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Quill - Sursum Corda  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.23 | 52 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Quill was a young American power trio devoted to give it a try unabashedly in the pompous side of symphonic prog. Following the example of ELP in terms of a taste for long compositions, epic arrangements and a predominant use of organ and Moog synthesizer for the lead melodies and main motifs, the fact is that the threesome don't manage to pass beyond the realms of what's nice and interesting. You can tell that they were heading for standards of excellency regarding the compositions, but the intentions portrayed on the arrangements and expansions of the main motifs are nothing but a promise half fulfilled. The lyrics are very naive and unsubstantial, and given the fact that the vocal input is poorly delivered, the sung parts come out as a distraction from what otherwise could have been a more thorough elaboration of the instrumental passages. That having been said, the keyboardist's skill is wide enough to provide the nuclear strength for the whole group, while the rhythm section stands solid and precise. One might wish that the rhythm duo had reached closer to the dynamics of other more brilliant progressive power trios, but all in all, they behave competently during DeLoria's ceaseless excursions of melodies, orchestrations and adornments. Their "Sursum Corda" album is a suite divided in 2 sidelong Movements. Had each of them been longer and more maturely conceived, I'm sure that the material would have driven the musicians to use more energy than the one registered in this recording. First Movement contains the brightest individual sections of the entire album - 2 to 5 -, but generally speaking it fails to create a consistent ambience and a sustained fluidity: it is really uneven. The opposite can be said about Second Movement, which is the most consistent and cohesive one, although it fails to create enough drama when it is apparently needed. The lyrical richness suggested in sections b and c is only partially exploited, while the instrumental interludes feel extremely short, not having enough room to develop and/or enhance the hooks evidently betrayed in the organ riffs and synth layers. All things considered, I must prefer the Second Movement to the First: like I said before, it is more consistent and it bears more successfully the ethereal mood of the epic's concept, which concerns man's travels in and out of the world of dreams. The album's main shortcoming is the failure to develop its potential strength and bring it to the fore; the album's main virtue is the clever use of attractive motifs. Nice, while not being really essential - "Sursum Corda" will make a good addition in any symphonic prog lover's collection.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |


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