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United Progressive Fraternity - Planetary Overload, Part 1 - Loss CD (album) cover

PLANETARY OVERLOAD, PART 1 - LOSS

United Progressive Fraternity

 

Crossover Prog

3.64 | 27 ratings

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Jeff_the_GlassCaster
4 stars United Progressive Fraternity (UPF) ' Planetary Overload ' Part 1 ' Loss

It has taken me several listens to write this review. Reason? Mostly because the issues addressed on this album are very close to my heart and I wanted to keep that from clouding my opinion. Also, because unlike beer or wine, music must be luxuriated over thru some time to be truly appreciated. That said ' I LOVE this album and can hardly wait for Part Two. For those of you who are familiar with my reviews of music, craft beer and food you know that when I mention my darling wife (The Lovely Miss B) in these reviews it is a rarity. She only gives her opinion when she is really moved. She loved most of this and liked the rest. This is not a band, rather a project conceived by Mark 'Truey' Trueack telling the story of our environmental crisis. He partners with Steve Unruh and a host of wonderful musicians to form this version of the UPF The opening sequence ' 'Dawning on Us' pulls you in with the haunting sounds and guest voice cameo's speaking of the state of Mother Earth and drags us the rest of the way with Jon Davison's (Yes) voice moving gracefully into Steve Unruh's flute'. At this point you are committed. Perhaps one of the things I love most about this album is that the lyric continually reminds us that there IS hope. When Truey and company move into the ballad 'Cruel Times' the lyric that stood out instantly for me was 'there is hope in everything we do, let's stand together in the face of gloom'. The backing harmonies from Lisa Wetton and Hasse Froberg along with Steve's violin makes for a dreamy song which transitions into an orchestration that could only move into ---- 'What Are We Doing to Ourselves' ' short, Caribbean and honest'' Intense and dramatic, 'Stop Time' is a pivotal point in this piece. I found it moving and the steppingstone for what was to come'. 'One More' ' this is the point of no withdrawal in this artistic work ' you are now hooked. Truey's vocal and Steve's violin and guitar give a gentle power to the lyric. Listen and you will understand. It only gets deeper from here. Now we come to 'Mercenaries' ' an appropriately heavy song at this point in the piece. This moves into >>>> 'What If ' >> 'Forgive Me, My Son' ' No matter what your social or political belief, if this does not touch your heart'.. well, I just don't know. The lyric is almost too simple'.. until you hear the young Brodie Byrne ask 'Father, what are we doing to ourselves?' You are now so far deep down the rabbit hole that is Planetary Overload that you just melt back into your chair. I promised myself that I would not break down this review song by song, but it just seemed to deserve this kind of attention. For me, the next song, 'Dying to be Reborn' is a weak spot on the album. I anticipated ' I'm not sure what ' this was not it. Not that I dislike it, this is a good song, just that it seems to not quite fit. Now we get to the ambitious 'Seeds for Life'. I fell in love with this symphonic epic the moment I first heard it. At first, I thought that my own current journey (small scale market farming) was heavily influencing my love of this song. After at least a dozen listens I know that has little to do with how much I enjoy this aural extravaganza. 'Seeds for Life' has the largest cast of the Fraternity in it and it shows. Progressive music in its truest sense. From start to finish this opus flows and moves the audience. It also shows off the virtuosity of the musicians and the musical composition accentuates the importance of the lyric. The song ends with a beautiful classically inspired Steve Hackett guitar solo that (sonically) could have ended the album, Except''. 'Loss to Lost' seems like the better way to end the album. It builds to give hope for tomorrow and a call to action ' 'Let's turn it all around. Let's find a solution. We can find hope. Hope is what we need.' This also sets us up for the much-desired volume 2. All that in one disc'.. but wait, there's more! The bonus disc is in no means an afterthought. The Romantechs: Reimagine are Christophe Lebled, Mark Trueack and Steve Unruh (along with several UPF players) doing alternative versions of UPF and Unitopia songs. A great bonus. In general, I found this album a wonderful listen. While the lyric could have been stronger at times, I understand the need to NOT chase people away from such heavy and important subject matter. The lyrics are clear and easy to understand. The music is moving. I anxiously await Part Two. Oh, let's not forget the wonderful artwork by Ed Unitsky as well - adding such a wonderful visual component is a wonderful finishing touch.

Jeff_the_GlassCaster | 4/5 |

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