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Echolyn - Suffocating The Bloom CD (album) cover

SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM

Echolyn

 

Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 298 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Suffocating the Bloom" is one of the most amazing prog masterpieces from the 90s, and most certainly the album that made Echolyn the top prog act from the USA to my eyes - well, ears anyway. This was also the first time when Echolyn made an appropriate statement about their own musical vision, after an excellent but not so well focused debut album: now, the material comprised in "Suffocating the Bloom" is not only high caliber, but also works beautifully as a cohesive whole from beginning to end. Influences range from Yes to Gentle Giant to classic Kansas to Happy the Man to good old Genesis, including some ounces of bluesy rock and American folk, as well as a notable bunch of jazzy colours: yet, Echolyn is not an assembly of compilers, but a band full of enough talent and capability to make something new and refreshing out of the confluence of all the aforementioned influences. Each individual member does a fantastic job, with Buzby and Kull exposing an impressive showcase of versatility and inventiveness in their keyboard and guitar duties, respectively; Weston and Kull using their alternating lead and backing vocal skills with total perfection and great taste; Ramsey and Hyatt creating a rhythm section that not only serves a precise anchor for the band's complex material, but also playing a determining part in the melodic side of things. The first two tracks are high-spirited enough to keep the listener's attention stuck tight to the headphones: the 'Jingle Bells' portion at the end of 'Winterthru'' sounds funny. But immediately after, fun gives way to solemnity: the sensitive ballad '. Memoirs from Between' is one of the most beautiful compositions in Echolyn history - it's incredible how the diverse twists that take place throughout the instrumental interlude flow seamlessly, without unnecessary bombast. But, yes, there's full bombast here, too: of course, I'm referring to the 28 minute opus 'A Suite for the Everyman'. No less than eleven sections are comprised in this suite, ordained in a fluid succession ornamented with orchestral arrangements, and some brief interludes that add a bigger variety in this ambitious sonic landscape. The final section, which is titled as the album itself, is a mid-tempo ballad that leaves an aura of reflection in the air: the listener who has been genuinely engaged to the listening from the very beginning will surely feel compelled by it. Of all the remaining stuff in between, I will mention some selected examples. 'A Little Nonsense' is an attractive homage to GG with a slight R'n'B flavour; the 'Sentimental Chain'/'One Voice' sequence is yet another example of Echolyn's exquisite use of beautiful melodies and eerie textures; 'Cactapus' is a brief, delicate jazz instrumental that works as a momentary relaxing moment before the epic expansion delivered by 'A Suite for the Everyman'. "Suffocating the Bloom" is, IMHO, one of the best prog recordings of the 90s, and, generally speaking, one of the best prog recordings ever - period. Since this is a masterpiece, it deserves the perfect rating.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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