I first came across this band whilst browsing another prog website and reading a fellow reviewer’s comments about them. I went to the band’s website and downloaded the free track Portalis, a demo version. I was definitely taken with what I heard there, I contacted the band and asked if I could review the EP as well. Thankfully they agreed and sent me a download to work from with the promise of a physical copy to be sent to me. All of this whilst on holiday in the Canary Islands no less!
Oh the wonders of this modern technological age eh?
This EP consists of merely three tracks with the thirty six minutes of music introduced via Portalis, a song hinged on an really great guitar line with a great tone to it, strong bass lines from Mark Piercy and a syncopated drumbeat from Rick Burtonshaw that slithers around like a snake. There’s lots going on musically with great keyboards and that glorious guitar. A guitar and keyboard interplay section at the 4.05 mark catches the attention before Curtis Adamczyk’s vocals reconvene and a brief but soulful guitar solo leads to a strong keyboard section, all of this with very busy percussion syncopation happening simultaneously. The song, despite being nearly fifteen minutes in duration, moves through several different sections and parts and manages to impress throughout. There’s great performances from all involved, especially the fluid and supple guitar work of Alan Trower and Ben Ellis and sumptuous keys of Jopheus Burtonshaw (who also is responsible for acoustic guitars and writing the music, truly a man of many talents).
The shorter, seven minute, track Acquiescence II follows, which has many nods and throwbacks to 80’s music and also an element of electronic ambient soundscapes with some soaring guitar lines playing their part too. The song moves with a stately pace and with the hint of power and this all works together well, the track shimmering with suppressed energy. It’s a really strong track, the sort of thing Steven Wilson would offer. There is a particularly fine synth melody that takes the song forward and it all ends with strong organ sounds.
The EP closes with Convergence which, at nearly fourteen minutes in duration, is a bit of a monster of a track fuelled by a strong bass line and excellent piano, Curtis’ vocals also being very strong and interesting. The song has lots of keyboards and another fine guitar line with echoes of Pink Floyd, the guitar soaring over everything with great sustained notes and great fluidity. There is then a lute type stringed sound that impresses greatly before a return to the rippling piano lines and synths that dance across the track. I’d say that this track is possibly best heard on headphones or rather loud so you can pick up all the subtle touches and sounds contained within. The band deliver another really impressive track and I think anyone who is going to the Fusion festival in March are in for a real treat as I’m sure they will invariably be making a rather fine impact and impression. The keyboards really impress on this track, especially in the latter section, where an almost military drumbeat ushers in an exciting section where everyone is surging forward, the bass leading the charge strongly.
This is stirring stuff, simply fantastic and invigorating to hear such energy being played out in what is a really epic and strong rhythm. You can hear elements of Pink Floyd, Camel and Marillion here, Jopheous cites Mark Kelly as an influence, along with Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Tony Banks, and it shows clearly here, although he puts his own stamp and style to the songs. The whole EP serves as a great introduction to what is a band of real promise and excitement and I personally can’t wait to hear their debut album when it emerges as, based on the promise of this EP, we can hope for something really fresh and inspired indeed.
Released 22nd November, 2022.
Order from the band’s website here: