Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Vantasma - Beyond Fallen Dreams CD (album) cover





3.80 | 39 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

An Excellent Debut from Indonesian Neo Prog Band!

First off, please disregard the fact that I'm an Indonesian by nationality and consider me as a citizen of the world's Progressive Rock Community. By doing so, I hope you would judge me as an independent prog reviewer who does not carry any message that makes biased and lenient views toward a band coming out from Indonesia. Help me out on this, please. If you are still in the opinion that I'm carrying Indonesian flag here, I'd suggest you skip this review and read other reviews from other reviewers. Thanks.

The above disclaimer does not mean that I'm not proud knowing that from my homeland there is (finally!) a neo progressive band with great composition and having their own character and identity as a true progressive band. I was a die-hard fan of neo progressive music since Marillion's debut album "Script for a Jester's Tear" was released in 1983. And this band, Vantasma, whom I knew for the first time during the band's performance at Progressive Festival in 2001. But it was then when they played progressive metal. Sometimes in June 2006 I listened to the band's demo was aired at the Progressive Weekend program organized by Indonesian Progressive Society (IPS) and it blew me away. I called the radio station asking who actually played that song and to my surprise it was an Indonesian band called Vantasma. Wow! What a great music, I thought. And if my memory is still working okay, the tune played on air was "Save Our Land". The music reminded me to Camel, Pallas, IQ and Pendragon with some influeneces from Marillion (Fish era).

My curiosity was answered when I saw with my own eyes and ears that Vantasma played great songs (their own compositions) at 17th Progressive Nite on 28 July 2006 at Romeo Café, SCBD, Jakarta, Indonesia. They performed their music flawlessly and nobody in the café was familiar with their music because by that time they had not recorded their album yet. On full review of the band's performance, you might want to go to the band information page where I put a link to my blog which describes the show in detail. I will re-link it soon when the band's website is fully developed.

This long awaited album was finally at my hands roughly two weeks ago. A bit late, actually, because I had so many things to do by the time it reached my desk. Judging from its cover (designed by Merdie) it represents truly a prog album. Looking at the track duration, each track has a duration of more than 8 minutes (hmm . it must be prog!). When I spun the CD at the first time, it blew me away. This is what I expected from a neo prog band. (Well, actually I knew there was a band, called SEMESTA, that wrote their material in neo prog vein but they did not turn it into a full-fledge album like Vantasma).

Timeless Pray (8:19) kicks off the album stunningly with an upbeat tempo music led by great guitar riffs and solo. I'm not quite sure who actually plays the riffs / rhythm and who plays melody. From my experience watching the band live, I guess Edi takes the lead on melody while Jacky provides good rhythm section. Not just guitars that need good attention, but the bass lines provided by Gig is nice too. His bass guitar work provides coherent flow of the music. My first reaction was two things: the opening track was impressive (beat-wise) and the recording quality was excellent! The music moves in a consistent way with all transition parts are connected smoothly so that the listeners do not aware that there are shifts in tempo and styles. When vocal by Opik enters the music, the music style changes unnoticed and makes it great entrance for lyrical part. This is truly what I like with neo prog music: the music changes unnoticed and it provides great harmony - especially during transition pieces.

Opik vocal moves along with music beautifully. His voice characteristic is in between Peter Nichols (of IQ) and Nick Barrett (of Pendragon). Well, you might also say something similar with Alan Reed of Pallas. All the way during lyrical parts the voice line go hand in hand with guitar melody, sometimes interjected beautifully by Welly's pulsating keyboard work. This kind of thing makes the music so wonderful. Lyrically this song tells the story about the need to do a constant (timeless) pray to God, the creature of the whole universe including human beings. "In the skies, He wrote our destiny, until the end of time .." remarks the end of this track. Well, I cannot give less than five stars rating for this track! It's definitely kicking! It sets the overall tone of the album.

Save Our Land (13:23) begins with musical part which demonstrates innovative keyboard work by Welly. In a nutshell, I can sense the heavy influence of Marillion (to be exact the "Garden Party" track of "Script for A Jester's Tear" album). Oh yes, the keyboard part shares the same nuance. But when the vocal enters the scene, the music changes in a completely different style - again, without going noticed by my ears until I repeat this CD for the fourth time. My orgasm of this track happens when the music interlude at approx minute 3+ where guitar solo overlays the continuous music in relatively medium tempo. AT the end of the solo, keyboard by Welly gives its injection to the interlude part. Gaga provides his drumming with some dynamic strikes. After lyrical part, the music gives a transition part where by this time keyboard gives a solo interlude.

As the name implies this track tells us a call for the country land of Indonesia to get united despite differences in views. It's definitely a positive nuance. One thing I need to emphasize here is the intertwined voice line by Opik with guitar melody (Edi / Jacky), infused by Welly's great keyboard work. Even though this track consumes time, but I don't feel any sense of getting board because the band manages this composition in such a way that throughout the track there are some changes of styles. It's an excellent track, four and a half stars rating.

Time Before The Time (8:14) is the shortest duration song from this album and it starts in an ambient nuance followed with slow-paced music, maintaining the neo progressive style. The opening part comprises nice keyboard work followed with vocal line and guitar fills. It reminds me to the early Genesis music. The music flows naturally with nice guitar work and melodic keyboard solo which characterizes a true neo prog music at its best. My mind explores to the kinds of music like "Chelsea Monday" or "Sugar Mice" of Marillion in different style. I would say that this track is quite accessible for many listeners as it has touchy melody, combining guitar and keyboard.

In the middle of the track (approx min 3:50) the music moves into different part and it reminds me to the music of IQ which usually uses this kind of smooth transition piece. At approx minute 5:00 the style reminds me to "Driving The Last Spike" of Genesis - of course it's not using the same melody - it's just similar in nuance. Well, I have to admit that even though this is a debut album, Vantasma is masterful in handling the transition pieces with rich of textures. The textures are mainly built from great combination of guitar solo and multi-layered keyboard work. It's an excellent track! Four stars rating. The only trouble (?) I have with this track is the lyrical phrase that says "Me close my eyes" which projects a grammatical error. I understand that this is to suit with the music bars which were finished with the word "watch" before it reaches "me" - but actually this can be avoided. Well, my two cents idea, probably.

Temple On The Sun (9:17) continues the music journey of previous track with mellow opening part and right after minute 1:30 the music moves into crescendo with another great (really great!) combination of guitar and keyboard work for approx 35 seconds followed with stunning guitar work. Basically, I want to tell you that the band provides richness of textures in the composition on the first 3 minute of this track before the vocal enters with : "I see the red blue sky, I'm all alone ." . oh man what a great vocal entrance - melodically - here. Two thumbs up for the band's maturity in handling transitions. So rich in textures and chords and so natural even though sometimes they sound bit complex, but they are all enjoyable! The ending part of this track is uplifting - combining the guitar and keyboard works beautifully (I mean it!) - followed with high register notes of vocal line that says "Forever . forever . forever .". I salute Opik for his ability to manage this ending part beautifully!

Nightmare (10:57). This fifth track has opening part that is similar with the beginning part of "The Magic Roundabout" of IQ "The Wake" album. Well, I don't know whether or not the band is aware about this or not. It's probably not as this kind of thing also happened with other bands like, for example, Porcupine Tree in which part of the music is similar with Yes "Heart of The Sunrise". Fortunately in the case of this track by Vantasma, it happens in relatively short period (approx 11 seconds of the opening part). As this is happening on the soft guitar riffs, the nuance is carried over until minute 1:30. That's okay, as it does not seem the close similarity in melody and chords especially after minute 1:30. The music changes its style, augmented with nice guitar solo at approx minute 2:30 onward with totally different style. In this track, there are keyboard parts in soaring style that remind me to the sound of mellotron. I salute Welly for his mastery in creating multi-layered keyboard sounds that make the music is heavily symphonic in nature.

In the middle of the track the music moves in much more uplifting mode and creates ultimate satisfaction for my ears and my mind - especially with the inventive guitar solo augmented with keyboard work. The ending part (approx the last 1 minute) demonstrates great conclusion of the track which reminds me to the ending part of Marillion's "Forgotten Sons" where the lyric says "You're just another coffin .". It's an excellent concluding part! Four and a-half stars for this track.

Trial Of A King (9:36) opens with guitar riffs accentuated by long sustain keyboard work in symphonic style overlaid by vocal line in relatively high register notes. This song seems like to connect back to the opening track which starts with something quite uplifting and upbeat. But this music style is a bit like a reprise even though the two tracks have totally different style. Opik voice is similar - at this track - of those that Peter Nichols delivers with IQ. Oh man . the transition piece at minute 3:50 is definitely brilliant, totally splendid! Why? The music changes into mellower style with stunning guitar solo overlaying the long sustain, multi-layered keyboard work. It consumes approximately two minutes of really wonderful music interlude with touchy segments. At approx minute 6:00 the music turns much complex with again great intertwined guitar and keyboard work that reminds me to the music of ELP.

This song concludes the album wonderfully!!

Concluding Remarks

What can I say with (almost) all positive words I describe above? Overall, this debut from a new neo progressive music coming from one of "rest of the world" countries, Indonesia, has - I think - taken the neo progressive music in the world by the storm! Hold on your thoughts for a second. bear with me, please . Yes, I know that neo prog music is something that emerged long time ago in early 80s. Even the hero of the sub-genre - Marillion - has declared the departure of its music to the new arena, leaving off neo progressive (read the album inlay of Marillion "Anoraknophobia"). But there are bands that still consistent with this style, like Pallas, IQ, Pendragon, Jadis and Arena who came into the bandwagon in 90s. Style-wise, neo prog is not something new. But, . this band has taken a bold idea with the same path of neo progressive style in completely wonderful composition. Even, I'm pretty damn sure if Mike Holmes and Martin Orford of IQ have ever listened to this "Beyond Fallen Dreams" album, both would recognize the compositions that Vantasma has written are brilliantly. They would give two thumbs up for this album.

On top of music, the production quality - sonic quality of the CD - is excellent. I can get good balanced of midrange, bass and treble so that I can enjoy the music to the fullest. Overall, music and production, I tend to give this album with a full five star rating. But it's not fair, look at my individual rating for each track as I mention above - not all of them are five stars. So, I give it 4 ˝ stars out of 5. Highly recommended!

So, are you still questioning my nationality? I will wear your white feather, I will carry your white flag . Just prove it yourself! Buy this CD! Are you getting trouble to get the CD? Send me a Private Message and I would help you! Beware! If you don't like neo progressive rock, don't ever think to buy this CD. It's strictly prohibited for those who do not appreciate neo progressive music... Keep on proggin' ..!

"If you think Indonesia is a country of terrorist, it's a total fallacy!"

Gatot | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this VANTASMA review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.