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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Project Creation

Dawn on Pyther

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve set down to review this CD for the past two or three issues. It’s a tough one. It’s not that it’s hard to listen to – far from it. It’s just that descriptions of this music do not come easy – especially in a track by track format. Well, this time around I’ve made it through. So, what is the music like? This is extremely dramatic progressive rock. It has a lot of metal in the mix, though, and I’m sure there are prog purists who would think of these guys as a metal band. There are male and female vocals both present here. It’s creative and powerful. It might be hard to describe, but it’s definitely a great listening experience.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 

Track by Track Review
The Dawn on Pyther
Noisy elements and sounds that call to mind Native American music bring things in. After a time this is replaced by gentle atmospheric keyboard textures. Some hints of that Native American texture shows up here and there. This eventually is supplanted by a powerhouse build up that’s both crunchy and prog oriented. The song screams out from there and we’re on our way. Eventually this shifts down to a more stripped down approach for the vocal delivery. They work through and then power it back out. This has an European epic metal approach – particularly in the dueling male and female vocals. They shift out into a different section that’s more rhythmically dominated after a time, but this climaxes and is replaced by more atmospheric sounds that back up the next vocal section. From there they soar out in another fast paced crunch progression. Another section takes over from there, but then they drop way down to street sounds with some atmospheric keys. A saxophone wails as if someone playing on the street corner. From there we’re taken through a series of changes until they finally fire back out into the hard-edged fury that came before. A number of twists and turns are presented and the sax returns. They move it out to ambient sounds over which a spoken word narration is placed and then it shifts to a percussion based segment. This gets a bit noisy but takes the track out.
Flying Thoughts
They lead this off with dramatic Celtic-textured balladic motifs. This works through for a time, but gives way after a while to another hard edged prog jam. It’s turned extremely powerful through the addition of more layers of sound. The vocal arrangement in particular is awesome on this track. The keyboard dominated instrumental section later is killer and they bring in some Middle Eastern tones in the process. After a return to the track’s central musical themes we’re brought into another strong instrumental prog jam. The vocals that come in next remind me a bit of Fish. When they shift things out to a more powered up section (those Fish sounding vocals were over the top of some more balladic music) it’s another powerhouse.

I Am (the Restless One)
They bring this one pretty much directly from the previous one. It’s dramatic and powerful feeling a bit theatric. It has a bit more stripped down feeling to it and is quite different than the previous couple pieces. The thing is, it’s really every bit as effective – if not more so. They drop it back later to a flute type solo segment and build it back up in dramatic fashion from there. They take it to the song proper and then move it to a techno sort of segment. A “rap” comes in over the top of this – OK, it’s not really a rap, but it’s not far from it. Eventually we get a harder edged jam again and for some reason it reminds me a bit of Dream Theater. A little before the six minute mark they power out into an expansive section that makes me think of a crunchier Starcastle. This builds up and takes it to its conclusion.
Dragonfly Garden
The sounds of nature start things off and they create a rather organic sounding mellow motif that still has a darkness to it. Somehow, though, this reminds me a bit of something from Jon Anderson’s Olias of Sunhillow. Beautiful female vocals skate across this backdrop as the instruments weave their tale of beauty. After a verse male vocals join and this cut feels a bit like Renaissance here. When they build it up after a while I again here those Jon Anderson influences. This section doesn’t remain long, though and they work us out into an altered, but still quite mellow motif from there. A keyboard based interlude gives way to the first crunch of the tune at around the four minute mark. This becomes a powerful instrumental motif from there.  There is also a killer keyboard solo over the top of this later. This instrumental section takes it into the next number.

The Voice Of Cheops
This one  enters with a balladic motif. It’s powerful and evocative in its delivery. They work through on this for a while. They don’t reinvent it, but rather intensify it. There are a couple great extended keyboard dominated sections. A dramatic, rather theatrical segment takes this to its conclusion.
Intermission
Pretty ambient keyboards serves as the background to a spoken word piece. This is rather like soundtrack music to some science fiction film.

Sons of the Stars
This one begins in a rather balladic way. They build it up gradually and world music sounds come across at times. This is powerful and evocative. They turn it crunchy at times, but I don’t think there are many out there who would mistake this piece of progressive rock for heavy metal. They work this out later into a rather RIO like segment. It works out of that into effective hard edged progressive rock. An acapella section eventually ends this.
Growing Feeling
This starts quite sedate and stays in that general vicinity for quite a while. It is beautiful and powerful but doesn’t raise up for a while. Even when it does this another that probably wouldn’t get called metal by anyone. The faster segment that takes it later is especially strong. This is one of my favorite cuts here and one that the prog purists should find easier to latch onto.
Medley: Voyage Of the Dragonfly: I. Seeking the Unkown/II. Visions Of a Past Future/III. Sardax - The Ocean's Flying Freckles
Classical motifs begin things here, but they burst out into metallic fury rather quickly. They work through several changes and then shift out to some of the most purely metallic music on show here. This is transformed quite quickly, too, though. In fact, the order of the day on the first half of this track is, if you don’t like what you are hearing, just wait a little. They’ll change it. It moves through quite rapid fire shifts in direction and arrangement – of course, since this is a medley that makes a lot of sense. The keyboard / vocal section is a nice touch and a good break from the fury of the rest of the number. It’s another item that calls to mind Jon Anderson a bit. This holds the track for a while and when they do move out from there it’s still in sedate and quite pretty ways. This extended instrumental section calls to mind Renaissance quite a bit – in fact both the band and the period of time in different ways. This eventually segues into the disc’s closer.
The Dusk on Pyther
They continue the gentle themes from the last cut here, but with more of a ballad structure to it. Female vocals enter to carry the early portions of this number. About a minute and a half in this shifts to harder edged tones as male vocals take over. They work through in this time for a while, but then it drops back to another balladic mode, this one more folky in nature. They seem to be about to move out into the more rocking section, but it modulates into some different territory instead. Eventually they bring back the crunch, but in a different way. This dissolves to a percussion based swirl of voices to end.
 
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