Season Of Tears | Homines Novi Album Review August 2017

Season Of Tears | Homines Novi

Label: Independent
Release Year: 2017
Country: France
Genre: Symphonic/Progressive Extreme/Industrial/Gothic Metal

Band Members

Matt – Guitars/Growls Clean & Backing Vocals
Lena – Synth/Piano/Cello Clean & Backing Vocals
Volac – Bass Guitars/Growl’s
Gaetan – Drums Percussions
Julliette – Lead Clean & Backing Vocals

Guest Musicians

Vanessa Dijoux & Jimmy Delassus – Additionnal talking on ‘Desynchronization’
Philippe Catalano – Accordion on ‘Wanderland’

Choir

Sopranos – Cécilia Melon, Hélène Pitois, Léna, Juliette
Altos – Gwenaëlle Le Rallec, Hjördis Léonardon, Maïlys Abraham
Tenors – Ismaël El Mechrafi, Flavien Maleval, Gaétan, Matt
Basses – Jean-Baptiste Riou, Aymeric Biesemans, Nikolaj Bukavec, Frank Loray

 

Contact Links 

Season Of Tears Official Website

Season Of Tears Official Facebook Page

Season Of Tears Official YouTube Channel

Season Of Tears Official Bandcamp Store Profile

Season Of Tears is a entity that is a total ‘Melodic Freak Of Nature’. Haling form Rennes France, the band is a well balanced blend of Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Epica and Delain. Formed in late 2013 every member of the band has a deep rich heritage of all being multi instrumentalists individually. The band’s melodic intensity is met perfectly with its brooding dark themes lyrically in a harmoniously dark beautiful cacophony of progressive melodic symphonic death metal.

Now in 2017 Season Of Tears unleash one of the strongest debut albums I have heard in the last 20 years with Homines Novi. The album Homines Novi (literally “New Men”, the term “men” referring here to the whole human kind) is based on reflections and stories about the evolution and the future, how what people do now will affect all our lives and how what happened to people will affect their own future. It has a strong connection with transhumanism and technological evolution’s, but also with nature, ecology and life experiences.

Homines Novi has a lite dystopian-horror theme running through it that paints a grim picture of a dystopian society. There are 11 songs on the album plus the main song called ‘The Protocole Of Evolution’ TPOE that spans a entire 17:19 of the album and is multi tracked over five songs. It is this song that is the full anchor of Homines Novi.The Protocole Of Evolution’ comes in the tradition of multi tracked songs like After Forever’s and Epica’s The Embrace That Smothers that happened over After Forever’s Prison Of Desire album and was finished on Epica’s Design Your Universe due to Mark Jansen’s (ex After Forever, Epica) departure from After Forever to form Epica. Homines Novi also has a very strong avant-garde element that it has some very unorthodox and unusual surprises on it that I will highlight as this review goes forward.

 

Desynchronization starts out with a very wicked science fiction like spoken word as if it were part of a dystopian utopia. It is met by sound effects of machinery before the deep thunder tuned down bass comes in and it takes off with a more symphonic death metal chord progression. There is a dynamic exchange of vocals throughout the initial frenzy of melodic brutality. There is also a great backing vocal passage going on much in the vein of a cyber-choir. These exchanges going in and out between the lead clean female vocal and the fullness within the masculine death growls. It gives this track a particular duet quality. This entire track sounds like a machine scene directly out of a Terminator film. This song transitions smoothly into the following song Desecrated.

Desecrated starts out with a deep hellish bass/drum rhythm section. The rhythm section has some heavy industrial elements. The chord progressions form a passage that practically stalks the mind and senses of the listener. This song is definitely for those who favor rhythm sections over stringed sections. The keyboards come in a create a balancing atmosphere that allow the listener to settle in for the melodic assault that awaits them. Once again the female clean vocal comes in to carry the track until it is met with a clean male vocal and male death growl. The level of brutality certainly caters to the more death metal minded audience. This track is relentless from the first note to final note. The death growls play very well off the double blast beats in the rhythm section. There is a break where there is a violin section along side a beautiful acoustic guitar melody.

The Second Cemetery explodes out of the gate with heavy double blast beats, a bass that is more of a percussive instrument and some over the top symphonic vocal harmonies that all tie together in one beautiful harmonious balance. The assault finally gives way to more symphonic passages that are compounded with almost thrash metal style riffs. The grit and crunchy chord progressions are in perfect harmony with the death growls. There seems to be a pattern forming thematically on the album in that the band meets the instrumental intensity in perfect time to the vocal and lyrical intensity. There is also a rare clean male vocal that carries the track briefly. There are also various breaks where the clean female vocals are really a anchor along with the various guitar solo’s that seem to be a dark horse element on the album. This is a very melodic track overall.

The Protocole Of Evolution Suite’ is a multi tracked 17:19 epic that gives Homines Novi a conceptual album appearance. It spans the next five tracks on the album. This is the more progressive portion of the album. There are various elements of anything between Epica to Frank Zappa in their diverse nature.

TPOE Part I – Firewind starts off with a heavy drumline section that is met with a vicious tuned down rhythm section that breaks and soon gets atmospheric. During the atmospheric section that is brief it sets up for the opening verse that will be reprises at the end of the epic on TPOE Part V – A New Dawn. This has some heavy harmony parts to it that allow the listener to get settled in for the melodic adventure over the next five tracks. There are some very wicked rhythm chord progressions and time signatures in this as well.

TPOE Part II – Far From Home transitions seamlessly off of TPOE Part I – Firewind into a almost blackened death metal low fi guitar riff. The riffs continue in a all out melodic assault. The death growls and clean vocals play perfectly in time with the viciousness of the bass/drum rhythm section. This is a straight away all out assault overall. The vocals are increasingly sung with a stronger conviction and this track demonstrates that. The guitar solo’s get stronger as the album progresses and this track also demonstrates that.

TPOE Part III – Homines Novi takes a turn towards more special sound effects. It sounds like machinery at work developing something in a lab somewhere. Soon it takes on a soundtrack score style giving it a very suspenseful sound and appearance. This is met with symphonic keyboard atmospheres. Maintaining the seamlessly continuity of the TPOE Suite, this track seamlessly transitions into the next track, TPOE Part IV – Wanderland.

TPOE Part IV – Wanderland smoothly picks up where TPOE Part III – Homines Novi . This time the seamless transition comes in form of a classical theater style male operatic voice met with a unorthodox accordion. This is where the TPOE Suite gets a more Frank Zappa style avant-garde experimental element about it. This element is not traditionally found nor native to the Progressive Symphonic Death Metal genre. It demonstrates the bands ability to think outside the box and not be pigeonholed into cliches. This protion also takes on a very heavy stage play 1920’s to 1940’s Broadway Musical element. The metal elements are gradually worked into this track. The accordion really adds another level of unorthodox atmospheres to the album. This track seamlessly transitions smoothly into the final track of the TPOE Suite, TPOE Part V – A New Dawn.

TPOE Part V – A New Dawn picks up smoothly where TPOE Part IV – Wanderland however with sheer metal brutality. The opening chord progressions are straight up progressive death metal. The riffs come right after the senses of the listener. This is one melodic assault right after another melodic assault. The dual vocals come in and out between the clean beauty of the female vocals and the beastly male death growls. The clean male vocals are a further hook by which the band keep the attention of the listener. Towards the end there is a reprisal of the first track in the TPOE Suite from the first track TPOE Part I – Firewind . Such reprisal gives the TPOE Suite a proper closure.

Damaged Process starts off with a very dark bleak opening with a strong thunderous rhythm section in perfect harmony with the beauty & beast elements of clean vocals and death growls. The instrumental half of the song is heavily avant-garde in nature. There is some notes that play off a abstract narrative in the instrumental that give the entire song a level of exquisite experimentation. The track even takes on some symphonic black metal style low fi guitar riffs.

Exalt starts out with a heavy symphonic metal element with keyboard atmospheres blended perfectly into the background of the stringed sections. The rhythm section comes in and adds depth and layers into the instrumental compositions. This also takes on some very heavy progressive metal elements ie .. various chord progressions and time signatures that play off one another. The Beauty & Beast metal element remains here. There are some theatrical elements and breaks that add another layer into the track. The theatrical elements remind me of some of the earlier 20th Century circus elements.

Restrained starts off with a sick relentless thunderous rhythm section. The bass is used again as a percussive instrument that runs perfectly alongside the double blast beats. Soon symphonic atmospheres of various keyboards and guitars add layers into the composition. Both stringed and rhythm sections are met with a clean male vocal with warmth and grace. The female vocal comes in and the death growls underneath all create a form of controlled chaos throughout the track. This is the final song on the album and the band uses the duration perfectly to tie all the elements used into one smooth finale.

Season Of Tears Homines Novi is certainly not for everybody. However if you are into Symphonic Death Metal with industrial and progressive elements this album could be for you. It may take a few spins to really get into it. Season Of Tears as a band come into their debut sounding like a band that has been in the business at least 10 to 15 years. Homines Novi is certainly one of the strongest debut albums of this style of music I have heard in 20 years. The album is well written and produced. Season Of Tears have a album they can certainly put on the stage live as well. A band like Season Of Tears guarantees that this style of metal will never go extinct. I am giving Season Of Tears Homines Novi a 5/5.

 

Making Of Homines Novi _ Part II-1 : Studio

 

Making Of Homines Novi _ Part II-2 : Studio

 

Schooltree | Heterotopia A Metaphysical/Paranormal Rock Opera | Album Review August 2017

Schooltree | Heterotopia A Metaphysical/Paranormal Rock Opera – Album Review August 2017

Label: Independent/Unsigned
Release Year: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: Paranormal/Progressive Rock

Band Members – Current

Lainey Schooltree – Lead Vocals/Keyboards/Creator
Tom Collins – Drums
Peter Danilchuk – Synth’s/Organ
Ryan Schartzel – Bass
Sam Crawford – Lead & Rhythm Guitar’s

Band Members – Album Recording Personnel

Lainey Schootree – Vocals/Pianos/Synths
Brendan Burns – Guitar’s
Derek Van Wormer – Bass
Tom/Tod/Tad Collins – Drums
Peter Danilchuk – Organs/Synths
Peter Moore – Nylon Guitar/Additional Vocals/Keyboards/Programming

Track Listing

CD 1
Overture
Rocksinger
The Big Slide
Cat Centipede
The Abyss
Radio
Walk You Through
Edge of a Dream
The Leitmaiden
The Legend of Enantiodromia
Specter Lyfe

CD 2
Dead Girl
Turning into the Strange
The Edge Annihilate
Power of the Ghost
You and I
Into Tomorrow
The River
Bottom of the River
Enantiodromia Awakens
Zombie Connection
Keep Your Head
Day of the Rogue
Utopia

Contact Links

Schooltree Official Website

Schooltree Official Facebook Page

Schooltree Official Twitter

Schooltree Official YouTube Channel

Schooltree Official Bandcamp Store Profile

* Writers Note*
I want to apologize to Lainey Schooltree for this review taking so very long. It was not intentional. Hopefully the review below will validate me.

Ever since the middle 1990’s the Urban Fantasy genre has taken the literary world by storm. Novels such as The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Twilight Trilogy by Stephanie Myer, Nightworld/Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith, Vampire Academy/Frostbite by Rachel Meade, etc .. Most of the very successful Urban Fantasy novels go on to become either ‘Television Series’ or ‘Hollywood Blockbusters’. Now the Urban Fantasy genre has grown tentacles into the world of the traditional progressive rock opera.

Lainey Schooltree becomes one of the very many successful women to shatter the typical ‘male stereotype’ and create her own ‘Urban Fantasy’ , however this is set to the traditional progressive rock opera. Her new project Schooltree Heterotopia is a melodic adventure of absolute paranormal and metaphysical proportions. Most progressive rock or metal opera’s have dealt with subjects as science fiction, world history, comatose people, or people with disabilities, end of the world scenario’s , etc .. Schooltree’s Heterotopia deals with the classic cliche or subject “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

Schooltree’s Heterotopia comes in the tradition of The Who’s Tommy & Quadrophenia, Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell Trilogy on the Rock Opera end. On the conceptual end it comes in the tradition of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans, Pain Of Salvation’s BE & In The Passing Light Of Day with some psychedelic structures reminiscent of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.

There are six distinct and very different characters involved in the story and visual Lainey Schooltree has painted on this exquisite tapestry. There is the Greek Chorus – Narrator, Suzi – Our Hero, Zombuzi – Zombie Suzi, Metanoia, Shadows and Enantiodromia. Much like the ‘Urban Fantasy’ novels and films, these characters also have their own significance within Schooltree’s Heterotopia. The landscape of the project is well over 100 minutes and two CD’s worth of music that totally and completely seamlessly transition beautifully from track to track.

CD 1 – ACT 1

Overture opens up the album almost in the way a soundtrack or score would open a movie and/or film. It leaves a lot to the imagination and increases the anticipation opening up the epic opera. This is also a track loaded with various symphonic and progressive rock elements. The keyboard and guitar stringed section also adds a layer of distinct orchestration that gives the project a very unique sound.

Rocksinger & The Big Slide displays a very dark side of the main character Suzi. Lainey Schooltree really does a great job both lyrically and instrumentally showing the listener the true desperation Suzi has reached as to how far she will go to obtain her dream. Lainey Schooltree being the only vocalist on the album also allows for depths of various emotions to come forward in the narrative of the story.

Much like Alice In Wonderland, Lainey Schooltree incorporates a centipede like creature in this modern day urban fantasy, paranormal rock opera, however it is a Cat Centipede. The instrumental half of this track certainly lends a great picture on the screen of the theater of the mind. The band does a great job here building towards a climax, a transition. They do this through the incorporation of various progressive and psychedelic elements. Suzi the main character follows this abnormal creature into The Abyss.

With The Abyss the band utilize very heavy psychedelic elements in the intro leading in. The blend of vocals and psychedelic elements certainly create a otherworldly and strange journey into the progressive psychedelic harmonies. The drums also lend a firm melodic and rhythmic melody as well.

Radio starts off exactly like the title suggests. There is a heavy effect of a actual radio tuning in and out. When the vocals kick in the story narrative holds fast to the objective of storytelling. Lainey Schooltree’s vocals and the instrumental in radio are almost within the alternative rock parameters. The vocal harmonies and instrumental harmonies together remind me a lot of Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries meets Christina Booth of Magenta. Radio is one of two very well written transitional tracks the next being Walk You Through.

Walk You Through is more of a straight up rock song. The vocal harmonies certainly allow the rhythm section to be front and center playing off of one another. This track is very guitar driven and bass/drum rhythm section driven. Both of those elements allow for the psychedelic style vocals to serve as a beacon of light in Walk You Through.

Edge of a Dream starts out with a deep piano stringed section that serves as a melancholic melody. It is this melancholic approach that conveys the correct emotion of Suzi now Zombie Suzi to have a heavy dose of the blues since she is now exiled out on the streets from her home. The alternative to our main character Suzi, now as Zombie-Suzi faces her first real conundrum when she encounters Metanoia ‘The Leitmaiden’. Metanoia informs her that the longer she stays in ‘The Garden of The Architype’ the more at risk she is in returning home and securing her human earthly form again. Lainey Schooltree depicts this perfectly with layers upon layers of psychedelic elements. This is met with various keyboard progressions blended beautifully with psychedelic vocal passages.

These atmospheres would continue through the rest of Act 1 or CD 1. The Legend Of Enantiodromia & Spectre Lyfe continue the psychedelia vibe. The psychedelic elements are that of more of a 1960’s style blended beautifully with 1990’s alternative rock elements. This is very rare in progressive rock and allows the entire story to really rest in the metaphysical and paranormal word Lainey Schooltree is conveying both melodically and harmoniously. Think Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane meets Delores O’Riordan meets Yes & Genesis. The vocals are warm and the instrumental portion allows the vocals and story to breathe through eloquently. The guitar solo’s shine through as well.

CD 2 – Act 2

The second half of this double conceptual metaphysical/paranormal rock opera starts off with a epiphany or transition if you will. This is where Zombie-Suzi has her first confrontation with three ghosts who taunt the hell out of her for her ‘ghostly’ condition. Ghosts who speak a curse over her to be dead thus the title of Dead Girl becomes appropriate here. Dead Girl opens up with a deep smooth rhythm section that is closely accompanied by the vocals that lyrically come out of the narrative of the three ghosts who taunt Zombie-Suzy.

Metanoia once again reaches out to Suzy- Spectre and lets her know that there is a way to adapt to her new condition. She teaches Suzy that she can bend her new condition and shape it by her will. She teaches Suzy that she can use all this strange to her advantage thus the title of the next track, Turning Into The Strange. Lainey Schooletree once again uses heavy psychedelic elements vocally and lyrically that are met with some very fluent hard rock elements in and out of the chord progressions. The band does very good work lyrically and instrumentally to articulate the story in such a matter.

Perplexed by her ‘Ghostly‘ self, Suzi begins to really take inventory on her path and progress in life both in her physical human form and her supernatural ‘Ghostly’ form. Initially unsure where she is going and even how to get there, Suzi once again is visited by what seems to be her only friend now Metanoia. After Metanoia weighs both the pros and cons of her ‘Ghostly’ form, Suzi finally gets a moment of clarity as to what path and how she must progress forward. This is all covered over the period duration of the songs The Edge Annihilate and Power Of The Ghost. It is during these two songs Suzi has some real introspection of her life. The instrumental and lyrical approach nails this down very well.

You & I sees Suzi in a confrontation with her Zombie body over taking a trip down by the river. This is only further irritated by the returning ‘Cat Centipede’ from the beginning of the journey who Suzi barely recognizes anymore. Against her better judgement Suzi follows the ‘Cat Centipede’ down to the river where trouble awaits Into Tomorrow. The instrumental portion remains on point with all the heavy psychedelic effects to portray Suzi into a otherworldly situation. The psychedelic element is now met with a thick and heavy neo progressive element as well.

The River & Bottom Of The River sees Suzi seduced by a sirens song to the river’s edge. Suzi knows full well to keep her resolve intact to be reunited with her physical earthly form she must jump all the way into the river. It has to be deliberate or else Suzi will fall into the river’s abyss and drown. These tracks are once again very heavy on the atmospheric effects of keyboards. Those effects serve as a heavy paranormal aesthetic throughout both of the tracks. The vocals are very heavy on the psychedelic elements as well. This allows a paranormal vibe to breathe here.

Beyond the “wall,” Suzi finds and awakens Enantiodromia, and asks her to take her fair hand and make her whole again. But awakened Enantiodromia is changed from her former self; looking around at the darkness arisen during her slumber, she is the black-handed reaper now, bringing balance to the land once more, now by using her black hand to annihilate that which  does not belong in this world, and attempts to begin with Suzi. Suzi pleads with her to stop, explaining she is only half of what she’s supposed to be, telling Enantiodromia of her quest though endless night outside of time to wake her. “I am not a shadow, just a girl; an exiled soul in the wrong world.” Enantiodromia tells her that she’s been in this world too long and is no longer just a girl; she cannot return her home. But as repayment for awakening Enantiodromia, she allows Suzi the chance to go back to take control of her zombie body, and return as one to her, at which point she’ll take them both together to the next place. (Enantiodromia Awakens). That is achieved instrumentally through the staple psychedelic atmospheres both instrumentally and vocally.

Zombie Connection, Keep Your Head, Day Of The Rogue all see Suzi able to control her earthly body, zombie body all with her mind there is a reconciliation of sorts going on here even if it is not what Suzi imagined. The piano classically driven instrumental section really allow the lyrical side to breathe through so the listener can easily learn Suzi’s fate as she goes out in a ‘Blaze Of Glory’.

Utopia sees Suzi having achieved mastery in both worlds, Suzi is able to use her mind to grow her body from her head like a seed in the air downward to the ground. NeoSuzi glimpses what utopia could be for the first time, as something that can never be possessed, but experienced. The instrumental section beautifully wraps this story all up in a very coherent matter for the listener.

I did enjoy this journey. In a world of another dimension we can all find ourselves yearning and craving acceptance willing to do everything including mortgaging our own soul to obtain our ultimate goal. Suzi is a reminder of the absolute lengths we will go through to attempt our own Utopia. Lainey Schooltree certainly articulated this story beautifully on both lyrical and instrumental fronts.

Where some people usually enlist multiple vocalists to play parts of various characters and even multiple musicians, Lainey Schooltree enlisted a specific core both in studio and with a active band situation, thus to two different lineups in the rider of this review. Lainey Schooltree created a product that can be easily adapted to the live stage within reason. When listening to Schooltree’s Heterotopia think more The Who’s Tommy or Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell trilogy as far as Rock Opera’s are concerned. I can not wait for Lainey Schooltree’s next adventure for us. After much deliberation I have given Schooltree’s Heterotopia a strong 5/5.

 

 

Insatia| Phoenix Aflame | Album Review August 2017

Insatia  Phoenix Aflame | Album Review August 2017

Label: Pitch Black Records
Release Year: 2017
Country: USA/Canada
Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

 

Band Members

Zoë Federoff – Vocals
Dave Ablaze – Bass
Kaelen Sarakinis – Guitars
Daniel Millan – Drums

Guest Musicians

Ivan Moni Bidin – Keyboards

 

Contact Links 

Insatia Official Website

Insatia Official Facebook Page

Insatia Official Twitter

Insatia Official YouTube Channel

Pitch Black Records Official Website

Pitch Black Records Official Insatia Profile

Pitch Black Records Official YouTube Channel

Throughout my adventures into writing reviews of albums here at Power Of Prog, it is no secret that I do reviews on bands that are fronted by women. I believe that women have just as much a equal contribution into progressive rock, progressive metal and just music in general. Therefore when I met Insatia’s Zoe Marie Federoff on Facebook I was highly interested in their new release for 2017 Phoenix Aflame on Pitch Black Records. Insatia are a North American powerhouse with members from both the USA and Canada. Although they are from North America they provide the listener with a more European flavour of progressive power metal.

Insatia are like a Second Generation Nightwish meets Lacuna Coil with heavier power metal elements found in Blind Guardian, Avantasia and Gamma Ray. This is a type of band that could easily play a Female Metal Voices Festival and turn around and play at Wacken Open Air with the right circumstances. Now a little track by track analysis of Insatia’s Phoenix Aflame.

 

Intro Land Of The Living opens up almost in a traditional world music vocal. Zoe Federoff certainly channels the inner Enya with chat style vocals. Soon the rest of the band joins her and the vocals along with the instrumental half serve a heavily pastoral purpose.

Act Of Mercy transitions quite seamlessly and smoothly with a spoken word section before the instruments kick in again. With a mid range in speed the band utilizes various chord changes to craft together a balance of both progressive and power metal passages. The vocal echoes also are allowed to breathe where the listener can hear them come through. The chord progressions rest more in progressive metal than power metal in the latter parts of this track.

Memory Of A Sapphire explodes with a fury of strings between the really heavy rhythm guitar riffs and the beautiful crystallize keyboards of Ivan Moni Bidin. At times it sounds like a blend of Blind Guardian on the power metal end meets Vanden Plas on the progressive metal end. This is loaded with various guitar solos, rhythm guitar portions that are all anchored by the bass/drum rhythm section. Zoe Marie Federoff does a wonderful job here singing on perfect time to both the stringed sections and rhythm sections. Kaelen Sarakinis – Guitars really channels his inner Emppu Vuorinen (Nightwish) on the rhythmic side to the guitar.

Video Courtesy of :Pitch Black Records Official YouTube Channel )

Sacred opens up with a violin induced classical metal chord progression. This is soon accompanied by the crunchy raw rhythm guitar section. Soon the entire instrumental half kicks in and makes this a more neo classical delight. The rhythm section is very heavy handed while the keyboard lends a beautiful atmosphere perfect for a power metal style track. There are some progressive metal elements with various time signatures and frequent changes in the rhythmic section. The violin section adds a symphonic flare to the song a well.

We Are The Gray opens up with a nasty tuned down drum based rhythm section that is accented perfectly with a classical keyboard atmosphere to accompany it. The rhythmic portion of this one is very clean and easy to follow. The keyboard and other stringed atmospheres allow for actual emotion to come through and be shown. The band uses overdubbed backing tracks to really make the vocals feel warmer. The guitar solo is also allowed to breathe in its various stages.

Phoenix Aflame is obviously the namesake track to the entire album. It starts out with a furious fury of really heavy guitar chord progressions. The entire opening passage is seriously blistering. There is a beautiful Hammond Organ style keyboard running parallel to the blistering guitar and rhythm led passages. This is one of the heavier songs on the album. It is also very progressive in nature with various time changes and chord progressions much in the vein of Kamelot or SymphonyX . The bass really bleeds through as well.

Video Courtesy of: Pitch Black Records Official YouTube Channel )

Not My God starts off with a heavy classically based piano section. The opening really leads the listener into a very beautiful power ballad full of emotion. I stress ‘Power Ballad’ because it is both really heavy with the various progressions and very much a ballad at the same time. This is a more modern ‘Power Ballad’ instead of one you would find in 1980’s to early 1990’s AOR/Hard Rock. It rests more in a song like Kamelot’s The Haunting.

Captor And The Captive is another song that opens up with a lush classical piano melody much like a ‘Power Ballad’. Soon it opens up much like a heavy progressive metal chord progression. I hear a lot of influence from a Dream Theater’s Another Day at the start. Soon this levels out into more of a power metal melody that is met with a light pop sensibility. This is a ‘Gateway’ song for a newer listener or fan to power metal or progressive metal. This is a song that is excellent for live sets to draw more newer fans as well is retaining the current fan base.

Velvet Road opens up with a beautiful acoustic passage that is met with very angelic vocal inspired opening passage. This song reminds me a lot of what you would hear out of the singer-songwriter community. This has a beauty about it due to its unplugged nature. This also allows the lyrical story to be front and center due to its unplugged nature and emotion. This even has a 16th Century Renaissance style about it.

Healer Of Hatred starts off with a very blistering opening chord progression. This is also the final track on the album. The band does a great job with this finale to Phoenix Aflame. This is blistering straight away neo classical power metal in its very essence. With heavy charging rhythm guitars that follow beautiful drum blast beats this is a true headbanging tour de force on all levels. The rhythm section in harmony to the guitar solos add to the beautiful atmosphere to this song.

There is obviously no doubt that Insatia have all the tools and talent for a steadfast career in this style of heavy progressive power metal. With the right promotional mechanism and time they will be major players on the world scene. They are also proof that this kind of metal will be around for at least another generation to come. Another thing that I like about this album was that the band made it short and sweet and to the point. That is something they will benefit from due to this being a sophomoric effort. Considering all this I give Insatia’s Phoenix Aflame a very strong 4.75/5 .

Overkhaos | Beware Of Truth | Album Review July 2017

Overkhaos | Beware Of Truth

Label: Rockshots Records
Release Year: 2017
Country: Italy
Genre: Progressive/Power Metal/Melodic Death Metal

 

Band Members

Mimmo D’oronzo – Vocals
Davide Giancane – Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Giuliano Zarcone – Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Anna Digiovanni – Bass
Andrea Mariani – Drums

Special Guests

Derek Sherinian – Keyboards on ‘Anna’s Song’
Mimmo D’oronzo & Luca Basile – Keyboards & Arrangements

 

Contact Links 

Overkhaos Official Facebook Page

Overkhaos Official YouTube Channel

Overkhaos Official SoundCloud Profile

Rockshots Official Website

Rockshots Official Overkhaos Profile

Rockshots Official Youtube Channel 

– Writers Editorial –
I have been resting on this one a lot recently. I have not seen many reviews written in the English language. Maybe I am the first. If I am first I hope I am not last. This album is well worth any attention a reviewer can give to it. I just know I can not get out of 2017 without reviewing this.

For a while now I have been aware of Rockshots Records out of Italy. They seem to recruit talent in the tradition of Nuclear Blast, Century Media, AMF Records, etc .. One band on their highly talented roster that has quickly got my attention is Overkhaos. Their new album for 2017 Beware Of Truth is a well balanced buffet of dark progressive metal and melodic death metal. On the Dark Progressive Metal side they are more like Nevermore, Ghost Ship Octavius and Evergrey. On the Melodic Death Metal side they bring the best elements of Persefone, Insommnium, Soilwork and Arch Enemy. The blend of all these elements is surely to give the band a very broad fan base going forward and without outsourcing a vocalist for the death metal style vocals.

Overkhaos’ Beware Of Truth is a true venture into progressive metal with heavy themes of social commentary on globalism, war, poverty, government secrecy, etc .. A true objective listener to the album can relate and identify with it on both a instrumental level and a lyrical level. Giving the album a great veteran boost is (ex – Dream Theater) keyboardist Derek Sherinian who shows up on Anna’s Song. This album is greatly guitar driven with a twin lead & rhythm guitar attack of both Davide Giancane – Lead & Rhythm Guitar and Giuliano Zarcone – Lead & Rhythm Guitar that both sound like if you were to put Jeff Loomis of Nevermore and Emppu Vuorinen of Nightwish in a band together. This is all blended wonderfully by the powerhouse rhythm section of Anna Digiovanni – Bass and Andrea Mariani – Drums who give this album a serious set of melodic teeth. It is all rounded out by a stellar clean and death vocal attack performed so eloquently by Mimmo D’oronzo – Vocals, who has become one of my newest favorite vocalists in the world. Now I will go further into Overkhaos’ Beware Of Truth.

Prelude opens the album with a strong and very heavy instrumental. The instrumental is done in such a way as to lead the listener into the album. The band spent the better part of 3:00 minutes really introducing the world to their skill set as musicians and give the listener a very broad example of just how well they are as musicians. The band does a excellent job with a rich guitar based chord progression and various time signatures rooted into their progressive side.The atmosphere created is definitely for the ‘metal purist’. This is a very strong way to invite fans of this style of music to your album and brand as a band. This transitions seamlessly well into the following track Silent Death.

Silent Death seamlessly and smoothly transitions right off the Prelude. The transition is served up with a special effect sounding like children at play in a playground before going into various heavy chord progressions and time signatures. Along with the various rhythm and lead chord progressions the rhythm section of bass/drum totally sets melodious roots in the track almost immediately. The drum double blast beats are insane and stay that way throughout the entire album. At the 1:55 mark there is this hugs wall of sound as the death growls and the melodic death metal side of Overkhaos is first introduced on the album. The cleaner vocals remind me a lot of Nevermore’s Warrel Dane meets Tom Englund of Everygrey. All the melodic assault of all the instruments is followed by the soaring lead vocal work of Mimmo D’oronzo. This is a very intense track for the first track with vocals on the album. In conceptual standards this track also seamlessly transitions smoothly to the next song Solar Starvation.

Solar Starvation transitions smoothly off Silent Death. This is accomplished by the band utilizing a sound effect like a radio transmission into space like a signal or message. Soon a heavy bass line along with a heavy rhythm based guitar chord progression with crunch and teeth starts to walk the listener right into the heart of the song before being hammered by a all out blistering twin guitar progression and deep rhythm tones. The band uses double vocal tracking very tastefully on this track in melody with the blistering instrumental. The twin lead guitar really supports moth sides of the vocals, the clean side and the death side. This track shows that the band have a purpose for every guitar line and bass line and drum line.

Khaos Inc. starts off after a very quick transition away from Solar Starvation. The brief sound effect is as if a car ignition has started and the track is about to serve as the motor to drive the album even further along. From this point there is a sick insane lead guitar solo almost in the galloping tradition of NWOBHM with more complex progressive elements. The double blast beats are the anchor in the beginning. The drum double blast beats come in and out with brief breaks and allow the bass and both rhythm/lead guitars to breathe where all instruments have a unique place within the song. This track lives up to its title that it is very unpredictable and takes the listener on a true melodic roller coaster. Through all the changes however, the band remains on point with the conceptual objective to the album. There are some very melodic metal portions here also.

The Lie You Need starts out with the crowd of people demanding the truth. This narrative is soon met with a explosive and thunderous rhythm based intro with big drum blast beats and bass weaving in and out of breaks. This track also has a lot going for it and goes in and out with many time signature and chord progressions just within the first 2:50 minutes. The time signatures are insane. The deathy vocals remain prevalent in this track. The death vocals serve both as a emotion of anger and a proclamation of a thought.

Crumbling starts out with a effect like that of a civil unrest. It is soon met with a blistering opening chord progression that is straight away. The vocals are soaring in nature. There is soon a very tasteful death vocal to accompany the clean vocal. The band has such advantage throughout the album of having the same vocalist shift some many gears in his voice like he does. The twin lead guitar solo puts a lot of bite into the instrumental portion as well. The lyrical content is basically as the title, a crumbling society.

White Light opens up with a atmospheric electric guitar with the vocals filtered into a more regressive passage. It is soon met with the band’s trademark intricate chord progressions and trademark sound. There is a very heavy thunderous rhythm section that beautifully anchor’s the soaring twin guitar lead and rhythm solo’s. The twin solo’s remind me a lot of early Helloween meets Dream Theater. The string section perfectly compliments the vocals. The bass is insane on here as well.

Die Catsaw! transitions seamlessly off White Light with a deep brooding opening passage. This is soon met by a more melodic death metal approach in the vein of Persefone or Mors Principium Est meets Soilwork. The cleaner vocals are more in the way of a Kamelot meets Symphony X. The bass/drum rhythm section certainly adds serious rhythmic depth to the track. This track here also seems to have two distinct sides in the same harmony, that being the stringed section and the deep rhythm section that both shine on this. The instrumental harmony is set up more orchestral.

Anna’s Song (Featuring Derek Sherinian) opens up with a explosive chord progression and of fusion proportions. The signature sound of Derek Sherinian certainly confirms his appearance on the album. This reminds me a lot of Dream Theater meets Virgin Steel in sound. This is certainly a orchestral buffet blended perfectly with heavy elements of melodic and symphonic death metal. I like how the band utilizes various breaks to set up for other orchestral passages. Every time they break in the track it sets it up for yet another passage set to another climax. The rhythm section continues to anchor the track very beautifully and holing every other part accountable where the band remains on point.

Deadline opens up with various guitar time signatures that continue to be beautifully anchored by the depth in the rhythm section. The opening passage is very methodical with every note. The band also has a way to demonstrate every element they used throughout the album on Deadline. This track is done at a more deep rhythm based than for speed to allow the listener to digest the journey that Overkhaos Beware Of Truth. This is also the longest song on the album and the band does a great job making it more a epic that the listener can take a journey with. This track serves as a excellent melodic and harmonious summary to what the band has managed to perform on the album.

Overkhaos’ Beware Of Truth is a True Dark Horse album of 2017. The band bring so many metal elements and progressive elements to Beware Of Truth. It is the multiple elements that will open many doors for the band to play live. The band is also a perfect band for a festival like Prog/Power USA or Prog/Power Europe along with Wacken Open Air. A band like Overkhaos serves as a excellent reminder that this brand of progressive melodic death metal will be around for many more years to come. Rockshots Records have a franchise band in Overkhaos. I give Overkhaos Beware Of Truth a 4.5/5.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer | Trilogy | A 45th Anniversary Retrospective

Emerson, Lake & Palmer | Trilogy | A 45th Anniversary Retrospective

In Loving Memory of :

Keith Noel Emerson – (November, 2nd, 1944 – March, 11th, 2016)

Gregory Stuart ‘Greg’ Lake – (November, 10th, 1947 – December , 7th, 2016)

Label: Island Records
Release Year: 1972
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Progressive Rock

Band Members

Keith Emerson – Hammond organ C3/Steinway Piano/Moog Synthesiser III-C/Mini-Moog Model D/Zurna (listed as a “Zoukra”)
Greg Lake – Vocals/Bass/Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Carl Palmer – Drums/Percussion

Track Listing

Side One

The Endless Enigma (Part One) – Keith Emerson, Greg Lake 6:41
Fugue -Keith Emerson 1:56
The Endless Enigma (Part Two) – Keith Emerson,Greg Lake 2:03
From the Beginning – Greg Lake 4:16
The Sheriff -Keith Emerson,Greg Lake 3:22
Hoedown – Aaron Copland (Arrangement). Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer 3:47

Side Two

Trilogy – Keith Emerson, Greg Lake 8:54
Living Sin -Keith Emerson,Greg Lake, Carl Palmer 3:13
Abaddon’s Bolero – Keith Emerson 8:08

Contact Links 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Band

Emerson Lake & Palmer Official Website

Emerson Lake & Palmer Official Facebook Page

Keith Emerson

Keith Emerson Official Website

Keith Emerson Official Facebook Page

Keith Emerson Official Twitter

Greg Lake

Greg Lake Official Website

Greg Lake Official Facebook Page

Carl Palmer

Carl Palmer Official Website

Carl Palmer Official Facebook Page

Carl Palmer Official Twitter

Carl Palmer Official YouTube Channel

Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer were all well known musicians in their own right long before they created what would be progressive rock’s first ‘Supergroup’ ELP or Emerson Lake and Palmer. ELP or Emerson Lake & Palmer would also become one of progressive rock’s Big 5 joining the ranks of Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and Jethro Tull. Keith Emerson would come to the band from The Nice, Greg Lake from King Crimson and Carl Palmer from Atomic Rooster by way of  The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Emerson Lake & Palmer would form in London, UK in 1970. Emerson Lake & Palmer would go on to become RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) with nearly 48 million + albums sold. After forming in early 1970, the band came to prominence following their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970. In their first year, the group signed with Atlantic Records and released Emerson, Lake & Palmer1970 and Tarkus -1971, both of which reached the United Kingdom top five. The band’s success continued with Pictures at an Exhibition – 1971. However it was the bands third studio release and fourth album overall Trilogy – 1972 that many believe the band really came into their own as a powerhouse in progressive rock and rock in general. Where most of their contemporaries were totally leveled with the strictest of scrutiny by the progressive rock purists elitist notions, Emerson, Lake & Palmer managed to avoid anything super critical.

Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Trilogy was the band’s fourth album. More surprising it was the third album in 18 months at the time of its release. Trilogy would definitely secure the band on the mountain top of progressive rock and rock in general. Some believe without Trilogy placing the band on the mountain top, that the monumental monterous success of Brain Salad Surgery – 1973 would of not been possible. The Trilogy album and later Brain Salad Surgery would fit the band so firmly on the apex of the mountain where the band were able to place a flag for themselves on the mountain top. So what was it that about Trilogy that allowed the band to be such standard bearer’s within the progressive rock genre? Over the course of this retrospective we will attempt to bring light to this subject.

The musical landscape in progressive rock in 1972 was totally loaded with talent coming out of the United Kingdom. Some even believe 1972 was a ‘Ground Zero Year’ for progressive rock. Among the milestone albums that came out of 1972 from the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe were Yes – Close To The Edge, Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick, Genesis – Foxtrot, Caravan- Waterloo Lily, Gentle Giant – Octopus, Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds, Uriah Heep – Demons And Wizards and Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Trilogy. While Brain Salad Surgery – 1973 was their best selling album and saw the band at its peak zenith, it was Trilogy – 1972 that boosted the band to the initial summit where they went from just a ‘Progressive Supergroup’ to a band that transcended the typically cliched ‘Progressive Rock’ banner.

Trilogy is the third studio album by the English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in July 1972 on Island Records. The cover, designed by Hipgnosis, depicts the band attached at the shoulders, while the interior of the original gate-fold sleeve features a photo montage of the three in Epping Forest. Trilogy increased ELP’s worldwide popularity, and included “Hoedown”, an arrangement of the Aaron Copland composition, which was one of their most popular songs when performing live. We are about to revisit Trilogy on a song by song basis. Without over analyzing the album too much or beating the horse to death we will explore how every composition and song made Trilogy the masterpiece it is.

 

The Endless Enigma (Part’s I & 2)

A two-part showcase for the com positional and improvisational abilities of Emerson Lake and Palmer, “Endless Enigma” holds so many musical wonders that it’s easy to become consumed with the work of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake.
Keith Emerson, after all, starts out spooky and dark, then rushes forward into a thunderous outburst while Greg Lakehis vocal instrument at the peak of its powers — moves from sweet reverie to foundation-shaking retorts. And that’s just their co-written Part 1. Keith Emerson then contributes a roughly two-minute fugue that joins the two segments, as “Endless Enigma” comes crashing to a resounding conclusion.

Go back, though, and pay closer attention to Carl Palmer. He’s just as adept at the stick-splintering crashes needed to propel the song to that big finish as he is the song’s angular jazz segments as he is the bass-drum heartbeat that opens “Endless Enigma” — years before the effect became central to albums like Dark Side of the Moon from Pink Floyd and A Passion Play by Jethro Tull. 2112 & Moving Pictures by Rush and areas of both Images & Words and Awake by Dream Theater.

The Fugue

This one is a Classical Music Tour De Force. This comes on beautifully and seamlessly from The Endless Enigma Part 1 and serves as a beautiful classical composition to bridge into The Endless Enigma Part 2. While some people will see this as a filler on the album, some will not. There is a very intended purpose for The Fuge. Keith Emerson does a great job on piano to set The Fuge up to smoothly and seamlessly transition into The Endless Enigma Part 2. You can hear some of The Fuge’s last legacy in Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess, especially on the Dream Theater side project Liquid Tension Experiment 1 & 2 and Feeding The Wheel and The Road Home.

The Endless Enigma Part 2

The band brilliantly composed this in such a way where it was both a continuation form The Endless Enigma Part 1 and seamlessly transitioned off The Fuge. This was handled by Keith Emerson tapping more into the bass chord progressions on keyboards. Then Greg Lake came on board with the bass guitar and Carl Palmer with his multi-dimensional approach to the drums met both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake in a more harmonious balance.

From The Beginning

ELP’s formula for successful albums seemed to be a concept covering several songs – a beautiful acoustic number by Greg Lake, and one comedy song per album. For Trilogy, “From the Beginning” was Greg Lake’s beautiful acoustic number that showed his acoustic guitar skills were right up there with his bass talents.

A heartfelt song of devotion, Lake claims that the inspiration for the song has left his memory.

Says Greg Lake:

“Very often lyrics simply come about simply because of the way one feels at a moment in time. There is no earth moving moment of divine inspiration or grand plan and I’m sure that was the case with this song. Although very young at the time I sometimes had moments of reflection and maybe also perhaps a feeling that I could be a better person, I think this was just one of those.”

From The Beginning continues to be a fixture on ‘Classic Rock’ radio to this day. What Lucky Man off the ELP debut in 1970 by putting the band on radio, From The Beginning off Trilogy kept the band in great standing on radio.

The Sheriff

In the opening drum solo on the track “The Sheriff”, Carl Palmer accidentally hit the rim of his tom-tom with a drumstick. He responded with the word “shit” which can be heard when listening carefully. “The Sheriff” ends with a honky tonk-type piano solo with Carl Palmer playing woodblocks. Lyrically this was a tribute to the American Old West. The track opens up as if a Mob were after a character. The drums of Carl Palmer simulate the knock of a door very eloquently. Keith Emerson remains very heavy on the Hammond Organ here.

Hoedown

“Hoedown” is a cover of “Hoe-Down” from the Rodeo ballet by Aaron Copland (1942). It became the opening song for both the Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery tours. “Hoedown” is big, brash and showoffy — perfect for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who adapted the piece for their 1972 album Trilogy. It’s the only song on the group’s third album not written by a member of the trio, but they have such fun with it (especially in concert) that it sounds like a natural fit on the LP. In a March, 11th, 2016 article Rolling Stone had this to say about ‘Hoedown’.

March/11/2016 Rolling Stone:

A showstopper that was actually a show starter for two tours, “Hoedown” was the first ELP adaptation of composer Aaron Copland, as brassy a show-off (in his way) as the trio itself. Keith Emerson began work on the piece after returning from a classical festival in Romania, so East European elements find their way into his rollicking organ and Moog arrangement alongside American folk tunes like “Shortnin’ Bread” and “Turkey in the Straw.” Emerson stumbled onto the track’s signature synth sound by chance: “We’d started working on that arrangement and then I hit, I don’t know what, I switched a blue button and I put a patch cord in there, but anyway, ‘whoooeee.'”

Trilogy

In a March, 11th, 2016 article on Ultimate Classic Rock, this is what they had to say –

The nine-minute centerpiece, and title track, to the trio’s highest-charting studio album takes almost three minutes to kick in. The lengthy intro features guitarist / singer Greg Lake getting his classical-music voice on while Emerson pounds away on piano keys. But then a swarm of synths ushers in a typically complicated time signature that eventually gives way to a percussion tour de force by drummer Carl Palmer.

Living Sin

Living Sin is the second song on Trilogy that was written by all three members of the band. Living Sin had a unusual avant garde vibe about it. This track definitely tapped into Greg Lake’s former band and sound in King Crimson, especially with the song 21st Century Schizoid Man. It had a very early proto thrash sensibility about it. Unlike most of the songs on Trilogy that started out and had a steady climatic build in them, Living Sin was a rare song that was to the point make their statement and move forward.

Abaddon’s Bolero

This is a instrumental ‘Tour De Force’. “Abaddon’s Bolero” sounds like a bolero turned into a march (in 4/4 rhythm rather than the usual 3/4). The song was originally titled Bellona’s Bolero after the goddess of war. A single melody containing multiple modulations within itself is repeated over and over in ever more thickly layered arrangements, starting from a quiet Hammond organ making a flute-like sound over a snare drum, and building up to a wall of sound – Maurice Ravel’s famous Boléro uses a similar effect. “Abaddon’s Bolero” is replete with overdubs. Almost every time an instrument comes in, another overdub follows.”. The over abundance of overdubs made the song very hard to perform live and the band only attempted it a few times. Despite the challenges due to multiple overdubs, the instrumental still served a purpose on Trilogy. This was like a soundtrack that would be played at the end of a movie when they roll the credits. This is the more appropriately arranged track to end Trilogy.

I would like to thank Ultimate Classic Rock and Rolling Stone for some of the information used in this article.

Not too many bands can say they got it right with one album let alone two albums. Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery certainly reinforced the notion among fans and critics that Emerson, Lake & Palmer got it right on consecutive releases in the 1970’s. In 2018 I will be back here with a entire 45th Anniversary Retrospective of Brain Salad Surgery. Sadly as the date I prepare this, we have lost two thirds of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Their legacy does live on through Carl Palmer. He has started Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy. I am sure at some level we will be talking about Trilogy going forward 45 years from now and its pivotal influence and place in Rock History.

 

Melodic Revolution Records Featured Album July/August 2017 Forever Twelve | Home

Melodic Revolution Records Featured Album July 2017
Forever Twelve | Home

Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Release Year: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: Classic/Symphonic/Progressive Rock/Heavy Prog

 

Band Members

John Baker – Lead Vocals
Steve Barberic – Keyboards
Tom Graham – Guitar/Keyboards/Bass/Vocals
Fernando Martinez – Drums/Percussion

 

Track Listing

The Seven Seas
Home
Daisy Chain
Kansas By The Sea
Karmageddon
Acoustic Rose
Fate Is In Our Hands

 

Contact Links

Forever Twelve Official Website

Forever Twelve Official Melodic Revolution Records Profile

Forever Twelve Official Facebook Page

Forever Twelve On YouTube

Melodic Revolution Records Official Website

There are many things going on with Forever Twelve’s Home. First of all this is their debut album for Melodic Revolution Records. The second being many many influences within the band’s dynamic happening here. Third of all this proves once again that the staff of Melodic Revolution Records continues to think outside the ‘proverbial box’ to grow their ever growing roster. According to Forever Twelve’s Official Facebook Page : 

What others have said:
…elements of jazz, folk, rock, fusion, neo-prog, classical and pop all used to serve a musical purpose, express a certain mood or idea
…should especially appeal to fans of Marillion, Clepsydra, or Flamborough Head
…These original songs show influences by Genesis, Yes, Camel, and Rush, among others

I say there is much more going on in all three areas of how the band sound, what fans would listen to this band and the influences of the band. Forever Twelve are a return to progressive rock in its purist form. This band takes it back where people trashed the three minute single for a song that was the length of a entire 22 1/2 minutes on vinyl. A time when people preferred the 4-8 panel gatefold and appreciated all the art in its purist form. It takes us back to the time when keyboards began to be celebrated instead of tolerated. It takes us back to the time when Billy Ritchie of 1-2-3/Clouds fame, basically gave birth to the progressive rock genre and influenced a few guys, one would be a guy named Keith Emerson, another would be Robert Fripp and another few guys by the name of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Yes literally that Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson. 

.When I listen to Forever Twelve’s Home I am reminded of the early period of progressive rock that allowed people both an escape through the melodious labyrinth’s of multiple time signatures and chord progressions and unique rhythmic changes and further intellectual nurturing through its dreamscapes due to its lyrical content and concepts. Forever Twelve also seem to embrace this earlier period of progressive rock along with the later periods of Supertramp and neo progressive periods of the 1980’s.

Forever Twelve’s dedication to the craft is very reminiscent to 1-2-3/Clouds, Yes, Caravan. Eloy, Genesis, Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, Strawbs and Eclection on the earlier end. On the more current and modern end elements of Marillion, Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard, Enchant and The Samurai Of Prog come to mind. The band has a very uncanny ability to take all those earlier influences and bands and create their own distinct sound without it appearing to be dated, imitated or duplicated. They also do this without watering anything down as well.

Throughout the duration of the seven songs on Forever Twelve’s Home the band certainly manages to stay true to the very core values that have come to define progressive rock as a genre to some and a lifestyle to others. Throughout the remainder of this review I will be pointing out the various influences that shine through from every song that makes up Forever Twelve’s Home.

The Seven Seas opens up from the first note with the fullness of the band. You have a very deep rhythm section serving as the anchor. Meanwhile in harmony to the deep rhythm section you have the fullness of the stringed section serving as a rudder in which to steer the track in its various time signatures and chord progressions. The band manages to balance all of this where it is not overwhelming as to invite the listener in with ease. Along with such beautiful harmonic balance between the instruments, you have the angelic voice of John Baker. The vocal reminds me of all the best parts of Jon Anderson of Yes meets Rodger Hodgson of Supertramp going on within John Baker.

There also seems to be subtle elements of jazz in the tradition of the late Alan Holdsworth going on underneath the fullness of the arrangement. Although more of a neo progressive style, I would be remiss in saying that this contains some heavy prog elements in melody with the neo progressive nature.This track is also as much guitar driven as it is keyboards in the stringed section. The deep bass/drum rhythm section in harmony with the deep keyboard portions provide a very heavy prog melody throughout the track.

Home begins with a drum along with the bass serving more and a percussive instrument within the rhythmic section. From there the guitar shines through to allow the fullness of the bands instrumental to breathe. After all this beautiful open melody the track drops and breaks and allows for the warmth in the vocals to enter with the instrumental to achieve a full harmony. Also after the break and vocal the track takes a more atmospheric nature with the steady flow on keyboards while the rhythm section serves as a backbone to the vocals. The track also includes intricate time signatures and chord progressions more in the tradition of Knight Area meets Cairo. This track has some more emphasis on vocal harmonies as well that add more depth to the song in general.

Daisy Chain is the band’s first single off Home. This track maintains the jazz style integrity that seems to be a unsung hero to the album. While the deep rhythm sections and atmospheric elements with the keyboards serve as ground zero for the album, the jazz elements really trigger the time signatures as much as the progressive elements. The band have a very keen sense on when to employ a jazz based time signature and a progressive time signature. Daisy Chain is a prime example of this.The song takes a break midway through with a semi solo that allows the various instruments to execute more intricate chord progressions. This track is also very loaded with classic progressive rock elements much like ELP meets Yes. The band really draw from many parts of the progressive rock spectrum and this song is a perfect example of it.

Kansas By The Sea is one of the more experimental and atmospheric songs the band has offered up on Home. It opens with a beautiful effect of a ocean wave washing up against the shoreline. This happens in melody and harmony with a piano. The ocean effect with the piano give the track a conceptual feel about it. This is a track that could open up introductions to newer fans going forward. The guitar and bass lines also give the appearance of two different instrumental characters within the song. Lyrically this is both a retrospective track and one of optimism equally. The song also has a very robust chorus working for it among its experimental nature. This song has periodic breaks to set up the next part of the desired story of the band. Towards the end the song takes on a very heavy prog King Crimson style in the tradition of 21st Century Schizoid Man.

Karmageddon starts out with various effects of the city before going into a very guitar and bass driven chord progression. This is the heaviest song on Home. The bass and guitar really send the mind and emotions of the listener on a immediate roller coaster ride. It soon drops a bit and a very balanced vocal comes into play. From there the track takes on a more methodical purpose. Every riff, every portion of the instrumental has a definite purpose and does not serve as just any old filler for the song. The drums really send this song into rhythmic areas that are very unorthodox. The band shows its full time signature and chord progression prowess on this song. All of this really makes the song a very unique offering to the album. The keyboards are more in the Hammond Organ tradition.

Acoustic Rose is just that a rose. It opens up with a beautiful acoustic guitar and keyboard atmosphere that allows the listener to settle in and start to really digest the entire album. This is just as strong with the lyrical and vocal harmonies as it is with the instrumental melodies. The deep rhythm section lays back a bit for the more guitar and keyboard driven atmospheres to shine through. The vocal harmonies have a very folk Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young vibe working about them as well. This seamlessly transitions into the next song Fate Is In Our Hands.

Fate Is In Our Hands is the seventh and final song on Home. This transitions seamlessly off the prior song Acoustic Rose. This opens up like a old school gritty blues based guitar chord progression. The added crackle of vinyl effect is very rare in the era of digital media. The listener can easily notice that the band is paying homage to the essential roots that made progressive rock not only a genre but a lifestyle. This has both a heavy Pink Floyd meets King Crimson atmosphere. The band does a great job playing a summary of elements on here that really tie all the album together as a cohesive unit. This one is also heavy King Crimson induced throughout the entire track.

After listen to this I come to the conclusion that Melodic Revolution Records has another great signing on its hands. I would encourage the band to tour with this. I believe a live experience of these songs and this album in particular would be a real treat to fans both old and new to Forever Twelve. This is a band that could easily qualify for a Cal Prog, ROSFest even Prog/Power USA & Prog/Power Europe. I give Forever Twelve’s Home a 5/5 .

 

 

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