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

THE FORM OF THE GOOD

Deluge Grander

 

Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 89 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

avestin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Good is in great Form

Let me start by saying this: There are several bands and musicians that when I listen to their album I think to myself: "I wish I could compose music like this. I wish I would have composed this". This is the case with Deluge Grander's music.

This is the second Deluge Grander album, another musical delicatessen from Dan Britton's creative mind (keyboards), along with his highly talented band mates, Dave Berggren (guitars), Brett d'Anon (bass) and Patrick Gaffney (drums). This time around Dan hired the services of a large lineup of classical musicians to enhance the sound and add more dimensions to the music. The musicians, mostly from College Park, in Maryland, bring in the lineup such instruments as cello, clarinet, flute, saxophone, violin, trumpet, trombone and oboe. This orchestral addition comes out very well and is best heard on the track Aggrandizement.

As this album is different somewhat in sound and also style to August In The Urals (which I love), I will not compare it to that one, but only mention, that in this album, Deluge Grander show a fabulous progression and change and adaptation of new ingredients in their music. This album is not as affluent and volumetric sounding as the previous one, but it sure does not lack anything in creativity, musicianship and beauty. Though the music has influences from the classic symphonic-prog-rock days along with jazzy touches and funk-sounding parts and also sounds that might fit very well in Canterbury scene albums (with that fuzzy sounding keyboard), this album presents fresh sounding music, that warms my heart each time I listen to it. Not only are the melodies captivating, but their execution is as good. I also hear some elements of Birds And Buildings' highly energetic sound here in the third track, Common Era Cavemen.

In this album, Dan's keyboard work takes a different approach from their previous album; more poignant, edgy and at times squeaky sounding (in a very good way). They are very much on the front of the mix, setting the tone and leading the way of the melody. The drumming by Gaffney is fantastic and seamlessly change rhythm and patterns as different sections of each track come about.

The album starts with Before The Common Era, which is as Dan writes in the release notes, the shortest piece Deluge Grander ever wrote and also the quietest one. Frank d'Anon, Brett's uncle, again contributes here, and this time in the form of chanting. This track is an atmosphere creator, a mood and tone setting piece and it is quite restrained and mellow, but serves as an appropriate opener, though I might have put it in the middle of the album and opened with another track. But that is a minor detail. This opening track reaches a majestic climax brought about by the keyboards in its middle part and the goes back to its original volume level and theme. Listen to this (and the rest of the album) in high volume to achieve the best listening experience.

The intricacy, the swift changes from fast and dynamic to slower and charming - all of these are here. Take for example The Tree Factory with its several main themes assembled together into one woven coherent piece; there is one passage here at around 10:30 where the keyboards make a subtle yet heart warming sound to signal a rebirth of sorts, a dawning of a new time, the coming of a new part of melody which sounds familiar to what we heard in the beginning and yet is not the same; building a future based on the past, but improved. I hear here several styles, each one being dominant in one part (though not being the sole style prevalent); you have "conventional symphonic prog", fusion and funk. Dan mentions in the attached release notes that he used a "conventional Supertramp-styled electric piano pattern" and this in fact adds a lot of warmth to the sound and this piece. I have to mention the wonderful drumming here by Patrick Gaffney, who does the wonderful transitions between the various themes and rhythms and provides highly engaging dynamics. The "decorations" of this track with the classical instruments is another well done feature.

The third piece, Common Era Cavemen, opens in a mellow fashion and then spurs into action with more great keyboards work that envelops everything and cast a spellbinding atmosphere and creates a vast and rich sound. All band members here do an excellent work (not to say it's not the case in the other tracks, but here is a fine example of how well they play and mix it together). This piece doesn't develop as much as the others in the album, being mostly, as Dan states, a "2-chord sequence", but the intensity and the layers the instruments provide are such that I find myself drowning in sound here (in a good way) and get carried away by the power of this almost jam-like session. Brett d'Anon on bass and Dave Berggren on guitar provide excellent and powerful playing that make this piece work very well in addition to the saxophone playing by Brian Falkowski.

Aggrandizement, the center piece here which is also the longest track is a fabulous achievement. Starting in a mellow fashion (again) it gains power as it proceeds. Here the orchestral side gets the most exposure, as the other tracks in the album, while (most are) featuring them, aren't as fully decorated with them as it is here. The opening segment is grandiose and then seamlessly flows into the band itself starting to play along with the orchestral side, making the band sound as rich as ever. To me they sound so good and natural together that I hope this kind of collaboration continues in future efforts by the band, even though, as Dan told me, it is a very elaborate project to write the parts for them, have them rehearse it, record it (and then re-write it, rehearse again and re-record etc.). But I think the result is more than worth it. This "Form" of the band, having an orchestral side, is a thing of beauty. The way the band sounds with the addition of the additional instruments unravels extra dimensions in the music and adds colors and imageries to the music that the lineup of four members, as talented as they are, can't always create. This piece again is made up of several segments and like in their other epics, such as Inaugural Bash from their previous album, I find it to be very well arranged and put together, which is not an easy task at all. There are shifts from the magical and slow paced theme to a faster and louder part that reaches high levels of intensity. I think some might say that parts of it (such as the one from around 15 minutes onwards) are over the top and unnecessary, and while I understand such a comment, I simply love every minute of wonderful music this band can provide. It does get very loud sounding and can be overwhelming at some points, but I personally am not bothered by this. There are some hair-raising moments in here, such as in the very end, at 18:30, where you just about feel like the enlarged band is about to choke you with their wall of sound and it ends.

The title track, The Form Of The Good, opens with a quite foreboding sound and mood; as if something bad is going to happen. Is this the form of the Good? It goes on quite mellow but still powerful for about two minutes and then silences a bit for two more minutes with an air filled with suspense, setting a stage for something to happen, but we are not sure what. This section may remind you with its use of the enlarged lineup, of a Univers Zero theme where a menacing pattern develops to reach a peak but here the peak at about 4:30 turns out to sound very optimistic and not scary at all. A very well done arrangement and well structured. This benevolent sounding pattern dominates the track from here on, drawing the Form of the Good. And its Form is very attractive. Layers of sound built on this melody as well as additional re-arranging of it make this repetitive segment anything but dull.

The overall sound is not crystal clear and clean, but more rasp and raw, which fits the music very well and as Dan writes, this is not as polished sounding as other bands, but I feel this is not necessarily a drawback. The warm fuzzy sound of the music and especially the keyboards and saxophone are part of the heart of what makes this music be in such good form.

This album is another brilliant achievement from Deluge Grander. This is one of those albums I want to listen to again when it's done. Surprisingly, it didn't take as many listens to absorb it as August In The Urals did; perhaps because I knew what to expect and could follow more easily the structure of the different pieces. This album is a great joy to listen to. Highly recommended for both fans of the band (and Dan Britton's other projects) and folks new to the band as well.

avestin | 4/5 |

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