The Light Year | Steps To Life
Release Year : 2016
Country : Georgia
Genre : Progressive Rock
Gigi Gegelashvili – Author, Music/Art Manager/Vocals/Keyboards/Flute/Acoustic Guitar
Guja Mchedlishvili – Guitar
Kobi Manjgaladze – Guitar
Gia SurGguladze – Bass
Giorgi Lomidze – Drums
Natia Chugoshvili – Violin
Giorgi Ghambashidze – Keyboards
In a portion of the world where there is much turmoil and uncertainty comes a melodic beacon of hope and light. This band is known as The Light Year. Coming out of the area between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea in the country of Georgia, it is certain that no matter how much turmoil, progressive rock has tentacles in Georgia.
The Light Year Steps Of Life is one of those progressive masterpieces that come from out of nowhere once every 5 to 10 years. The Light Year are a band at the crossroads of Enchant and Transatlantic meets Pain of Salvation and Porcupine Tree. The Light Year combine very modern neo progressive elements with vintage hard rock/heavy metal with a twist of vintage progressive rock elements. The Light Year combine Arabic, Oriental and near Eastern influences with Western power progressive rock/metal elements.
Steps of Life begins with a powerful progressive symphonic instrumental track called Tornado 1 which starts off like the opening of a cinematic production. Tornado 1 has various hooks and instrumental melody. It reminds me a little of Liquid Tension Experiment at times. Tornado 1 charges right ahead in a progressive frenzy setting up track 2 Steps to Life.
Steps of Life starts off as a well articulate Acapella voice composition. At about the 1:16 mark the keyboard comes in with another layer to add to the vocal melody. At the 2:35 mark the track gains a acoustic guitar layer to be joined by the rhythmic section at the 3:35 mark. At about the 4:30 mark the track takes on a Peter Gabriel rhythmic vibe building the track to a up tempo track at this point. About the 5:35 mark it takes on a Spock’s Beard sounding track. At the 7:15 mark the track takes on a neo progressive vibe much like the band Enchant.
Tornado 2 starts off with a thunderous rhythmic section. The keyboards are executed quite well as a percussive rhythmic instrument instead of the status quo stringed sectional style instrumental. Tornado 2 like Tornado 1 is a instrumental in a cinematic style. The album starts taking on a conceptual sound at this time. Tornado 2 has some seriously heavy fusion elements going on with the composition all the through much like Planet X or Gordion Knot At 4:55 mark there appears a choir as more of a chant instrument even more so than a vocal.
Steps Reprise is a very well arranged and well placed track to bridge into the next track Side.
Side opens a lot like Yes with lush vocal layers engineered with a well rounded rhythmic section and the keyboard and acoustic guitar giving the track absolution. At the 2:35 mark the track really takes a very up tempo melody to harmony exchange. Side goes in and out from up tempo one moment to a down tempo the next moment. Side has that later Pink Floyd sound of the 1980’s. This track has some light alternative elements to it as well.
Dark Times starts out with a serious down tuned alternative sound. The vocal takes on a abstract atmosphere through a minimalist filter. Dark Times displays a less in more attitude and with various time signatures and breaks. With every break pause the track adds or subtracts various layers. Towards the end the track is blistering with some very heavy progressions and time signatures.
Damskerland is a mellow acoustic track. Although the vocals are being sung here they also sound a little in the realm of spoken word making it easy for the listener to grasp the story of Damskerland. This has almost a Dust In The Wind style about it.
Love Without Love begins with a sitar oriental sound to start off with this mini epic. About the 2:32 mark the track takes on a mellow guitar atmosphere. The warmth of the vocals appear to be filtered through the keyboard although they are not. Love Without Love reminds me of a little longer Kayleigh or Easter from Marillion. It has a great flute at the 6:45 mark and rain stick sound giving it a really heavy near to far Eastern sound. At the 8:44 mark the track takes a symphonic approach almost like a movie soundtrack. This is perhaps the most eclectic track on the album.
Digital Dream opens subtly with a fade in drum percussion passage. Soon they electric guitar and keyboards take on a very heavy jazz prog fusion vibe. This track is like Buddy Guy and Miles Davis and Steely Dan rolled in one. The track soon breaks instrumentally and a spoken word section appears right before the free form prog jazz fusion takes off again. At the 4:30 mark the track takes on a vibe progression like Pain Of Salvation with the vocal arrangement.
My Lord picks up right where Digital Dream left off however, with a more distorted progression. The vocals sound heavily like John Wetton in King Crimson. The band even ventures into areas of funk with their progressions. At times it sounds like the instruments are talking back and forth from one another. There is a lot of twists and turns you do not know where the band is going with the track. About the 5:00 mark this track drops off some for a refined piano and keyboard atmosphere. Soon after sounds of nature like the birds in a forest chirping give the track depth and emotion. The character in this story starts to quietly question life on a lyrical level. About the 8:00 mark there is some heavy psychedelic elements instrumentally supporting the lyrical narrative. The track ends with a nice fluid cinematic ending.
Sky Way starts with a beautiful lush piano intro as if the instrument is isolated. Soon a partial spoken word partially sung vocal comes in. Soon after a calm guitar and languid rhythm section kicks in and the track takes almost a ballad style. This is a track of personal reflection lyrically. Sky Way has potential for the listener audience to sing this back to the band in a live setting.
Tornado 3 is a overall reflection of the album. Little portions of every track before it appear within the span of a 1:15. This is a heavy 1:15 as well.
The Light Year have made a statement on Steps of Life. This band mixes a little bit of the old with the new to form there own unique sound. The even bridge Eastern and Western musical styles into a well craft progressive music brew. I am giving this album a 4/5.