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Leap Day - From The Days Of Deucalion, Chapter 1 CD (album) cover

FROM THE DAYS OF DEUCALION, CHAPTER 1

Leap Day

 

Neo-Prog

3.82 | 30 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars And the award for `biggest mouthful but oh-so proggy album title of the year' goes to Leap Day's `From the Days of Deucalion: Chapter One'! The Dutch band have taken their inspiration for this concept album from the 1950 novel `Worlds in Collision' by Immanuel Velikovsky for this 2013 album, and that cryptic and fascinating work is ripe for some progressive self-indulgence! Turning a dated screwy pseudo-science book into a melodic prog album was always going to be a bit of a gamble, but despite the odd clunky or forced moment here and there, the band has completely succeeded. Taking little cues from the classic era of Genesis and the epic sound of Pink Floyd, but with a vocal personality all their own and little traces of humour, this atmospheric work is not only Leap Day's crowning achievement to date, but one of the finest Neo Prog albums in a long while.

"Hear the silent pressure, feel the growing tension...". With those words and the charismatic tones of lead singer Jos Harteveld, Leap Day delivers one of the most confident openers I've heard on a prog disc for quite some time with the two part `Ancient Times/Signs On The 13th', a shining example of perfectly executed dramatic build, supreme instrumental taste and a thoughtful lead voice. A mysterious chiming guitar introduction, a slowly approaching march of stormy military drumming and disorientating synths, moody ambient passages, and a searing electric guitar weave around a sublime chorus with slow-burn pressure. The foot-tapping `Changing Directions' lifts the mood instantly with some energetic lead guitar runs to open and close the piece on, an up-tempo beat and a truly infectious melody. `Insects' has lovely mellow acoustic guitar flavours over soothing vocals that not only has the unenviable task of turning words like `Aphids come by, crawling caterpillars they jump so high, high in the sky' (yes, really!) into a wonderfully flowing chorus, but then wraps it in sweet group harmonies as well (that even briefly offer some very Collins-esque `Wind and Wuthering'-era phrasings), rising and falling Mellotron wisps, stormy strangled electric guitar apporoaching tension and loopy darting synth battles.

`Hurricane' breaks up the pleasing sounds a little with a raccous and stomping Iron Maiden-styled heavy rocker with a bellowing repeated chorus. The stirring vocal, chunky bass and whirring Moogs of `Ambrosia' is a call to glasses raised - "Let's celebrate life now, drink with me, let's be immortal, eat with me divine Ambrosia", and it's hard not to be caught up in the occasion. `Haemus' carries on the merriment and positivity contrasting uplifting classic Genesis-flavoured instrumentation with tough lead vocals and heavy grooving guitars. It's then surprising that the band closes the album on an addictive instumental, `Llits doots Nus', that could have easily come off any 80's Genesis albums (if, you know, they weren't terrified of being a prog band by the time `Invisible Touch' rolled around), with it's pulsing beat, churning hard guitars and icy synths, but with a little regal fanfare bluster to end in a grand manner as well.

Accompanied with a lavish CD booklet that perfectly matches the colourful variety displayed throughout the music, this album is an excellent example of a band stepping up in a massive way, despite already having delivered strong work throughout their two previous discs `Awakening the Muse' and `Skylge's Lair'. Tighter melodies, tastefully executed instrumental passages without the need for drawn-out showboating, warm production and a surreal subject matter showcase the band improving everything they already did very well, while also setting the bar very high for not only themselves, but the Neo Prog sub-genre itself. High claims, no doubt, but along with Flamborough Head's recent `Lost in Time', Leap Day's `...Deucalion: Chapter One' lifts the Neo Prog standard to great heights, so roll on `Chapter Two', Leap guys...in fact, why not make it a trilogy?!

Five stars for one of my favourite Neo discs ever.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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