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Unitopia - The Garden CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.58 | 180 ratings

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3 stars

I haven't heard much progressive stuff from Australia, but from what I've heard so far Unitopia is definitely the most interesting. It's hard to say what kind of music Unitopia performs. Prog Archives categorized the band as a Crossover Prog and I'm inclined to agree that it fits quite well to Unitopia's music. The album contains two extensive suites The Garden on the first disc and Journey's Friend on the other standing out as the longest, while the majority of tracks here fit the average duration of 3 to 5 minutes. Furthermore, songs like Here I am, Give and Take or This Life indeed demonstrate some popular music influences.

Nonetheless, The Garden is a very rich album, full of different styles, with a wide spectrum of instruments in use including my personally favorite piano-especially in So Far Away-and saxophone re-appearing now and then throughout the album (though the sax should sound more hoarse for my liking). The music here resembles The Flower Kings the most, especially the first disc. Though the best track of the album Journey's Friend-with it's opening Dream Theater's A Change of Seasons-like drums-reminds me more of a Transatlantic, especially a bridge that sounds almost like it was taken from All of the Above. The song lurches couple of times from tranquil melodies to heavy riffs, i.e. when after a minute long, bass and drums driven jazzy passage, with nice sax solo on the top, the listener is suddenly hit with a wall of heavy distortion guitar sound. Not to mention great piano parts in the second part of the song, or Mark's really 'eavy AC/DC-like vocals in the middle.

Unfortunately, one great song doesn't make the whole album great. I don't like the overall, very soothing but a bit boring for me, vibe of this recording. Although there are interesting moments of synth or sax gone more or less wild, spending over a 100 minutes for two or three stimulating songs and a handfull of exciting passages is way too much for my taste. It reminds me of Neal Morse's Testament-couple of interesting passages stretched out to fit on two CDs. I know, it's just me but I'm simply not so much into that kind of music. It's very Flower Kings-like and out of all Flower Kings albums I've heard I find only Retropolis worth buying.

So, for me The Garden is definitely an interesting album and Unitopia itself is worth checking up on in the future, but it's not exactly my kind of music. If you're more into Flower Kings, The Tangent or YES than I am then you may find this album quite a treat.

therek | 3/5 |


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