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True Myth - True Myth CD (album) cover

TRUE MYTH

True Myth

 

Crossover Prog

3.45 | 23 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Being a vinyl collector since 2001, I have this habit of going into second hand stores and searching for real bargains in used vinyl. I have found some very interesting things by doing this and have acquired a fairly large vinyl collection for a really cheap price. Since the vinyl resurgence didn't start until some years after I started vinyl hunting, I have been able to get some great records for about one dollar each. Nowadays, that is quite impossible, yet I still find an occasional surprise. However, I also find myself restlessly buying things that look interesting that I have never heard of and sometimes I happen to get somethings that are really good. Just a few weeks ago, I stumbled across this album and bought it for 2 dollars mostly because the album cover and the timing of the tracks looked like it could be a long, lost progressive band, plus the fact that a Mellotron is involved. Well, I was right this time.

True Myth is a forgotten band from Toronto, Ontario and this album (released by a Warner Brothers company in Canada) was their debut album, released in 1979. I had no idea that this was the first digital album recorded in Canada (the second digital album recorded anywhere preceded only by Stevie Wonders "The Secret Life of Plants"). The overall album is only 33 minutes and has 7 tracks, the first two of which are just over 6 minutes. The other tracks stay in the 3-5 minute range.

Tom Treumuth is the central musician in the band and he provides the amazing keyboard work on the album, piano, synths, mellotron, and the like. The vocalist is Bruce Cummings who has a decent vocal style with a high range similar to Jon Anderson. The other musicians provide stellar performances also and likewise get plenty of time to show off their talents. "Reach for the Heavens" kicks off the first side and is a complex composition with tricky rhythms, excellent keyboard work and multiple moods. The music leans towards a somewhat jazzy feel with a strong hint of fusion. The music isn't as complex as early Yes, but it could be compared to "Return to Forever" with a slight bit more heaviness. "Light Years Before" continues in this style, but with a funkier edge, still complex and progressive with plenty of great guitar and keys. Guitarist Tony Cook definitely keeps up with Treumuth's keys and together they could rank up there with the best of the progressive instrumentalists. But Steve McKenna also proves his worth with some crazy bass work that gets a chance to stand out a bit more on this 2nd track and Brian Bolliger has no problem putting in complex drum fills and easily shifts from one style to another with ease. There is once again a bit of a jazz leaning to the music, but plenty of bass and guitar keep the music on the rock side. These first two tracks are excellent 5 star material, the sound is clean and crisp as is to be expected with the digital recording. Up to this point, this is very impressive and the album is worth seeking out just for these two tracks alone. The first side closes off with a more radio-friendly track "It's Got to Be", a song that is still clean and crisp, but an obvious step down from the complexity of the preceding tracks.

The last four tracks stay within the 4 minute period. "Time and Time Again" is a bit more laid back and this time around, the song is a definite nod to inspiration from Yes, including Steve Howe's guitar style. The mellotron on this track is a nice touch and actually give it a personality that makes it the band's own style, lending a certain symphonic sound to the otherwise more accessible sound while still retaining a progressive edge. This could have been developed into something if more time was allotted. "Space Promenade" begins with lovely piano work at first and then is joined by a string quartet for a sound that tips on the border between romantic and baroque-like style. It's a nice instrumental that helps to round out the album. The last two tracks are "melded" together and can almost pull off being a single track. "In the Mist" brings back a higher level of complexity and the jazz leanings return. Cummings' vocals and Treumuth's syths take on a Dennis DeYoung/Styx like feel, but with more of a progressive edge to it. The bass also stands out on this track again which is always a good thing especially when it is allowed to contribute a lot to the track. "Song for the World" is more reflective and melancholic, but continues with the feel of the preceding track and takes some time to build to a nice and complex instrumental break. It is a nice closer, but because of the brevity of the total album, the tracks on the 2nd side just seem like they could have been epic if they were given the time to breathe and develop.

The year that this album was released in was, unfortunately, a year when progressive rock was being shunned, and the record company wasn't as willing as it should have been to promote the album. If it had been released 5 years earlier, this band would have probably had more freedom to develop the songs and I have no doubt that they would have been successful. Because of the timing, this album and band only ended up becoming a forgotten project which none of these excellent musicians deserved. The band did release another album, but much of the line-up had changed, so I'm not sure whether their stellar sound would have carried on to that album.

Though this album is not perfect, it is one that should be recognized more as it is quite an impressive showcase of 5 musicians that were talented and could have made a bigger impression on the world of progressive rock if they were given more of a chance. It's another sad reminder of the wrong turn that music took overall in the 80's. If you have a chance to get this album, you should as it is quite a gem even if some of the songs didn't get to develop into epic tracks. Even the shorter songs (except for one) are quite brilliant and you find yourself wishing they could have been longer. I can easily say that this is a four star album and a definite treasure that I found buried among the old Perry Como and Paul Anka records, forgotten by the true music fans that would really appreciate it if they heard it.

TCat | 4/5 |

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