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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone II CD (album) cover


Corvus Stone


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 332 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I was approached by Colin Tench, asking me to listen to the new album by Corvus Stone and maybe review it on PA. Since I have had the great pleasure of giving Oceans 5, another of Tench's projects, a review I was more than happy to. I was fully aware that Corvus differed from Oceans 5 but I had no knowledge of just how this difference would manifest itself. Since I had no preconceptions to speak of I listened to the album with an open mind, not quite ready for just what lurked beneath the cover of the album.

Since I knew nothing, really, about the music inside I was amazed and impressed from the get go. The opening quartet of songs does not give the album away but is in itself an amazing set of songs. Pastoral, beautiful and gently flowing. 'Boots for hire', a cover apparently, opens up quite bluesy but changes direction quite a few times, going from blues to all out hard rock and ends on a choral, middle eastern note. Really impressive stuff, since it does not get the feeling of being forced. Rather it is very natural. The track 'Sneaky entrance to Lisa' is to me a perfect ending to this suite of music. Maybe I am only imagining it to be four parts of an epic work but I will cling to that notion, anyway.

The ZZ Top-ish 'Purple Stone' with it's Saxon overtones is quite refreshing but does not make my bells chime in the same way as the first four. It is a matter of taste, I suppose. It's good but I have not totally warmed to it. There is however a jamming section with organ and Tench's guitar which is really good. It does possess a certain refreshing quality, as I have stated, and kicks in like that wafer thin mint after a nice meal and that is certainly a good thing.

The pastoral and beauty returns for a spell with 'A stoned crow meets the Rusty Wolff Rat'. The very beautiful intro gives way to an almost avant garde fusion section which is energetic and engaging, before landing in a very spacious feeling. Tench's guitar and the keyboards feel like a cloud of sounds and sights.

There are a couple of really short tracks, like 'Dark tower' for instance, really deserving notice. They are like bridges or passages between the songs, guiding you through this bewildering palace of music. How these harmonize with everything else makes me marvel at the musicianship on display.

'Moaning Lisa'. Ah, now there's a track. Nigh on 15 minutes and built around a sense of renaissance music. It's like Henry Purcell or John Dowland going prog rock and really embraces the seemingly vast oceans of time and musical soundscapes. While one envisions the countryside manor house in the Elizabethan era in all it's glory, one is awakened by a mouth organ playing this furios solo. (In fact it reminds me of the mouth organ in 'The Wizard' by Black Sabbath. That is good, mind you.) It all finishes with a waltz. How do you pull that off? To Corvus Stone it is the most natural of things, it seems.

I will not go through every track, there's an incredible 16 of them, but worth noticing is the variation in styles without ever losing the sense of quality. There are no fillers. Everything from jazz, rock, hardrock, folk, latin (Scandinavians in Mexico), classical, medieval and contemporary share the same plate and it is a glorious plate. The way Corvus Stone approaches music, every song is treated as an entity of it's own, as is stated in the CD, is quite rare. That becomes very obvious when there's lyrics in finnish rather than english. That tom e is a strength and boldness.

The abundance of moods, genres and textures are really something to give them unashamed credit for. It is brave and visionary. Boldness in the shape of a CD. Despite the fact that there are such a mass of different genres I never feel lost or confused. It is a delicately ordered collection of songs moving through all and any territory without being forced or seem abnormal in the context of it all. It simply flows, glides and utilizes everything great about music and manages to capture the essence on top of that. It is an achievement and one that I think will grow into the conscience of others. I am also of the conviction that it will stand the test of time just perfectly.

So, all this praise and now for the final judgement. How to rate this album? I started out feeling that it obviously needed four stars and that would be quite enough but the more I listen, the more I hear and the more I discover I lean more and more towards five. And why shouldn't it get five stars? I cannot really come to any convincing reason as to why not. This is an extremely well written, well perfomed and solid album. On the strength of that notion I will award it five stars. I think they deserve it.

GruvanDahlman | 5/5 |


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