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Hedersleben - The Fall Of Chronopolis CD (album) cover





3.90 | 11 ratings

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4 stars With their 3rd album, Hedersleben completely changed their direction yet again from the avant-garde krautrock of their debut "Upgoer" and the moodier voyages of "Die Neuen Welten" into full-blown prog rock concept album territory with "The Fall of Chronopolis", while still retaining key traits of their sound, yet now presented in a tighter and more dramatic fashion and dare I say, the most rocking of their 3 albums thus far. The major players of the last 2 albums, guitarist Nicky Garratt, drummer Jason Willer and organist Kephera Moon really seem to stretch their songwriting muscles more than ever on "Fall of Chronopolis". However, the new additions to the band, vocalist/violinist Ariana Jade & bassist Ursula Stuart, make their respective presences known right away. Jade with strong lead vocals (a first for Hedersleben) and simple, yet effective violin melodies (sometimes in duet with Garratt's guitar), and Stuart with the bass-tapping madness of instrumental "Gulf of Lost Souls". What really sets Hedersleben apart from most modern prog is their incessant groove. They're not afraid to play 4/4 if it's works, and nothing on here is needlessly complex for complexity's sake. Nowhere is that more apparent than on the 5 core songs, "An Empire", "Third Time Fleet", "Imperator" (my personal favorite), "Ghost Armada" & the title track. The arrangements are tight and focused and there isn't a wasted note or time signature on this album. "Ghost Armada" for example has sections in 5/4 and "Imperator" is mostly in 6/8, but you wouldn't know it with the way everything stays in the pocket so well. In between those songs are 6 short vignettes that keep their improv-based tendencies in play without losing focus on the story. The 11/8 instrumental "Somewhen Veena" is the strongest piece of the 6 and the most pleasant sounding song on the record, retaining the same dream state qualities of "End of Love" (from "Upgoer") and "Nomad Worlds" (from "Die Neuen Welten"), yet somehow being more unsettling than both of them. Overall, there is some real dynamite playing on this album and proves that not only is Hedersleben a bunch of amazing musicians that excel at flights of fancy, but they can write some great tunes as well. If you love prog rock of the days or yore, this will satiate your appetite well enough for new material. And if you're new to Hedersleben, this is a great place to start, but the best thing you can do is go see them play live. If you love the albums, the live show is even more epic!
WizardHat87 | 4/5 |


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