This and The Other" is taken from the compilation Soundscape Gallery Series One. It is also rather ambient, starting extremely quietly but then some heavy drones break the tranquillity, and as the track moves on become more and more rumbling and floor shaking. The rumbles then die away and things become increasingly tranquil as we come to the end.