Aeolias | The Architect | Album Review April 2017
Release Year: 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal/Rock
Siobhan Filbey – Vocals
Emmet Standish – Bass. Orchestra and Drums/Percussion Programming.
Graham Doyle – Guitar
Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.
I think that prog rock is the science fiction of music. Science fiction speculates on what the future might be and look like and how we’ll get there, and yet there’s always a central theme of humanity, or there should be. Progressive rock has the same concept of exploration into the parts of the music world that hasn’t been explored.
Progressive rock and progressive metal have always provided the perfect tapestry for anyone ambitious band or artist to explore the subject of science fiction. The fact that there are very little boundaries or the typical mainstream musical parameters have allowed for a perfect union between progressive rock/metal and science fiction to create some of the most thought provoking stories ever written. Sometimes progressive rock/metal science fiction albums are actually written so well they have a uncanny ability to paint a full motion picture film on the screen inside the theater of the mind who listens to them.
Aeolias The Architect does just that, explores the boundaries of science fiction through the further exploration of the art of progressive rock and metal. Aeolias are a independent unsigned new progressive metal/rock band out of Ireland. Here is a brief biography of the band to introduce them below:
AEOLIAS was born in the summer of 2012, originally under the name AEOLIAN, by guitarist Graham Doyle and bassist Emmet Standish after the disbanding of of their previous band THE MIGHTY OVERDRIVE. Deciding not to let this setback destroy what had been built, they decided to continue on and recruit new members. Since a lot of the music was their creation, they felt they were entitled to use it in this new incarnation of the band. However, they also felt that since half the members had left and the band was essentially broken and so AEOLIAN was born.
Now with a band that could develop as a tight unit AEOLIAN was complete. A new musical direction with old songs rearranged, new songs realised and longer compositions written the future is now developing.
The first new member to join the band was vocalist Siobhan. After hearing a demo recording of her singing, and being completely blown away by her vocal talents it was obvious that she was the right person for the job. With a strong vocal technique, keen sense of melody and with an ability to sing in a low register she could put a lot of male singers to shame.
The next member to join the band was drummer Trey. A immense powerhouse, a drummer who sits right in the pocket, John Bonhams pocket. A drummer who has fused his two favourite drummers John Bonham and Nico McBrain into his own unique style. A drummer with a wealth of experience in other bands, including a stint with a Tool tribute band. Upon the first jam with Trey, it was evident that this was the guy who would complete the lineup. Now with a band that could develop as a tight unit AEOLIAN was complete. A new musical direction, old songs rearranged, new songs realised. Longer compositions written, the future is now developing.
2016 sees the band reduced to the trio of Siobhan, Graham and Emmet and finally releasing new material and also renaming (slightly) the band to AEOLIAS. ‘Providence’ was released online during the Summer of 2016. A pre-curser to the bands debut album “The Architect” which is now released as of the beginning of April 2017.
Aeolias’ The Architect proves once again just how intelligent progressive rock/metal is and can be . The title The Architect is very fitting for a young independent/unsigned band in the embryonic stages of building a career in this industry. The very fact that Aeolias are a independent/unsigned band allows for more breathing room to explore certain science fiction subjects along with various musical time signatures and chord progressions that may otherwise not see the light of day if the band were under label scrutiny. In my experience bands and artists do a majority of their best and most creative work when they are on that independent/unsigned plain. Now a few highlights and a break down track analysis on Aeolias’ The Architect.
Odysseus is a very appropriately named title for the first track. The lyrical subject matter follows very much after Homer’s The Odyssey. This is the start of a intergalactic space exploration on the lyrical side. On a instrumental side the track opens up much like a movie film score with a deep orchestrated keyboard synth in harmony with what appears to be a old world Gaelic style chant. The drums soon come in in harmony with the orchestration. Then the track takes on a more traditional progressive metal approach. With deep rhythmic atmospheres and a lower tenor on the vocals this gives the track the audio illusion that one is about to take a journey through space and time. Siobhan Filbey – Vocals has a very keen sense of utilizing her mezzo – soprano tenor quite well in harmony with the deep rhythm and stringed chord progressive atmospheres. It gives the listener the illusion that there are more than one vocalist on the album. The band also effectively and seamlessly bleeds Odysseus into the next track Redefining The Theory.
Redefining The Theory continues with spot on and seamless transitions. This transitions into a more ambient atmospheric track. The bass guitar really serves as the anchor both in melodic and percussive terms. The guitar stringed section soon comes in with the beautiful mezzo soprano vocals. This all combines with a uniquely and distinctive sound that is very different than what is in the progressive rock and metal communities today. The vocals play in perfect harmony with both the stringed and rhythm sections. Lyrically this track deals with very personal and internal issues that see the main character starting to look at his understanding of life differently than he once knew it. He therefore comes to a reasoning of his new understanding. The rest of this track melodically allows for the lyrical content to work like a metamorphosis. Much of the last half of this track takes on a soundtrack vibe about it. Plus the spoken word portions add depth to the track. Also in concept like fashion transitions seamlessly into the next part of the journey and track Ergosphere.
Ergosphere may in fact be the shortest track on the album at only 7:48 however there is still a lot going on here. It starts with a deep emotion both instrumentally and lyrically. In astrophysics a Ergosphere is the edge or point of no return up against a black hole. The band does a beautiful job rhythmically depicting the emotion one may feel as a human knowing they are headed into the said point of no return. There are a lot of rhythmic layers upon layers built on the backbone of bass and drums. The vocals stay on point and register with the instrumental portions. This track gets progressively and aggressively heavier the further into it the listener gets. It also is arranged perfectly to set up the last half of the album. Once again the band remains on conceptual point and seamlessly transitions this track to the following track Providence.
Providence transitions beautifully from where Ergosphere ended. It begins with a subtle yet atmospheric keyboard along with a very unique reggae like percussion passage executed perfectly by Emmet Standish , who basically a one man percussion machine . It is soon met with beautiful vocal chants done by Siobhan Filbey . The atmosphere the band creates at the start of this gives the listener a sense, a audio illusion of interstellar deep space travel on a instrumental level. The track gets increasingly heavier and more progressive the further into the track. The entire aesthetic is heavy throughout this. The vocals take various dimensions of beauty. The band certainly has a beautiful unique vocal signature unto themselves that separates them from other progressive bands of this era. Lyrically Providence does deal with some controversial subject as it relates to organised religion. The main character in the story starts to question the hypocrisy into organised religion and its direct or indirect results of those who follow it. The band has a uncanny ability to convey this heavy and brooding emotion of the character in harmony of both the lyrical and instrumental content within the track. The vocals take on a beautiful ambient quality again here.
Theorem once again easily transitions where Providence left off. Theorem is also the final track on the album that serves like a melodic summary of the album in its entirety. This one works over four parts to bring the entire experience of the album together. Those parts are The Architect, The Anarchist, The Analyst, and Aeviternity. The character fully has another understanding of life, a epiphany, something that has changed everything in his psyche. The band uses its full melodic talent to convey this understanding. The band with its rich ambient approach also maintains various chord progressions and time signatures allowing for the progressive rock and metal elements to speak for themselves. Theorem is a 26:47 epic as well. With much invested listening time and attention to detail the listener can even detect a few Easter Eggs or hidden gems within both the lyrical and instrumental portions that also really help tie the entire concept together as a collective.
Aeolias The Architect is a album that has surprised me already in a year that will see many concept albums. This is a very ambitious and lofty statement for a new independent/unsigned band to put together as a debut album. Aeolias continue the rich tradition and evolution into progressive rock/metal conceptual albums. This album is certainly the perfect album for those who love and live for progressive rock and metal concept albums. This album also joins classic progressive rock/metal albums with science fiction concepts or themes. Albums like Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn – 1972 ,Tangerine Dream – Zeit – 1972, Nektar – Journey To The Centre Of The Eye – 1971 ,Yes – Tales From Topographic Oceans – 1973 , RUSH – 2112 – 1976, Klaatu – 3:47 EST – 1976 , Ayreon – The Final Experiment 1994, Into The Electric Castle – 1998, The Universal Migrator 1&2 – 2000, 01011001 – 2008 and the upcoming The Source – 2017 , Star One – Space Metal – 2002 , Forgotten Suns – Innergy – 2009 to name a few. Aeolias The Architect will one day be in the same conversation as those albums I just mentioned. For a independent/unsigned band that created a very intelligent thought provoking album on both instrumental and lyrical sides, I give Aeolias The Architect a 5/5.