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ScienceNV

The Quest for Prester John, Volume Two

Review by Greg Olma

ScienceNV returns with the second part to their concept The Quest For Prester John.  I liked the first part, so I was really looking forward to hearing this disc.  This album, while still retaining those prog elements from the first set, seems to have a more cohesive feel to my ears.  I’ve listened to it a few times straight through, and with each listen, the songs feel like they belong on the record.  The first volume was still very good, but it felt more like a collection of tracks than a concept piece (which it obviously was).  The three middle instrumentals here are all good, but the real gems are the two songs that bookend them.  While they may not sound exactly like Yes or Jethro Tull, they capture the feel of the great 70s prog movement and, for that alone, I would recommend this record.  Although I liked the first part, I feel The Quest For Prester John, Volume  Two is the better of the two discs.   

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Roderick’s Tale

This record starts off with a 27 minute prog epic that has many different parts.  The first section has a bit of a Jethro Tull feel, but then it breaks into soundtrack type sounds.  There is also a bit of Yes mixed there.  Once that section ends, it moves into an Asian feel that then morphs into a heavy instrumental part.  As the rest of the song progresses, there are softer prog sections that are broken up with heavier guitar passages with it all culminating in proggy Yes fashion.

Thirty Ethiopian Ambassadors

After such a demanding first piece, this upbeat prog instrumental provides a nice respite for the listener. At five and half minutes, it moves along nicely with Yes and Angel influences.

River of Jewels

Clocking in at over 8 minutes, this instrumental borrows a bit from Pink Floyd.  It has a dreamy soundtrack feel and, while it is good, it does go on a bit too long.  This one could have been cut down a few minutes.  That being said, there is some cool guitar work during the middle of this cut.

Byzantine Interlude
This short little track is mostly guitar and flute, but during the middle section, you get some drums and keyboards.  At just under two minutes, this one reminds me of a little of renaissance music.
End of a Legend

The album ends on a really high note with this prog workout.  It starts with some great keyboard and guitar work in that classic Yes fashion.  Vocals don’t show up until almost halfway through the song, and then it is during a softer section with guitar and vocals.  This softer section builds with additional instruments, but then quickly returns to the prog workout that started the tune.  The last couple of minutes finish off the record in a somber tone with just keyboards and vocals. 

 
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