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A.C.T - Last Epic CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.07 | 269 ratings

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5 stars Cabaret Symphonic Prog Rock - a true masterpiece album!

Who say prog music must be dark? Well, some people do. The darker the music, it's much more prog - so they say. But A.C.T. has proved the other spectrum in which their music - most of them are upbeat and in a fast tempo - gives a humorous nuance even without having to know the lyrics. Funny, but it's very enjoyable and I started to love the band. When I look deeper in greater details on their music, it's composed neatly with an excellent melody and top notch arrangements. On the basis of tight and neat composition, the musicians deliver their contribution flawlessly. This is my only CD of the band. Previously I made a review of their debut album Today's Report on a loan basis from my prog mate's CD collection. I loved the music that's why I purchased this album from local music store where I was very fortunate that it was available down here in Jakarta for USD 19.10. Is it expensive? I don't know. It's worth the investment because I got great music! Well, Jakarta is not bad for CD availability hah? I think so. At least there are many prog stuffs down here and of course . many prog lovers. Unfortunately, very few prog bands that DARE to come here. They are so concerned about ridiculous Travel Warning issued by their Government. Come on proggers .. Don't let your fear overwhelm you, show your progness by coming to my country .!!! (BTW, every month there always be one BOYS BAND coming here. Last week there were 300 jazz artists came here to do CHARITY concert. Where are you proGGers?????). I invite proggers all over the world to do a serious meeting deciding to do a concert here. We have a great promoter down here. Don't worry .. OK? Email me now!

Back to Last Epic of A.C.T. , the following is my view. I am doing this with a labor of love because the music is damn GREAAAAAATTTTTT ..!!! (sorry, I'm not exaggerating. I urge you not to read this long and boring review, just GET THE CD MAN! You won't regret! Satisfaction guaranteed.).

Intro as the name implies, it sets the opening theme for the album. It comprises a real orchestra arrangement in an overture style. Nice.

Wailings from a Building blasts the music off with a fast tempo intro using keyboard solo as the lead, accompanied with a guitar rhythm, bass and drums performed in fast speed but it does not like a typical power metal rhythm. It's really cool intro, I would say. The music suddenly turns into quieter passage when the vocal starts to join the music. "No, it cannot be the morning light.". What's so unique is the music riffs that accompany the first singing part - it's a very neatly arranged violin / cello combined with keyboard. It reminds me to prog metal music but it's not that heavy. Oh man . it's a wonderful arrangement. For me personally, I never found this kind of music before. It sounds funny but amazing!!! The vocal is so powerful. During the interlude part, guitar does a stunning solo with no distortion at all. Well, everything in this track has been neatly arranged! Am speechless man ..

Mr. Landlord starts off with a humorous style lyrical part "You better honour him, don't jeopardize your stay. Put on that perfect smile and start sucking up! Hey! Mr. Lanlord , nice to see you again ." in relatively medium-fast tempo. WHOAAAA . man . what a great opening part. The song flows dynamically with great variations of high and low points singing style by the lead vocalist. Violin / cello plays beautifully during musical transitions. Guitar solo plays shortly with great melodies. It sounds like a cabaret symphonic prog rock music, I would say. Is there any kind of that sub-genre? I don't know ..

Torn by a Phrase - oh my GOD! This track is really killing me now. The intro is so catchy. It starts off with soft and inventive guitar riffs (oops!! Do not imagine that this is something like a prog met riffs man, it's so cool and soft). The keyboard sound enriches nicely with a beautiful repeated chords. When vocal starts entering the music, acoustic guitar and violin / cello plays beautiful music at the background. During the singing part, the music plays beautiful chords in a riffs mode. There is also a beautiful transition with classical touch and improvisations by multi instrument. Well, ACT music is so unique and I would say that it's very hard to classify their music. It's an ACT music. Probably it's not a derivative one.

Ted's Ballad begins with a violin / cello sound that brings the vocal to start mellow, in a very melodic way, accompanied with beautiful piano sound in classical vein. I thought that this is gonna be a sad song - nuance wise - but when it reaches the chorus, it does not sound that way. The interlude part explores a light orchestra arrangements dominated by cello and electric piano. Oh, what a great arrangement!

Dance of Mr. Gumble brings the music in a very fast tempo again with excellent keyboard and guitar works, composed neatly, performed flawlessly. The keyboard sound provides a symphonic nuance but with sort of soft musical riffs. The guitar solo is stunning, even though it's not a long one. It's an excellent instrumental piece.

Wake Up show-casts how the band plays the game again through providing a music that makes you laugh. Yeah . it starts simply with a reggae style man. But it's not truly reggae as the band has included orchestral arrangements as well. The interlude features guitar solo with a different rhythm section that sometimes gives me surprise such as sudden change to a quiet passage with short bass guitar solo.

Manipulator is probably the most symphonic as far as opening part. What a surprises me is then a guitar riffs followed with a powerful vocal tone. This track has a variety of melodies whereby sometime the music turns mellow with melodic vocal line backed with violin, and sometimes having heavy riffs. It's so dynamic as far as composition. I cannot picture precisely on how great the composition of this song. Top notch and very original! I cannot identify any influence by other band.

A Loaded Situation explores dynamic keyboard solo in fast speed with technical capability at its best. The music suddenly change to another form with great combination of guitar, bass, drum and keyboard. Another great instrumental piece in a very discrete structure but it produces an awesome music. I love it man ..

The Observer opens with a short choir recorded in a sound effects mode. The music flows in an upbeat tempo with an uplifting mood. Vocal plays important role where the vocalist sings in his full swing that able to bring the music dynamically. It has powerful keyboard solo and great symphony at the back.

The Cause is a fast tempo music with a combination of distanced singing style. The mood is still uplifting especially during chorus with backing vocals. This is probably the simplest form of ACT music as the composition is less complex than the others.

The Effect has different singing style; it's performed in low register notes accompanied by a nice cello works augmented with piano. The chorus brings the vocal line into a higher register notes. Light orchestra is inserted in between segments. The nice thing is that in some segments the lyrical part has a very catchy melody.

Summary is a very powerful song with great composition whereby it contains fast tempo music and melodic singing during mellow passage with excellent violin / cello. It sounds like ACT music has a very dynamic styles whereby tempo changes happen frequently and in an unpredictable way. For example is the inclusion of wonderful keyboard solo in the middle of the track that happens suddenly beyond my anticipation. Well, it's hard to say it but it's better if you buy the CD and find your own words to best describe this song's composition. Wonderfully crafted man!

Outro comprises melodic light orchestra with a short lyrics "Now you've heard a tale been told. It's up to you, could this be true".

One thing for sure that it's true: this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED album. Full five stars rating (because I cannot go higher than five!). The production and sonic quality are great. It's truly a masterpiece. Keep on proGGin' ..!!!

Yours progressively,


N.B. *** Hey, don't you realize? Sweden has produced so many talented musicians in progressive arena. I think Sweden has become the land of progressive music in this millenium. It's no longer England, I think. Or, simply put: It was invented in England, but it has grown significantly in Sweden. Probably Sweden is the highest in number of progheads per capita in the world. What do you think? ***

Gatot | 5/5 |


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