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Epignosis - Still the Waters CD (album) cover

STILL THE WATERS

Epignosis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 57 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I had many anticipated releases this year. New albums by Dream Theater, Mastodon, Maudlin of the Well, The Mars Volta, IQ, Beardfish, Queensryche, Phideaux, The Decemberists, Transatlantic, and Porcupine Tree were sure to keep me busy this year. But if someone were to ask me at the beginning of this year to make a prediction of my top 5 2009 albums, this album would have been far overshadowed by releases of some of the bigger names in the prog world. Not that I wasn't expecting anything from Robert, I just wasn't expecting an album so good. This is one of the best debut albums I can think of, and is definitely one of my top 2009 albums.

The skill of multi-instrumentalist Robert W. Brown is undeniable, and I rank him up there as one of the best up and coming prog acts I've heard. He plays everything on this album, and plays it exceptionally well. His skill on guitar is the highlight, with some killer solos, but he shows his chops on bass and keyboards as well.

There are only a few knocks I can give this entire album. While the songwriting and musicianship are not amateurish at all, the production quality is. I can't say I was expecting too much in this category, but this sounds like it was recorded in 1965. This isn't an album that you can crank too loud without hearing its limitations, but it isn't horrible or anything like that. You can hear everything clearly, but this obviously wasn't produced by Alan Parsons. The arrangements could be better at times as well, though there never was a point where a song was arranged badly. There are a few moments where the music feels a little empty, and could have been better. One of the main reasons why it feels empty at times is that there are no backing vocals except on "An Everlasting Kingdom". The addition of feminine vocals really adds a second layer to the music, and I wish it would have been used on more songs. With that said, these are all relatively small complaints in the big picture. When everything else is masterpiece material, the production qualities are an afterthought.

THE MUSIC:

The music here is generally soft, focusing more on beautiful melodies, symphonic song structures, and thought out soloing than fast riffs and shredding guitar solos. This sounds like Genesis at times, and like Neal Morse at other times. It has many acoustic driven parts, which reminds me on Neal Morse, but many guitar solos remind me of Steve Hackett's melodic style, as well as Tony Bank's excellent use of the Mellotron, organ, and thought out synth solos. I just compared this album to two of my favorite symphonic prog artists, which shows that I think very highly of this album.

"Still The Waters"- The title track opens very well, with a guitar solo that progresses well into the main verse. The acoustic guitar is my favorite part about this song, and it is great in the background. A well placed keyboard and guitar solo in the middle of this song is excellent. The guitar solo sounds very much like a Steve Hackett solo, and it is really a professional guitar solo that has everything that makes an excellent guitar solo. It starts with a punch, has great hooks, and progresses well into the main verse. Excellent way to start the album!

"A Pearl In A Field"- It starts out with two Mellotron chords that progress into a good organ solo to get the instrumental opening into another section. After the opening entrances a beautiful acoustic section that has a guitar and keyboard solo that adds a nice touch. This has some of the most beautiful parts in the album, and some nice acoustic parts.

"Move"- One of my favorite songs on the album for various reasons. The main section reminds me of McCartney at times, and has a really nice vocal melody. The lyrics are also the best on the album. I particularly like the lyric "You move Heaven and Earth just to move me". The instrumental section in the middle has a cool organ riff that eventually goes into a guitar solo that progresses back into the main section. This ends very well with an acoustic guitar melody.

"An Everlasting Kingdom"- This is another one of my favorite songs on the album. It starts out with acoustic chords, and the synths that come in at 15 seconds are really good. This is a beautiful song, with some great piano sections. The vocals of Robert's wife, Tasha, really add a second layer to the music, and I actually wish they were used more on this album. The instrumental section is a departure from how beautiful the main section was, but a stellar guitar solo brings us out of the song incredibly, and that's why this is probably my first favorite on the album.

"No Shadow of Turning"- The 20-minute epic certainly doesn't disappoint. The strong opening has a great bassline, and good use of the Mellotron. The vocals on this song are very strong, and the highlight is definitely the Mellotron that is present throughout most of the song. The album ends very well, and this is a great closing epic.

If you don't buy this album after reading this, than I really haven't done what I am supposed to do. This is an excellent album that anyone interested in prog should own. I really want to give this 5 stars. This is incredible, and basically essential, but the with the recording quality I can't quite say it is a perfect masterpiece. So 4 stars it will be, and I think that is very good for a debut album.

4 stars.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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