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The Emerald Dawn - Searching for the Lost Key CD (album) cover


The Emerald Dawn



3.48 | 20 ratings

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4 stars Four long 10 minute + epics make up the Emerald Dawn's sublime debut, entitled 'In Search of the Lost Key' , another prog-rock take on HP Lovecraft's symbolic book, 'The Silver Key' and what better gift can any progfan hope for than that! The Emerald Dawn are a trio from West Cornwall UK that features the amazing Ally Carter on green guitar and saxophones, Tree Stewart on green keyboards and not so green vocals as well as Tom Jackson on green drums. The album artwork is green as well, but joking aside, there is nothing green about these endowed musicians. While their style is difficult to pigeon hole, the sound is definitely neo-prog or symphonic, or eclectic or crossover or space or'well you get it! They cannot seem to find a specific home within PA which I must declare to be a winning proposition, as they do not seem to clone anyone. That makes them original, something the band now has proof of in terms of patience in finding a nest.

On 'Beyond the Wall', there is a fabulous echo in the production, as if seaborne mists have muffled the sound with salty desperation, cloaked in a spectral sheen that can evoke gothic tendencies, almost medieval in imagery. Dense carpets of lush keyboards, propelled by a classic one-two punch beat, adorned by some psychedelic guitar frills that instantly seek to charm the gruff listener into submission. 'Take a walk into the forest of your mind' provokes such liberation and immediately pervades the space between, the prog mechanism alive and kicking. Tree possesses a lovely hushed voice, inspired by some of the 80s synth bands such as Bel Canto, Opus 3, The Eurythmics, Yazoo, Propaganda and its ilk. The mood quickly acquires a hypnotic feel, closely drawing in the unsuspecting sailors, like some bewitching siren off St-Ives Bay.

Things get even spookier on the amazing 'Buridan's Lament', a lush symphonic evocation of Jean Buridan, a French priest and medieval scientist in 1300 who ushered in the concept of 'impetus' and the Copernican revolution. The atmosphere is again lathered in an almost monastery-like echo, a feature I find utterly fascinating. The vocals are deeply urgent, almost manic, as subsequently expressed by a saxophone solo that would make a repentant Nik Turner swallow his pride. Ally Carter then picks up his green guitar and flicks another series of simple but repetitive licks that blossom into a whopping solo that howls into the blustery winds.

But the killer track here is the scintillating 'Shadow in Light', a masterpiece of symphonic splendor that buries very deep into the soul, coached by a puerile drum beat and lathered by washes of celestial synths and a beseeching electric guitar rant that oozes emotion, sufferance and pain. Brooding, vaporous and mystifying like some fog-drenched moor, the meandering axe pleads, begs and cries with abject rage. Suddenly when least expected, a pool of delicate electric piano surfaces to better highlight the gloom, traversed by sizzling synthesizer slashes that verge on the histrionic. The moaning electric guitar sobs mightily, a strong emotional undercurrent rips through the speakers. Bloody fabulous!

The final piece is the title track and it hardly disappoints, giving the impression of witnessing a continuous work, even though there are some evident differences between tracks, such as the furry organ that rules over the arrangement, with Tree's haunting vocal firmly in command. There is a more ambient groove feel here, as if beckoning a new chapter to come, some new adventure or quest, now that the key has been found. Carter peels off a series of low-end blasts, very electric like old school Jeff Beck, and the sizzle fizzles into the warm Penzance night.

Similar to the unheralded Polish band Beam-Light, the music of the Emerald Dawn is a hybrid original , nothing overtly polished or over-produced, just fine music played with obvious passion and creativity. In some strange way, had this work been taken over by some high fallutin' wiz producer like Steve Wilson, the result may have been devoid of its natural charm. This kind of dedicated and honest artist is the paragon of our genre, why we need to encourage them further and beyond 'the lost key'. Love it!

4.5 Jade Mornings

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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