Header
Arlon - On The Edge CD (album) cover

ON THE EDGE

Arlon

 

Neo-Prog

3.90 | 39 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Arlon is yet another newcomer in the flowering Polish prog scene, a culturally rich country that embraces mind music like no other. The list of sonically spectacular releases from this European icon is there for all to behold. Arlon has garnered rave reviews for their debut, a neo-prog thriller that has a slew of interesting attributes that make them somewhat unique. Firstly, one will notice a vocalist (Pawel Szykula) with a deep and rich voice, slightly accented low end version of Simple Minds Jim Kerr but not enough to detract. It does however need to getting used to, as the first impression will throw you slightly off. Keyboardist Jacek Szott also doubles on sax, a seductive instrument that deserves way more prog attention as well as writing all of the material. The tracks are littered with marvellous saxophone intercessions, giving the music an unbelievable warmth and jazzy expanse. Polish bands are well-known for sailing with superb rhythm crews and this one is no exception, as both bassist Maciej Napieraj and drummer Pawel Zwirn provided vivid pulse to the proceedings, with the latter having an affinity for double-bass drumming that swerves near metal territory. Lastly guitarist Wieslaw Rutka shines brightly when needed, which is obviously often in the course of the arrangements. These lads play as a team, no show-off tendencies here as they all adhere in harmony with each other. They also provide a rich palette of intelligent detail, whether mixing acoustic and electric guitar, providing ample space for some glittering piano or that shimmering sax alluded to previously. All the tracks fall in the 5 to 7+ minute range, stating what is needed and moving swiftly to the next chapter.

Highlights are found in each track, such as the glowing title song opener 'On the Edge' , a savvy concoction with swelling drums, adamant piano motifs, hurtling guitar riffs and the first earful of Szykula' s distinctive voice timbre. The sexy sax takes its first cameo spotlight, providing some sensorial backdrop to the otherwise cool instrumentation, a rather interesting factor that makes their music matchless.

'Dream' sort segues nicely, slightly more obvious and carefree with a Collage-like groove, emotional chorus that soars nicely, organ swells and a series of solos (fluttering synth, bass modulations and some fret board luminescence). Another pleasant track.

But from here on, the quality elevates to dizzying heights with a series of pulsating tunes with memorable choruses that take the listener to the finish line. 'Everything For Her' is the obligatory 'change of pace' prog ballad, nudging closer to Believe and Satellite material, pretty, acoustic, straight forward and breezy. There is a sense of deja entendu ('heard before' for you unilinguals), the saxophone weaving its magic once again, convincingly seducing the listener.

The tremendous 'Lies' sets sail with an initial duet between bass and alto sax eventually blooming into a more piano-driven affair, Szott displaying delicate touches and innate musical skills. A blaring synth revives the edgier side with unabashed glee, kicking the proceedings up a notch, while proposing jazzy undertones with a cool acoustic guitar solo, partnered by an electric foray. Its companion piece, 'The Key' just ratchets up the power, veering into Arena/Pendragon/Riverside- like horizons, unlocking various muscular options in the listener's mind. Rutka let's fly an elongated, soaring and searing solo, very measured and restrained but bristling with sparks.

'It's Your Day' alternates power and finesse, a rambling exercise that convinces from the get-go, a roller coaster of emotions built on the stark contrasts, typical of modern neo-prog, keeping things fresh and vibrant. Once again, the main melody is quite memorable, intense and gratifying but it's the intrepid interplay between the musicians that sparks pangs of excitement. The instrumental workout 'Equals' serves not to diminish the vocal talent but rather show off the technical talents of each member and as such, deserves the highest accolades. Rutka in particular carves some stellar lines, vivacious and resourceful. Keyboard work is stunning as well as the bass/drum combo.

'Can I 'has that sweet saxophone smoking again, this time caressing the guitar with jazzy seduction, then morphing into a straightforward Cartesian rocker, guitars ablaze and beats galore. A good composition but not as good as the rest.

'Was it Worth It' is the finale and the longest title, clocking in at 7.22. The shuffling drum pattern keeps the mood vibrant, Jacek Szott's piano cattily agreeing to play along, increasing tiers of dense symphonics are layered to create a sense of magnitude that is very noticeable and satisfying. The extended guitar escapade will please the axe-fans out there, the marshaling beat will supply the right amount of power and we will all agree that it's a pretty cool ride.

Classic prog cover and artwork only add to the pleasure of such a surprising discovery! This may be a band to watch in the future, a promising formula that should consider keeping that sax around, to keep us excited and aroused.

4 nearby precipices

tszirmay | 4/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

WARNING: Forum software upgrade in progress, login function maybe affected for some users during that time.

Share this ARLON review

>

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.03 seconds