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Great Wide Nothing - The View From Olympus CD (album) cover

THE VIEW FROM OLYMPUS

Great Wide Nothing

 

Neo-Prog

3.66 | 7 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
3 stars "Great Wide Nothing" is a brand new Neo-Prog band from Atlanta, Gerogia. The band was founded by Daniel Graham who plays electric and acoustic guitars, bass and vocals; Dylan Porper on keyboards; and Jeff Matthews on drums. Their debut album was released in April of 2019 and consists of 4 tracks spanning a total runtime of 38 minutes.

The album starts off with a 3-part suite at almost 10 minutes long called "Lethal Neon". The first part is called "A Sinister Glow". An organ brings in the full band rather quickly and vocals start off quite early with a upbeat sound. The music is led mostly by organ and piano. After two verses and choruses, the vocals stop and the 2nd part called "No Answers" continues to be led by the piano with a more progressive sound this time. Synths and bass play around with a progressive passage before the synths take a solo and then a nice piano solo. The third part, "The Spider's Web", brings in the initial theme and more vocals, but at a slower rhythm this time which later brings in a passionate guitar solo. The track ends with a piano ending. The parts of the suite are not really distinct and there is not a lot to discern one from another, so I'm really guessing when they end and begin, but this is the only distinction I could come up with. The track could just as easily not been a suite.

"Monument" is the next track and is a 2-part suite at just over 8 minutes. The first part is called "Hostages", and like the previous track, the organ brings everything in this time with a more moderate tempo. Vocals eventually come in starting with the same lyrics as "What a Wonderful World", but they soon veer off in their own direction. After two verses and choruses, the track picks up tempo and goes into an instrumental section which is the second part of this suite called "The Full Six Under". Things get more progressive and we get some really great keyboard passages as the organ and synths take over the improvisation spotlight.

"Evening" is a short track at about 3 minutes. It is a simple track with only acoustic guitar and vocals with meaningful lyrics. The melody itself is a bit underwhelming however. The strumming pattern of the guitar is similar to Pink Floyd's "Pigs on the Wing".

The last track is "The View from Olympus" and it is a 17 minute, 4 part suite. It starts out with "Prelude" which is what it sounds like, synths and bass announcing the track. The band comes in after a short electronic sounding keyboard with a bright sounding passage as the 2nd part begins called "Midnight Sun" with an acoustic guitar and flute effect with vocals, giving it a lilting pastoral style. After a few verses, things pick up again as the rhythm section comes back. The flute effect, created by the keys, continues to guide the track musically, but of course with a more rock feel now. After the chorus, things take on a harder sound, but is still led by keys, the guitars providing more of a support as they have through most of the album. The 3rd part, "The Gift of Time" begins when there is a slight break and the music builds to a slower and heavier sound with guitars and organ bringing in the vocals again, this time with a different theme. A mellotron sound supports the vocals and a stately guitar/organ theme separates the lyrical sections. After the 2nd verse, there is an instrumental break where things intensify nicely with a sweeping keyboard effect, and then things quite down with thunder in the background. The fourth part, "Out of the Flood" begins a new theme with keys first, then with the full band coming in behind the organ that restates the theme. A synth driven riff brings in the vocals again. This entire track is very lyric heavy but there are enough embellishments and short instrumental breaks to keep it interesting.

The overall sound on this is definitely Neo-prog sounding, taking elements from 70's style prog and giving it an updated and clean feel. The keyboards are the driving force on this album and the other instruments, while not totally ignored, take on a more supportive role most of the time. Those that like guitar heavy music might be turned off by this, but I have to say that the use of keyboards and synths is very well done. There is nothing here that sounds outdated, it all seems current. There are obvious inspirations in the music, that you can expect. But for a new band, this is an impressive debut. The music, being lyric heavy, probably could use a little more dynamic and emotion in the vocals, but it doesn't really put me off that much. This style of vocal is popular in Neo-prog music, so it's not bad, just something that would help the band to stand out more. Anyway, it's a valid effort, nothing new and groundbreaking, just great Neo-prog.

TCat | 3/5 |

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