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Holding Pattern - Breaking The Silence CD (album) cover


Holding Pattern


Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 24 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The instrumental ensemble Holding Pattern breaks the silence after a hiatus that has lasted too long. Not that Tony Spada and his old friends had been out of the business, but Holding Pattern seemed simple doomed into the obscurity of the least famous progressive names. Now, this USA band has returned with a vengeance, using its habitual influences (Camel, Hackett-era Genesis, Happy the Man, Dixie Dregs sans the country factor) albeit with an enhanced energy that allows the band to resuscitate its vitality and freshness. 'Flying Colors' kicks off the album in a most appealing note, displaying enough stamina to provide a special life to the melodic motifs. The title track's next, being more evocative and a bit less sumptuous than the opener, still being genuinely energetic. Special mentions go to the electrifying synth solo that emerges at minute 3 and the fluid contrasts between softer and stronger passages. 'Fishbulb' sounds like a lost HTM piece performed by Colosseum II - it includes a funny quote from the popular "The Simpsons" theme. Also worth mentioning are those Emersonian keyboard atmospheres that Tennenbaum provides to the interlude's closure: he really is the perfect counterpart/complement for the ever-featured Spada's guitar playing. 'Once as One' brings more of Holding Pattern's evocative facet, even showing a beeper melancholic vibe than on track 2. After this track's fade-out ends, no follow-up feels more convenient than the shred-driven starting section of 'Out the Other', one of the most modernistic traces in the album, quite close to a CAB-meets-Satriani - it's very likely that the listener may suspect that some naughty elf has taken out the HP CD and put LTE instead. The catchy dynamics we find in this track serves to instill some fresh air into the overall stylishly progressive mood of the album (well, what else can one expect from a good prog album anyway...?). 'Back to the Tunnels' retakes the Tunnel theme from previous releases ('Tunnels' and 'Out of the Tunnels' were included in their namesake EP and their "Majestic" LP). The visceral, incendiary mood of the track summons the varied influences of Dixie Dregs, Colosseum II and King Crimson to the fold in a fog of controlled tension - no way that the person enjoying this album doesn't find this track as one of its highlights. After this magnificent display, 'Blaster' brings back some of the frontal fire of 'Out the Other'. Quite different is 'Like Waves', the most ethereal number in the album, based on the dialogues between guitar and piano: a few seconds before arriving to the fifth minute the interplaying absorbs a weird set of chord progressions, in this way adorning the overall dreamy ambience. The closer 'Honor Before Glory' is an old track recaptured to remind us how well Spada can mix "Spectral Mornings"-era Hackett with 80s-Holdsworth: the keyboard layers seem to wrap the atmosphere. All in all, "Breaking the Silence" is pure symphonic prog delight, particularly for those who love their symphonic powerful and robust. There are also enough jazz-oriented hints as to please the regular fans of contemporary modern jazz-prog or old fashioned jazz-rock. Anyway, this Holding Pattern we hear on "Breaking the Silence" shines like a Phoenix bird out of eternal progressive flames.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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