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All Traps On Earth - A Drop Of Light CD (album) cover

A DROP OF LIGHT

All Traps On Earth

 

Symphonic Prog

4.46 | 326 ratings

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jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is the twentieth review of "A Drop Of Light" which until now has only 19 reviews (but in total 207 ratings). And it is, with so few reviews, at the twelfth place in the prog album ranking of all time, after "Fragile" and before "Larks Tongue in Aspic" (thirteenth), followed by "Nursery Crime" (fourteenth). I must confess that this fact gives me the creeps. The summit is a few positions higher up. Do I really listen to an absolute masterpiece of the history of progressive rock? Is "A Drop Of Light" able to keep up with the greatest masterpieces of Yes, King Crimson, Genesis (and Pink Floyd and Van der Graaf)? I don't know, I usually wait two or three years before writing a review, because I prefer to "settle" an album for various seasons. But with this review I want to start writing my impression on the contemporary prog, knowing that I could change my mind on this Lp in the next future. So what is my impression? Well, I can't say Ihad the thunderbolt.

This music, very cerebral and convoluted, very composite, seems to me a display of compositional and executive ability, of original arrangements, rather than the result of clear, crystalline inspiration. I don't discuss the high class of the initial suite "All Traps on Earth" (18 minutes, vote 8), the initial lyrical opera tone (Miranda Brand), the orchestral passages that mix lyric singing, obsessive rhythm and suond almost heavy metal. We are dealing with a very eclectic symphonic rock, the insertion of wind instruments (saxes, trumpet and flute, I guess) is very original, and the frenzied rhythm seems a race to want to surprise at all costs, but what is affected is the pathos, the emotion, which has no time to develop because the mind remains dazed.

The second song ("Magmatic Warning", 16 minutes: another suite, almost entirely instrumental, vote 7,5), which begins with the grand piano (Johan Brad, the factotum: composer and arranger and producer), soon follows the orchestral atmosphere at a frenetic pace (with more melodic flashes) than the previous one. Listening to it, I begin to realize that the pieces I like the most are the less orchestral ones, where the most "noble" instruments are heard: saxophone, flute, clarinet, trumpet. There are various enjoyable moments, but on the whole the piece lasts too much, the last 5 minutes are dragged along, save for a jolt towards the end, when the tone becomes more solemn and the lyric (mezzo-soprano?) voice of Miranda enters. The beginning of "Omen (13 minutes, vote 7,5/8), again in lyric style, recalls the King Crimson's "Pictures Of A City" (as already some moments of the first song). When the orchestral part arrives together with the lyrical voice, I can't deny that I seem to have already heard those musical moments, and after a while I get the impression of listening to something extremely verbose and devoid of a central melody, of a bearing structure. Again, the less orchestral pieces seem to me when the wind instruments peek out. I begin to think that the album is logorroic, hyperproduced and formed by continuous instrumental variations on an absent central theme. These critical observations don't indicate that the music is bad or poor: on the contrary, the music is high class and extremely refined, but does not reach, in my opinion, the top of excellence, just for the reasons mentioned.

After a track of two minutes ("First Step"), perhaps the most melodic piece on the album, conducted by Johan Brand's piano, arrives the fourth and last suite, "Bortglömda Gårdar" (14 minutes), with, strange, a vocal incipit. Maybe this is the better track of the album (vote 8+), thanks to the melodic moments, the trumpet solo (there are many instruments that I love in this album, the arrangement is really sumptuous and composite, but no instrument makes a real unforgettable solo), the vocals passages. "Crescendo ending".

Overall we are between three and four stars. For the moment I remain cautious.

Vote album: 8. Rating: Three (and a half) stars.

jamesbaldwin | 3/5 |

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