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Sebastian Hardie - Four Moments CD (album) cover


Sebastian Hardie


Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 128 ratings

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3 stars The Air Supply of, no, just kidding!

There's nothing wrong with Four Moments per se, in fact if one throws one's cynicism aside you have to say that it's a very pleasant slab of melodic prog. It's extremely positive in mood and accessible to the hilt, with mainstream pop tendencies impossible to deny which is what I meant with Air Supply joke. Obviously SH doesn't sound like Air Supply but they are as easy to absorb as Boston is in the FM rock field.

Essentially here you have wave upon wave of sensitive and soaring electric leads, well played and ranging from soft to wailing, never harsh. These leads work like a charm against the easy-going rhythm section and layers of mellotron. But while this is nice music I feel it is going too far to put SH on the same level as Camel, Floyd, and Yes as many will. SH had one good album, those other bands had 4 or 5 great album each, arguably more for the latter two. When it comes to the meat of composition and songwriting I do believe these guys are a notch below the giants, reminding me more of bands like Tai Phong, Styx, or ELO. Their songs have much longer jams than the bands mentioned but in terms of the overall feel of the music I would put them in that group. A little cheese and sentimentalities can be great but for some SH will get close to that line of what they can tolerate. Is Four Moments worth checking out if you love melodic symphonic? Absolutely. Is it up there with the most exceptional, essential, and serious progressive rock of the 1970s? Ummm, no. The guitar playing is excellent but the other performances are average. The vocals are heavy on the drippy melodrama. The songs themselves seem a bit repetitive and without a ton of substance. You will read lots of reviews talking about what a masterpiece the 4-part "Four Moments" suite is-but if you listen closely to what is being played and compare it to "The Gates of Delirium" you will quickly realize that Sebastian Hardie is not delivering that level of musicianship or composition. Looking through another lens, what made symphonic gems like Shine On or Gates so emotionally compelling were a wide range of feelings, including the dark ones, madness, danger, even violence. There is nothing of the sort with Four Moments, this is simply music for watching a sunset. Yes that can be a beautiful thing which is why I have some affection for this pretty music but it's also why I don't find it as compelling as the greats on my prog shelf. In the final 13 minute instrumental, after listening to the same repetitive lead guitar line for 10 minutes, as pretty as it is, what do they come up with for the big climax? Essentially they grab the same lines and speed it up a few clicks-cmon guys! At least throw something unexpected at the finale!

The mini reissue is a gatefold that shows off the beautiful outer cover artwork, while inside is a band photo that.I have to restrain myself here, but let's just say more than a few of you will get a chuckle from it. A luke warm thumbs up from me, I can only say there are many prog bands I'd recommend before this one. Then again, if you don't care about the issue I raise and just love beautiful melody served up without conflict or challenge, you may want to get to this album sooner than later. For that purpose, I assure you it will not let you down-some of the melodies are just as pretty as the cover art suggests.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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