Well, tonight, I have another wonderful sounding band and album to offer for exploration. Heofon is the name of this British Columbia, Canadian band. They have released their debut album, 5th Key, this year, in the same year as Tool’s long-awaited magnum opus, Fear Inoculum. Why that is important, will become crystal clear…soon.
Heofon is made up of
multi-instrumentalists: Simon Haiduk, on bass, cello, synth, guitar, drum programming,
mixing, and mastering: Chris Niebergall, on electric and acoustic guitars,
Didgeridoos, synth, and mixing; and Tim Niebergall, on drums. The band has been
playing together since 2008. Unlike Tool, they have been working on 5th Key,
2016. The album was recorded in 432Hz
tuning, and it was released June 21, 2019. Three months before Fear Inoculum.
The cover art was created by Simon
Haiduk. Song iterations were created by Chris Niebergall and Tim Niebergall.
Heofon describes their music as ‘Mystic-Prog’.
Heofon means, the home of God, or heaven. Their influences include Tool, King
Crimson, and Pink Floyd, among others.
On “Embers”, it sounds as though Heofon had been in the studio,
listening to Tool shape and mold Fear Inoculum. The deep bass as lead
electric guitar, playing amongst the synths and keyboards sounds a lot like
Tool’s opening title track. Only 5th Key was released three months
before Fear Inoculum. That deep, pounding bass with drums is just
perfect. Primal like Tool, yet with enough imagination and originality of its
own. A strong opener and killer symphony of metal. The only thing missing here
is a lead singer like Maynard James Keenan. But this symphony is good enough
“Blue Ripple”, opens with cool synths and buzzes.
Silent and slow-moving synths and bells welcome you to track two. More of that powerful
bass and drumming as the rhythm builds. The lead electric guitar on this track
is one of the best on the album. But that bouncing bass is irresistible.
“5th Key”, is the title track and it opens
with cool bell chimes and syths, along with that menacing bass. Those guttural drums
and bass are joined by the backing of Didgeridoos and some wonderful keys. When the
lead electric guitars fire up, the entire soundscape moves like a force charging
ahead to victory.
With a title like, “Nusku Talks”, meaning the spoken
word of the ‘god
of fire and light in ancient Babylonian, Girru’, you know this track is gonna
rumble with power. And so, it does. Those deep bass chords hit the floor and drop
below. The banging drums only help them sound heavier.
“3rd Key”, is an alternative to the title
track. This track is lighter, and airier. Keys and symbols, percussion, and yes
that bass thud. The keyboards are soft and light.
“Ambrosia”, surprises you at the opening with brilliant light
rays of keyboard sunshine, before warm electric lead guitar chords fill the
air. The deep bass is still present, but cool Dave Fielding/Reeves Gabrels/Robert Smith guitar sounds fill the
air. One of the best songs on the album.
“Vortexed”, is just what it sounds like it would be. Full of
cool keyboard and syth effects at its opening. It builds a little like the
Smashing Pumpkins’ “Quasar”, however, they do not unleash the raw power of the guitars,
like the Pumpkins. Instead, this song grinds slowly, with punctuated bass.
“Omniscience”, is full of
stars and wonders keyboards and synth effects. Deep space sounds a plenty. One
of my favorite tracks.
Journey”, is a deep, standing bass concerto, before the strings, keys, and
drums enter the soundscape. More bass and deep sounds than I have heard in one
song this year. An over 9:40 epic journey of sitting bass, cello, Didgeridoos and synths. The best and
longest song on the album.
“Amenti”, is full of beautiful space keys and what sounds
like electric waves of ocean. Pulsating space sounds fill the soundscape and bring
to close, one of the best instrumental albums I have heard all year.
No, Heofon is not Tool. And that is a good thing. I
hear many similarities between the two bands, only with the use of the standing
bass and the cellos, this album may be even deeper sounding than Fear Inoculum.
Get this album and let it take you away like it did me. The journey is
worth the price of admission.
Silent Like Lightning considers
themselves a progressive, post rock, band. They are based in Austin, Texas. The
group was founded in early 2016. The band members include: David Houghton, guitarist and vocalist; Trevor Holden, guitarist; Kyle Duncan, bassist; and Braedon Avants, the drummer.
I found this
fantastic band on CDBaby.com, like I do most of my new favorites lately. They
released their debut album on September 27, 2019.
“Indeterminacy”, opens the album with a tip
of the hat reworking of Mason Williams’ classic, “Classical Gas”, on acoustic
guitar; after what sounds like a coin toss. The coin toss reminded me of some those
famous westerns I have watched in the past. But, from there on out, this is all
innovation from Silent Like Lightning. This acoustic and electric guitar
instrumental is a wonderful welcome to the band and one of the best songs on
the album. If this song is “not
definitely or precisely determined or fixed”, it is not to me. It is a band
defining welcome, to some intimate and defining musicianship, that forthrightly
defines this band as a presence to be reckoned with in the world of progressive
rock. What I am saying is this is Steve Hackett/Steve Howe level playing
on your debut album! They have opened the door and made a statement that they
are here to stay! They could have stopped the album here and have been
considered great. But instead, they went on to deliver one of the best albums
of the year.
opens with another welcoming intro, complete with effects and soft electric
guitar chords. We hear David
Houghton’s first vocals, “Stars
I see, the same stars my ancestors looked upon. Stars so far. Once inspired
great men now inspires me. Each age is a dying dream. Or a dream come to birth.
Late at night I dream of you. But you’re not the one I want to wake up to. A
tree bears fruit. Of vibrant hues. Yet with time all beauty slowly fades away.
Each age is a dying dream. Or a dream come to birth”. Lyrics of deep feeling and emotion, and remember this is a debut
album. The drums, bass, and guitar music is both innovative and stirring. I
hear bands like Genesis and others, but it really is definitely more unique
than other bands I have heard this year, or in the past. Emotional and moving
rhythms and a feeling to the music which requires you to want to stay and hear even
opens again with beautiful acoustic guitar and either wind blown sand or sea.
It is simply perfect on a relaxing Saturday or Sunday…or any day for that
matter. Only 1:44, and you will wish there was more…
Music Box”, opens with unbelievable electric guitar work, then it transitions
to acoustic guitar, before the Hackett-like electric guitar re-enters the
soundscape. Another one of the best songs on the album. The perfect interplay
of acoustic and electric guitar makes this one of the best guitar-based albums
I have heard this year….by miles. Guitar work unlike what I have heard before.
Stunning. Then they top it with rain and thunder as the bass, drums and guitars
continue to weave their magic. One of the longest tracks on the album and you
will love every minute and note as it goes by.
Day…”, opens with the sound of back spinning guitar. David Houghton, sings, “One day I’ll move mountains. But for now, I’ll close my eyes”. Yes, and you
should and just take this in. Slow acoustic guitar and a vocal round spins
through your ear drums. At 1:27 minutes it speeds way to fast to appreciate all
of Set”, opens with more wonderful guitar, the sounds of a film projector and traffic;
before the guitar work takes over the soundscape. They weave wonderful mazes of
interconnected guitar and bass, that you could just close your eyes and listen
to all day long. The inter-mitten percussion work helps keep it interesting.
Then, David Houghton sings, “When I see the sun in the morning, night begins to fade.
Watching mist in the distance ebbing, daybreak. Springtime comes and thaws out
the ice that winters left behind. The age-old adage ‘flowers don’t grow in the
snow’. I have gone beyond I have gone beyond the bounds of set. I am unique in
my flight. When chasing the sun. The sun never sets. Keep the ground moving and
your path will be lighted always. It never sets”, bringing back wonderful memories of, yes, Midlakes’s The
Courage of Others album.
Yhet”, is more wonderful, sweeping and at times weeping guitar. Yeah, George
Harrison would love this short 1:41 minute interlude. Like a voluminous ocean
rising up and preparing to crash on land.
Seven”, opens with powerful affects, then a glowing electronic guitar, amidst
keyboard effects. The bass is a wonderful leader as the electric guitar soars
higher and higher. This is the longest song on the album, at 8:12 minutes, and
the wonderful cadence of the drums is soothing.
Landscapes”, has deep, foreboding bass and orchestrated effects. Stringed
instruments fill the soundscape as gentle lead electric guitar fills the air.
The song does paint a vivid picture of a landscape, as the strings, acoustic and
electric guitar weave rhythms into time.
“Thirst”, opens with bold drums and full bass, as Houghton sings, “Through the
desert all night long. Show me water, guide me on. The only source is on your
lips. But you tell me to resist. Walking through the desert. Oasis at my feet.
Thinking I found water. Only for a mouth of sand. On through morning day too
soon. Lips cracked stained to black. Sometimes clear skies just delude”. Another
wonderful journey in time with this band. The instrumental second half of the
song that follows, will take you as deep as Death Valley, if you are willing to
“Halls of Valhalla”, is the closer, and what a
powerful epic it is. Houghton
sings, “May the halls of Valhalla sing to
you. May the halls of Valhalla stand to greet you. Others fade. Remain the same.
Words of praise never fade. Nor a noble name. I have gone beyond the bounds. I
have gone beyond”. The vocal, “prayer” at the end should hit you deeply and
Like Lightning, has created and unbelievably powerful debut album. On, Moving Mountains, this band issues a
summons, to give them a listen, and I am sure you will feel this album needs to
be part of your record collection, after an initial hearing. For a band to sing
and play this level of music on their debut album is quiet a feat. Most bands
take years of performing and perfecting their craft to reach this level. Yes,
this band is silent, like lightning. You cannot imagine such a perfect album on
a band’s first time in the studio. They have mastered their craft and now offer
you the opportunity to listen to one of the most magical albums of the year. Please
get this and enjoy.
One of the most anticipated music releases of this
year was to be Tool’s new album. The anticipation was so global, that once Fear
Inoculum, was released, on August 30th, 2019, with special
packaging for the CD, it sold out before the end of the day. As of the writing
of this review, in mid-October, there are no updated release plans for any CD
version. Which is a real shame. This is one of my favorite albums of the year
and I do like to have the hard copy of my favorites. I was forced to buy my
version on I-Tunes, because, for a while, you could not download the album on
the band’s website. Here is hoping they will release it on CD, for the holiday
shopping season. After all, why wouldn’t you want the world to have your CD if
they want it and will pay to get it?
I must begin this review with the disclaimer that I
have never heard a Tool album or any of their music before. So, as you can
imagine Fear Inoculum, is a wonderful surprise addition to my music
I think Fear Inoculum, is a great place to start, for those who share my initial exposure to the band. Tool has released four albums prior to this. However, it has been 13 years since their last album 10,000 Days, which was released in 2006. The rest of their discography includes: Lateralus, in 2001; Ænima, in 1996; and their debut Undertow, in 1993.
For those of you new to Tool, the band is made up of: Danny Carey, on drums and synthesizer; Justin Chancellor, on bass guitar; AdamJones, on lead guitar; and Maynard James Keenan, on vocals.
Lustmord, created all of the waves and water sound effects.
Fear Inoculum, opens
with its title track, “Fear Inoculum”, which is unique in itself. Many
bands place the title, or epic closer as the last song. But this title track is
perfectly placed to give the listener an introduction to the concept and album
theme, which will play out through the songs. The concept is fear, and trying
to overcome your fear to the point that you can inoculate yourself from it. Or
as my mentor and hero FDR used to say, “There is nothing to fear but fear
The title track opens with bell like chimes, followed by very deep and ominous bass chords, as gentle drumming and percussion are added to the soundscape. The perfect, slow progression of added bass, then lead guitar and keyboards sets the table for what will come next. Keenan’s first vocals, “Immunity. Long overdue. Contagion, I exhale you. Naïve. I opened up to you. Venom in mania”.
lyrical intro is perfect. Sometimes we are innocent to the contagion of fear.
We let it get a foothold, until later we believe, as Keenan
deceiver says, he says. You belong to me. You don’t wanna breathe the light of
the others. Fear the light. Fear the breath. Fear the others for eternity”.
Yes, that is exactly how fear works. But thankfully this song is rejecting
fear. Not only rejecting, providing an impetus for inoculating yourself from fear,
some of the best music of the year is being laid down to provide the perfect
conditions for both building fear and expelling the same. Later, Keenan
this immunity”. And closes the song with “Deceiver. Chased away. A long time. Coming!”
The best, and one of the longest songs on the album, besides my favorite,
“Invincible”. Complete with an instrumental extravaganza ending for bands to
envy for years. This drum assault will live on in your memories and ears.
Everything about this song celebrates the 13
year wait for its airing. The band has put together the perfect blending of Motorhead,
Dream Theater, Queensryche, ACDC, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and
Metallica in one song, first, and then an album. Bands will be trying to match
this power for years…maybe 13 more…ha, ha. Please watch the live video of this
song to really get the band’s ultimate interpretation and power playing of this
song, complete with a light show that will also stun and amaze.
“Pneuma”, is another minute and a half longer than the opener. It
is as just as good. Slow grinding electric guitar with intricate percussion,
before more guitars, bass, and then that wonderful long bowed bass. Just a
thumping madness when the drums begin their precision punch. Everyone drum
pound, a gut punch. Like a heart punch to wake you or your soul up from its
slumber. All the instruments firing like a well-oiled, hard-bodied, muscle car
revving its engine in top form. Pneuma, the word means, “the vital spirit, soul, or creative force of a person”.
Keenan sings, We, are spirit bound to
this flesh. We go round, one foot nailed down. But bound to reach out and
beyond this flesh”. Become Pneuma”. Yes, please. Like an
echo of Pink Floyd’s Time, “You are young and life is long and there is time
to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one
told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”. So yes, reach for your
Keenan sings, as if summoned by Roger Waters, “We are will and wonder. Bound to recall, remember. We are born of one breath, one word. We are all one spark, sun becoming. Child, wake up. Child, release the light!” What a effervescent anthem, if ever there was one!
“Litanie Contre la Peur”, is one of the shortest songs on the album at 2:16. Either a keyboard or synthesized guitar’s, endless chord. It is amazing in its ability to stir your thoughts. Like some of the wonderful work in between songs on Dark Side of the Moon. ‘Litany against fear’ is its English translation. Potentially a reference to Frank Herbert’s book Dune, and the scene where Paul Atreides tempts the pain box.
“Invincible”, is my favorite song on the album. But not because it
is the third longest. It’s the lyrics on this one. Oh, and yes…the drums. The
lyrics took me back to two of my favorite songs from the past. The first is
Peter Gabriel’s warrior in “San Jacinto”. Just like Gabriel, Tool describes
their warrior so well. You imagine you are him, or you are there looking long
into that field or forest. Keenan sings, “Long
in tooth and soul. Longing for another win. Lurch into the fray. Weapon out and
belly in. Warrior struggling. To remain consequential. Bellow aloud. Bold and proud.
Of where I’ve been. But here I am!”
The atomic thump of the
drums throughout and near the end of this song are an anthem or symphony in themselves,
especially when supported by plucking deep bass guitar. The guitars are great
too. One of the most primal anthems I’ve ever heard…since Gabriel’s breath
The other song which this one reminds me of is the band O.S.I.’s
famous song “Hero”. In fact, at times, Keenan’s voice reminds me of Kevin
Moore. Is “Invincible” a story of a warrior of the jungle, past, or from
“Desert Storm”…you decide? It’s your dream.
Inoculant”, is another short interlude before your breath is taken away again
by an epic. At 3:12, it opens like a UFO landing made with keyboards. Then cool
keys and synthesizers help further sooth. Very trippy, indeed. Spacey voices. One
cool short space trip. Taking me back to the Dark Side of the Moon.
“Culling Voices”, is a 10:07 minute anthem, that opens with those
beautiful ‘light across the water at dawn’ keyboards. Then some of the best
opening lead electric guitar chords on the album. They could have let this continue
throughout the song.
The concept of silencing or eliminated voices or people. Keenan sings, Psychopathy. Misleading me over and over and over. Judge, condemn, and banish any and every one. Without evidence. Only the whispers from within”. He continues, “Psychopathy. Misleading me over and over and over. Don’t you dare point that at me!”
Like a throwback to the
Floyd’s Wishing You Were Here, you can almost hear Roger Waters in the
spaces between the words and notes, sing, “We’re just two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl,
year after year. Running over the same old ground. And how we found. The same
old fears”, or even a return to the carnage of Brain Damage.
An excellent song full of power and majesty when the lead electric guitar, bass
and those smashing drums let go of their grist.
“Descending”, opens with earthquake, lava moving on the land or
ground rumbling effects. Then the ocean and waves. Slowly played bass, like
Roger Waters taking over the album. Keenan sings, “Free fall through our
midnight. This epilogue of our own fable. Heedless in our slumber. Floating
nescient we free fall through this boundlessness this madness, of our own
making. Falling isn’t flying. Floating isn’t infinite. Come, our end, suddenly.
All hail our lethargy. Concede suddenly”. “Sound our dire reveille. Rouse all
from our apathy. Lest we, cease to be. Stir us from our wanton slumber. Mitigate
our ruin. Call us all to arms and order!”
Yes, like “Us and Them”, an anthem to wake ‘em up and break the apathy. Care for something, if not for yourself and the future. The grinding lead electric guitar that follows is some of the best on the album. This far into the album, I think I have found my favorite new drummer. Danny Carey, on drums and yes synthesizer, what a wonderful and unique match. Usually the bassist or vocalist plays synthesizers. The drums are like John Bonham, great throughout this album.
Then Carey gets downright Rush “2112 Overture/The Camera Eye”, only sounding deeper, with the synths. Then he is back to banging the drums like he is trying to escape from a cage. The blistering lead electric guitar from Adam Jones, sounds of bowed Jimmy Page as the waves return, and suddenly you’re back at the end of Rush’s “Natural Science”…wow!
“Chocolate Chip Trip”, is another short side trip of
4:50. It takes you back to the Court of the Crimson King, and those
beautiful water chimes and gongs. Followed closely by some Larry Fast-like,
computer programming on synths. Very cool break between epics. Like that
excellent intermission you always wished for, in-between movies, at theaters of
“7empest”, is the over 15-minute epic closer on the album. “Mockingbeat” follows, but it is merely a wave goodbye. “7empest” opens with some unbelievably wonderful guitar fret meandering from Adam Jones, with more percussion rhythms blending together to create a rhythm that could either hypnotize or put you to sleep. But then Carey is back with the kicking drums. On this one Keenan makes some growling sounds, like full on Jim Morrison, then for the rest of the song, he sounds like Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil, on the song, “Dr. Feelgood”, (the only song I ever liked from that band). In fact, this song almost sounds like a 2019 version of “Dr. Feelgood’s” rhythm and beat, only louder.
Only this time the
subject nature has changed. Instead of a drug kingpin, we have elevated the
reach to the highest office in the land. Keenan sings, “Heat lighting flash, but don’t
blink. Misleading. Tranquility ruse. You’re gonna happen again. That’s what I
think. Follow the evidence. Look it dead in the eye. You are darkness. Trying
to lull us in, before the havoc begins. Into a dubious state of serenity. Acting
all surprised when you’re caught in the lie. We know better. It’s not unlike
you. It’s not unlike you. We know your nature”.
Study those lyrics
carefully: “Misleading. Tranquility ruse. Follow the evidence. Trying to lull
us in, before the havoc begins. Into a dubious state of serenity. Acting all
surprised when you’re caught in the lie”. If you have been living in America
you would be blind not to know who they are talking about. Yes, “We know better”.
Then, finally the smoking gun, “A tempest must be true to its nature. A tempest
must be just that”. They nailed it…perfectly.
“Mockingbeat”, is a nice wave good bye to one of the
best albums of this decade. Chirping and percussion. Like “Revolution 9” off
the White Album.
Fear Inoculum, will sit comfortably on the shelf next to any of the greatest albums of all time that you wish to compare. For me Fear Inoculum, is this generation’s Dark Side of the Moon, Wishing You Were Here, and Animals all wrapped up into one. It has memories of every major stellar group you can name. And I’ve already named quiet a few in this review.Like those great albums mentioned, Fear Inoculum asks us to measure where we are now, and dares us to dream for more. It asks, like Pink Floyd on Dark Side, look at what you are doing to yourself, caught up in the machine. “You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.
Please get this album or listen to it, if only to
appreciate what a band can do when they take their time and really try to
create something lasting, like every major band from the 1960s and 70s did.
This band is already famous, now they are shooting for legend.
Fear Inoculum was mixed and engineered by “Evil” Joe Barresi. Bob Ludwig, did the album mastering. Tool created the overall production. Engineering assistance was contributed by: Jun Murakawa, Morgan Stratton, Kevin Mills, Garret Lubow, Wesley Seidman, Scott Moore, and Greg Foeller. Guitar techs include: Dan Druff, Tim Dawson, Scott Dachroaden, Pete Lewis, and Sacha Dunable. Drum techs include: Bruce Jacoby, Jon Nikcolson, Joe Slaby, and Junior Kittlitz. Additional tracking: Mat Mitchel, Tim Dawson, and Andrew Means.
The artwork and video for Fear Inoculum was directed by Adam Jones. Alex Grey did the cover art, booklet art, video concept and video direction. Mackie Osborne created the design and layout. Joyce Su added additional art, visual effects, and design. Matthew Santoro produced CGI, video design, and acted as VFX director. Ryan Tottle & Dominic Hailstone created visual effects. Sean Cheetham created the Tool portraits. Photography was produced by: Kristin Burns, Alex Landeen, Travis Shinn, Lee Young, and Ann Chien.
Eleven years waiting for a new No Man album. Both Tim Bowness and Steve Wilson
have been very busy with solo and other projects in the interim. They now
return to deliver Love You to Bits, this November 22, 2019.
Can you dance to prog?
Well…now you can, when its blended well with electronica,
ambient, pop and fusion. Especially when that album “chronicles the aftermath of a relationship
from different perspectives”. An album about Love and its affects.
Love You to Bits, is No Man’s seventh album, and possibly its most entertaining. The band is made up of Tim Bowness, the lyrics writer, who also sings lead and harmony vocals; and Steven Wilson, on guitars, keyboards and other instruments. The album was written and produced by No Man .
band invited guest performers on Love
You to Bits, including: Adam Holzman, (from Moonparticle, Steven Wilson, and The Fents),
playing keys; David Kollar, from Komara, playing guitars; Ash Soan, from Aviv
Gefen, on drums; Pete Morgan, playing bass; and the Dave Desmond Brass Quintet.
You to Bits” opens with some very cool orchestration, and then Tim Bowness’
voice enters the soundscape. One of the best voices in prog, never disappoints.
“What are you thinking? What are you dreaming? I’d like to know what’s on your
mind”. The keyboards are warm and welcoming. A very danceable beat sets the
mood and makes this latest album, by one of my favorite groups, a very accessible
creation. At around the 2:54 minute mark, a cool riff that sounds similar to
one I remember from Pineapple Thief’s “Nothing at Best”, enters and it is
repeated to great effect. Bowness continues to unfold his feelings for a past
love before us. The openness and clarity is something we absolutely need in
this current state of ‘no contact’ world we live in. Everything seems to be
cold and shared over an impersonal Internet. The fact that a human being is
expressing feelings so freely is refreshing.
same open feelings are expressed to different pulses and beats throughout the
five songs that make the complete set of side one or “Love You to Bits”.
Trance, electronica, ambient, and freely danceable music
is used to transmit this wonderful self-expression. Reaching out
person-to-person for interaction. Like it used to be. Not over some sanitized
cell phone or Internet connection.
The laser cool guitar
work and Depeche Mode like keyboards are wonderful. The Dave Desmond Brass Quintet’s closing requiem sound
is the perfect punctuation to the end of side one of the album.
You to Pieces”, is the second side of the album and it is also broken into five
parts. It opens with gentle flute like sounds, then Bowness sings softly and
emotionally. “All of the heartache. All of the signs. All of the waiting. All
of the time. All of the things we should have known. I thought of the future”.
The gut feeling of a sudden end to a relationship.
side of the album starts out more subdued, and more questioning of what has
happened in the past. There is contemplation of the time spent, and the
memories of what will be missed. This is a song of regret for a very dynamic
and potent love, not a one-night stand.
part 2, Bowness uses voice modulation to great effect.
track 3, we get the powerful lyrics, “It felt like the future”.
On the closing track 5, I got a sense of
the rhythm and keyboards I remember from 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love”.
This album, forces the listener to contemplate
how much they want to hear those words, “I Love You”? I think it is the Holy
Grail that we all seek from birth; and in many different ways. Just to belong
to the society we live within, and the world as a whole. Imagine that feeling,
set to music. That is what you get with No Man’s latest creation. It also,
hopefully, makes you appreciate how important and fragile love is, and to try
to preserve it.
Tool might have written
the album of this year…capturing the current anti-social climate which has
engulfed the world. No Man envisions a return to the feeling of normalcy and
caring, which existed before this nationalistic fervor, that has gripped the world.
They explore what it feels to be in love and to lose it. Their vision is more
expansive and inclusive of more of the Earth’s residents. Their vision
transcends time. Both good and bad times. We will always search for love like
the Holy Grail. “No Man is an island”, and Love
You to Bits may be the
greatest affirmation of the band’s origin. After all,…”Love is all we
Please get this album
if you have ever loved, wanted love, or dreamed of what it would be like to be
Love You to Bits (Bit 2) – 1:03
Love You to Bits (Bit 3) – 1:35
Love You to Bits (Bit 4) – 5:15
Love You to Bits (Bit 5) – 4:19
Love You to Pieces (Piece 1) – 6:03
Love You to Pieces (Piece 2) – 4:02
Love You to Pieces (Piece 3) – 3:03
Love You to Pieces (Piece 4) – 2:02
Love You to Pieces (Piece 5) – 3:44
You to Bits was produced by NoMan,
and the album was mixed by Bruno Ellingham. Matt Colton mastered the album for Caroline International.
I found YYNOT’s debut album, released in June of 2018,
late in 2018, and reviewed it for another webzine. I was completely surprised,
like I bet most fans, when I first heard their live cover of Rush’s “2112
Overture”. I was overwhelmed by the playing which sounded so authentic and
close to the sound of one of my favorite bands. However, I was absolutely blown
away when I heard the voice of 19-year-old Rocky Kuner, sing Rush’s lyrics
almost as well as Geddy himself.
So, to make a long story short, I became a fan and
when I heard their new album, Resonance, was already in the works and
coming out in 2019, I wanted to be early to the party this time. Resonance, YYNOT’ssophomore
release, made it to online stores on September 19, 2019.
In case you are new to the band, like I was last year, YYNOT is made up of Billy Alexander, the band leader, lead guitar player, keyboards player, and backing vocalist; Tim Starace, on bass; Joel Stevenett, on drums and percussion; Rocky Kuner, on lead vocals; and Tony Morra, on drums, and percussion.
YYNOT, opens the album with a signature instrumental called, “Synergos”. The slow plucked lead guitar at the opening is a nice intro, before Starace’s flowing bass takes the stage. Joel Stevenett’s drums and rhythm build, and your memories of all those early Rush concerts come back into focus. But there is some wonderful unique chords being played and most importantly indicating that this album will be much different than their debut. This is a more mature band, full of amazing energy.
They follow an intense opener with their first hit
song, and probably one that will draw a lot of new fans, “Wildest Dreams”. This
song allows Rocky to paint the soundscape with her beautiful voice and fill
your ears with her dreams. The video that supports the song is a good look at a
band on top of their game. Rocky sings, “So much to do and be counted upon. Sharing
all of your heart can never be wrong. But unfolding too much all at once can
slip through your hands”. Yes, indeed. “Imagine yourself living your wildest
dreams”. Yes, I think she and the band are enjoying that moment…for sure.
“Bully”, can be interpreted many ways. I see some
inference pointing back to the king on the cover of “A Farewell to Kings”, as
well as the current state of political and social affairs around the country
and globe. Any bully shades their fear and doubts by attacking or projecting
the same fears or doubts on others. Rocky sings, “Words can also strike a blow
like a chisel chipping away. A mean streak to feel the need for power over the
weak”. Fast moving and accelerating, like early 80s Rush. One of the album’s
best. They do intertwine some Rush chords towards the end, but it is a welcomed
addition to the mix.
“Future Unknown” is amazing! This will be a live show
favorite request…for sure. The lead electric guitar solo at the
beginning, along with the sounds of the wind; paint a picture of a desert, or an
amazing Montana ‘Big Sky’ afternoon, or maybe, even lazing around in a
cornfield in Iowa in the morning. A perfect mood set for Rocky to provide the
best lyrics and vocals on the album, “I wish there was something to touch, that
could light all of my dreams. If I could trust. Not chained to fears and doubts
but set my mind free. How good that would be”. This is her song, their song,
and it is as real and authentic as YYNOT this time. The best song on the album
for me. For me this, is the song that sets the band apart from being a cover
band to hopefully rocketing them into the starshine.
“Open Book”, is the second hit off Resonance and
it is a great one. Rocky sings, “Always gonna say how I feel. Never gonna break
on a deal. Never fake. Always real”. Yes, if we could all live our lives that
way. Good song with a powerful lyric.
“Chemical Burn”, opens with one of those cool
Rush-like, electric lead guitar, sword shows. Then powerful bass and drums
bounce in for another blistering instrumental. Count this in as another live
“She Said I Love the Rain”, is another powerful
showcase for Rocky’s vocal. Her feminine influence with this band helps separate
YYNOT from all of the other Rush copies, and other rock bands dominating the
stage. She balances out the band’s sound perfectly. The band brings the power
chords, bass and drums, but Rocky adds the top layer of the cake with her
vocals and attitude.
“Heart and Soul”, comes at you full tilt with grinding
guitars and drums. Then it settles back as Rocky sings, “Give me a chance to
prove my love. All I ever want is to be the one you’re dreaming of”. A good,
Luck”, opens like most YYNOT songs. But this song has a wonderful surprise, a nice guest violin by Macie Slick. Yes, it will bring back
memories of Rush’s “Losing It”, but this is an original composition full of
YYNOT’s heart and soul. A powerful moment of glory for this band.
“Precious Time”, has a wonderful wandering electric
lead guitar opening with bass added like sprinkled salt or pepper. Just enough
to add flavor. Then, Rocky sings, “Such a fine line between drive and ambition.
Driving so fast you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a bird in the sky. Or
a gentle kiss goodnight”. A great love ballad and solid closer.
Rocky is incredible…but Resonance is excellent! Better than the debut album. The Rush influence
is still there, but you can hear more of their own sound on every track. More
powerful, tighter playing and excellent songwriting. The musicianship is up to
their usual high standards. But with songs like “Future Unknown”, “Open Book”, “Wildest
Dreams”, and “She Said I Love the Rain”, the band is building its own catalog
of memorable reasons to come to its shows.
My gut feeling, is that with the debut
album, everyone came to the shows to watch and listen to their favorite Rush
covers. I bet more fans will show up wanting to hear Resonance songs.
Please give this album a spin and I think you will agree.
Last Watch of the Nightingale, is
Odd Logic’s eighth album. Their last album, Effigy, back in 2017, was my
introduction to the band. I reviewed that dynamic album and learned of the
power and extended influence of this band.
Odd Logic is a Washington state progressive metal
band. The members of the band also play live in a local cover band, that plays
primarily Dream Theater, (Forsaken
For Last Watch of the Nightingale, the band
members include: Sean Thompson, on guitar, bass, keyboards, and vocals; and Pete Hanson,
on drums and guttural vocals. The album will be released on September 28, 2019.
Odd Logic began writing and
recording the music for Last Watch of the Nightingale, back in 2017,
just after the release of their killer album Effigy. In fact, almost 80%
of the album was completed in early 2018. The final track was cut on September
1, 2019, meaning the band had spent at least 190 days creating this epic.
Last Watch of the Nightingale, is another great concept album for Odd
Logic. In summary, the story involves, “a long-time ship captain of trade,
Jengu, who departs from his wife for one last journey on his faithful ship the Nightingale.
Each song brings he and his crew deeper into an unusual storm, eventually
bringing the captain to a state of anxiety and comatose dreaming. At the point
of the ship’s submersion, he uses his last energy to release his caged nightingale,
(bird), that his wife, Anlia gave him for protection on his long sea voyages.
The bird arrives home, and because it has reappeared, Anlia knows the fate of
By the way, the band notes: “More than one nightingale is not a flock, it is a
The CD artwork includes “journals and shipping records
that were recovered for both husband and wife. They are key to filling in the
rest of the story”.
The album opens with, “Last Watch”, an over 6-minute epic
instrumental, featuring innovative electric guitar, bass, and power drumming,
after the opening orchestration and effects. The opening piano and strings are
wonderful. The pace builds until, the full gamut is unleashed. Power hammer drums,
grinding guitars, and overwhelming bass create a blistering anthem-like drum
and guitar attack that few bands have accomplished this year. Every once in
while they give you keys and orchestration, but they continually return to that
torrent of merciless seas of guitar and drilling drums. A very serious opening
track to start this epic album. The only thing that I can remember that is
remotely close is Dream Theater’s “Caught in a Web” or “The Mirror/Lie”, but
this song is heavier! I think those tracks might have been the inspiration to
drive harder. That diving bell at the end is epic!
“Garden of Thorns”, comes at you full pace. Electric
guitar, bass, and in your face drumming, with keyboards flowing behind. Then
Sean Thompson’s first vocals, “All
this time away at sea. Torn between the loves of my life. Point
me south when my journey’s done. Imagine me close to home, will you.
But navigate until then. We must sail on”. A rugged captain
willing to sail on. Soft keys rain down as he sings. More of the power
of “Caught in a Web” or “The Mirror/Lie”, emerges, only this time set to a
story of navigating a stormy sea. Later, Thompson sings, “Oh, midnight on a sea so still. The
world has never been so real”. Another power driver of a song filled
with storied lyrics and emotion.
“Absence”, opens with a drum salute, then Thompson
sings, “I’m sitting on a tall ship
thinking of you. Would you notice that I’ve got a clean pair of shoes?
If I could say anything, just look at the stars. It’s a perilous journey
but I’ve come this far”. Later he sings, “Riding the ocean, I feel alive
and well”. Grinding guitars and great vocal harmonies teamed with expert
counterpunch drumming, bass and supporting keyboards.
On “Chance of Gods”, Thompson sings, “What does it mean if I see no stars.
Help me to breath if I labor to sound the call. Sun fall and dreams, fog
and mist, it’s day 5. In deep thought below, sail and deck, tonight”.
Rain and stormy conditions increase, as do the melancholic piano sounds, deep
bass and low guitars. One of the most dramatic moments on the album occurs as
Thompson unleashes and epic scream, “How will this night end?” Then, “Now
I know, and I know very well. That my soul belongs to the chance of Gods”.
Power music follows. The band eclipses the power of Awake, as Sean’s
vocals and the relentless torrent of guitars and drums outlast Dream Theater.
“Dreaming in Color”, opens with beautiful piano,
before Thompson sings, “I know my
eyes are not certain. Blinded by scenery. Corridors of water lead my
Shout your name to get me through this night. It is
the first time dreaming in color”. The dream sequence music is quite
unique and otherworldly.
“Of the Nightingale”, is full of cool drumming, more
keyboards, with unique signatures. Then, the grinding guitars begins to roar.
And so, does
Pete Hanson, with those guttural vocals. Then Thompson sings, “Some things refuse
to change. Some things are lost in the world. Some things return
the same. Like circles”. Then he sings, with quiet piano pounding
out the cadence, “Faith, repent, please, exception forgive, regret,
these may be my last words”. This keyboard driven song is wonderful.
“Sorrow”, is an
enormously emotional instrumental song full of passionate music following the
“Boundary Division” is a 23-minute epic closer, the
likes of which I have not heard so far this year. It opens with what sounds
like a gong. Then crushing drums, riveting electric guitars and bass. A
thunderstorm of musical sound. Thompson sings, “Full go into the storm, it is now or never. I know the
longer we go we will reach the moonlight shining. Embrace the quickening
pace, we will use its power.
We face the eternal race to sail right through the eye”.
Then, quietly he sings,
“Hello, my hands, we know the meaning of our life. Breathe in, breathe
out, we’ll find the boundary division”. The music in between the story
lyrics is full of passion and power. I refuse to divulge the full storyline. Sean
closes the song with a wonderful closing paragraph, “Hello, to all who know the
meaning of their life.
To those who dare to find the boundary division. You
know we never know the fate of every night. So, go on and… Welcome
Last Watch of the Nightingale
is testament to the ever-growing musical ability of Odd Logic. If this album
gets the right exposure globally, they should be drawing crowds the size of
Dream Theater. I am a Dream Theater fan, and Odd Logic’s music is much more engaging
than Dream Theater’s latest. They just don’t have a major label supporting them,
like DT. Sean Thompson’s voice is comparable to James LeBrie’s. The musical
ability that fills this album should be heard by a wider audience. I hope those
in the music industry that have the power to help bands grow, will take heed of
this call and pick up this album, and appreciate it in its completeness. Please
listen to this on CDBaby or the band’s Bandcamp site and then go get it, and
experience it in full surround sound. It is one of the best albums I have heard
Watch – 6:17
of Thorns – 6:17
of Gods – 6:27
in Color – 8:03
the Nightingale – 8:16
Division – 23:00
Thomas Ewerhard, created the artwork, design and layout. Kevin Hunter, prepared the preliminary/conceptual consultation, and Ben “Jammindude” Straley, provided additional consultation.
The album was mixed, mastered and
produced by Sean Thompson at Offseason Studios.
PRoPoRTIoNS is a progressive rock band, with jazz
fusion influences. The band members come from different parts of the world and
their music sounds, at times, like it is actually beyond the realms of this
found the band’s second album, Vision from a Distant Past, available for
listening on CDBaby.com. The album was released
on September 1, 2019. Their debut album, Reboot, was released last year.
Their music is a wonderful blend of Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, and Larry Fast,
with some definite jazz influences. The music is mostly instrumental, with
keyboards and guitar playing the most prominent roles.
The band is made up of: Lennart
Ståhle, (from Sweden), on guitars, flute and keyboards; Tomas Stark, (from Sweden),
on keyboards, electric and acoustic guitar; Denis Boucher, (from Canada), on drums
and percussion; and Andy Kubicki, (from the USA), on bass, keyboards and
On Vision from a Distant Past, PRoPoRTIoNS uses special musical guests: Jeremy Cubert, on Chapman Stick, on “Double Barrel”, and synthesizer on “Telemetry Drizzle”; John Eyre, on vocals for “Seagull’s Call”; Pierre Bordeleau, on vocals for“Open Door”; Stefan Kubicki, on electric guitar, on the tracks, “Floorcare” and “Colors of Light”; Richard Sheehy, on electric guitar, on “Temporal Induction”; and Dayron Luis San Juan Muguercia, on congas on “Floorcare” and “Pangaea”.
Every song on this album is absolutely innovative and entertaining
to listen to from beginning to end.
“Temporal Induction” sounds like a Larry Fast
computerized song until it changes completely into a Pink Floyd – like instrumental.
It goes from completely outer space to inner space in minutes. Richard Sheehy, on electric guitar,
takes over midway through the song to help give the track its David Gilmour –
like edge. One of the best tracks on the album, and one of the best
keyboard-oriented tracks I’ve heard this year. Absolutely mind-blowing and
“Double Barrel” opens with fast moving computer-like
Cubert, on Chapman Stick keeps a wonderful beat and rhythm. Some of the sounds
reminds me of Steve Hackett’s carnival – like influences. The keyboards are
Call” is my favorite song on the album. Kind of an ole English tale, by the
seaside, with gull sounds and waves of the ocean. The acoustic guitar work and John
Eyre’s vocals were perfect. The flute work is “Tullriffic”! The deep acoustic
guitar is so warm and enchanting.
the Head” opens with soft flute and sorted percussion. Along with the deep
piano, they create a deep, trancelike, Middle Eastern rhythm that begins to
draws you in. Hypnotizing and at the same time wonderfully exotic and unique. A
banquet for the ears.
slides in with orchestration, keyboards and synths, followed by Stefan Kubicki,
on electric guitar. There is this Eastern Asian feeling to the opening, before
the synthesizers take over and plunge you deep into an electronic realm of consciousness.
The organ work towards the ending adds additional dimension to a very dynamic
song. Kubicki’s guitar towards the end brings back many memories of Steve
Hackett’s best. They add flute near the end with bells and chimes to top the
Light”, opens with some Hackett-like acoustic guitar and stunning piano.
Percussion and drums add to the soundscape and power the song to another level.
The guitar work is innovative and different than anything you may have heard
this year. The “fireworks” display at the end is awesome!
is full of deep sounding keys and great guitar and percussion. Pierre Bordeleau
on vocals describes a world full of opportunity and achievement, if we only
realize that there is an open door. “The open door, makes us free forever”. The
drums and guitar solos are dramatic and inspiring.
Drizzle”, opens with cool percussion and drums. The climbing and cascading
guitar work is memorable. This is the most jazz-influenced keyboard show on the
a keyboard and drum workout. Then some excellent electric guitar soloing is
added to take the song up a notch. Searing cool synths join in to take me back
to the feel of “Hot Buttered Popcorn”, if anyone, besides me, even remembers
that fun song.
Illusion”, is full of splendid piano and synth effects.
is another beautiful piano, synth, and guitar concerto. The congas and birdsong
add so much magic. As do the thunder, rain and atmospherics.
Finale” is an absolutely wild space adventure. Arjen Lucassen would love this…I
think. Unfortunately, it ends too soon.
being a mostly instrumental album, every song is engaging and full of entertaining
rhythm and music. Many of the tracks are danceable. When was the last time you read
that in a progressive rock review? This band is absolutely original and playing
what I think might be at the next level of progressive rock. The synthesizer
work throughout this album and all of the music takes progressive rock in a new,
and I think interesting direction. Please give PRoPoRTIoNS’ Vision
from a Distant Past, a
Induction – 4:18
Barrel – 3:06
call – 6:34
in the Head – 5:16
of Light – 7:02
Door – 4:31
Drizzle – 3:58
Splendid Illusion – 8:04
Pangaea – 4:44
Temporal Finale – 1:21
All music was written by PRoPoRTIoNS, except for “Splendid
Illusion”, by Craig Clark.
Vision from a Distant Past was
recorded at Board Potato Studio, USA;
Studio Tan, Sweden; Old Road Studio, Sweden; and Studio ON|Reflexion, Canada.
from a Distant Past
was mixed by Andy Kubicki at Board Potato Studio, and mastered by Denis Boucher
at Studio ON|Reflexion.
it was released at the height of summer, back on June 30;
is still a very good time to appreciate the wonderful calmness of Cirrus Bay’s new
album The Art of Vanishing. With track titles like: “A Blossom of
Hills”, “A Garment of Clouds”, “Eden”, “Falling Leaves”, and “The Poetic Sea”, a listener knows to expect some wonderful,
dreamy, awe inspiring music that will take you away from all of life’s worries
and commitments. The duration of the album returns your mind to a time when we
all had more time to appreciate the wonders of the world, along with beautiful,
Cirrus Bay is a Buckley, Washington, based band. Buckley; to provide
perspective, is a town in Washington on the outskirts of Washington’s largest
mountain/volcano; Mount Rainier. In fact, it is only around 22 miles from Mt.
Rainier. The perspective, of seeing that enormous mountain from sea level at merely
22 miles away, is an awesome sight, along with its intensity and beauty. It is
an inspiring sight during each of the year’s seasons.
Cirrus Bay is made up
of Tai Shan, on lead vocals; Sharra
Acle, on vocals; Mark Blasco, on drums, bass, sax, vocals, and guitar;
and Bill Gillham, on keyboards, guitars, recorder, banjitar, and vocals.
The Art of Vanishing, recaptures the feelings and
emotions I felt back in the mid-70s for early and middle Genesis career, albums
and music. That whimsical sound you remember hearing from David Hentschel’s
influence on Genesis, and the early sounds of the band before the commercialism
that took over on We Can’t Dance, are all here.
The warm, and whimsical, carefree, feeling is ever-present on
the album’s first track, “A Blossom of Hills”. Beautiful acoustic guitar,
original and innovative, but full of the memory of some of Steve Hackett’s best
riffs; welcomes you to join in on the fun, about to be presented. I even hear
some Led Zeppelin III and IV, in those strings. Tai Shan’s
lead vocals, teamed with Sharra Acle’s backing vocal are the charms we
have been missing in the music presented by most of today’s modern progressive
Tai Shan sings, “I ride into the day, as life just fades away…through
the rear window”. Then, Sharra Acle joins in, as together they sing, “A blossom
in the wind, a brush across my skin. And soft the spark that follows. It’s a story
inside unknown. A creation of sight and sound. Sky and ground. New places beckon,
so wild and free”.
After their wonderful vocals, an almost eerily familiar sound
of guitar, like Genesis “Ripples” or “Mad Man Moon”, or even “Horizons”; just mystical
guitar that brings back so many great musical memories, while creating anew. I
even hear some of the wonderful keyboard and guitar sounds I remember from IZZ’s
height of career, “Deafening Silence”.
If that wasn’t enough to light up the memories, Shan and Acle
return to deliver some of the best lyrics and vocals I have heard this year. The
ladies sing, “Into waking hills. Into a sense of freedom. A shout from deep
within, escapes into the sunshine. How we need the sunshine. Into green and
gold. A world that will accept you. Stand with open arms. The beauty will
embrace you. How we need the beauty”.
Then enthralling piano, peaking the emotions and driving the
sound higher. But we’re far from the end of this beauty. The wonderful soft
acoustic guitars return, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s, “That’s the Way”, and the
spirit of “Friends”. That acoustic spirit of real and organic, not funneled through
electric. Natural, in all its glory. Additionally, the band uses banjitar,
which provides yet another rural reference point for this music.
When the ladies return, their voices and the music sounds
like the free-flowing fun of the 1960’s before all the tragedy. The innocence
we felt before the riots and Nixon. That feeling of early CSN and Simon and
Garfunkel. If you are old enough…you remember. If not, I think you will appreciate
They sing, “Upon my waking eyes and ever-changing skies. Beautiful
kingdom. A brush across the hair. To sharing in this land. To build the world and
This over 10-minute, epic song is definitely on my list of
one of the best songs of the year. It has captured a lot of what I remembered and
loved from the late sixties and early seventies.
How do you follow up that epic! With a wonderful acoustic guitar song, with the lovely name, “Undiscovered Isle”. Innovative guitar along the same lines I referenced in “A Blossom of Hills”, only more of it. The reference point and feel of traveling in the nearby San Juan Islands, that dot the Puget Sound, on a warm late spring or summer day.
What could be better than a “Garment of Clouds”? As someone who loves to watch clouds, I definitely understand and feel this song. Acoustic guitar and recorder open before Tai Shan sings, “I run to catch the day that slips away. Hoping to feel one more time. New emotions. Blossoms in the air, comes in a garment of clouds. I remember”. Acoustic guitar rambles ahead as we wander amongst the forest or hills, looking up at the ever-changing cloud formations in the sky. An emotional memory full of soundtrack music. Then, Bill Gillham, on keyboards and Mark Blasco on sax create an inspiring closing section to the song.
“The North Country”, summons an opening organ-like sound that will take you back to Bank’s and early Genesis. The keyboard music from there on in, is original and innovative enough to entertain. This is a very entertaining instrumental with electric guitar added later in the song.
“Sooke Harbour” is an actual place on Vancouver Island, in Canada’s British Columbia Province. The recorder teamed with acoustic guitar opens the song like a soft caress. Then keyboards, sax and drums. A wonderful stream of music flows on like the Salish Sea which surrounds it. Another wonderful instrumental for the band to display their talent. How do you write about a place as magical as
“Eden”? How could any song embrace its mystic power? This song truly tries to capture it, with sounds that remind me of some of the Innocence Mission’s music. Tai Shan and Sharra Acle return on vocals. They sing, “Wind and sea. Stirrings of the place I long to be. At the edge of the heart of memory. And on these shores remain. Thriving from all that’s free from blame. Away from hate and pain”. I will not spoil the rest of the lyrics or story, but you really need to hear it for yourself.
With a title like, “Unexpected Wonder”, you know to expect something wonderful. Cool keys surrounded by soft sax…just amazing. Electric guitar and bass helping to provide the wonder. Piano and cascading Hackett-like electric guitar. Organ, then running keys, bass, drums and an electric guitar solo. More great instrumental music from Cirrus Bay. The sax solo is warm and wonderful.
“Lost and Profound”, opens with soft and wonderful piano, followed by sax. Piano that will take you back to “The Lamb” or Genesis “Ripples”. Another emotional instrumental full of passion. “The Dictator”, opens full of drive with guitar, bass, piano, and drums. The harmony of Tai Shan and Sharra Acle’s voices melding is wonderful. “It’s a time of misplaced trust”. Yes, we are going through that kind of time right now and this song speaks well to the effects of a dictator’s influence.
“Vanishing Place”, is full of wonderful, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway – like piano, at its opening. Then, Tai Shan returns to sing. More innovative keys and synths that seem to build like “Snowbound” off, And Then There Were Three, or “One for the Vine” off Wind and Wuthering. This is the second longest epic on this album, and the album’s closer. The sax solo mingles well with the piano before drums, bass, and guitars join in. Tai Shan returns to deliver, “At the edge the sunlight fades. Lives are lost and feelings fade away. So, they say”. The band opens a wonderful instrumental section reminiscent of Genesis. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Since I was fortunate enough to have bene given the expended version of the album, I will also review the two extra tracks provided.
“Falling Leaves”, is another acoustic guitar gem at its opening. Bill Gillham sings lead vocals on this song. He sings, “You slipped into my world so unexpectedly. I did not think someone could have this hold on me. I tried to hide. This twisting inside”. A thoughtful and reflective song of feelings of love as the seasons turn.
“The Poetic Sea”, is a poetic piano concerto. Every minute is one you do not want to pass. Thank you for this addition. At over 12 minutes, it is the album’s longest song. A portrait of all that is great about the piano. Buy the album for this track alone!
This album is perfect in every way. It lives up to the craftsmanship and love these musicians have for their art. Every song has its, (sorry…I couldn’t avoid it), own special way. Please make this album part of your required listening for the year. Get this album and explore Cirrus Bay’s wonderful back catalog. It is full of whimsical and wonderful music like The Art of Vanishing.
A Blossom of Hills – 10:28
Undiscovered Isle – 2:53
A Garment of Clouds – 5:03
The North Country – 5:17
Sooke Harbour – 3:07
Eden – 3:42
Unexpected Wonder – 6:55
Lost and Profound – 3:03
The Dictator – 4:08
Vanishing Place – 10:08
Falling Leaves – 3:38
The Poetic Sea – 12:10
All tracks were written by Bill Gillham. The album was engineered and mastered by Mark Blasco. The Art of Vanishing was produced by Bill Gillham and Mark Blasco. The cover art was created by Lee Gaskins, who is famous for his otherworld album covers and art for Cirrus Bay. Photos for individual tracks were taken by Bill Gillham.
I went to The Parliament Tavern in West Seattle,
Washington, on August 16th, to see Moon Letters live, after reviewing
their new CD, Until They Feel the Sun. I read about their show at
SeaProg 2019, Seattle’s most well-known progressive music festival, and wanted
to hear them live. It isn’t often that you go to a show expecting to hear
another great band, and get introduced to a brand-new band that takes the show
to another level. The Parliament Tavern show was my introduction to the
innovative polyrhythmic rock of Human Ottoman.
The show was my first progressive rock concert of the year and it was
The show opened with Susan Lucia of Human Ottoman playing
drums with Peter Daniel and Funk Jazz. Peter Daniel was well received and the
band played some interesting jazz and funk noodling. It was great, but not the
feature artists I was looking forward to hearing. Peter Daniel on saxophones from 45th St Brass had
the audience warmed up well with music and commentary. It was a good show, and
I’d recommend any jazz lover to search them out.
up was Human Ottoman. I was already impressed with Lucia’s drumming with Funk
Jazz, however, when Grayson Fiske rolled in
that vibraphone on wheels, I knew we were in for a treat.
Human Ottoman is a dynamic quartet of
musicians made up of Grayson Fiske, on electric vibraphone: Julian
on cello; David Robert Burrows, on bass: and Susan
Lucia on drums; from Portland Oregon. Their music is dynamic and weird at the
same time. But it is innovative and full of excitement. The band has been on a
multiple city tour since releasing their new album, Rampage in August. Their music is in
demand throughout the west and Mid-West. And for good reason. They often open
each song slowly with vibraphone, cello and bass, then Lucia smashes the drums
and they go full tilt. It is just amazing when they do.
experience is hard to describe. It is creative wow. They open with each
musician playing their instrument in different directions, before Lucia seems
to bang the drum for an eruption of sound to begin. Then, the band plays at
rapid speed and increased volume. It is amazing how they time these eruptions
and all play their instruments at peak performance, in rhythm and with melody.
Ottoman played the following songs: “DoeToe”, ”
3(5)+4″, “Drug Anthem”, “Yesterday”, “Real Eyes”, “construction”, and
“100k Lazer Cats”. My favorite was “100k Lazer Cats”, with Lucia
playing the drums with the bow.
Next up, was the reason I came to the show,
Moon Letters. I met with Michael Trew and some of the other band members before
the show and congratulated them on their recent invitation to the Rights of
Spring Festival, next year in Sarasota. An invitation to RosFest is quiet
an honor for any band, but particularly hard to receive for a band in the
Moon Letters did not disappoint. Michael’s
use of the sword, reminded me of the sword used in the legendary Led Zeppelin
movie, The Song Remains the Same. When he brought out the flute and played
my favorite song on the new album, “Sunset of Man” I cheered loudly. The
keyboards played by John Allday, were wonderful to hear live. Kelly Mynes, on drums
and percussion, almost reminded me of John Bonham. I was actually afraid he
would break the drums. A couple of things actually fell off the kit.
Letters did a perfect job of recreating the emotion and feeling of the intimate
story behind their album, Until They Feel the Sun. The
set was the highlight of the evening, despite the wonderful discovery of Human
Fans of the band, and the progressive rock fans that will gather
in Sarasota next year will be treated to a concert delivered by consummate professionals.
I cannot wait until their next album; which I have heard they are already
Moon Letters’ set included the following songs: “Those Dark Eyes”, “Sea Battle”, “The Tarnalin”, “The Red Knight”, “Sunset of Man”, “The Green Lady”, “Beware the Finman” and “Gypsy”, a Deep Purple cover.
who knows me, knows I like Edenbridge. I thought they reached their peak with The
Bonding. There were so many great stories and lyrics, as well as powerful
orchestration on the album. The Great Momentum was a good album; however,
it was not up to the caliber of The Bonding. So, it was with hope that I
requested and received their new album Dynamind.
it does not have the power of the lyrics and orchestration of The Bonding,
it does have something that The Great Momentum was missing. Innovative
keyboards, mixed well with blazing guitar, and a plethora of some added
instruments and sounds.
has always reflected the effervescent spirit of their Austrian heritage in
their music. That spirit is so well summed up in the classic movie of defiance
and love of country, culture, in TheSound of Music.
Memory Hunter”, opens Dynamind, like many an Edenbridge song. Full of
power drums hammering, bass supporting and those two lead electric guitars
roaming like wolves on the hunt. Speed rock n roll, set to a heavy beat. Sabine
sounds great as she sings, “How will you measure your life? Without a past. A
trail of devastation, so dark and vast”. “Dreams don’t fly no more”. Lanvall
has a cool mysterious keyboard sound integrated within the guitar roar, like a
rolling synthesizer that gives this track some magic.
I first saw the track titled, “Live and Let Go”, I thought this might have an
ironic spin on the famous James Bond classic, Live and Let Die. (The
band has covered Bond songs in the past). Instead, it is another traditional
Edenbridge song. What really makes this band so great for me is Sabine’s
singing. No other female vocalist quiet compares to her power, mixed well with
emotion, and without the screaming that often accompanies female metal singers.
And on “Live and Let Go”, she shines well above the music. She has a strong
opening line, reminding me of The Bonding, “Here I stand”, and then she
carries it on so well after, singing, “Live and let go. There’s a light in the
dark to endeavor. Free to fly in a never-ending sky”. Full of enthusiasm and
“Where the Oceans Collide”, opens like most
Edenbridge rockers, full of spark and racing electric guitars, supported well
with bass and thundering drums. What makes it different is Lanvall’s infusion
of some cool keyboard sounds. Edenbridge albums are always full of intricate
and innovative guitar sounds, but the keyboard extras he has added on this
album stand out to me. Sabine sings some great lyrics, “This is not a dream.
This is not a test. Colors clashing like a wave in crest. It’s the line of
sight, where oceans collide”.
“The Other Side”, has a wonderful mix of
stringed instruments adding to the soundscape that the band creates. This one almost
sounds like an Irish/Scottish jig at times; it is a rousing march full of
imagination. Hammered Dulcimer and mandolin makes this one of the best and most
original tracks on the album. Sabine sings wonderful lyrics, “The eternal quest
for the better. Be different than you’re meant to be. Every march into a battle
has the core inside the men. Your mind will feed the universe. The inner voice
“All Our Yesterdays”, is full of all of that
orchestration I miss from The Bonding. Sabine sings glorious lyrics with
emotion, “The coming of age. Where ever we go. Whatever we will know. The dust
of a thousand ways. In all our yesterdays”. Another of my favorite tracks.
On “The Edge of Your World”, Lanvall has some
more of those innovative cool keys and orchestration at the track’s opening.
Sabine sings, “Where you are, is how you see. The edge of your world is a
mystery. All you dare come, by and by the edge of your world is an open sky”.
The guitar solos on this track are some of the most memorable on the album.
“Tauerngold”, is full of wonderful acoustic
and rhythm guitar mixed well with keys and the usual heavy electric, bass and
pounding drums. Sabine sings, “We were bound for this glaring ideal. The call
of nature is our vein of gold. It is the future we hold. It is the scream of
the eagle. The Midas touch. It is the eternal raging stream. The merit real.
The only ideal. The Holy Seal”. The music is always better when this band
tells an elegant story of their native history.
Finally, Lanvall unleashes the album’s best
keyboard/synthesizer intro on the album for the opening of “What Dreams May
Come”. Yes, that is what I was dreaming of, more cool keys, like Tool’s new
album. That keyboard was awesome. But the electric guitar pairings on this
track are also wonderful. Sabine sings, “Home again. The end is just a new
beginning. Those kindred souls. When life is just a heartbeat”. The lead electric guitar solos remind me of
some of the ones I remember off The Bonding.
“The Last of His Kind”, is the longest and most
epic track on the album at over 12 minutes. The opening, is worth the price of
admission alone, but it gets even better. They finally let Sabine sing with
quiet background sounds surrounding. Like they did on The Bonding. That
is when her voice is allowed to completely reach its epic proportions, full of
all her emotions. She sings, “Did you hear me, did anything change? Time, time
and again. Appallingly high. Why, we’re holding on? Only to find, he is the
last of his kind”. The song’s middle section with cool percussion, electric and
rhythm guitars, soft drums and keys is the most elegant section of the album.
Lanvall and the band to please listen to Tool’s new album and hopefully they
will hear the cool quiet sections, like this, are just as powerful as all the bombast.
Sabine picks back up, “We’ve forgone the chance moving on in trance. Holier
than thou. We want it now. We need it, to feed it”. Thunderous guitars and
drums as an epic soundscape builds, like the glory of The Bonding returning.
Sabine closes the album elegantly with the words, “Oasis of light. A planet of
grace. Where powers unite. Shall be our place!”
“Dynamind”, is a final closing thought set to
song, with Sabine singing, “The Holy Grail of inner wealth will lead away. From
the demotion and remorse, out of grey. When polarity will balance the world,
rising above mankind. It’s Dynamind, for all!”
is: Sabine Edelsbacher, on lead vocals; Lanvall, on lead and rhythm guitars,
bass, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, piano, keyboards, orchestration,
Hammered Dulcimer, Kacapi, Bouzouki, and mandolin; Dominik Sebastian, on lead
and rhythm guitars; Johannes Jungreithmeier, on drums; and Stefan Gimpl, on
Dynamind will be release October
25th, 2019. It is another great album, by a favorite band. Get this for your
collection. But hopefully, the band will return to the music and orchestration of
The Bonding, and stay away from the standard grinding metal they are
used to creating.
Dynamind will be available in the following formats: DigiPak CD, including
bonus CD – 2 colored (blue with black swirls), Gatefold LPs with printed inner sleeves,
CD in paper sleeve.
01. The Memory Hunter
02. Live and Let Go
03. Where the Oceans Collide
04. The Other Side
05. All Our Yesterdays
06. The Edge of Your World
08. What Dreams May Come
09. The Last of His Kind