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Echolyn - Mei CD (album) cover

MEI

Echolyn

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 243 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FlashFirer
5 stars I first came into contact with echolyn's masterpiece, Mei, no more than a year ago, and after some time to get me used to it, I ended up absolutely loving this album.

I confess that, at first, this song didn't seem too appealing to me - after all, its length was reminiscent of something I had read somewhere about prog rockers being too extreme when it comes to not being mainstream. Point being, a forty-nine minute song sounded like a blatant exaggeration. Time, however, has proved me wrong.

One day, I downloaded the live performance of this song from echolyn's official site, and by listening closely, I fell in love with the song's structure. Excellent sections, great timing, perfect flow (heavy parts followed by calm, slower parts), and the great lyrics and epic feeling convinced me that this was a masterpiece.

Let's start off with the lyrics, shall we? Band members have said them to be about a road trip to Hell which could be interpreted freely. I interpreted them as a man driving away from his love, with whom he had a fight; and then returning home, driven by his will to be forgiven and being ready to love again. The verses are extremely well-written and fit the song perfectly. And more importantly - this song tells a story that not only has a definable structure, but some good characterisation (!).

Now for the performance and technique. echolyn's members don't like to show off - there are no lightning-speed solos, no extremely technical sections with twisted tempos. Sure, there are complicated parts, and sure, it's a damn 49-minutes-long song; but the thing is, all the notes are just right! The synthesizer + organs, the guitar, the drum fills, are excellently well-timed & masterfully chosen. Even though the little sections hat focus on one instrument above others are very simple (specially if, like myself, you like listening to bands such as Dream Theater or Steve Vai), they have amazing power to make you feel like the band members couldn't have played any other notes without ruining it all. The devil's in the details for these guys.

Not to mention the amazing vocal harmonies by Ray Weston (who mostly does the calm parts) and Brett Kull (whose voice is generally used for the heavy stuff). They don't sound too blatantly different from each other, and their singing is absolutely amazing.

As for the length - it couldn't have been any other way. Don't think that they just glued a bunch of different compositions together for this album: it all works, each section leads into the other, there no abrupt and out-of-place changes in style. Plus, it doesn't even hurt as much as you'd think it would to listen to a song that's forty-nine minutes in length. After all, in the end, you just listened to a complete album. This might make some difference for the folks that only give it a go on the CD-player and want to hear just some part of the song; but that will be difficult, since they are all so deeply connected. Maybe you'll find yourself only wanting to listen to this album from time to time - but that will be compensated by its sheer awesomeness when you do.

Mei's distinct style blends rock & roll with jazz and a few arrangements that could even be consider media-friendly, and the way they work it into technically challenging tempos & great harmonies is astounding. I highly suggest you give it a go, for it's a sadly underrated landmark in prog rock history, which will influence any open-minded musician that listens to it.

FlashFirer | 5/5 |

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