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

THE VIEW FROM OLYMPUS

Great Wide Nothing

 

Neo-Prog

3.61 | 8 ratings

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Second Endeavour
5 stars Every once in a while, I am really amazing by how mature the debut release from newcomer can be. For this time around, we have a superb team GREAT WIDE NOTHING whose visiting card 'The View From Olympus' saw the daylight in early April 2019. So let's open the doorway and get sheer musical luxury... The Atlanta-based ensemble consists of mastermind Daniel Graham (lead vocals, Rickenbacker bass, electric and acoustic guitars), Dylan Porper (Moog, Korg M-3, Roland D-50) and Jeff Matthews (drums / percussion). They take the source of inspiration from the Glorious Past to make it into contemporary mould that recalls the best of classic symphonic rock alongside melodious neoprog. Whilst the fundamental influences are pronounced, they don't prevent GWN from expressing themselves. And I think, ardent lovers of multifaceted subject matter will find a lot to enjoy on the first CD from talented group standing head and shoulders above the ordinary crowd. The exposition opens with a three-piece track 'Lethal Neon' ('A Sinister Glow', 'No Answers' and 'The Spider's Web') to paint a refined picture that shimmers with sundry colors of ELP, Iluvatar, Marillion and Yes. Then append a Vangelis smear and you get clear idea. Modified for the palette of Great Wide Nothing, the outro of this composition unexpectedly resembles Pink Floyd (without being derivative). Each segment sounds intimately familiar and yet unique. The atmosphere is larded with stunning keyboards, prominent synths, elegant piano inserts, flawless guitar playing, ably delivered rhythmic backdrop and haunting vocals. The high-pitched voice of Daniel Graham sounds like a cross between Fish and Glenn McLaughlin. Worthy of note is a very effective use of rich melodic textures and constantly changing tempos. The next example of the band's ability to start in one place and ending up in another is 'Monument' which holds two sections: 'Hostages' and 'The Full Six Under'. It's leaning on pomposity combined with sentimentality. Comparisons to Manfred Mann's Earth Band and old Pallas can be valid here. The peculiar ending suddenly switches to a build of power that I might describe as the lost fragment from the 70's Deep Purple record (just think of John Lord / Ian Paice / Roger Glover combination in their heyday). What's round the bend? Producing a huge contrast with the rich instrumentation of two predecessors, short 'Evening' (02:47) possesses only acoustic guitar paired with the pensive singing. Arguably though, this type of 'non-prog' song operates well to serve like a resting point. The whole album culminates in the 17 minute plus 'The View From Olympus', a gorgeous epic with four sections - respectively: 'Prelude', 'Midnight Sun', 'The Gift of Time', 'Out of the Flood'. And again, plenty of amazing ingredients have been utilized in a very special, exciting, manner. The band follows in the footsteps of highly acclaimed progressive rock artists such as Genesis, Saga, Rush, Kansas, Iluvatar, IQ, Marillion. But oddly enough, towards the final, one can hear a distant echo of Sir Paul McCartney (if you know 'Wunderlast', of course). In a nutshell, this opus is a remarkable completion for the band's presentation. Indeed: when structured wisely, progressive rock music can be a very, very effective medium. Bravo guys!

. I do advise anybody to check it out.

Second Endeavour | 5/5 |

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