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Wobbler - Rites At Dawn CD (album) cover

RITES AT DAWN

Wobbler

 

Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 491 ratings

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dougmcauliffe
4 stars Rites at Dawn is an album that I can't point to any real big flaw other than that its not as good as "From Silence to Somewhere." It is at the very least, a big improvement over the two that preceded it. My issue with the first two are that there are no songs, just several ideas played consecutively for long amounts of time, an issue I also have with much of Anglagards discography. This is no longer an issue on Rites at Dawn as the band nails down a better song structure for most of the songs revisiting and reprising ideas that may have appeared earlier in the songs. Overall the production is much better than past releases and this album is a lot brighter sounding than FSTS.

We have out ambient openers and closers Lucid and Lucid Dreams which I don't think improve the album any but they're fine.

The real music starts with La Beatltaine. The opening strongly reminds me of The Runaway by Gentle Giant but the songs got a nice groove. Right away you can see the band is playing much tighter than they did on previous releases. They also have new vocalist Andreas joining for this release. His voice makes me think of a mix of Jon Anderson and Derek Shulman with a Norwegian accent, I really like it. Enough with the comparisons. The song goes through a handful of nice movements led by the guitar and keyboards, not the best track on the album but it starts things off well. 7.5/10

What follows is in my opinion the best song on the album, In Orbit. An acoustic guitar fades in as the band eases into a nice jam. At 2:20 the 'verse' kicks in and too put it shortly, its amazing. The bass is really prominent with a nice hard hitting tone while the keys during this section aid in making a real intense atmosphere. There's lots of beautiful sections throughout the songs 12 minute run time and they're all really led by the keys. In the final 2 minutes we are given a soaring climax where it revisits the 'verse' from the beginning. Also worth noting is the very fine vocal performance throughout the track. 9/10

This Past Presence is more of a foresty (is that a word?) symphonic track. Similar to what their contemporaries Jordsjo would be doing a couple years later. After a nice folky intro, the band explodes back in with what I consider the signature Wobbler sound with a similar groove to La Beatltaine. In the final minute and a half the band erupts into a mellotron doused climax which kind of reminds me of part of the climax from From Silence to Somewhere. An overall pretty nice track. 7/10

A Faeries Play opens with fierce jam with each member going ham on their respective instruments. Even through some of the quieter sections of the song, this intensity and darkness can be felt throughout. This song also shows the bands greater emphasis on good melodies. 8/10

We close with The River, the second best song on the album. This is the most hammond-heavy track as well, being honest, I probably prefer a heavy hammond tone to the mellotron speaking personally. This is probably the most 'epic' sounding track and has a great energy throughout. Once again the melodies, particularly the vocal melodies, are really fantastic and its truly a symphonic prog treat. A worthy closer. 8.5/10

Though nothing on here is quite as good as anything off From Silence to Somewhere (In my opinion), Rites at Dawn is a very solid release and one I revisit frequently. I've seen others say they bleed too much influence on this album, but I hear Wobbler before I hear Yes or Gentle Giant. I wont deny the influence is certainly there, but they're far from bleeding 'too much' influence. The music is generally full of life and energy that I cant help but love.

4 Stars

dougmcauliffe | 4/5 |

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