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William Gray - Living Fossils CD (album) cover

LIVING FOSSILS

William Gray

 

Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 45 ratings

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Atkingani
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This album got me completely! I've been hearing WILLIAM GRAY's "Living Fossils" at least once per week since 2007 began - it's almost one entire year by now. My approach to this stunning work goes more in the direction that this Argentinean act made a rich and astonishing panel of everything we have seen/heard in the prog scene in the last 40 years.

Here one will find all: marvelous symphonic tunes, folk and balladesque melodies, hard and metallish parts, new classical & romantic & baroque, psych & space tints, etc. Even being a conceptual work, the band provided each section with a different song, linked by the main theme but having few musically in common among them, except for the atmosphere they produce: heavy, dark, quaint, melodic, exquisite - plus ça change, plus ç'est la même chose! Influences range from Beatles to Astor Piazzola, not forgetting King Crimson, Genesis, Anglagard, and many others. But it's not a salad: everything runs accordingly; a real progressive output.

The short 'Intro' has delicate chords resembling a child's piano only to introduce the explosive 'Darkest side', where WILLIAM GRAY show their claws vigorously. We are then wrapped in a parallel world of dream and illusion, an endless vertigo of marvels - check those string parts, for God's sake! 'Prossession I', the following track, pushes us into a dungeon of mystery and fear with its wonderful church organ sound. And then 'Fading points' brings us back to the original theme, this time in a poignant way through suave vocals and cool instrumentation, broken by hard guitar riffs and drumming beats and trimmed with some unique cello sounds. 'Broken minstrel' pulls us to reality with acoustic guitars backing a plain singing and soft choir; a kind of relief like dividing "Living Fossils" in two segments although the atmosphere goes in a crescendo until a point that the song starts to fade - a nice effect.

'Introspection' looks like a sorrowful piano lesson soon transformed into magic synth sounds that give room to the metallic exordium of 'Urban battle I", and we can feel precisely the fate of Virgilio, the album's character. The song segues to a baffling miscellanea of tunes and chords only to be chilled by the prodigious 'Eye in the hole', which for some reason reminds me Beatles' 'I want you' with its mesmerizing guitar riff. 'Dragonfly' displays a nice pop-rock ambience with fine vocals and conventional instrumentation that provide a certain recovery moment after so many variations. 'Sadness' keeps the low-profile atmosphere with its catchy fingered acoustic guitars and cello accompaniment.

And then heaven crumbles with the church organ intro of 'Urban battle II' followed by nervous and harsh guitar action joined by severe Hammond playing and strange drumming spices. The grievous theme returns in 'Urban battle III', with each track separated from each other by the short and contemplative 'Interludio'. As the concept approaches its final a lugubrious environment holds sway pouring from the sepulchral organ in 'Prossession II' and mainly from the melancholic 'Awareness', the concept's ending but not the album's which also contains a dazzling tango version for 'Urban battle' suiting more accurately the adieu to this admirable release.

Being this album so fresh, I was a bit cautious to strike the masterliness label on "Living Fossils" but considering the overall thrill it transmitted to me (including the general production, cover artwork, etc) I have no other option than to apply the 5-star rating and recommend it effusively for everyone.

Atkingani | 5/5 |

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