About five years ago I came across Darrel’s debut solo album, ‘Celestial’, reviewed it, and since then we have been in contact on and off. He is probably best-known as being keyboard player in the mighty Ten, but he also works with Nth Ascension and has released a couple of other solo albums as well. Released in 2016, I was somewhat expecting this to follow on from ‘Celestial’, but instead, he has brought together musicians and singers to create something that is far more progressive, and far less ambient, than his previous solo effort. I did smile to myself when reading the sleeve notes for my favorite song on the album, the instrumental “Riding The Waves”, which has more than a hint of Colosseum II about it, although brought up to date. Darrel dedicates it to his father, a trawlerman from Fleetwood: on my mother’s side I can trace many generations of trawlermen from Brixham, and here in my study there is a slate clock awarded to my great-grandfather 100 years ago for winning the trawler race in BM 16, the Glory.
Compare the driving rock power of that song with the beautiful piano piece “Nexus Pt.2”, which features just Darrel on piano and voice, and the difference is dramatically stark, but that is the joy of this album in that one never knows what is coming next. “Twilight” has Darrel moving onto bass and mandolin as well as keyboards, with Alan Taylor providing vocals in a baritone that totally fits with the music. It is hard to describe just how the fretless bass, strident guitar and softly spoken/sung vocals (John Power) on the title track fit together so seamlessly. This feels like a very personal album in so many ways, with Darrel allowing himself to move where his inspiration takes him, never compromising to fit into any particular genre, with folk having as much an impact as jazz, classical as much as rock, yet all being brought together in a way that fits perfectly. Far more contemporary than his debut solo album, this is a mature album from a musician confident in his own abilities, and it shows. http://darreltreece-birch.com
8/10 Kev Rowland
Melodic Revolution Records | Second Feature Album August 2016
Darrel Treece Birch | No More Time
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Release Year: 2016
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Progressive Rock/AOR/Space Rock/Ambient
Darrel – Treece- Birch- Keyboards, Vocals, Bass Guitars, Mandolin, Drums.
Phil Brown: (Counterparts UK) Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Steve Grocott (Ten) Electric Guitar
Karen Fell: (Gary Hughes Band) Vocals
Dan Mitchell: (Formerly of Ten) Electric Guitar
John Power: (Counterparts UK) Bass and Fretless Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, & Violin
Dann RosIngana: Electric Guitar
Alan Taylor: (Nth Ascension) Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Gavin Walker: (Nth Ascension) Bass Guitar
Martin Walker: (Nth Ascension) Electric Guitar
Darrel Treece Birch Official Website
Darrel Treece Birch Official Melodic Revolution Records Profile
Darrel Treece Birch Official Facebook Page
Darrel Treece Birch Official Twitter
Darrel Treece Birch Official Youtube Channel
Melodic Revolution Records Official Website
From the very inception of the origins of the Earth, their have been two constant necessities to support life on Earth that being time and water. For Darrel Treece-Birch (keyboardist of TEN), to take the risk and creating a progressive conceptual album articulating this was a courageous move. Both time and water are mankind’s most precious resources. In his new conceptual album No More Time, Darrel Treece-Birch along with a all star line up try to convey this message both instrumentally and lyrically.
Darrel Treece-Birch’s No More Time takes you on a journey of emotions that both progressive rock purists and even hard rock, heavy metal and AOR purists have a little something they can enjoy on the album. With 15 tracks on the album Darrel Treece- Birch reflects a different perspective on the water we use on the Earth and how time also factors into our usage of this most precious resource. His all star line up has certainly done a great job embracing his vision on this album and conveying it to his targeted audience.
Starting with the first track Nexus Pt1 the album opens up with such a ambient backdrop with a spoken word narrative to set up the story that is about to be No More Time. Then the album smoothly segue’s into Earthbound.
Earthbound is a full instrumental that simulates a story of how water actually got to Earth to begin with. This is demonstrated with great atmospheric keyboards in harmony with atmospheric guitar solo’s throughout the track. This is followed by another instrumental track titled Riding The Waves.
Riding The Waves is a more up tempo track with more layered keyboards and guitars that are matched in unison with a solid and fluid rhythm section. This is also another instrumental on the album that requires a open and objective mind. Riding The Waves continues to paint the picture on the tapestry of the canvas mind of the listener. This sounds much like that of a film score soundtrack the way it is written. It is also ethereal in scope. This leads into the next track Hold On.
Hold On begins with a warm piano passage that is soon followed by a warm vocal melody. It appears almost as a ballad. The lyrical content takes a deep internal direction. It is as if a mentor is mentoring his student. It has many AOR hallmarks especially from AOR ballads past particularly in the 1980’s however with a modern sensibility. This is now followed by the next track on this epic journey Requiem Pro Caris.
Requiem Pro Caris is another warm piano intro driven track. It is as if the piano are simulating raindrops while the spoken word narrative continues with the journey. This leads into the next track Twilight.
Twilight is another beautifully crafted track that is very heavy on the piano. It gives the listener the effect that Darrel is in a small venue giving a show in a more intimate setting. He manages to do this both on the instrumental side and lyrical side. Deep piano tones and vocal tones are the backbone to this one. This leads into the next track Mother (Olive’s Song).
Mother (Olive’s Song) continues with the warm piano passages drawing the listener more and more inside the epic. The piano passage reflects that of a symphony solo passage in a old theater. Soon more modern keyboard atmospheres are layered upon the existing piano passages. This is also performed rather on the darker side. This is another of many instrumentals on the album. This leads beautifully into the next track Freedom Paradigm.
Freedom Paradigm begins with some up tempo percussion rhythm section. Soon this is followed up with a almost climatic heavy metal styled soundtrack. It is loaded with very powerful progressive metal fusion style solo’s throughout the entire instrumental track. This track gives the listener the appearance that the epic has reached a climax. This not before the next track Nexus Pt3 .
Nexus Pt.3 is another well crafted keyboard led passage that is perfectly complimented by a spoken word narrative. It is a little lighter for the listener to digest. This leads into the next track in the epic The River Dream.
The River Dream is a wonderful track that is a instrumental however is written in such away that the listener starts to reflect more and more on the overall epic journey of the concept rather than the individual tracks. The River Dream starts to allow the album to really come together and gel in the album as a collective. This leads right into the title track of the album No More Time.
No More Time begins with a warm melodic touch with warm vocals. Lyrically it appears there is a end of a era. The instrumental portion certainly matches this. The track takes a up tempo harder rock edge as if time is now moving forward. The harmonies are spot on. The harmony between the vocal and instrumental are full of emotion throughout the track. The guitar solo’s are much more AOR leaning, however the track remains on its objective. There are progressive time signatures within the solo’s giving this track a depth a fullness. This leads into the next track Legacy.
Legacy starts off with some lush atmospheric percussion and keyboard effects. The heavy guitar is not that far behind. This has a very Pink Floyd styled atmospheric vibe. All the instrumental pieces appear to running very balanced with one another. The instrumental works more like a vocal harmony telling a story all its own. This leads into Music of the Spheres.
Music of the Spheres opens up with a wonderful feminine touch to the album with a very present female vocal. The piano is warm yet haunting in its nature on this one. Lyrically this song questions many things in life. The track picks up somewhat at the 2:00 mark. The instrumental certainly matches the lyrical content on this one. This reaches the emotional apex of the epic journey of No More Time. There is also a neo progressive styled solo section towards the middle. This leads into the final track Return To The Nexus.
Return To The Nexus begins with a progressive electronic and ambient intro. Its atmospheres are almost in the vein of Peter Gabriel’s This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds) from his SO album. All the hallmarks of ambient, progressive, electronica and AOR from the album are present on this one. Return To The Nexus is written and arranged very appropriately to have all styles on the album present. Some of it even has a Kraftwerk influence behind it.
Darrel Treece – Birch has created a concept of grace and intimacy. No More Time is one of those albums that will certainly find a audience outside of the progressive rock community. This album is certainly among those albums that will continue the posterity of progressive music as a collective. I do see this album influencing future generations whether they be progressive, ambient or AOR music minded. This will get a 5/5 and have a place in my Top 10 of 2016.
Video Courtesy of : Darrel Treece Official Youtube Channel