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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Leonardo - The Absolute Man CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.46 | 72 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars There's a kind of cosmic harmony at play here: "Leonardo -- The Absolute Man" is an ambitious, far-reaching work of art about an ambitious, far-reaching artist. This remarkable record is a progressive rock opera about visionary Renaissance man Leonardo DaVinci, composed by creative Magellan mainman Trent Gardner and performed by a constellation of prog stars, including James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Steve Walsh (Kansas), Josh Pincus (Ice Age), and Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery). But prog fans should heed the full album title, including the words "Original Cast Recording." This is not merely a concept album; it actually has the flow and feel of a musical, with the expected theatricality and lyrical/storytelling emphasis in the vocal melodies.

Despite its melodic nods to Broadway, "Leonardo" flies as a prog epic because of the consistently stellar performances and Gardner's wonderful compositions; highlight tracks include the dramatic, panoramic overture "Apparition," the chugging, metallic prog of "Reins Of Tuscan," the grand, Queenly pomp of "Mona Lisa," the sweeping ballad "First Commission," and the squealing synth and biting guitar of the instrumental "Il Divino." Throughout, the featured vocalists are truly outstanding and the instrumentation smartly blends the sharp edges of progressive rock and the smoother spectacle of musical theater. The result is a rock art in a gripping hybrid style, somewhat like a turbo-charged version of early Alan Parsons Project classics... but different.

Because of its scope and innovation, "The Absolute Man" is atypical, even by progressive rock standards. For open-minded fans of melodic prog, however, it is an emotional triumph that commands repeated listens.

| 4/5 |


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