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Deluge Grander - August in the Urals CD (album) cover

AUGUST IN THE URALS

Deluge Grander

 

Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 170 ratings

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Squire Jaco
4 stars Remnants of the Baltimore-based jazz-fusiony band Cerebus Effect head up this wonderful new prog band with the abstruse name of Deluge Grander. I don't know if it was the subliminal influence of the cover art and album name, but this album frequently had a sound reminiscent of something Russian or foreign.

It looks like the leader of this group (and primary composer) is keyboardist and sometimes guitarist Dan Britton. He is very talented, and it is certainly his employment of a rather large arsenal of keyboards throughout the album that lends this music to be tagged mostly "symphonic prog". Patrick Gaffney's jazz-oriented drumming is very inventive and exciting, and I suspect it is his influence that pulls the band into some fusion excursions. Notable also is the ever-present guitar playing of Dave Berggren, and some decent bass playing by Brett d'Anon.

The album opener is the remarkable "Inaugural Bash", and at 27 minutes in length, it somehow manages to hold one's interest with quite a stew of styles and instruments, including xylophone and trumpet in parts. I thought the last five or six minutes could have offered a bit more climax and resolution to the rest of the piece, but still an overall great composition. Each subsequent song is shorter than the one before it, with distinctive styles and rhythms. There's even a Spanish style to the 7-minute last track "The Solitude of Miranda", the short vocal section of which is sung backwards by a woman listed as Adnarim (Miranda spelled backwards, just in case you missed it).

Some reviewers have complained about the vocals on this album. Aside from some Zappa-like alien vocals for about 15 seconds on track one, and the ten-second vocal on "...Miranda", vocals mainly appear on tracks 2 and 3. They really are not bad, and add to the uniqueness of the band's sound. Britton's deep-throated vocals are mike'd kind of far away, and mixed somewhat low, so even if you didn't like them, they wouldn't be too distracting. But I rather like them - they tend to be almost narrative, though the lyrics themselves must not be terribly important since they are not reproduced in the liner notes anyplace. Nevertheless, it's the MUSIC (not the lyrics) that dominate and impress on this album anyway!

There's really an awful lot going on in this 71-minute album. The busy-ness of the music probably could have benefited from slightly enhanced production, but really the mix is not too bad. I do believe that the overall sound and style of Deluge Grander is distinctive and accomplished enough to garner a good listen; there aren't the overt similarities to other bands (though you will be reminded occasionally of Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Anglagard and others), nor many prog cliches, so you get a pretty original experience with this cd. (Who else puts the "Oh-EE-Oh" march from "The Wizard of Oz" into a prog song ["A Squirrel"]!? ) There is also a lot of original artwork throughout the liner notes - plenty to enjoy here!

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |

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