Cinematic progressive rock band Proud Peasant return with their new album ‘Communion’, the follow-up to their debut album, ‘Flight’, and the second part of the It Does Not Cease trilogy.
Proud Peasant have forged a reputation for combining classic and modern sounds together, drawing comparisons to Mike Oldfield, Gryphon, Wobbler, and King Crimson, while also incorporating elements of movie and video game soundtracks, metal, thrash, chamber music, avant-garde, Chinese classical music, and ragtime jazz to create a cinematic mix of sounds.
There’s something refreshingly retro and nostalgic about ‘Communion’, the music has a feel of the 70’s and 80’s about it but brought bang up to date for the current generation. The excellent keyboards and guitar that open first track An Embarrassment of Riches give a touch of retro 80’s pixellated gaming to the song but crossed with Weezer’s brilliantly pastiche track Buddy Holly. We move into more early scandi-prog territory (Wobbler jamming with Marillion while Roine Stolt and Kaipa watch on), the vocals then start and just carry on that feel, it’s all very entertaining and sounds like the band are having an absolute blast, I know I am and as opening tracks go, Proud Peasant have nailed it! Instrumental A Thousand Cuts takes a dynamic, thrusting bass line and drums and adds to an edgy guitar riff and skittish keyboards to deliver a tense, atmospheric sound that leaves you on the edge of your seat as if something momentous is going to begin. It’s very arty and suspenseful before the shackles are off and it’s prog-jam time. Hectic, funky and delightfully intense, the music runs away with you and carries you forward on a wave of bonhomie. Then there’s the sax, oh what a glorious sound, utterly captivating and enthralling, it adds another dimension to what is already a pretty glorious track. The track closes with a seriously impressive drum section, like something out of an afro beat gig, the sonic shifts are mesmerising.
We then go all Romany with the delightfully intricate guitar that opens A Web of Shadow, delicately dancing across your aural synapses, you can imagine the musicians sat around a campfire and people dancing wildly as the tempo increases. Let’s segue then into something much more mariachi with the superb trumpets and vocals before the ignition is fired and off we go with a hell for leather guitar riff and a wondrous ebb and flow between the darkness and the light. There’s some very intelligent songwriting on show here which is performed to perfection by the band and it’s another exciting song with a an almost sinister intimacy at its core, I love it! A Storm of Swords enters the fray with a strong Rush feel to these ears. It’s an up tempo, high energy piece of music that never seems to let up and leaves you breathless in its wake. Take the fiery, monolithic guitar riffs and the almost demonic, squirrelling counter that dances across your mind in maniacal fashion, it’s restlessly brilliant and definitely not for the faint of heart.
Shibboleth takes that high energy from the previous track and raises it a few notches to deliver a post-punk/prog crossover of mammoth proportions before things calm down a bit and the less frenetic vocals begin. You never lose that feeling of the chaotic though, you’ve got no idea what’s coming next, the song structures and influences can come for just about anywhere on this album, it’s like a weirdly wonderful voyage of musical discovery and one you won’t want to get off. The lengthy, epic pièce de résistance of this superb album is the scintillating The Fall, a nineteen minute mind-blowing voyage of genre, mood, and sound. Strap yourself in for a musical ride that knows no bounds and just enjoy what is before you, these are musicians at the top of their game who have graciously invited you into their world to experience something dynamic, primal and just so damn good. I’ll not say no more about this song, you just need to listen and let it wash over you, commit totally to this delightfully eclectic adventure and you will love every second.
With the phenomenal ‘Communion’ Proud Peasant take no prisoners, from the obscure to the pompous and overblown, every minute is a joyous thrill ride of musical wonder and discovery. It’s a wonderfully immersive, exciting and ultimately rewarding experience that will live long in the memory.
Released 20th October, 2023.
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