Dutch Progressive Rock Page (Jim Cornall) - 2015
Named after a Rush song, Different Strings is a band put together by Maltese multi-instrumentalist Chris Mallia. Originally planned as a double CD, this is part two of the set.While the name might be Rush, the music is an intelligent mix of heavy yet modern rock, neo-prog and classical influences. At times they evoke sounds of Pink Floyd and sometimes, in the heavier sections, Dream Theater or Queensryche.There are quieter passages, often quite peaceful and tender, sometimes with spoken word recordings (including Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy) and often they are disturbed by pounding drums and heavy guitar riffs breaking the serenity.
While the vocals are adequate, it's the more brooding and confident instrumental passages that stand out. When the heavy almost prog-metal passages subside, there are some nice themes and good, confident and smooth playing, a bit like the heavier Pendragon albums. It's the neo-prog bits that seem to work best, even though they are of a heavier nature. However, often they head into more metal territory, before bouncing back again to more standard prog. Fatal Chronic Damage, for example, is the heaviest track on the album, but has a more crossover prog chorus that seems juxtaposed to the rest of the song.
Of course, sometimes the heavier sounds work. There's a great heavy part of The Abyss that flows extremely well, and a passage that reminds me of Arena, although it's all too fleeting.
That said, it's in these longer, more thoughtful instrumental passages that the truly worthwhile moments of the album lie. The closing track, and the album's longest, Selfishness, Part II, starts out beautifully. Its lush keyboard/Mellotron sound gives way - eventually - to a tasty guitar solo, but then those chunky chords and fast snare drum come in abruptly, soon to turn into a vocal section that is followed by another that sounds like - vocals aside - early Marillion. Again, it's gone in a flash. It's as if the band wants to showcase its many talents both musically and compositionally, and throw everything into the mix. The 'big ending' falls tantalisingly close to being special.
Currently, the formula seems to be that each song has a quiet introduction that gives way to a metal prog section. However, prog-metal fans will probably find the overall sound not heavy enough. Fans of a more traditional prog or neo-prog will maybe think there's too much of the heavy stuff to really appreciate it. Different Strings absolutely have bags of potential, they just need to decide which camp they fit into. Dipping into both is fine, but currently the balance seems to be just a bit off.
MikeBugeja.com (Mike Bugeja) - March 2015
This Monday, March 16. 2015 marks the official digital release of the third album from Maltese progressive rock band Different Strings. Titled The Sounds of Silence (Part II) the new album is, as the name implies, the sequel to the band's last album, which was released a couple of years ago. In between the two albums, the band underwent various developments, among them the formation of a live line-up that not only made its presence felt within the local rock scene, but also went on to win the Malta edition of the 2014 Hard Rock Rising Global Battle of the Bands. Last year, the band also re-released Dead Man Walking, the lead single off its 2004 album ...It's only the beginning to mark the 10th anniversary of its debut release.
Strummerlive (Kenny Foster) - February 2013
Different Strings is the brainchild of Chris Mallia from Malta. Fusing elements of Rock and Prog the band are working on a new full length album to follow 'It's Only The Beginning' (2007) - The band were due to play Malta's Beland Music Festival but personnel problems made it impossible.
Time and again is a single track taster for the forthcoming album and contains a lot of interesting changes in tempo and structure. The beginning keyboard swell with delicate acoustic guitar has a ballad-like quality. Around 2 minutes in the track moves in a rockier direction.
The Rush and Dream Theatre influences are fairly evident on this track as it builds to a crescendo with a driving 'Hammond sounding' organ backdrop. An impressive track from start to finish and definitely one to check out at the band's Aurovine page.
The band also have a track included on the new Aurovine progressive rock compilation album that will be available in 2013. The track is a more complex prog piece called Selfishness (Part 1).
It's encouraging to see a young prog band coming out of Malta and it will be interesting to see the future of the band.
Progplanet (Tonny Larsen) - May 2012
Again we have a (almost) one man band, there are many talented and ambitious musicians out there! This time is it the multi-instrumentalist, composer Chris Mallia (whom hails from Malta), with 2 guest musicians...Errol Cutajar : Lead and backing vocals & Trevor Catania: bass on 2 tracks. This album really had a long period of creation as the recording began sometime in 2008 and finally out in 2011! The album opens with:
"Selfishness (part I)"... keyboard, the sound of people mumbling/talking and sitar ( yes that's right) before breaking into a heavier mode, with powerful guitar chords and a tight theme topped with a fine vocal, good harmony vocals and a sound that could have been from one the 80´ties pomp progbands and that's a good thing in my book!! No over the top slick hi tech tunes, but good solid rock with plenty of guitars, Hammond keys and a great feel for melody, packed with breaks! "Time and Again" a beautiful ballad (dedicated to some Noel Cauchi) with excellent vocals, piano and a midsection that has some fine guitar soloing! "Let Me Out Of Here" superb track that once again leads the thoughts to 80´ties power rock! "Victims Of Love" a love song/ballad, that works fine with simple means (good voice and atmosphere) I guess Errol´s vocals are not to everyone´s taste, but I like it, it has great feel and emotion and that extra special sound. As a true love ballad the tune ends with some splendid solo-guitaring, backed by Hammond, bass, drums... great stuff!
Track 5, the epic of this album, with a duration over half an hour..opens superb with ELP/Magellan like high voltage massive thundering drums, keys and guitars, I love this!! Plenty of time signatures and breaks, excellent guitar soli and tight back up on keys , bass and drums. Now this epic, has several under theme´s, 8 sequences to be exactly! Let me be frank, this epic is worth the price of admission alone !! Filled with splendid music and sometimes original ideas (as with the jazzy input/ break...you´ll know what I mean when you get this fine album) This is really something I recommend, I recommend it highly to EVERYONE, whom like great music, with classic rock tendencies and a spoonful or three of prog, mixed with love ballads and then some!! I am greatly surprised and I enjoyed every moment of this album! Now what you got to do is... GET IT!!! I for one, would love to hear more from Different Strings, the sooner the better ;-) 4 stars well earned!!
Progarchives (Torodd Fuglesteg) - January 2012
Different Strings is a band from Malta. The name of the band seems to be a nod towards Rush. The music is not. The music is art rock, some sort of. Art rock of the more symphonic kind. There is also a lot of Italian type pop music here and some jazz. Some prog metal influences is also detectable. The vocals here is an aquired taste. It does feels like the music has been composed on a piano. There is a lot of nods towards the great piano men on this album. The instrumentation is pretty standard though with a wide variety of tangents, some guitars, some sampled violins, bass and drums.
The ambitions behind this album is huge. Just look at the artwork to get my drift. An half an hour long song also speaks volumes. There are also some really great stuff on this album. But there is also some merely half decent stuff here too. I don't feel the result is as good as the ambitions behind this album and that is the downfall of it. It is still a good album well worth checking out. But it falls a bit short in my view.
Times of Malta (Mike Bugeja) - November 2011
That the Maltese music scene is thriving is no secret; less known is that among the countless local bands getting it together, there’s a healthy number of artists working on solo projects, albeit operating under the name of a band.
For example, take Chris Mallia, who for many years has been operating under the moniker of Different Strings. On Saturday he will be launching a new album during an event that coincidentally also happens to be Different Strings’ first live public appearance, and with a full band in tow, too. Mallia has been into rock music as far back as he can remember, thanks largely to his brother’s LP and cassette collection. “It was the early 1980s, and I was equally mesmerised by the beautiful LP covers and by the sound of the guitar,” he recalls. It was this fascination with the six-stringed instrument that led him to start taking guitar lessons. “It was a natural step for me. I loved listening to other people’s records, but I was itching to start creating my own music.” However, studying classical and modern guitar techniques with a tutor and experimenting with rock sounds at home weren’t enough to quench Mallia’s musical passion.
“I also started to teach myself piano,” he says. “Once I had been bitten by the music bug, I was always looking to learn more.” In fact, he eventually also learnt to play the bass and even started looking beyond rock and into jazz, fusion and blues, although he admits that “epic progressive rock remains my preferred genre and I am first and foremost a guitar player”; an instrument he now also teaches. Before establishing Different Strings as his main musical outlet, Mallia also played with various bands. “The first one was more of an attempt than a band. There were too many different influences at play. It was destined to fail.” His stint with a band called Velvet, however, proved more fruitful. “Velvet was more focused. We even played a couple of gigs in public and during the time with the band I wrote a lot of songs, some of which became part of my repertoire when I eventually launched my solo project.” One of these songs was, in fact, 2004’s Dead Man Walking, Mallia’s debut outing as Different Strings, which featured former Limestone Kick frontman Alan Mayo on vocals. “Alan was my first vocalist. I didn’t want to sing, as I knew there were other, far better singers I could work with.” Mallia also had enough songs written and recorded at his home studio to put out an album. “When you’re a one-man band, you have to carry all of the burdens, including the financial costs, and that slowed down the process towards releasing the album.”
The home-produced debut album, It’s Only The Beginning, was eventually launched in 2007, and, despite its limited homespun production, received outstandingly positive reviews by various international critics and prog-rock webzines. Mallia says he sent out quite a few copies to prog-rock sites and reviewers. “When you’re starting out it’s important to try get your name and music out there as much as possible.” Of course, what Mallia perceived by ‘out there’ was nowhere near the audience he unknowingly reached when somebody decided to share the album – illegally of course – over the internet.
“It’s an odd sensation when something like that happens; it’s totally beyond your control.” On a positive note, Mallia says the album was downloaded a lot, which must mean people liked it. “One website in particular clocked the number of downloads, and the album had been downloaded some 30,000 times – now if only I could have got just €1 for each download…” he says with a wishful, resigned smile. Making money has never really figured in the forces that drive Mallia to make music, except maybe when he released the Victims Of Love EP last year. All funds collected from the sale of the EP went to the family of Noel Cauchi, a colleague of Mallia’s who died tragically and for whom he had written the song Time And Again.
“Noel’s death was tragic and I felt I needed to do something to help his family the best way I could, so I put out the EP to raise funds for them.” The unauthorised internet distribution of Mallia’s music has ultimately had unexpected rewards, among them sparking new interest in his latest work from foreign parties. “The new album was released as a digital download last month, and I’ve been getting requests from various foreign internet music magazines who want to review it.”
Mallia believes it is the groundwork laid out via his debut album that has helped get him noticed. “The first album openly reflec-ted where I was coming from musically but was produced with limited resources. The new album has a more refined sound, thanks in part to the use of more advanced technology and the fact that the album was mixed at Robert Longo’s Padded Cell Studios”. The difference is immediately evident in this regard, but more than that, The Sounds Of Silence (Part 1) – yes, there will be a sequel, hopefully sometime next year – is a concept album inspired by the events that occur in everyday life. “I tried to capture various aspects of the occurrences – some positive, some negative – that shape our daily lives.” The album features the full versions of Time And Again and Victims Of Love off last year’s EP, along with three other songs, namely Selfishness (Part 1), Let Me Out Of Here and Trance Of Sorrow, the latter a 30-minute epic crafted in the true spirit of prog. “The music is influenced by my prog-rock roots, but the idea was to come up with as original a sound as possible. There are more keyboards on it, the Hammond especially, and overall, the album is more elaborate. All the elements that defined the first album are far more pronounced on this one.” Like Mallia’s first album, The Sounds Of Silence (Part 1) will be released on his own Progdome Records imprint. “I set the label up because it was a way to get around the increasing problem of finding the backing of a record label. Like this I only need to find a distributor to get my music out there.”
This way, Mallia says he gets to retain creative and artistic control and full ownership of his music. “And, of course, there’s always the internet.” Different Strings will be performing live at Rock Elements in Paceville on Saturday for the launch of the album The Sounds of Silence (Part 1). Doors open at 8.30 p.m. Tickets cost €5 including a signed copy of the album.
Progarchives interview with Torodd Fugelsteg - November 2011
Different Strings is a new band from Malta and the creative vehicle for Chris Mallia. A new album has just been released and I got in touch with Chris for the Different Strings story and the latest update.
When and by whom was your band formed? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band? Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by?
First of all this was a solo project, if I may say so. The idea started when I had some experiences with lots of bands in the 90’s that never really gave any fruition. So I quit all bands and decided to do it all by myself. One reason of doing this is because I always wanted to have a prog related band and the musicians that I used to play with never saw it the way I did. So it was basically formed by me and it was around 2001 but had already material written before that became Different Strings’ material in the end.
Yes, as I already mentioned I played in other bands but even the present other members have and had other projects. The bassist “Johann Tabone” was with another band called “Rising Sunset” whom released an album a few years ago. The drummer “Karl Dingli” is playing in two other bands, it’s more for a few bucks and fun really.
“Trevor Catania” played bass on the EP and on two tracks of this album about to be released. He was with another Maltese neo-prog band called Different Light in the 90’s. Nowadays he plays with hard rock band called “Fire”.
The name chosen suggests the famous Rush song. As a matter of fact I am a huge Rush fan but I never really chose it because I am a Rush fan. It actually came naturally to my mind in the beginning when I decided to do it myself. I was writing songs that involved a lot of strings using keyboards and of course I had to play all guitars and bass parts myself too, and I said to myself “I really need to play a lot of different strings here” and it came naturally.
Other influences are various like Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree but even older prog like Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd. When I was younger I was into Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and other similar bands too. I studied and listen to classical music as well. My discography is hugely varied so I believe every band or music gave its contribution of influence.
I have heard a lot about Malta from some close relatives who holidays there two weeks every winter. The people are very decent and friendly and the landscape is great. But how is the music scene on Malta now?
Well, as you said, Malta is great from a landscape and hospitality point of view, that’s why people keep coming to holiday here. From a musical point of view it’s not that nice. Here are a lot of decent musicians but tending to focus on making money and I don’t blame them. They concentrate on holiday resorts, hotels, jazz clubs etc. so they can make a living and therefore they don’t have spare time on bands like mine.
The scene sucks too! Sometimes it’s very difficult to have a venue where to perform live so bands recently are joining forces and create events with 2 or three bands on 1 night. It’s starting to pay of but still we have very limited sales of merchandise. One thing that pisses me off is the fact that we are getting absolutely 0 money from PRS. We don’t have our own PRS in Malta so we have to use the UK PRS, although recently they expanded a section for Maltese performers but still we’re getting nothing and 1 reason for this is because the authorities are not doing their jobs of monitoring radio stations and clubs of the events or radio play lists.
We have a very huge death metal scene though whom I support them for the effort but I’m not much into that genre.
Bottom line is that Malta is increasing a very good reputation in musical events but excluding a couple of artists that are present everywhere, which is pissing the bands off, nothing in particular is done for other genres like prog.
Over to your four releases. Please tell us more about Dead Man Walking from 2004, It's Only the Beginning from 2006, Victims of Love from 2010 and The Sounds of Silence Part 1: The Counterparts from 2011.
The first single “Dead man walking” was released in November 2004 because I didn’t have a vocalist till summer 2004. When I met Alan Mayo and agreed to be part of my project we recorded the song and released it as a single to announce the presence of Different Strings as a new band to check out.
Unfortunately Alan was a very busy person that took me 2 more years just to record the remaining tracks that ended to be the debut album “…it’s only the beginning” which was released in February 2007.
When I started to record the second album “The sounds of silence” the songs were already written but again I had to face the same problem of finding another vocalist since Alan went to UK for good.
I tried various and didn’t find anyone interested in singing my songs. Suddenly I remembered of a friend of mine, Errol Cutajar, whom we use to sing together in a charity raising choir called voices. He has quite a high pitched timbre but he’s not into prog at all. So I took the chance to try him, whom he agreed with enthusiasm and ended to be the next Different Strings vocalist. I have to be honest that I didn’t expected to be so satisfied with his voice, it was surprising and satisfying!
We started recording the songs starting with the ones on the EP, “Victims of love”. This EP was released for 2 reasons. The first and more important is that one song on the EP, “Time and again” was dedicated to a friend of mine that lost his life on a tragic accident on his job. The profits of the CD went to his family. The other reason was similar to “Dead man walking”. Since it took me quite some time to release the second album the EP was a kind of reminder that I’m still here with a new project!
It very much sounds like, from the title, that The Sounds of Silence is going to be a series of albums. Part 1 released this year. Please tell us more about this concept. The second album, “The Sounds of Silence – part I” is a huge project which intended to be a double CD album but for financial reasons and of course it needed much more time to record I took the decision to release them separately. The second part of this project “The Sounds of Silence – part II” hopefully will be released in a nearer future.
This album, which is the best work so far, has more of everything. More analogue synths, heavier parts, more acoustic parts and even more epics. Part I will contain the 30 minute epic “Trance of sorrow”, which it’s a huge song that I’m very proud of. It also has another epic “Selfishness” but on this CD it will be released part I only. The second part hopefully will be on “The Sounds of Silence – part II” CD. Both parts will be about 26 minutes as well.
I’m really excited about it and awaiting the reviews when it will be released physically as a CD on the 26th November.
How is the creative processes in your band from coming up with ideas to get them onto a recording?
Well as I told you before, this is not a band tour de force; it’s more a solo project. The songs I have are all written by me, both musically and lyrically. So at the moment the other band members are playing my music and it will remain that way till I have the other CD planned. They like the songs very much so it’s not a problem for them. I agreed that there live performances can have their own touch as well of course. First of all I’m not a musical dictator and the fact that live performances can have a little twist it’s more challenging and interesting.
Personally when I compose I will have dozens of ideas, bits and pieces. Some of them I find them very cool so I expand them ending to be songs. I don’t force myself for inspiration, it’s a natural thing, you just need to welcome it and write it down when it arrives.
To give you an example it happened with “Dead man walking” and “Time and again”. I wrote that songs in 10 minutes. Of course I finished them later with lyrics and a more polished composition but the basic structure was really fast. That’s when inspiration struck you.
For those of us unfamiliar with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with?
This is a tough one. I don’t know how to describe it really and I say this for the reason not to misguide who wants a description. As I said earlier I’ve been inspired from dozens of bands/music in general so I tend to be sometimes similar to a style at one point and them completely different with another style at other moments.
If I have to narrow the decision I might suggest that my music is a kind of symphonic rock. Since I studied classical music I think I give a more classical approach to my songs but yet again when I compose, as the song progresses it depends on the moment and I don’t limit myself for timing or anything else.
What have you been up to since the recording of your new album, what is your current status and what are your plans for this year and beyond?
Well I still study music and I give guitar lessons too. I never had a decent teaching qualification so I dedicated a little time for a degree in guitar teaching.
Regarding my music, at the moment I’m really concentrating on the present which is the release day of the album which will be on the 26th of November and of course the very first live performance from Different Strings. We are rehearsing hard for this event so basically that is my main objection. I’m also giving more attention to a more merchandising way of promoting Different Strings hopefully it will pay off a little.
Next year will be a busier year, hopefully with more live performances for bigger audiences and of course the recording of the second part of “The sounds of silence”.
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview?
I want to thank to all of the people, including yourself, for the reviews you make. The ones made for the debut album were very positive excluding the fact that had a not so very good production but the music was liked. So I have to make it a point that this recording is highly pro and there will be no production deficiency. I’m looking forward for new reviews and hopefully a little less illegal downloads!!!
The more I sell the better will be the next album. I will also have a review on Fireworks magazine which I’m really looking forward to as well.
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (Bob Mulvey) - July 2010
Chris Mallia in the guise of Different Strings' previous work ...It's Only The Beginning (2007) received a positive review here at DPRP, with the criticisms aimed more at the production values rather than the material. I'm happy to report for this release, that Different Strings recorded the material at the Padded Cell studios and the demo quality is not an issue here. This release is a charitable affair, the proceeds of which are going to the family of artist Noel Cauchi, who died in a tragically last year. I have reviewed Victims Of Love from high quality MP3s, so there may be greater sonic values than my PC speaker system offers.
Chris Mallia seems to have an ear for a strong melody which is certainly evident in the two opening tracks. Time And Again is a prog/pop piece with a catchy chorus and a Beatles/Alan Parsons vibe about it. The track is nicely arranged with neat acoustic guitar bookending the track and with a nice refrain for piano and strings in the middle. The title track is in a similar territory and again an infectious track, gradually building into a power ballad. Taking on the vocal duties for this release is Errol Cutajar whose voice nicely compliments the lush arrangements - although on a critical note, there are some intonation issues in the top end of chorus.
The EP concludes with two instrumentals, the first of which, Fireflies is particularly enjoyable featuring acoustic guitar and a distinctly 80s synth sound and melody reminiscent of Vangelis. A somewhat chill-out affair that introduces an ebow to add variation towards the end of the track. Concluding is Cavatina which I'm sure needs no introduction. Personally I struggle with this piece of music, which I suppose is down to the plethora of turgid versions I've heard over the years. I shudder every time I see the song title with images of Hank Marvin flooding into my mind. The version here is no better or worse than any that haunt me...
The two "radio edit" tracks Time And Again and Victims Of Love featured on this EP will form part of Different Strings' forthcoming album Sounds Of Silence - Part I.
Tricky one to rate really - it's an charitable EP with a little over a quarter of an hours worth of music. This said, 75% of the material was enjoyable. I can only wish Chris Mallia success with this offering and look forward to the new album...
Progarchives (Windhawk) - June 2010
The EP "Victims of Love" is the third production issued by Malta based act Different Strings, and somewhat unusual for a regular release from an artist it is also a relief album, where the income will go to help the family of artist Noel Cauchi, who died in a tragic accident in 2009. Of the four songs featured on this EP, the first two are presented in versions edited for radio. Which is very suitable, as both compositions comes across as efforts with strong commercial aspirations. Time and Again is a light symphonic number with a few nods towards the more sophisticated works of The Beatles, while the title track Victims of Love is a well made ballad with a powerful chorus and added sophistication in the shape of a lush symphonic backdrop.
Closing up this EP are two light symphonic instrumental efforts, lush and dreamy affairs of the kind that doesn't really make an immediate impact, but with a certain timeless quality to them that will make you listen to them time and again if you are in the mood for daydreaming or listening to relaxing but sophisticated music.
It was also a pleasant surprise to discover that the production is of good quality this time around, one of the aspects which was a negative on the full album debut by this act.
All in all a nice effort, and one that can be highly recommended to proggers with a soft spot for radio-friendly music.
dragonjazz.com - April 2009
This review is in general about prog bands that haven't been appreciated decently.
One said it enough and repeated it in these pages: the progressive rock was born in England during the second half of the sixties and it leaned itself on the explorations of American artists such as Bob Dylan for its intelligent texts or Frank Zappa for its compositions in form of iconoclastic collages. After a renaissance in the 80's, always in England, progressive rock continued to spread itself in the countries of the western pad (Western Europe and North America) while the center of seriousness of the movement progressively moved itself towards the Nordic countries with Sweden as an iron lance. It is believed that progressive rock is anelitist music that interests only the populations having a culture with a "classical" tradition and there is a step that one cannot cross.
Indeed, progressive rock cannot be restricted to a place or to a specific time. Outside the traditional countries of production as those of old Europe, Canada or United States, exists hundreds of bands that practice this music in various regions of the planet in which the albums did not reached our ears. Of course not for quality reasons but rather because the circuits of distribution of the discs in the third world are confidential even if, thanks to Internet, the situation considerably improved. Besides, by digging a little, it is not so difficult to find in the most unforeseen places today worthy representions. Not listening to these albums, it is to show a nombriliste attitude because no culture has the monopoly of creation and they will be even surprised to discover, among the recent productions of these bands of the third world, that there's exemplary creations which could point out ways to be followed in quite a lot of actual combos trying hopelessly to recreate a past past. And this is true, a lot of these "foreign" writings were conceived in more difficult sociocultural or economic conditions and even sometimes with still too much restricted technical means. Happily, this is not agreeable: their music is inventive, expressive, cool, exciting and does not hesitate to transport salutaryuniversal concepts for the humanity.
Then, here a series of ambitious discs that originate places more astonishing (in comparison with the generally recognized microcosme as interested by the prog). From Iceland to Argentina, Japan to South Africa, Tasmania to Finland while going through Bahrain and Russia, they carefully were selected for their astonishing musical qualities. Listening to them, shows an opening spirit and, to facilitate your task, one indicated as much as possible sites as MySpace, YouTube or other official websites where the extracts of their music can be heard or even sometimes downloaded legally. (this list is on the website only)
Different Strings review among others.
Different Strings is a project of Chris Mallia which took care of all instruments, having entrusted all the vocals to Alan Mayo. Midway between progressive pop close to Alan Parson or to Barclay james Harvest and to néo - prog of Marillon, Chris Mallia composes approachable songs even if he sometimes has a squint also towards a more radical rock. The disc being a démo, the music suffers a tremendous number of a deficient production but is worth the trouble all the
same to be heard.
museorosenbach.blogspot.com - Sunday, 5th April 2009
Different Strings is practically a project of the Maltese musician, Chris Mallia. All of the instruments are done by him, with the external contribution of his friend Alan Mayo on vocals. Musically speaking, the album is influenced by a series of different artists and styles. We can cite Eloy, Marillion, Deep Purple, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd among others. This is very promising and is going to please in full the fans of prog in its more varied slopes.
progressiveears.com (Windhawk for Prog4you.com) - Sunday, 20th July 2008
Different Strings is basically a one-man band from Malta. Basically, as Chris Mallia is the
central person on everything here, Alan Mayo's only contribution here being delivering vocals. It's Only the Beginning is the debut album by this band, and is described by the band as a demo.
Musically Different Strings seems to have been influenced by a number of different artists
playing quite different styles of music. The mellower moments here often sounds like a mix between Eloy and Marillion, but when rocking out influences from classic hard rock acts such as Deep Purple as well as more contemporary prog metal are easily heard.
In the mellow parts of these songs, floating synths underscored by acoustic guitars and sometimes-dampened guitar riffs are a specialty of this band, but when rocking out they explore several different moods. One type of music frequently visited in these songs are classic 70's
hard rock guitar accompanied by heavy Hammond organ; other musical landscapes are variations on prog metal inspired themes; where especially guitar riffing and drumming are clearly influenced by prog metal.
The songs are nicely structured and well written though; so that combining these moods are done in a very natural way. And at all times this is performed in a melodic way.
The downside to this release is the production. The liner notes clearly states that this is to be seen as a demo release, and the production here shows why this is the case. The vocals really do suffer from this; as well as the general mix. At times, this also affects the sound of the instruments in a clearly negative way.
Still, this is a very promising release. Fans of melodic progressive music should consider checking this one out; especially those that aren't addicted to high tech production.
My rating: 67/100
ProgArchives (psarros) – January 2008
Smaller countries seem to find their place on the prog map.Bahrain,Luxemburg and now Malta have presented some interesting releases through Osiris,No Name,Supper's Ready and this time is Chris Malia from Malta with his project DIFFERENT STRINGS. He is around the local scene since 1996,playing and recording with various short-lived bands, before going solo, preferering to choose a band's name for his personal work. For his first album Malia played all instruments and was helped by Alan Mayo on lead and backing vocals.''It's only the beginning...'' came out in 2006 on Progdome Records,a label,behind which has to be Malia himself.
The five tracks are placed so,that they start from the shortest one to end up on the album's opus ''Around the world''.I wouldn't call this album a full-blown prog effort,it is rather a straight rock album with prog and psychedelic leanings...A 3-min. nice keyboard-based grandiose intro will lead the listener to the first real track ''All over again'',which is a rocky guitar-driven song in the vein of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT,characterized by its distorted vocals and even some heavy ethnic tunes after the middle,followed by sharp synths.Just a another track.''Dead man walking'' comes next and this was the band's first single back in 2004.
Seems thing to change on the 10-min. all instrumental ''Beyond infinity''.At least he have to deal with some real prog music here,like DEEP PURPLE are jamming with DREAM THEATER.Though not that exciting,the track offers some good'n'heavy guitar riffing,decent solos,delicate piano work and strong keyboard acrobatics along the way.Finally a sign of Malia's talent.''Around the world'' comes next and I don't know why we have to wait for almost 4 minutes with needless spacey keys,before the rocking entrance in the vein of ''Season's end''-era MARILLION,followed by GILMOUR-ish soloing and a heavy organ-based DREAM THEATER-influenced middle section.A more relaxed and really pleasant atmosphere with piano,light guitars and flutes will introduce you to the ending section,where sharp keyboards return until the end.A track with irs ups and downs.
The truth is I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone,except modern neo prog fanatics.Malia ran out of ideas during the recordings,as some guitar melodies show again and again,not to mention the similarities between the two last tracks on their DREAM THEATER-inspired parts.However,the man seems to have talent in a couple of moments and supported by a regular band would give him the needed push IMO.Anyway,I think that no more or less than 2 stars trully show my feeling after I listened to this album.
ProgArchives (Olav Martin Bjornsen) - Friday, 2nd November 2007
Interesting debut release by this artist from Malta.
At the mellowest, the music sounds a bit like a mix between Eloy and Marillion, and influences from classic hard rock acts like Deep Purple and more contemporary prog metal can be heard
It adds up to a very interesting release, where the main drawback is a poor production. Both the general mix as well as the vocals suffers from the production.
Still, a nice debut; and worth checking out for fans of melodic prog with harder edges that aren't addicted to high-tech production.
Tales of Wonder (Luca Alberucci) - Saturday, 15th September 2007
INTRODUCTION Different Strings...is a project conceived and led by the multi-intrumentalist Chris Mallia from Malta. The release of this first album "It's Only The Beginning" has been postponed several times because of the lack of a decent singer. Then Alan Mayo (ex Limestone Kick) came to fill the gap.
SOUNDS LIKE ... The sound is very close to a neo-pop-prog in British style, quite refined and melodic. POINTS OF INTEREST Chris is a good composer, no doubt ! He can write soft and beautiful ballads like "Dead Man Walking" and then change skin with "Beyond Infinity" where he's free from vocal parts and he can show how much pompous and spacey is his keyboards playing. Very good stuff.
WEAK POINTS ...The low budget conditioned the release. The sound is not brilliant and drum-machine bothered me as always, though not so much as in other similar solo works. A brief note on Alan Mayo: Chris needed a singer and overall he found a decent singer but Alan never makes the difference, in my opinion.
FAVOURITE TRACKS ..."Dead Man Walking" "Beyond Infinity"
RECOMMENDATION ..."It's Only The Beginning": the title is enough to describe my feelings. Chris knows so well how a song must take shape, he only needs a better singer, an higher budget and your encouragement. Not bad as a beginning.
Progressive Ears (Yeshead777) - Thursday, 30th August 2007
Different Strings is actually the brainchild of one multi-instrumentalist from Malta, Chris Mallia. Mallia plays all of the instruments on the CD with vocals by Alan Mayo. He also produced and mixed the disc and states on the CD that "This is a home made CD to be sent around the world in search of a record label. It's done this way for financial reasons." Having said that, you are left after hearing this CD thinking about how much potential this CD would have with more professional engineering and production. There is so much potential here. Chris is an accomplished guitarist, keyboardist, and bassist. Unfortunately, the drum mix is so flat and muddy at times, that it is hard to distinguish his abilities here.
The overall sound is very Pink Floydish starting with the layered synths on "It's only the beginning", and the Gilmour like licks on "All over again". The standout track is the instrumental "Beyond Infinity" where he really shows his varied chops. The 14-minute epic "Around the world" does not have much continuity, but does also include great playing by Mallia. The vocals are mostly adequate throughout, but at times are so poorly mixed that the vocalist is not really given a fair chance. With all this said, keep in mind-this is only the beginning for Mallia and Different Strings, and with the proper backing and production this CD and his career could go a far way. Lets hope he gets this in the near future, and gets the chance he deserves.5/10 stars.
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (DPRP) (Christos Ampatzis) - Thursday, 9th August 2007
Pity this is in fact a demo, because there is quite a lot in the music despite the poor production, and it is a kind of music that I enjoy listening to. In general we are talking about a neo-progressive band with some heavier side (Dream Theater-like). To be straight from the beginning: I do not associate to neo-prog the negative connotation Marillion has attributed to the genre. Anyway, Different Strings is actually a one-man band: Chris Mallia. Well, almost. Chris plays all instruments and has composed the music, but the vocals are the work of Alan Mayo. As for the name you may have guessed it right from the start: it's a pointer to Rush's heart-breaking masterpiece.
Dead Man Walking was released as a single back in 2004 and is arguably the album's highlight. It has a very smooth melody that vaguely reminds me of no-man's Carolina Skeletons. Around The World starts as an absolute pointer to Marillion and something in the vocal lines makes me sing "She's got her hooks in you...". Later on things get more complex and a little bit too far-stretched towards the end- I would like to hear a more compact version of this song in the future as the different bits and pieces do seem a bit unconnected. All Over Again and Beyond Infinity are tracks that kick off radiating the Alan Parson's 70's and 80's pop-prog feel. Then something more wicked this way comes and Dream Theater textures and complex arrangements come into play. All Over Again also comes in a radio-edit version, which I prefer to the longer original one. Simply, the refrain and catchy melody are enough to make a simple and straight to the point
pop tune that doesn't really need a complex progressive counterpart. As for the vocals, they are adequate and sometimes remind me a bit of Nick Barrett. As for the other instruments (all played by Chris), the work is more than decent with the keyboards standing out a bit from the rest.
All in all, this guy seems to have something to offer to progressive music, and I think he
deserves a chance to find himself a decent record deal and then re-work on this material, with
an emphasis on a better production. I was hesitating to leave this CD unrated, since I find it a bit unfair to let the flawed production reflect on the rating. Anyway I give it a 6.5 out of 10 but I would not mind at all to review a possible future version. I'm sure that a better production and a little bit richer material would guarantee a higher rating. Maybe I should add that this is stuff with good chances to appeal to fans of neo-prog or mellow progressive rock. Less interesting I guess for those of you looking for heavier or more technical and complex music - even if the music here has such elements too. Ah, and a comment on the album title: it can give us an idea about the (justified) ambition of Chris Mallia.
Conclusion: 6.5 out of 10
Progarchives.com (H.T. Riekels) - Wednesday, 11th July 2007
Chris Mallia has put together an impressive debut under the name of DIFFERENT STRINGS. There is some fine musicianship, and quality composition. The only part of this he didn't handle himself was the vocals. I don't know if Chris can sing or not, but Alan Mayo was a very good choice. His voice suits the music perfectly. On the whole, it's low key, but there are some rocking segments. He pulls off a pretty decent ballad on "Dead Man Walking." What's missing
is a spark. There is nothing that really gets me excited here. Technically, there are no problems. It just needs a boost of energy, inspiration, hook, or something. I can't really nail it down, but it doesn't pull me in. What I really see here is promise. One person pulling off a debut album of this quality is quite impressive. The talent is evident. If he continues to grow, this will probablybe viewed with much more affection. As it is, I can give it no more than three stars.
ZNR Records (Steve) - Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Excellent modern prog that hints at both the seventies school (Genesis, Camel,etc) and the eighties (Pendragon, IQ, a.o.) with just a hint of Dream Theatre way in the background at times. The recording is the work of one Chris Mallia who played all the instruments himself and manages to steer clear of the typical "one-man-band" pitfalls the vast majority of the time. The vocals are handled by a fellow by the name of Alan Mayo who sounds a little like Nick Barrett of Pendragon. All in all a real nice release for an album that Chris descibes as 'just a demo'! Largely this is very symphonic and highly enjoyable to fans of both sides of the progressive coin. Also of interest is the fact that this is the first progressive recording we have seen from Malta. Being a bit more isolated on an island in the Mediterranean perhaps gives this disc some of its special feeling!
Progarchives.com (Andrew) - Sunday, March 4, 2007
Chris Mallia's project, Different Strings, focuses on modern progressive rock, primarily of the Neo-Progressive style, but with noticeable metal influences. The music is at times atmospheric, at times quite heavy. I don't think there is a specific well-known Neo-Progressive band that I could compare Different Strings to, but I'm reminded of Everon and Illuvatar every now and then while I listen to "...It's Only the Beginning". I find the music on this record to be slightly more enjoyable than that found on Everon's Fantasma, which while espousing hooks and melodies, seems just a bit lacking in soul. That problem does not plague "It's Only the Beginning", which
is a relief. I have often found that many lesser-known acts tend to focus on technique, as if they're trying to get noticed. That's definitely not the case with Different Strings; the band (which consists of only Mallia and vocalist Alan Mayo) the instrumentation is full-bodied, but certainly not showy. However, every now and then I feel that the instruments are not high enough in the mix, which can make it seem like they're there to support the vocals, something I disdain. If anything, the vocals should add color and texture to the music, not the other way round. This is not a large problem, and I won't degrade the album too much for it.
To continue the airing of negative feelings about this album (a regretful but necessary task)I will say that the production does not strike me as one befitting a first-rate act; I can clearly tell the musicianship is very fine and often intricate, but sometimes the guitar riffs or can sound thin or muddy. Whereas the vocals may seem to me a tad too high in the mix at times, the drums can seem a bit too low, which can give the music a sort of static feeling, as if it is just there, without fully engaging me or surrounding me. I stress that different listeners may have different responses to these supposed shortcomings of the album (these might not even be problems for anyone else) but I feel I must get out in the open all negative feelings I have in order to give spotlight to the positive feelings, which I have plenty of as a matter of fact!
Alright, now with the good news about this fine release. I should say that for a debut album by a up-and-coming act, "It's Only the Beginning" is far ahead come to expect in terms of level of enjoyment. The music may not be clearing a path through the Great Forest of Progressive Innovation, but I have said over and over and over again that innovation isn't worth the time it takes to speak the word: only the composition and enjoyment of the music counts. One's enjoyment of the music may end up depending on the level of innovation, however. A sad, sad result, I say. "It's Only the Beginning" delivers most of what I look for when I turn toward Neo-Progressive rock: well-composed, layered, emotional, and atmospheric music. I previously let it be known that I was disappointed with the mix which seemed to put Mayo's vocals at the forefront. This is not to say he is a poor singer. Far from it! I wouldn't say he's the next Gabriel or Anderson, but he's talented and fits the music well. The keyboard, guitar, and other arrangements on "...It's Only the Beginning" are fantastic and deserve the generous amount of presence they receive in the music.
"...It's Only the Beginning" is a pleasant release for me, and I suggest it to fan of Everon, Illuvatar, and anyone generally curious about lesser-known neo-Progressive bands.
Gnosis2000.net (Eddie Lascu) - Tuesday, March 20, 2007
If you would listen to this album for the first time, without knowing anything about it, you would say that it's probably a band from UK heavily inspired by Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree playing a fine, spacey neo-prog. Boy, you would be wrong. Different Strings is an almost one-man show, Chris Mallia of Malta being the driving force behind the project. I say "almost" because he does get some help from Alan Mayo who contributes all the lead and backing vocals. Other than that, the music and the lyrics are written and arranged by Mallia. He plays all the instruments and this is where you should get your first shock. The level of skill heard on this album is very high, Mallia seamed equally comfortable as a guitarist, drummer or keyboard player. I tried to think back when was the last time I heard a one-man band that sounded so coherent and cohesive. Not since I got to know Al Garcia's work was I this impressed, but that's a story for another day.
As Mallia puts it, this album is home-made from A to Z. He was responsible for programming, performing, recording, mixing and producing the record. I wish the production would have met higher standards, just because the music has so much to offer and with that I laid down the only complaint I have about this album. As mentioned before, the music draws blood from the likes of Porcupine Tree and other bands that play an aggressive kind of progressive rock oscillating from spacey tones to sheer power metal. The 6 tracks are divided between alternating instrumental pieces and songs featuring Mayo's able vocals. During my research I found out that "Dead Man Walking", the third song of the album, became somewhat of a hit in Malta. The highlight of the album is, without any doubt, the 15-minute, 4 part suite "Around the World". Let's really hope that this is only the beginning and we will get to hear more from Chris Mallia. With a bit of luck, he gets his music known and maybe, just maybe, the next release will benefit from a more professional recording environment. Everybody will gain something from that.
Proggnosis.com (Marc) - Friday, March 23, 2007
Interesting album by this newcomer band Different Strings. On It's Only The Beginning they offer us some well performed melodic (even mellow at times) accessible Prog Rock. Instrumentation is pretty basic (guitars - electronic keys - bass - drums) and lead singer Alan Mayo has a nice voice, but occasionally limited in range. I can't say I'm blown away by what I hear on this demo album, but it is quality stuff and it's quite possible that their next effort will be even better. I'm convinced that many melodic Prog fans can really enjoy It's Only The Beginning . Use our links to check this promising band out.
Ytsejam.com (Tommy Hash) - Thursday, March 29, 2007
Here is a record that could have deeply benefited from better production; the music, the musicianship, the arrangements, and the songs were in place, but the sound was way too sketchy. The brainchild of musician/songwriter Chris Mallia, his project Different Strings is neo-prog project that stands in line with Carptree and Galleon, being driven by synthesizers and
hook oriented Floydian soundscapes. And Mallia is a great musician and writer for that matter, but the vocals & mix could have used some extra work (almost scratch/demo sounding), not to mention that the snare sounds a little dry at times.
' Regardless of the production aspects, fluid melodies like the soundscape of the title track, the ethereal 'All Over Again', and the jam session of 'Beyond Infinity' exposes Mallia's ability as a composer. Hopefully, It's Only the Beginning is the beginning of some more material to come from Mallia, only next time, put a little more work into the production, and there can be the potential for an improved record.
lib66.tk (Mike Bugeja) - February, 2007
Different Strings first made its presence felt on the local scene in May 2005 with the low-key release of debut single Dead Man Walking, which featured former Limestone Kick frontman Alan Mayo on vocals. The warm reception for the single, especially from rock audiences, gave Chris Mallia - the one-man band behind Different Strings - the momentum to complete his debut long player. As the title suggests, this is really a beginning of sorts, and given the opportunity, more intense post-production would certainly add to this record’s focused appeal and extended vision. As Mallia admits, this album is home-made in every sense of the word. He was responsible for the song writing, programming, performing, recording and production of the record - except of course the vocal parts, which Alan Mayo so ably pulls off!
What is immediately obvious about this album is the strong progressive influence behind its 45 minutes of meticulous rock ambience. Aside from the ‘shorter’ vocal tracks (including new single All Over Again) the album comes into its own on the longer, epic pieces – conceptual prog compositions that ooze more than a touch of Yes here and Floyd there, while retaining their own hard rock identity and direction. The end result is a reflection of Mallia’s musical engagement and creative expression, and should certainly please those already enamoured of his Dead Man Walking single! Strongly recommended for anyone with an old-school rock heart!
ragzzi-music.de (Volkmar Mantei) - December, 2006
The slogan “long live rock’n’roll” stands under the history of origins in the CD booklet. Some rage swings therein. Different Strings is a solo product of an individual musician, who had to work completely without a band, studio and no perfect conditions to convert his ideas. You will find more information in the folding booklet: for the technical ears, this is a homemade CD, which should go around the globe; the goal is to find a record label which offers better conditions. Everybody who is interested in bankroll this music, should not hesitate, he is invited to.
The whole instrumental work is done by Chris Mallia, supported by Alan Mayo on vocals. All 6 tracks are a typical one-man product. In these songs you will miss the altercation of more than one head; another reason is that the very talented Chris Mallia is not a master on each instrument. He is excellent on keys and drums but guitars and bass are half-hearted. The sound of the CD is a bit easy going but audiolicious. The whole compositions are successful and have
a topic, the vocals are catchy.
In the instrumental part is the keyboard very important, and it is very good. The content of the songs re very good as well but they have rough edges. “Dead man walking” has some weaknesses, in which the phrase “dead man walking” is sung too often, resulting to be a little
too lengthy for 7 minutes.
The conclusion is that Chris Mallia finds a label, musicians and an arranger; I know who would be perfect, nobody other than Flower Kings' Roine Stolt. That would be a good team.
Kultura 21 - (review on "Dead man walking" single by Chris Galea) - March, 2005
The introspective song `Different Strings` by Canadian progressive-rock legends Rush, clearly reflects the philosophy of Chris Mallia. Originating from Valletta, Chris might initially appear laid-back but his creativity speaks volumes. Influenced by bands such as Spock's Beard, Dream Theatre, Rush and Kansas, Chris Mallia has been composing music for quite some time. Some of these songs he burned in his home-made recording studio (helped in no small way by his affinity with technology), playing lead guitars, bass guitars and keyboards, and having also programmed drum-machines himself. Incredibly, his first guitar he even made himself from scratch (cutting the wood and installing electronic components).
Following feedback and encouragement from his friends,Valletta born Chris finally decided to come into the open. He has done this while adopting the pen-name 'Different Strings'. "I always wanted to release my music in a professional way, although financial restrictions time and again caused me problems. Now I have the added help of a mini DAW Studio, so I can comfortably record at home, and it's cheaper", he admits. The CD-single Chris has just released onto the local market is "Dead Man Walking". Lyrics are his own. Although Chris had used his own voice in previous experimental recordings, since he was now exposing his music to a wider audience, he has now decided to emply a proper singer. Enter Alan Mayo. Many will surely remember the days Alan sang with "Limestone Kick" his sensitive and melodious voice had been an essential trademark of Kick's sound. "For me Alan is an exceptional singer. The style of my songs might be somewhat different from what he's sung before but thanks to his talent he managed to adapt very well to this music", affirms Chris.
I ask Chris to describe the song `Dead Man Walking` and its lyrics. "Although as you correctly said I am usually involved in Progressive Rock, this single has a slightly more commercial sound. The title refers to a condemned prisoner walking towards the notorious electric chair and the lyrics of the song are his confessions and thoughts during this last walk". Although his efforts and talents are truly admirable, I feel that a professional recording studio/producer and the use of an acoustic drum-kit would do more justice to his songs. Chris actually seems to agree. Chris Mallia then talks about the human touch:"Utilising a professional recording studio is always advantageous.You have a prime quality recording engineer/producer assisting you using, in all probability, the latest technology in recording equipment. A (human) drummer is far better than synthetic percussion sounds. I used (synthetic) pro drum tools but the human touchcannot be reproduced. The disadvantage is that more expenses would be involved, which would of course have to be borne by myself.
Reviews in Maltese
It - Torca (Siro Camilleri) - Sunday, April 8, 2007
L-ewwel album ghal Different Strings – "... It’s Only The Beginning" – il-mohh, wara dan il-progett gdid fix-xena tal-muzika lokali tal-kompozitur, awtur, muzicista – Chris Mallia. B’kollezzjoni ta’ sitt siltiet li b’kollox jiehdu mal-50 minuta. Album li joffri hajra gdida ta’ muzika, li Chris ilu jahseb u jikkontempla ghal dawn l-ahhar snin. Influwenzat minn elementi rock tat-tmeninijiet bhal dawk ta’ Rush li huma l-aktar favoriti mieghu. Wara li tghallem il-kitarra klassika, it-teknika tal-kitarra u jipprattika l-pjanu, kien issieheb mal-grupp Turmoil. Aktar tard mar mal-grupp Achiral fuq il-keyboards, fejn ha l-ewwel esperjenza ta’ studio fejn jirrekordjaw id-diski. Wara biss sena mar mal-grupp Velvet u kien f’dan iz-zmien tas-sena 2000 li beda jikteb u jdoqq fil-pubbliku. Id-differenzi ghall-istil li kien qed ifassal u jibni fuqu r-repertorju tieghu, haseb li jkun ahjar li johrog bhala solista, bhala Chris Mallia, izda taht isem ta’ band li hadu minn wahda mid-diski ta’ Rush ‘Different Strings’. Isem mahluq perfettament ghaliex hu stess kien se jdoqq l-istrumenti li jirrekordja. Ghalkemm f’dawn l-erba’ snin baqa’ jdoqq ukoll mal-grupp Shaman, l-aktar ghall-gost u l-esperjenza, milli ghal xi qliegh. ‘Dead Man Walking’ kienet wahda mill-ewwel kompozizzjonijiet li kiteb u li biha ddebutta bhala Different Strings (2004) u li nsibu ukoll f’dan l-ewwel album ta’ Chris. Silta twila aktar minn ghaxar minuti, ispirata minn film dwar persuna ikkundannata ghall-mewt. B’kollox Chris ghandu bizzejjed kompozizzjonijiet biex johrog erba’ albums. Dawn huma biss hamsa li fl-opinjoni tieghu huma ideali bhala introduzzjoni li jista’ jipprezenta lill-produtturi tad-diski anke barra minn Malta.
L-ewwel silta ‘... It’s Only The Beginning’ hija strumentali b’hafna keyboards. Atmosferika hafna u li taghti identità ghall-album, ghaliex hija l-bidu. Fil-fatt fi tmiem is-silta hemm il-bikja ta’ tarbija tat-twelid. “L-aqwa bidu li jista’ jkollok hija l-hajja ta’ bniedem. Ironikament huwa l-ewwel album u warajh ghandhom jigu aktar,” qalli Chris. It-tieni wahda ‘All Over Again’ (6.52m) ghandha kor tal-widna u warajha ‘A Dead Man Walking’ (7.18m). Ir-raba’ silta ‘Beyond Infinity’ (10.24m) hija t-tieni strumentali b’element progressiv, influwenzat minn hafna gruppi. Il-hames silta ‘Around The World’ (14.26m) hija gabra epoka, maqsuma f’erbgha u titratta espedizzjoni, bil-bidu tal-vjagg: ‘into the great wide open’ (strumentali) u ‘the mountain of wonders’ (vokali) b’riflessjoni lejn it-tmiem fejn hemm ‘night storm’ (strumentali) u ‘monolith of dreams’ dejjem b’interpretazzjoni vokali ta’ Alan Mayo, li huwa l-mistieden specjali bhala kantant ewlieni ghall-kumplament ta’ l-album kollu. Is-sitt silta hija verzjoni radio-edit (4.33m) ‘All Over Again’ li rrekordja ghal dawk li jippreferu aktar muzika moderna. L-album huwa mahrug fuq tikketta ProgDome Records, li Chris irrekordja fl-istudio privat tieghu fid-dar, jikteb u jdoqq l-istrumenti kollha live. Il-bidu, ghaliex kif qalli dan il-kompozitur u multi strumentalista, bazikament it-tieni album, ghalkemm mhux irrekordjat, imma jaf x’inhu u x’ghandu ppreparat.
ahbarijietdotcom (CD Launch) - Thursday, February 15, 2007
Kien fil-bidu tat-tmeninijiet meta Chris Mallia beda jisma l-muika rock iżda r-rock
progressiv dejjem laqtu kemmxejn aktar. Ritmikament kienu preċiżi u meldokament kienu interessanti għal Chris iżda l-iktar ħaġa li laqtitu f'din it-tip ta' mużika kienet il-lirika. Dejjem kien jgħewden li hu għandhu jitgħallem strument mużikali u fl-aħħar beda jitgħallem. Fl-1994 hu beda jieħu lezzjonijiet tal-kitarra.Filwaqt li kien qed jitgħallem il-kitarra taħt diversi għalliema kien qed jitgħallem il-pjanu waħdu wkoll. Hu kellhu diversi esperjenzi ma' bands, wħud iktar siewja minn oħrajn. Wara s-sena 2000 pero hu iddeċieda li jibda jdoqq solo. Hu għazel l-isem ta' 'Different Strings'. F'erba snin sal-2004 hu kellhu xi performances live. Sa din is-sena hu kien kiteb diversi diski ida ma setax jirrekordja l-ebda minnhom għas-sempliċi raġuni li ma kellux flus u ma kellux vuċi. Iżda fl-2004 hu ltaqa ma Alan Mayo li skond Chris dan huwa wieħed mill-aħjar kantanti f'Malta. Alan aċċetta l-invit ta' Chris li jaħdem miegħu. F'Ottubru tas-sena 2004 huma rrekordjaw 'Dead ma walking' li kienet tnhiedet fl-1 ta' Novembru ta' l—istess sena. Bejn l-2005 u l-2006 huma rrekordjaw 'l bqija tal-kanzunetti għall-ewwel album li ingħata l-isem '...it's only the beginning'. Chris Mallia ser inhiedi l-album tiegħu il-Ħadd li ġej ġewwa l-Exotique ta' Baystreet fl-16:00. Kulħadd hu mistieden li jattendi.