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Echolyn - Suffocating The Bloom CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 291 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
4 stars After what I would generously call a downtime in the world of prog in the form of the 80's, new life is given to the genre in part by echolyn's sophomore album, Suffocating the Bloom. These guys are strongly influenced by 70's prog, yet their own quirky style and modern twist make their sound truly unique and innovative.

Their main influence is definitely Gentle Giant, with the album being filled with both vocal and instrumental counterpoint, and the keyboard use Gentle Giant and the genre are so well known for. Yet they only merely incorporate this into their sound, which could be perfectly and succinctly summarized as dynamic.

This album in particular is good at showcasing the band's dynamics, which ranges from intense and energetic, to laid-back and atmospheric. Just as varied is the instrument use, which includes strings, flute, sax and different keyboard sounds to give this a very symphonic feel despite being so dowsed with the influence of Gentle Giant.

Don't let the short length of the songs fool you; each song is as dynamic as plenty of the 15-minute epics. It is this fact that is perhaps the albums strongest point; being able to stuff as many engaging melodies and riffs into a single song, yet retain a sense of unity by repeating and developing themes.

On a song-wise basis, the album is best split into two halves; the first containing a collection of unrelated tracks, and the second half working as more of a suite. Really, it's hard to find a fault in any song, a truly remarkable feat of consistency. The energetic opening of'21,' the melodic and powerful 'Winterthru' or the brilliant build-up of 'Memoirs From Between' are just a few examples of the band's musical tools. The suite itself is a further testament to the sheer variety in sound and song structure these guys achieve; ranging from the string-lead opening, the driving and quirky 'Bearing Down,' or the baroque-tinged 'Cannoning in B-major,' To extend this list to adequately describe the band's true variety of sounds would be overkill.

Overall, I couldn't recommend this album enough. It is one of the albums, along with the more well-known Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, and Anglagard releases of the time that is responsible for bringing prog back to life in the 90's, and I believe it is an essential album in this regard.


Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |


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