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Druckfarben - Second Sound CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 130 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Second Sound" is the second album by Canadian progressive rock group Druckfarben and features American-born Phil Naro on vocals. It's because of Naro, whom I first heard on Corvus Stone albums and later with progressive metal band Unified Past, that I decided to try out this album.

It's indeed a wonderful collection of rock with heavier moments all with so many of the hallmarks of the progressive rock genre. In many ways, it's easy to imagine a harder rocking modern version of Yes with Naro's vocals often coming across as a more metal counterpart to Jon Anderson. Naro's career has seen him spend time with the harder and heavier side of rock, and I recently discovered that once sang in the Canadian hard rock act Coney Hatch after replacing no one other than a young Kevin (James) LaBrie in the mid-eighties. Please note the band made no recordings with either vocalist.

I'd like to say here that I've recently purchased a number of prog albums released in the last few years and I also read an interview with The Enid's Robert John Godfrey where he claimed modern prog bands just mimic classic prog of the past without any concept of what it really means to be prog. Put those two together and I find myself wondering why some of my new albums should be great. But listening to "Second Sound" I find the answer: because the music is fun, exciting, and well-composed and performed. The choice of guitar sounds and styles, the keyboards, the piano, the tricky rhythms, the vocals both lead (there is a second lead vocalist at times which I'll assume is Ed Bernard) and backing, the additional violin, and just the lively and clever music overall make this an album fun to listen to. It might puzzle my wife but I think she knows that I have stuff like this in my collection (she still doesn't know about the weirder stuff!).

Which brings me to an observation about this album's music: this is not a rock album with some prog songs and some more mainstream; this is a prog album from start to finish. What's that supposed to mean? I have a lot of albums that are closer to crossover prog or even mainstream rock that include progressive parts as colour like one might add a violin or flute to an otherwise guitar and keyboard album. Druckfarben have stuck very well to the rules of prog creating modern music with modern sounds and not blatantly paying tribute to anyone in particular (though there is a nod to Rush in "Surrounds Me" and some parts that are easy to compare to Yes) all the while paying attention to non-standard rhythms and complex and difficult playing while still adding beautiful melodies in some tracks. It doesn't come off like a prog exercise. The songs are impressive and easy to get into for someone with appreciation for music that goes beyond mainstream.

The album just clears 56 minutes which makes it a reasonable listen without toilet breaks. Most of the songs are between four and six minutes but still offer exciting music with surprises. It's sometimes seems like the songs should be longer. The title track is the long runner at 18:49 and basically continues with what the album has already brought to the (turn)table though more pleasant surprises crop up, such as the violin and fiddling near the beginning, or the banjo around 10:30.

While the song "Second Sound" has some great music, Druckfarben did not spend all their energy on the epic number. You'll find great songs across the whole disc!

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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