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Echolyn - Mei CD (album) cover

MEI

Echolyn

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 240 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
5 stars Echolyn has been pushing the envelope of modern prog since their debut, and have developed a sound which both references the sounds of retro prog and reflects a style unique to themselves. With mei, the band reaches their musical peak; and no better way to express this than in the form of a 50-minute epic. In fifty minutes the band is able to encapsulate everything they represent up to at this point, be it influences, musicianship, or compositional quirks. But moreover, I believe this is a good representation of prog in general; be it modern or not.

In its 50-minute duration, the band explores a myriad of sounds and styles, yet never truly stray from what they established on one of their first few albums. Ranging from laid-back to aggressive, melodic to dissonant, delicate to heavy, this album explores the full spectrum of sounds and styles.

Of course fans of the band will still be presented with the Gentle Giant influence in the form of vocal counterpoint, syncopation, and that definitive keyboard sound. But it is clear the band took a more symphonic approach with this album, being filled with organ runs and supporting orchestral instruments such as strings, clarinet and flute.

The album, consisting of a single track, should be listened to as such. Fortunately, the song is both chocked full of great moments, yet feels like a cohesive whole. Themes are developed and repeated occasionally, but the real factor here is the sheer number of great melodies and riffs. Suffice it to say every second of this masterpiece contributes to the brilliance of the song as a whole.

This is truly a musical adventure from beginning to end; with unexpected twists and turns along the way. One moment may be dramatically different from the next, but the flow is never hindered. Whether it be the heavy and aggressive climax (33:00) to the subdued part that follows, or simply the string of riffs in the 'all that's golden' section (12:00), the album is a never ending stream of excitement and brilliance.

Mei serves as both the apex of the band's career, but also as a guide of what modern prog should be: Utilizing influences, but never regurgitating, to create an exciting, dynamic, and innovative piece of music. This album is truly a gem. The only unfortunate downside is its too unknown. But sometimes the rarest reap the best rewards.

10/10

Mr. Mustard | 5/5 |

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