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Drifting Sun - Twilight CD (album) cover

TWILIGHT

Drifting Sun

 

Neo-Prog

3.95 | 91 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have been following Drifting Sun's recently prolific career, buoyed by some tantalizing releases that shook sturdily and shocked pleasantly the Neo-prog genre , a style that is probably the most improved among the various progressive rock sub genres. With 2016' masterful Safe Asylum release, this much-maligned band has reached the highest levels, even though previous albums Trip the Light Fantastic (2015) and On the Rebound (thank you, Pat!) , a 1998 original that was remastered and tweaked in 2016 were also clear winners! Progressively progressive, honed and well-oiled, the band is led by keyboardist Pat Sanders, whose piano skills in particular have now taken the spotlight. The rhythm section is concrete solid with bassist Manu Michael and drum stick man Will Jones. Vocalist Peter Falconer mans the microphone with a suave and compelling style that fits the music to a tee. New guitarist Matthieu Spaeter shines nicely on his debut with the band , laying down some inspired licks and crafty sounds. Twilight shows the band in a darker, more imaginative setting, with a stronger lyrical focus than ever before. The vocals have always been way above average but here , they really take the cake! Eight spell-binding tracks divided equally into two parts, named ''Twilight'' and ''the Other Side of Life''. A well-balanced and thoroughly entertaining set list of delirious prog music.

The title track sets the mood, with a rollicking beat, massed choir vocals and a sizzling guitar foray, that carves out an electric and mind-searing melody. The piano scintillates as the scalding guitar rides along the impassioned vocal. The Spaeter axe solos are bright, melodious and tight. ''See the Dawn Beyond'' in choir form is quite the revelation, an almost Gentle Giant-like moment within a conventional neo-prog epic! Pat does a little Manfred Mann on his synth, as bending notes and searing lines decorate the arrangement. It ''gives me peace''!

''Wings of Hope'' accentuates the melodic direction , balancing the simply beautiful with bombastic revelation , a voice and a piano in rapt union, with the entire band ultimately kicking into the fray. The guitar lead is complex and tortuous, the arrangement settling on brilliant harmonies , an intricate slice of impressive progressive rock, played with undeniable passion and effortless technique. Tremendous track.

The pleading ''Mystery of Lies'' keeps the sizzle glowing, a swirling maelstrom of musicality, ebbing and flowing with imagination. Falconer really shines on the microphone, sweetly delicate one moment, before exploding into raging exaltation. The acoustic guitar has a slight medieval tone, which gives the mood a sense of infinity.

Seeking even more glory, the bittersweet ''Soldiers'' showcases an almost Gentle Giant vibe, what with the vocal polyharmonics and the stop and go rhythmic pulse. The mournful piano does another sensational appearance, blending nicely with both the bass and the acoustic guitar, as Falconer soars high and beyond as ''the sun and the moon collide''. Spaeter flips his wrists , bending, rifling and scratching impeccably. Another nugget of genius.

All this only serves as a prologue to the epic and emotional ''Summer Skies'', a wondrous 10 minute composition that encapsulates all the magic of Drifting Sun's style, a convincing vocal crowned by world-class instrumentation. There is no hint of predictability or ennui, just a whopping melody at the very centre of the piece, dripping with intensity and unparalleled flair. When the electric guitar repeatedly reprises the main melody, it really hits you between the ears, just how talented this band is. Falconer hits the highest notes , the piano reverberates eloquently, the grandiose chorus growing, pulsating and overflowing with passion. Mesmerizing!

''Remedy'' maintains the sublime quality, offering another gorgeous melody, the piano once again leading by example, a choppy beat as an escort. The lead axe carves high and mighty, prepping the way for another pleading vocal performance, with a ''let go, let go'' harmony, that is quite the treat. The sombre nature only enhances the pain, a thrilling highlight once again. Wow!

Gloomy and spooky at first, ''Outside'' dishes up swaths of synthesized winds, a crystalline piano that verges on harpsichord and another plaintive voice, before settling into a more muscular vibe, harsh guitars and syncopated drum patterns combining in a complex mixture, spiced by a loopy and slippery guitar foray that would please Allen Holdsworth fans . Cleverly, the ''let go, let go'' harmony returns for a final bow, a sign of attention to detail and a yearning for perfection.

This jaw-dropping release ends with the serpentine ''Remain'', a voice tour de force, shoved along by the manic instrumentation, tossing in some angry narration and a series of wicked solos to boot, one guitar and then Pat letting loose on his synth. With this phenomenal album, Drifting Sun has established itself as a leader in prog rock, way beyond any diminutive neo-prog branding one might want to associate them with. The Twilight has arrived.

4.5 twinkling stars

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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