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The Emerald Dawn - Visions CD (album) cover

VISIONS

The Emerald Dawn

 

Neo-Prog

3.53 | 17 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I was thoroughly enchanted with The Emerald Dawn's debut offering, a fabulous under-produced, yet enigmatic and stark slice of music, peppered with long tracks that seep deep into the mind. Sizzling and moaning guitar leads, sweeping orchestral keyboards, occasional sax blasts and a driving beat are the highlights as well as Tree Stewart's aching voice, a truly original sound that is laden with mystery and echo.

Their sophomore album is both a continuation and a progression of their sound, a lush and suave carpet of mellotron and organ that hearkens back at Floydian realms (sax not withstanding) on which a deliberate melancholia is layered in heavenly coats, fusing into a whole that enchants and exhilarates. The add-on of bassist Jayjay Quick only further mollifies any resistance to the infusion of mood and direction, as Alan Carter's saxophone and wild guitar rants like there is no tomorrow , while Tree orchestrates with her ivories and emotes with her lungs. Drummer Jackson keeps the beat on the road and propels thoughtfully. The opening salvo is a mammoth epic a 20 minute eruption, aptly titled 'Musique Noire', a confident statement right from the get go and aimed at the melodic jugular, sublimely cinematographic, sensual and evocative. Carter's effect-drenched guitar tone is deliciously muffled, which only adds to his stylistic charm, the seduction complete with heartfelt echoed vocals and a light percussive movement. The 'waiting' section is outright celestial, pining for some unreasonable sense of longing and desire, the main melody simple yet still mesmerizing. Romantic shades of palpable emotion, everything clicks here as the perfectly placed wailing sax straight out of the classic Dick Parry mould, creates an enveloping sense of musical torpor that carves deep into the soul with intense beatitude. Insistent and relentless, truly grandiose.

A suddenly unexpected piano leads the delicate 'A Vision Left Unseen', which also has the audacity to provide a vocal duet of interesting proportions, with Carter showing off his low male voice. The 7 minute piece dashes off into the sunset, escorted by slippery guitar leads and a deliberate pulse. There is a definite Gothic gloom that only enhances the mysterious haze, as Tree Stewart peels off a wild synth solo that dazes and dares. This combination of dark and murky with romantic effervescence is quite startling, once you get it under your skin. Bassist Quick has lots of fun bending his bass into a variety of contortions. The ebb and flow keeps things percolating. Lovely is the finale, with its sad melodic outro.

Gushing along in 'Waves', another window opens up into the Emerald Dawn sound craft, one that is surely influenced by the band's geographic location, somewhere in West Cornwall. A progressive 'berceuse', gently lulled by the delicate melodies and the intense instrumental play. Tree's voice soars above the slashing crests and sails forward into the blue- green horizon. Utterly beautiful song, with a superb effect on the mind, as Tree wails like a siren on the sea. Drummer Jackson has a delicate touch that really impresses.

A foreboding thrill sweeps into 'Stranger in a Strange Land', languorous licks and tingling tremors evoke travel and exploration, sprinkled with a touch of anxiety. Yummy! The mood blooms into a grating guitar riff that highlights the trepidation, then tumbles deeply into some more experimental throes, a flute fluttering in the wind, only heightening the panic. The main melody kicks in with a cello-synth foundation on which Ally rips his guitar to shreds with a sizzling effect of passionate adventure. Wow!

As with their debut , Emerald Dawn has carved quite a niche within the prog world, a tight and evocative group of musicians who have a knack for stunning melodies within a clearly psychedelic/melancholic setting. Taking influences from stalwarts like Floyd but never cloning their sound in any way, they also possess a rare charm that is very hard to describe, a sense of originality that highlights their love for music and all done their way.

5 panoramas

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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