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Aethellis - Northumbria CD (album) cover





3.06 | 23 ratings

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2 stars Northumbria is the second album by Aethellis, an American band based in Baltimore, Maryland and it was released in 2011 with a line up featuring Ellsworth Hall (keyboards, vocals, guitar) along with Mark Van Natta (guitars, vocals), Erik Marks (bass), Chris Marks (guitar), Joseph Dwyer (sax) and Mike Harrington (drums). Well, you can find here some good ideas while the band try to blend catchy pop melodies with prog influences and funk but in my opinion the final result is in some way poisoned by an excess of sleek, synthetic sounds and irritating drum machines that risks to spoil the pleasure of listening... In fact, although on their website they mention among their influences bands such as Yes, Genesis, Alan Parsons or Camel, on this album the overall sound draws more on the eighties works of the aforementioned bands than on the vibes from the halcyon days of prog.

The opener title track is emblematic. According to the liner notes it's an epic piece inspired by the battle of Heavenfield, fought in 634 between a Northumbrian army led by Oswald of Bernicia and a Welsh army under the command of Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd. It starts in a very promising way: harmony vocals a cappella, roaring keyboards surges alternating with calm, dreamy passages... Then, after six minutes, surprise! The music incredibly veers to cheesy synth pop for other five minutes. The other tracks flow away without infamy and without praise, jumping and turning around echoes of Genesis pop period and sweet melodies. It's a pity, because I feel that this band have a good potential and unexpressed talent to showcase... Anyway, if you like bands such as Toto or Asia have a try! You can listen to the complete album on bandcamp...

andrea | 2/5 |


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