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A Big Goodbye - History In Rewind CD (album) cover


A Big Goodbye


Heavy Prog

3.86 | 50 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars Prog has the phenomenal ability to fuse with just about any genre of music and enhance it musically. From the genre's very inception with the fusion of classical and jazz elements with the popular rock of the day to the fusion of prog elements to metal, jazz, avant rock, and so many more, essentially any genre's spectrum of variety can be expanded by prog elements. One of my favorite standard adaptations of this concept is the fusion of hard rock and prog, making what we at ProgArchives call Heavy Prog. The musically dense riffs, strong melodic sense, and exquisite musicianship always make for a phenomenal listening experience.

Many bands have mastered this fusion, from Rush to Karnivool to Porcupine Tree and more, but a newcomer to the scene, A Big Goodbye, seem to be catching on very quickly. The band's 2011 debut Sounds and Silences saw a mature and experienced group of musicians who were not shy in their compositional abilities and made sure the listener was aware of this. The songs were musically dense, melodically powerful, and catchy to boot. The band took their time to write and record their next album, History in Rewind, and it works in their favor. This sophomore effort shows a further maturation and exploration of an already strong musical voice.

The album contains a host of styles - the strong hard rock element that was present on the debut, a mysterious dark heavy prog atmosphere, carefully crafted piano pieces, and the catchy rock songs which made their appearance on the band's debut. The band can be compared to a host of different sources, from Dream Theater, Rush, and Orphaned Land to Metallica and Iron Maiden, all of which contribute to an incredibly eclectic sound palate for the album.

The diversity of the tracks lends itself to a very nicely varied listening experience. Heavy songs like the opener "The First Time Around" contrasts gorgeously with the lighter, airy song "Breathe." The band made no effort to stay within the bounds of a single style, and it works to their benefit. Transitions between styles works perfectly as well, so the listener does not feel jostled by any harsh shifts of tone. The only complaint I would have is that there is a weak sense of continuity around the album, but even with the non-linear progression of style shifts, the album holds together excellently.

The band decided to fill out some of the album by re-recording some of the best of their debut and placing them on this album, which both benefits and detracts from the album. While the re-recordings sound gorgeous and the augmented orchestral tracks of "Thinking Out Loud," "Solitude," and "The Great Divide" only accentuated some of my favorite songs from Sounds and Silences, I typically don't like when bands put old songs on new albums. For new listeners, this is absolutely not an issue and it provides a nice review of the best of the first album, but for a listener who is familiar with the old album, they're mostly unnecessary.

Even still, overall the new album by A Big Goodbye is excellent. The variety of tone, maturity of songwriting, and purity of recording quality make an outstanding sophomore effort. Some songs are simply killer and unfairly catchy, like "Numb" and "The First Time Around." The instrumentation is strong throughout, and while some songs could have a little more complexity and could be put more 'outside the box,' overall the album is a very strong heavy prog album. I said it when I reviewed Sounds and Silences and I'll say it again - I can't wait to hear more from these guys! 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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