IAN PARRY’s CONSORTIUM PROJECT – Criminals & Kings (2023 Remaster) *HQ*

IAN PARRY's CONSORTIUM PROJECT - Criminals & Kings (2023 Remaster) *HQ* - full

Ian Parry is best known for being the vocalist of progressive metal Dutch band Elegy (as well as guesting on early Ayreon’s albums). In 1999 the singer took a break from his main job and assembled a cast of fine musicians under the name IAN PARRY’s CONSORTIUM PROJECT to record his debut solo album, titled “Consortium Project I / Criminals & Kings”.
With Parry as the main songwriter as well as keyboard player, the line-up was comprised of an impressive list of fellow musicians, including Barend Courbois (Vengeance), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Stephan Lill (Vanden Plas), Patrick Rondat (soon to join Elegy too), Thomas Youngblood (Kamelot) and many more.
“Consortium Project I / Criminals & Kings” is the first part of a concept based on Parry’s fictional story of a turbulent world wherein society slowly changes as mass migration reaches epic proportions.
The music is a blend of soft progressive metal, melodic metal and hard rock, not too far from the type of sound one can find on the early Ayreon records, TEN, some Magnum too. Royal Hunt may be another reference in terms of sound.

Now Parry himself has remastered 2023Consortium Project I / Criminals & Kings“, reissuing the album with two extra tracks, one of them the hard to find original Japanese edition bonus.
The songs are mostly guitar and keyboard driven midtempos, with riffs that are gritty and majestic, but also very melodic and accessible.

Meanwhile, the rhythm section provides a robust backbone that keeps things simple and to the point, rarely straying too far off the main beat. These are compositions clearly written Parry’s vocals in mind and so the whole music revolves around the vocal hooks, classic verse-bridge-chorus, with a rare middle-eight thrown-in in a couple of songs.
Each song also contains a strong guitar solo, allowing the guest guitarists to have the spotlight shined on them.

Parry’s vocal melodic lines and performances are strong. He is one of those singers in the tradition of Ronnie James Dio, with a voice that is gritty but also very expressive, and with a decent range. The opening duo “House of Cards” and “Banquet for Thieves” are a proof, which feature a strong chorus that acts as climax to the momentum that the songs build over the verse and bridge.
The piano-based ballad “A Miracle Is All We Need” is another strong song, wisely placed in the middle of the album to give the proceedings a much-needed change of pace after a sequence of midtempo tracks.

Overall, Ian Parry’s solo debut is an overlooked strong piece. The original release sound was somewhat muddy and powerless. This 2023 remaster adds clarity, better separation and better drums crisp.
Highly Recommended


01 – House of Cards
02 – Banquet for Thieves
03 – Evilworld
04 – Garden of Eden
05 – The Entity
06 – Change Breeds Contempt
07 – A Miracle is all we Need
08 – The Snake
09 – Criminals & Kings
10 – Chain of Fear
11 – Pandora’s Box
12 – A Miracle is all we Need (bonus acoustic guitar version)
13 – Humanitarian (bonus song / original Japan edition bonus)

IAN PARRY (Elegy/Rock Emporium)
JAN BIJLSMA (Vengeance)
BAREND COURBOIS (Michael Schenker)
STEPHAN LILL (Vanden Plas)
PATRICK RONDAT (Jean Michel Jarre)
and many more…

Mixed by TOMMY NEWTON (Helloween, Ark)



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