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Will-O-The-Wisp - A Gift For Your Dreams CD (album) cover

A GIFT FOR YOUR DREAMS

Will-O-The-Wisp

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.64 | 20 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars These guys just continue to amaze me. For such a relatively unknown group (at least as far as my side of the pond is concerned), they have a remarkably mature and rich sound. The band seems to add another layer with every new release; in this case that means the addition of strings for the first time since their 1999 debut. But while that album featured a guest cellist, this time the range is expanded a bit with the richly expressive bow of violinist Tasos Papastamou. This simple addition pays great dividends on several tracks, most notably the chillingly beautiful instrumental “Flying with Witches”.

But before that the album delivers a quartet of solid tracks. The opening “Nature Boy” eases the listener into this fantasy-filled record with slow and eerie chords delivered by the band’s longtime guitarist Takis Barbagalas. While the music is principally delivered via guitar, piano and vocalist Angelos Gerakitis, the overall mood reminds me an awful lot of Porcupine Tree’s more somber works. That said, the uniform melancholy of this album is what one typically expects of Nordic progressive metal bands, which is all the more surprising since these guys are Greek. That’s not to say the music is morbid, it’s just that it calls to the imagination dark, still wintry nights on the plains in the same way that so many Norwegian and Finnish bands’ music does.

There seems to be an attempt throughout the album to highlight various instruments on each track. For “Serpent's Kiss” the instrument of choice is the bass, accompanied by both acoustic and wonderful electric guitar rhythm. For “The Night Twined the Hours” the mood slows to nearly a crawl with softly- crooned vocals that build up along with the piano until both the flautist and violinist embellish the ending with melodic woodwind and strident chord sounds. This is one of my favorite tracks on any of the band’s albums that I’ve heard to-date.

Jazznovation keyboardist adds a series of soft organ notes that segue into a repetitive progression to accompany (once again) the flute on another instrumental, “Fairer-Than-A-Fairy”. This song would make a great soundtrack tune for a fantasy film, or just to enjoy while watching the clouds drift by on a cool autumn afternoon.

The longest and most languid tune is the nearly nine-minute “Inward Reflections”, starting off with more piano and acoustic guitar but eventually accelerating to an extended soft-fuzz guitar and violin sequence that recalls the band’s more psychedelic debut album of 1999. Once again the organ provides a late blast of sound to bring the whole thing to a safe landing. The introspective mood here makes the title of the song seem all too appropriate.

Once again the band dips into their early sound with the mellow psych “Sliding Down at the Shades of Mind”, a tune not unlike some of the tracks on Green Carnation’s ‘Acoustic Verses’. If you’ve heard that album you’ll have a sense of the mood on this one.

Finally the band offers an interesting an unusual twist with another rendition of “Nature Boy”, but this time the vocalist is a female (guest Markela Dounezaki), who I can’t find any information about anywhere but whose youthful and mildly accented singing lends a lighter and more playful nuance to this song.

Overall this is easily my favorite Will-o-the Wisp album. I’ve been playing it constantly for several weeks now, with no sign of becoming bored with it. Each listen brings new appreciation for the subtle shifts between instruments and for the seamless way the production manages to blend all the songs together into a solidly cohesive body of work. I’m really surprised these guys aren’t more well-known, although they certainly could be in their part of the world for all I know. No matter, this is an outstanding and creative group of musicians who have once again scored a hit in my book with this, their latest offering. I’m actually tempted to give this five stars, and may come back in time and do so. But for now I’ll settle with a very high four stars and the hope that continued listening doesn’t dim its luster. Highly recommended to just about any progressive music fan of any genre.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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