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Aethellis - Aethellis CD (album) cover





3.35 | 26 ratings

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4 stars Prog Purists Beware, Catchy Hooks Abound! And yet...

And yet you will find lovely passages in 7/4 and 17/8, the oft-cited rather jarring polytriads, and numerous modulations ("Saint Augustus"). "Hubris" continues the journey with danceable rhythms and funky guitar yet balances these with quartal harmonies, macabre vocals with augmented chords (a favorite of Steve Hackett), and diminished scale synthesizer melodies.

Jazz harmonies mix with contrapuntal piano and hip-hop rhythms in "Djibouti." Banksian tone colors and chord progressions flow in "Portal" and "Tie and Handkerchief" while gnarly riffs and more asymmetrical meters weave throughout "Final Affinity" climaxing with a Wakemanesque organ solo.

Apart from these tasty attributes, the song structures display compositional acumen where themes are stated, developed, restated in a variation and morphed further along with other interlocking thematic material. For example "Final Affinity" weaves all the motifs from the first three sections into a tapestry of recapitulations in the final climax.

Indeed there are catchy hooks abounding; top-notch lush complex interlocking keyboard orchestrations and smoothly earnest (and sometimes impassioned) vocals. If this lends one to conclude the album is "poppy" and thereby more immediately accessible, then so be it. That is a positive attribute if it draws one in to the music. But upon repeated listenings, the layers unravel and deeper treasures are found. The point is: it may be accessible but it is not simplistic.

bdenim | 4/5 |


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