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Arlon - On The Edge CD (album) cover

ON THE EDGE

Arlon

 

Neo-Prog

3.98 | 26 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Just when I thought I was finally getting my "best of 2013" lists together, the Polish band Arlon comes out of nowhere to knock me silly. The glorious artwork immediately nabbed my attention, and I HAD to hear it. Now, seeing as they are from Poland, most people (even I) would be tempted to claim Riverside as an influence to Arlon. This might be the truth, I don't know; but I want to promote these guys by saying that they have their own sound and their own ideas.

And just what is that sound? It is melancholy, pensive, and atmospheric. It is jazzy, well- structured, and brilliantly performed. In other words, somewhat like Riverside, but possibly more akin to Votum. Yes, it riffy, bassy, and keys-soaked, too. We get excellent, even technical drums, high-tuned guitar work that always catches my attention, and a driving bass style that moves the music along without overdoing it. One of the more unexpected sounds to hear on "On the Edge" is the inclusion of a saxophone. And, boy, is it done well. The sax is strong and leading, instead of being noodly. When it hits, it hits hard and you won't soon forget it.

As for the vocalist, Pawel has a thick Polish accent that I feel doesn't hold him back at all. I know accents bother some people, but they never bother me. Pawel's accent is strong, but he manages to master his lines and still have time to be emotive and thoughtful. His deeper tone is also less common in prog, so I really enjoyed his performance.

Again and again, "On the Edge" has drawn me in a little closer. I can't help it. This album is rank with mood and incredible instrumental passages that utilize technicality (sometimes), jazz, soulful guitar solos, and soaring synth lines that all lead back into the dense vocals. The tracks "On the Edge", "Dream", "It's Your Day", and "Can I" are all my favorites, though I must point out that every track is beauteous in its own way. But, when a band includes an audacious, smoldering guitar riff and a brooding bass line with ascending, ever ascending, keyboard melodies that feel so darn colossal, you know that I will be paying attention. And you know that I will love it.

So, I've got to make room. The "best of 2013" just got a little more crowded as I want to give Arlon's debut album top marks. I know that some people like to avoid giving a debut album such high acclaim, but I'm not afraid to give credit where credit is due. Arlon's debut album is one of my favorites of 2013.

Second Life Syndrome | 5/5 |

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