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Ghost Medicine - Discontinuance CD (album) cover

DISCONTINUANCE

Ghost Medicine

 

Heavy Prog

3.93 | 35 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars

GHOST MEDICINE Discontinuance

Produced in England, with the full participation of Colin Edwin, comes this project from Atlanta's Jared Leach and company (including lead and background vocalist and lyricist Sarah Hoefer, amazing drummer and programmer, Scott Prian (who also recorded and mixed the album), and, of course, Colin on bass. Three principle musicians created these incredible weaves of heavy prog rock sound! Amazing!

1. "Crooked House" (9:44) opens with an awesome synth-supported acoustic guitar picking/strumming solo. By the time the first minute comes to an end, the intro gives way to a very fast-paced, intricately performed heavy rock with a slightly Southern Rock flavor. The male and then female vocals that enter around the two minute mark take over the foreground but the amazing YES-like instrumental guitar feast that forms the background goes on--and would command all of the listener's attention were it not for the beautiful melodic voice of Sarah Hoefer and the great harmonies presented by composer/bandleader/guitarist extraordinaire, Jared LEACH. (Remember this name: It is one I guarantee you will hear again!) An interlude of beautiful ANTHONY PHILLIPS-like solo acoustic guitar in the eighth minute feels like it could be the "bookend" of the song's opening intro--but no! The song returns to its top speed heaviness for the final minute and ends on a high note of LED ZEPPELIN quality and ferocity! Amazing song! Incredible opener and introduction to this extraordinary new talent! (10/10)

2. "Shiver" (5:55) opens with a very strong C-W feel and sound--which is only solidified with the entrance of Nashville-like vocal of Sarah Hoefer for the first verse. The instrumental bridge between first and second verses is awesome--and some amazing slide guitar work continues beneath Sarah's singing of the second verse. By the time the chorus and instrumental sections arrive the song has almost lost any Country/Southern feel to it. Astonishing flow and development! The guitar, bass, and drum work on this song are spell-binding, to say the least--so much so that I found myself pushing the repeat button three times when I first heard it! The song's only flow is that Sarah's voice starts to become drowned out by the instruments by the end of the second verse. In my listening history, only BRUCE COCKBURN at his very best rivals this complex, virtuosic sound! (10/10)

3. "Departure" (6:24) opens with a very heavy, fast-driving OCEANSIZE-sounding guitar, bass and drum weave, which backs off a little into more of a heavy PORCUPINE TREE sound as the vocals enter. The instrumental passage at the end of the second minute contains some awesome guitar--which falls into some ALCEST-like guitarscapes beneath the next round of vocals. The next instrumental bridge contains some guitar shredding (two tracks, R & L) that rivals anything anybody has ever done with pick and four fingers. This then segues into a minor-key section that sounds like something between Italia's AKT or East Anglia's FEN or 4AD's DIF JUZ. The instrumental sections are amazing. The vocal sections are weak. (9/10)

4. "Desert Spring" (8:54) has some very interesting sound and structure. I especially like the atmospheric treatment of the guitars and the presence of acoustic guitar. The song's instrumental sections contain some of the heaviest soundscapes of the album--more than Porcupine Tree at their heaviest--and then some of the album's most sensitive, atmospheric sections, too. Yet they work. Together! In the seventh minute there is a very GENESIS-like feel to the soft, atmospheric section as it slowly climbs back into full soundscape. And then Sarah's wonderfully impassioned vocal falls over some of the album's most straightforward neo-prog section (not unlike MAGENTA, MOSTLY AUTUMN or MANTRA VEGA). (9/10)

5. "Beautiful World" (4:00) opens with some soft, delicately played acoustic guitar--sounding a lot like many of the 1980s guitarists from Windham Hill--or Steve TIBBETTS and/or the late, great Michael HEDGES. The ensuing voices (Jared with Sarah in harmony b vox) present a spacious story with Jared's voice sounding quite beautiful--not unlike Britain's Tony PATTERSON. Though an all-acoustic guitar based song, this one plays out quite well. John Martyn or Tim Blake might have liked this one enough to cover it. (9/10)

6. "Broken Corridor" (5:01) despite solid sound and song structure, there is nothing new or innovative about this one; it feels like something that's already been done. It opens with some Southern Rock Dobro-like guitar fast- picking--which then becomes the pace and melodic structure of the whole band sound. Things quiet down enough for the vocal to enter--first the male, in a REM-like sound, and then Sarah for the second verse. The breakneck speed is, I have to admit, impressive. By the third verse Sarah and Jared are sharing the lead. The drumming and guitar play during the instrumental passages rival anything Gavin Harrison and former DIXIE DREGS' axeman Steve Morse have done. Amazing duo! (9/10)

7. "Discontinuance" (11:14) opens with spacy synths, computer-like percussive sounds before being joined by gentle acoustic guitar arpeggi and bass guitar. Sarah Hoefer's HEATHER FINDLAY-like voice enters at the end of the first minute to deliver the first verse of the song. Lively drums and more playful bass accompany the second. Then, at 2:30, everything stops to start a very PORCUPINE TREE/KING CRIMSON-like heavy instrumental section. All instruments are cruising at very skilled levels for two minutes before a slight switch allows the presentation of a more traditional electric guitar solo--albeit, a brief one, as things soon back down to allow drums and bass, synths and Sarah's vocalizations to haunt us beautifully. At the beginning of the seventh minute everything shuts down to make way for acoustic guitar arpeggio fast-picking and slide guitar in background with synths and bass in support. (Colin Edwin is masterful!) Echoes of screechy, scratchy electric guitar sounds open the ninth minute before the acoustic guitar picking takes on another few phrases. Then a great wall of sound, like a tidal wave rushing onto the shore, fills the soundscape during the tenth minute before fading into a slow fade into guitar amp feedback, static, and distant guitar tunings till the end. Amazing song! One of the album's other top three. (10/10)

A five star masterpiece of progressive rock music and one of the most astonishing albums of the year if not the decade! Again, people, remember this name: JARED LEACH is the New Kid on the Block and I predict that he will be quite a force to be reckoned in the near and distant future!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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