Though I’m not normally a fan of this style of prog, I actually found a lot of impressive stuff on Tinkicker’s second effort The Playground at the Edge of the Abyss. Bass work by apparent newcomer Kristian Moller is very nice. Klaus Herfort holds down a rock-steady pace throughout. Guitarist Soren Lindberg can shred, and proves it on “Man With the Evil Eye” and “Son of the Syringe.” Klaus Bastian is the true star here on vocals, though. His voice carries many of these songs to another level with its stratospherically pitched manner and almost operatic tone.
The storyline of this rock opera is set in the 70s and 80s and based on actual facts and true stories according to the band. It is a seedy side of life to be sure and the boys have produced music to enforce this. I agree with the band when they liken themselves to both Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd by calling their influence Pink Sabbath. I hear more of the Sabbath inspirations especially in the easy punch of the drums and guitar power-chording slow crunchy riffs that attempt to find the same brilliance of a “Sweet Leaf” or an “Iron Man.”
Some tracks to pay special attention to are “Li’l Mary,” which begins like an early Genesis song sung by Damian Wilson. Bastian’s voice often reminds me of this excellent progressive rock singer, but often hints at Bowie and Robert Plant as well. It’s an impressive mix. “Flowers In the Asphalt” feels like the folkier side of Led Zeppelin. I like it when they slow down occasionally and play with style and elegance, like they do on this song and “Household Glove and the Lord Above.” “Playground Revisited,” leading to “The Great Escape” are both very strong for this genre.
The songs are mostly a bit too heavy and simplistic metal for me. But, there is so much right with it all when vocalist Klaus Bastian reaches the level of performance he is capable of and Soren Lindberg is let loose and flies through his solos like an apparent maniac. If Tinkicker could write more songs based on the talents of these two individuals, like the best work off The Playground on the Edge of the Abyss, they would be more to my liking. As it is, this is recommended if you are a fan of bands like Queensryche or Black Sabbath and great rock vocalists.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on July 19th, 2011