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Edison's Children - The Final Breath Before November CD (album) cover

THE FINAL BREATH BEFORE NOVEMBER

Edison's Children

 

Neo-Prog

4.05 | 170 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Edison's Children burst into the progressive community's consciousness in 2011 with the incredible In The Last Waking Moments. I loved that album, so it was a no-brainer for me to pre-order this when I heard it was being planned.

It is, perhaps, fair to say that that incredible album's main selling point was the inclusion of all of Pete Trewavas' Marillion cohorts, until, that is, people actually listened to it and realised just what a good work it was in its own right.

Trewavas, of course, is also a member of Transatlantic, the exceptionally successful prog supergroup. I love Transatlantic, but, with Edison's Children, I believe that Trewavas excels even that venture, for the simple reason that, with Eric Blackwood, he has found a true musical soulmate, and the pair of them have taken their ideas to music without the confines of a "traditional" band, and the result is a second album which, whilst a natural musical and lyrical successor to its predecessor, takes it to an entirely different level.

The album starts eerily, with chilling Blackwood vocals on Final Breath. Does this signify an end, or merely an ethereal beginning? This moves into Light Years, a natural sequel to much of In The Last Waking Moments. A soul lost, searching, especially in the haunting The Fading, thus setting the scene for the main event, the Silhouette suite, which contains over an hour of epic prog.

The first segment of this introduces us to Henry Rogers (he of DeeExpus and Touchstone fame) on drums, who features in much of the suite, and a welcome addition to the fold he is, too.

For me, one of the great differences on this cd to the first album is the exquisite orchestral programming set by the two, although, as before, it is the guitar work which leads and shines. Para glider, synth, electric, bass, rhythm guitars and Oud blend together, combined with intelligent orchestration and drums, to create a landscape quite unique.

From the start, the whole piece screams atmospheric, creating a dystopian vision unlike any from any other act I know.

It is not, I feel, appropriate to interrogate every single piece of the suite, because it demands listening and appreciating as a whole, rather than as separate track listings.

Another interesting, and very welcome, feature of this work is the inclusion of album artist Wendy Pastore's haunting high vocals, and I, for one, would really like to hear more of her in future releases. The artwork itself, by the way, is stunning, to the point that, in my opinion, merely downloading a digital file would be a crime against art itself. It is utterly beautiful. On Where Were You, which features at its vocal heart a delicious Trweavas triple lead vocal and a plaintive Blackwood "chorus", Wendy creates such an atmosphere. With this, the background news anchor, interviewee, Eric's lead, and the atmospheric soundscapes, this is about the best space rock you will have heard since Floyd were at their peak. Until, that is, you come to Welcome to your Nightmares....

Talking of which, this album, as with the last, cannot be pigeonholed into any particular prog sub-genre.There is too much going on. Some have suggested calling it "Haunting Prog". For me, there is no need for an artificial label, it can merely be called.......Edison's Children. That is enough. Sure, on The Seventh Sign, there is a very knowing, and loving, nod to the bombastic sound of Genesis circa Wind & Wuthering (and Blackwood's lead guitar break on the final part, by the way, is up there with any Hackett effort of that time), alongside spacey, dreamy, heavy, and symphonic prog, but it refuses to be pigeonholed, and therein lies its genius. Take The Longing, which has a subdued, sad vocal passage to begin, but moves effortlessly into a full blown heavy prog track, with Blackwood, especially, cranking up the vocal pressure, and, then, we have The Morphlux, which, on first listen, is quirky, but is, in fact, rather scary. What is a Morphlux? I know not, but I do know that these spiritual entities take me back to those golden days of sitting behind the sofa when the scarier monsters on Doctor Who came on, and the music accompanies the nightmare vision perfectly. They come back for more helpings.....gulp.....

As with the first album, it is left to the listener's imagination to garner its meaning. The I Am Haunted section, especially, puts me in mind of a recurring dream/nightmare I have. At my local golf club, there is a stray dog who spends his day following players. He is no trouble whatsoever, but does get a little agitated as dusk approaches. My dream has deceased players teeing off to play in the dead of night, when all is silent in the beautiful Welsh countryside, and the dog follows them at night. When they have finished playing, they simply look confused, as if they know they should be elsewhere, before disappearing to return on the following dream. Strange, but true!

I Am Haunted is a pure heavy rock track, but even this pales into heavy insignificance when compared to What Did You Want, a Trewavas dominated track which blows so called prog metal bands into Kingdom come. Hard, pulsating, and damned heavy.

It all builds up to the finale of the final two pieces, especially Music For The End Credits Of An Existence (is this the end?). On the debut album, the services of Marillion were utilised as the album built up to The Awakening. On this, no such assistance is required, because the guitars, programming, and drums of three special musicians unite to create a glorious noise, layered with sound perfectly mixed by John Mitchell. On this, every single eclectic mix of progressive rock music is witnessed. At once symphonic, then heavy, then pastoral, but overall simply beautiful, this is an instrumental track to die for.

And, to close, The Clock Strikes November, with the final nightmare of our hero morphing into a Morphlux, and the promise of a further sequel to his nightmare of time and space.

I can't wait.

This is another amazing piece of work by two very special musicians, and their helpers both musically and at the mixing desk (take a bow Jakko Jaksyzk, John Mitchell, Robin Boult, and Mike Hunter), and I really cannot recommend it highly enough.

It is, by far and away, the album of 2013 (and don't forget it had an incredible BIg Big Train album competing), and gets the maximum rating we can award here on Prog Archives.

Indispensable, and an absolute must buy for all progressive rock fans. The future direction of quality prog rock is enclosed in this album, it is as simple as that.

lazland | 5/5 |

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