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Anubis - The Second Hand CD (album) cover

THE SECOND HAND

Anubis

 

Neo-Prog

3.88 | 150 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Following their trend of releasing a new album every three years, once again Australia's neo-proggers ANUBIS continue the tradition by following up 2014's "Hitchhiking To Byzantium" with their fourth studio album THE SECOND HAND and in the process create another testament to a classic sounding progressive rock album steeped in the neo-prog traditions. Like most neo-prog albums and certainly so for ANUBIS, THE SECOND HAND is yet another concept album, this one about an aging media mogul named James Osbourne-Fox who becomes paralyzed after a traumatic brain injury only to contemplate the overall emptiness of his previous corporate lifestyle as he is forced to ponder the deeper complexities of the universe. In the vein of their earlier albums, this one too incorporates many sound samples that fit into the overall thematic scheme of things such as noises you'd hear at the stock market on Wall Street.

New to the band is bassist Anthony Stewart who takes over the position that lead vocalist Robert Moulding handled on the previous album thus upping the band roster up to six but once again there are many guest appearances that include three singing vocalists as well as a whole bunch of guest spoken word vocalists. Once again ANUBIS deliver the neo-prog goods with nine cleverly crafted tracks that take their time to let the thematic journey unfold with their brilliant lyrical prose coupled with the musical passages that utilize addictively catchy hooks that are all teased out with the appropriate dynamic shifts and intensity battles between soft and contemplative to more rockin' moments of ecstasy. The band seem to have gotten a new sense of confidence as they are tighter than ever with impeccable tightness and Robert Moulding sounds as if he's on the top of his game with some of the most confident vocal performances of his career.

One of the unique aspects of THE SECOND HAND is that the 3-part multi-suite and "These Changing Seasons" serves more as transitions that appear between other tracks and do not occur in the expected linear fashion. The two behemoth tracks on board are the near ten minute "While Rome Burns" and the near seventeen minute "Pages Of Stone," each unleashing ANUBIS' full potential that shows them more following in the footsteps of their first two albums rather than the third but still manage to create enough stylistic shifts as not to sound like they are merely retreading although let's face it. This is a formulaic neo-prog sound that fails to tread new grounds and unapologetically relies on the the tried and true formulaic approach that utilizes the steady flow of soft and heavy passages with instrumental workouts centered on Moulding's vocal deliveries. However, when it's done this well, no innovating experiments need apply.

THE SECOND HAND may come off as just another neo-prog album in the greater scheme of things but it is performed beautifully and with Moulding delivering his most diverse vocal performances of his career, it all comes together beautifully with spacey Pink Floyd atmospheric touches swirling around gentle acoustic guitar, extraordinary drumming and the modern day neo-prog trend of heavy rock guitar outbursts. As with all these sorts of albums, you really don't have to focus on the theme at all but rather can simply enjoy the music as it goes through the many strong compositions that balance all the elements superbly. While it may not deviate significantly from previous albums, something about THE SECOND HAND gives it a unique flavor albeit subtle but most importantly is that the album is rather consistent in that no weak filler track permeates the inner circles therefore no derailment of enjoyment occurs. Another strong release in the ANUBIS canon.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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