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Resonaxis - Hymnarium CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.01 | 13 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Another gem destined, I fear, to obscurity were it not for the benevolence, brilliance and imagination of the boys at Bravo, Sunhillow! You are a god! Pairing David Drury's church organ play with Brooke Shelley's female choral/operatic vocals seems natural--for church music. But then you mix in the standard rock instrumentation (drums, electric bass and electric guitar) and you get an unusual and challenging mix. The choice to creating prog/goth rock was made and, though the organ and vocal can at times feel separate from the electric side, overall the church- and medieval- feeling melodies and sounds mix extremely well with the rock elements. I must admit that I half expected the clichéd Captain Nemo/Phantom of The Opera 'crazed organ' sound (it's there a few times, like in "Wachet Auf") but, no! The organ is often actually rather quiet or in the background--not even as prominent as Rick Wakeman used it in the YES-classic, "Awaken." The electric guitar is, surprisingly, the one instrument that is, unfortunately, mixed as if 'outside' the rest of the band, otherwise Resonaxis has managed the formidable achievement of making their odd mix of instruments feel quite natural and perfectly suited for one another.

While I find myself quite liking all of the album's songs, the standouts for me are:

The graphic lyrics and catchy melodies of "Monsignor Loss" (4:47) (8/10), the FRIPP-like guitar arpeggios and harmonized male and female vocal weave throughout "Hymn 8" (4:00) (9/10), "Wachet Auf" (4:07) (8/10), "Deathdamp Allemande" (3:50) (8/10), the STEROLAB- like "Circles" (3:24) (8/10), the almost blasphemous church/sacred feeling, guitar infused, "Mysterium" (5:06) (9/10) (beautiful vocal!), the vocal melody and performance of "Chorus Angelorum" (8/10), the guitar and organ work in "Dustward" (4:25), and the awesome electric guitar chord play (including a 50 second solo intro) and amazing second voice harmonizing in a very church-like way on "Akasha" (4:55) (9/10).

I would love to see some more intricate and adventurous organ play from this maestro--who is obviously well-esteemed if he was the inspiration for Brooke's desire to put together a record. His play is solid and presents a wonderful and unusual backdrop to the music here (except on "Akasha"), but there are really no flashy soli or intricate weaves of multiple keyboard lines. One can only hope that in the future . . .

In the meantime, this is a solid three-plus star effort: an excellent listen for any adventurous prog lover!

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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