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Deluge Grander - August In The Urals CD (album) cover

AUGUST IN THE URALS

Deluge Grander

 

Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 104 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars SUPERB SYMPHONIC PROG - MASTERLY, WONDERFULLY INSPIRED.

Oh boy, the early seventies... SUPPER'S READY, FOXTROT, NINE FEET UNDERGROUND... More than thirty years have passed since then; surely you don't expect any NEW bands to come up with such epic tracks? Ever since the 1990s many have tried (Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings and the Tangent are just a few that come to mind) but all, in my view, have failed. Why? Well, they certainly had no problem tackling half-hour pieces, but most of what they did seemed derivative... they lacked vision and churned out even more embarrassing lyrics than Jon Anderson...

Deluge Grander could easily be the first prog band to change all that. In some of their work you may hear echoes from classic 1970s prog, but such influences have been completely absorbed, in compositions that are ambitious, superbly structured and highly dramatic. AUGUST IN THE AURALS lasts for more than 70 minutes, but there's never a dull moment. In fact, the album is so full of quirky and original ideas - I'm sure even after the 20th spin I'll be discovering new things. So if you like your symphonic prog BUSY, this is one for you.

I must admit not everything is perfect. Production is a little shoddy. Dan Britton, the main composer, does terrific things on all the keyboards you can imagine, but some of his piano and organ solos sound a little lost in the mix. Dave Berggren is a magnificent guitarist whose subtle playing gives great pleasure, but every now and then his licks sound a bit hesitant, which makes you wonder why the band couldn't have used more exciting takes. A whiff of amateurishness hangs over the whole enterprise, but I'm wondering if this shouldn't be seen as a plus - just as the rough edges of NURSERY CRYME and FOXTROT are preferable to the glossy polish of 1980s corporate rock...

The sombre and sporadic lead vocals are 'satisfactory' at best, but surely we ought to admire Deluge Grander for NOT employing over-dramatic lead singers like Neal Morse, and for NOT spoiling their compositions with AOR-warbling a la Kansas. Only on the title track I really regretted the absence of a powerful solo singer (a bright female voice would have been most welcome) since it has such a majestic, soaring melody (somewhat similar in spirit to FIRTH OF FIFTH and THE FOUNTAIN OF SALMACIS) - perhaps a live recording will do it justice one day.

Meanwhile let's not carp, but be grateful for what we've got. The 26+ minutes 'Inaugural Bash' sounds, at times, like Hatfield and the North meet The Gates of Delirium and, as I indicated above, there's an incredible lot going on... Since the death of Frank Zappa, no- one in prog has attempted such convincing and IMAGINATIVE extended compositions as Dan Britton and his mates. 'A Squirrel' and 'The Solitude of Miranda' are superb as well. I guess you could describe them as symphonic prog folk with some fusion influence. They occasionally reminded me of Gryphon or Pekka Pohjola, but you may hear other infuences too. The main point to remember is that this album is far more than the sum of its parts. An astonishingly rich and rewarding experience.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend AUGUST IN THE URALS to all true progheads. Buy as many copies as possible, for yourself and your proggy friends - and let's hope Deluge Grander are at the start of a long, brilliant career.

fuxi | 4/5 |

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