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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

David M. Stowell

A Raven In Flight

Review by Greg Olma

It has been a while since I was given an album to review that was completely unknown to me.  I have never heard of David M. Stowell or any of his music so it is with virgin ears that I hear A Raven In Flight.  Upon first listen, the ten tracks felt disjointed and didn’t feel like a cohesive collection of tunes, but once I started playing the album over and over again, the pieces started to fit.  The album features a number of sounds and textures and range from 80s synth to Pink Floyd to Mike Oldfield.  At least that is what I hear when I play the album as a whole.  There definitely is a subtle prog element to A Raven In Flight, but the listener is taken on a musical journey that explores many different moods and surprises along the way.  It’s hard to categorize this disc, but that is exactly what makes this unique and enjoyable. 

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Dawn of Enceladus

The disc starts off with a very spacey sounding and almost soundtrackish instrumental.  The drums kick in part way through which gives it a little bit of a Yes feel. After a small section, the drums disappear and the song reverts back to the original spacey sound.  It is over three-minutes long, so I would classify this more of a song than an intro.

Into The Glass
Musically, I’m reminded a little bit of the rockier side of Pink Floyd.  The only things that sounds out of place are the vocals.  In my opinion, they don’t really fit quite right.  The guitar work is really good, and the guitar sound is spot on for this funky rocker.
Moderation
Tribal beats start off this tune, which has a very 80s sound to it.  The vocals are handled by one of the many female vocalists featured on this disc.  It is quite a departure from the previous two cuts, but it has great 80s vibe.  For some context, I would say this sounds like something Mike Oldfield would have released on one of his albums in the 80s.
Sleepwalk
Here is another track that features female vocals.  It is a mellow tune that has a 70s vibe about it.  It showcases the vocal performance but also features a nice guitar solo.
Echoes of Time
I find this piece has a dreamy quality that is accentuated by the vocal performance.  There is a section later in the track that has an 80s sound, but for the most part it sticks with that dreamy sound.  This is the kind of song that will have you going to the “repeat” button because, even though it is six and a half minutes long, the tune goes by fast.
Lover's Day
Here is another moody piece with some great sax thrown in for good measure.  Even though I’m a metal fan, I love sax music (in moderation), and this track has the perfect amount of it without being overbearing.  The song continues the same dreamy, moody vibe from the previous tune.  This is another one that will get repeated plays.
Moltova Nebula
I really like the beginning of this song, and they should have continued a bit more in that direction.  Once the vocals kick in, the track goes in a different direction with the operatic style vocals being the focal point.  Unlike the previous couple of tunes, this one does not go by fast and feels longer.  Coming in at almost 10-minutes, this one could have been shortened while still giving the listener this additional texture.  The one saving grace for this piece is the guitar soloing that starts at about the eight-minute-mark.  That guitar work really elevates the track.
Equinox
This is the longest tune on the disc clocking in at over eleven minutes.  It has that moody quality that some of the previous songs contained, but there is a cool mid-section that makes me think of going through the desert on a safari.  The tribal beats and almost Moroccan vibe of that mid-section takes the listened on an unexpected journey.  Even though the whole song is good, I wish they would have created a whole piece like that mid-section.
In Flight
There are parts of this track that have that Pink Floyd sound that was also present in “Into The Glass”.  Unlike that tune, the female vocals really work with this piece, and the guitar work stands out. 
The Road
We come full circle with another instrumental that contains a hypnotic rolling bass line that closes out this album.  It is the shortest piece but still bookends the rest of the tracks nicely.

 

 
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