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Deluge Grander - The Form Of The Good CD (album) cover

THE FORM OF THE GOOD

Deluge Grander

 

Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 121 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars After getting his feet wet on his debut album "August In The Urals" after leaving Cerebrus Effect, Dan Britton took another few years to craft another batch of complex compositions that take the symphonic prog realm to new unthinkable heights. Just as on the debut album DELUGE GRANDER dishes out a new stranger batch of progressive rock tunes on the second album THE FORM OF THE GOOD that seem to borrow as much from Western classical artists as it does from the symphonic prog greats. Once again, the album is mostly instrumental with a loose sort of concept that tells a story about humanity through music and art instead of lyrical content. The concept is also depicted on the album cover of how people disagree and end up taking their journeys in opposite directions but eventually come full circle and arrive at the same destination. Once again, this nebulous concept escapes me but is hardly required to enjoy the music. There are five tracks on THE FORM OF THE GOOD that are quite distinct with the longest stretching over the nineteen minute mark.

Starting things off is the bizarre little "Before The Common Era," which is the shortest and easiest track to digest. It is the least meandering of the bunch and incorporates some gorgeous Gregorian chanting accompanied by an easy catchy piano riff with lots of samples of violins that add an extra layer of melancholy. The symphonic effects are in full display with brilliant sweeps of keyboards. The chants remain somewhat subdued under the symphonic elements which adds a rather murky and mysterious sort of tune but one that sets a tone and allows the listener to calibrate to the overall mood before diving into the larger complexities that follow.

"The Tree Factory" is the second longest track which takes its cue from the debut release and shows how DELUGE GRANDER has grown as a band and how Britton has indulged his wildest prog fantasies and nurtured them into extreme pomp and awe. The secret to understanding these longer tracks such as this one is to understand that what may seem like lengthy meandering and aimless noodling is actually more like a progressive medley of sampling different classical albums that range from Penderecki to Varèse and beyond and then set to symphonic progressive rock instrumentation. Generally speaking, segments are allowed to develop melodies before changing things up to another seemingly completely different motif. Some of these segments stay soft and play the symphonic card in full regalia and other segments just simply rock out with heavy guitar, bouncy bass and drum bombast and even include sizzling lead guitar solos. Tracks like this display the mind of a music nerd and how these types think in music where one idea simply cedes to another.

"Common Era Caveman" is somewhat of a breather between the two behemoths of the album and a lot easier on the ears. Composed of a mere two chords, this one has a busy bass line played on the electric piano with the skillful drumming prowess of Patrick Gaffney showing how he can keep up with the most unorthodox of time signature deviations. While being a simple composition in many ways, the progressive features are let off the leash with heavy jazzy brass embellishments and jittery time sigs jolting in different directions. Dave Berggren also dishes out some of the heaviest guitar riffs on this track which makes this one more of the rocker and as a change subduing the keyboards to subordination however the ambience and atmospheric additions give this one a true eerie feeling while the heavier parts bounce along.

"Aggrandizement" is the monster track of the album that dips over the nineteen minute mark and runs the gamut of prog workouts. While starting out with a rather exotic Middle-Eastern sort of flair, it shifts fairly quickly to the symphonic elements that wend and wind it through a series of changes that include time signature shake ups, dynamic and tempo deviations and the multitude of classically tinged melodies that meander aimlessly through the never-ending tunnel of music. This is the type of complexity that proggy dreams are made of as all progressive elements are fully employed and although once segments are completed and rarely return for reprises, are still quite the satisfying albeit adventurous listening experience. This track included lyrics when played at Progday in Chapel Hill, NC and at Orion in Baltimore in 2009. The lyrics were implemented to try to make the live experience a little more audience interactive as this kind of stuff can be a little abstract. The lyrical accoutrements were included on the Progday performance in the film "Romantic Warriors." It's amazing to me that i can sit through this one and never get bored wondering how long it lasts. On the contrary i'm consistently amazed how many ideas are packed into this one. More than most albums by lesser talents.

The title track ends the dense layer of movements that makes up THE FORM OF THE GOOD and at a mere 8 minutes and 40 seconds is the second shortest track on the album. Britton says that he was subconsciously mimicking PFM's "L'Isola di Niente" with a grand bombastic intro that ratchets up the symphonic aspects while the staccato guitar riffs add a heft supplied by the great Italian symphonic prog artists of the 70s complete with the Genesis inspired pastural atmospheric developments. Perhaps the mellowest track after the intro, it track shapeshifts as it evolves with droning synth sounds in the background allowing the musical caterpillar crawl of the guitar, bass and percussion to slowly gain in dynamics and tempo. While the album is divided into a gazillion subsections that don't repeat, the album closes with the last 30 seconds from the opening track "Before The Common Era" which closes the long and lengthy loop which is exactly what the concept of the album is about.

THE FORM OF THE GOOD is an ambitious project to say the least taking symphonic progressive rock into completely nerdy arenas and is somewhat the math rock version of that particular subgenre. While heavily steeped in classical music tradition, the jittery time signature deviations and dynamic shifts keep this one a guessing game as to where any particular section of the tracks may be heading. While some may call this aimless and rather pointless as it doesn't have any sort of traditional patterns to latch onto, i find this stuff to be exhilarating since the music is so layered and steeped in complexities that no matter how many times one listens to this it always sounds new in some ways. DELUGE GRANDER may have created a hard nut to crack in terms of nebulous concepts carried out in grandiose musical parades in any particular direction but somehow each segment that connects to the following sounds as if its a mini-suite of some sort that does feel logical even if it sounds like it's unrelated. The whole thing comes off as more intuitively based than stodgily cranked out on paper. The production of the album is impressive as so many subtle sounds dance around the other and create an interesting tapestry effect that makes DELUGE GRANDER sound like absolutely no other progressive band on the scene. Personally i find this kind of stuff a form of intelligent design that is reserved for those moments when i can't get enough complexity in my prog.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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