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Janus - Paul Phoenix & Janus: Phoenix CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.93 | 18 ratings

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5 stars Is this a Paul Phoenix solo album titled Janus? Or is it a Janus album.featuring Paul Phoenix?.Seems to be a conspiracy of sorts. Having contributed to Janus' work as far back as 1990 this is Phoenix's first full-on album with Colin Orr & Co and Janus has never sounded as rounded and fluid. By definition, not really a progressive rock album per se, Janus Paul Phoenix does possess musical transgressions and anomalies peculiar to the progressive rock form.

An entrancing Latin Choral center piece, Libra Me Domine displays Phoenix's masterful vocals which can only be attributed to years of dedication in the discipline. Preferring to play it safe for the most part, Phoenix remains true to his scholarly craft. You would think that an acclaimed world class tenor making a foray into a rock medium would sound just as agonizing as Celine Dion and Anastacia hacking their way through AC DC's You Shook Me All Night Long but this is not the case here as Phoenix approaches these Janus compositions with tact, drive and artistic genuineness. His trained voice virtually morphs into an instrument in itself when fused with Janus'top flight musicianship of Colin Orr ( guitars, bass guitar, keyboards ) and original members, Keith Bonthrone ( drums ) and Roy Banan-Yates ( acoustic guitar ) along with veteran sax man Dean Houston who is no stranger to Janus sessions. Rikki-Hanson Orr also joins Paul with her sirenic vocals on several tracks.

Diversity has always been an essential on Janus albums..Each track unto itself. That's the beauty of Janus recordings.You never know what is going to transpire within each piece. On this collection of songs we hear nods to Celtic lore, Middle Eastern motifs and suave jazzy saxophone stylings. Arguably the stand out tracks are High Road , an emotion soaked ballad and My Sacrifice a slow rocker that appropriately opens the album acting as a synthesis for a myriad of musical ideas that follow. A couple of stabs are made at pop songs in the form of The Night Train and One Backward Glance. Desolation is a extended darker piece with an exotic world beat feel to it. There are reflective ballads where Phoenix really shines, Watching You Being Beautiful, I Should Have Known and All Those Second Chances as well as a sweet acoustic folk-like tune about a struggling busker. Holding On. My personal favourite, As I Awoke, is an evocative ode with Celtic inferences that recalls separation and lost loves in the days when tall ships ruled the waves.

Colin Orr's multi-dimensional musical faculties and studio wizardry cannot be overstated here. The album is meticulously engineered and produced with searing guitar passages, pristine saxophone treatments, unusual orchestrations and utilization of harmonics that reveal the mosaics of this elaborate work. Nothing has been overlooked and everything happens where and when it should. This flawless jewel is positively not a one listen concern.

All conspiracy theories aside, the union of the all-embracing music of Janus and the vocal power of Paul Phoenix make this offering arguably one of the most accomplished Janus recordings thus far.

Kepler62 | 5/5 |


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