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Echolyn - The End Is Beautiful CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 231 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Echolyn is a solid band with an unbelievable number of memorable tracks, and this album contains quite a few of them. I find that the musicianship is never less than stellar, and the more I listen to them, the more I appreciate their deep and thoughtful lyrics. While I do not believe the album is quite as amazing as previous efforts like Mei or Cowboy Poems Free, I think this is a grand achievement. Echolyn had already proven to be masters of the loose concept album (particularly with Cowboy Poems Free), and they pull it off again here. In general, the stunning music belies the depressing and bleak lyrical themes, which involve addiction, broken relationships, and suicide. Only a couple of the songs are somewhat less than perfect for me, but I can definitely live with that.

"Georgia Pine" A heavy Echolyn song that charges full speed ahead, this isn't what I was expecting at all! Yet the chorus satisfies in a way I also did not expect. The synthesizer and subsequent guitar solo are the highlights of the piece, and the darker part that ensues comes in almost without warning (like a sudden letdown that follows the high). The giddy music evokes the feeling of euphoria from "getting high," and lends to the song's intrigue.

"Heavy Blue Miles" Stark piano over drums and rising keyboards build until the song really gets going. The piano flourishes are great, but the subtle organ is also worthy of credit. Somewhat complex vocals jump in here and there, and the music, while by no means simplistic, might have some appeal to those new to progressive rock.

"Lovesick Morning" The longest song on the album begins with subdued drums and lightly distorted guitar. This is a slower piece with lovely piano and is probably one of the finest moments from this great American band. The vocal trade-offs are excellent (reminding me a bit of Mei), and the chorus is typical of the memorable business Echolyn is capable of crafting. The buildup in the ending is fabulous (the end really is beautiful), with a powerful host of instruments.

"Make Me Sway" A bitter song with gritty guitars and just as gritty an organ, it's loud and boisterous. Ray Weston's voice is vitriolic, singing somewhat esoteric lyrics about being lied to (but isn't that what many of us want- to be lied to?).

"The End is Beautiful" The introduction to the title track begins with maddening organ, drums, and granular bass. Despite such varied and excellent-crafted music, the lyrics regard the pain of a relationship plagued with one partner's addictions (which is apparently the overriding theme of the album). The lead guitar is absolutely gorgeous, and along with the vocals of the titular segment, this is another crowning moment for Echolyn. The chorus is nothing less than fascinating.

"So Ready" A funkier track with a nice bass groove and brass carrying on in the instrumental section, this rocker contains a bluesy and entertaining guitar solo.

"The Arc of Descent (Dancing in a Motel Just West of Lincoln)" After a darkly stunning guitar wash in the beginning, Brett Kull's soft and subdued voice is very disturbing given that he is singing about an impending suicide. Even the upbeat and pleasing music cloak the disheartening subject matter. The title comes from a line in "Lovesick Morning," giving credence to the notion of this being a loose concept album. It's no longer easy after hearing this song to look at the lonely and the depressed people in my life and not wonder if that's the last time I'll be seeing them.

"Misery, Not Memory" Heavy organ and drums begin this forceful closer. The music is layered and textured, although not as seamless as some of the other pieces. The lyrics reference Pink Floyd's 1979 double album ("Past side three of The Wall), discussing the complete decadence and unhealthiness of the protagonist (if there is indeed one protagonist). The song ends with a disembodied, almost ghostly voice and old guitar behind a thin wall of noise. After such a harrowing but memorable journey, do our mistakes eventually ruin life for us and others? And we left to wonder, just how is the end beautiful at all?

Epignosis | 5/5 |


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