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Agents Of Mercy - The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight CD (album) cover


Agents Of Mercy



3.17 | 120 ratings

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3 stars As Roine Stolt said in TFK's Message Board: "It started out as an acoustic scaled down album - but along the way there were elements of symphonic bombasm creepin' in alongside more acoustic shorter tunes - plenty of vocals - I got f-ckin' hijacked by a Bohemian Rhapsody Squad....... and UPS delivered ALL of Tony Banks vintage 70's keyboards to this address since Tony just discovered there is something called. software "plug ins", so he didn't need them." So you got the idea on how the music would sound like.

First off, I like the artwork where it represents something so called 'neo prog' I believe. Well it's deep rooted in IQ 'The Wake' album actually ... But it also reminds me to Cirque Du Soleil - the circus movie in which the music is really prog and I wonder why Cirque Du Soleil is not included here in progarchives.

On top of the cover, I would expect the project (I consider Agents of Mercy is like a project) something really BIG as it involves big guys from King Crimson as well as The Flower Kings. When I listened to the album for the first time it did impress me especially with the opening track 'The Fading Ghosts Of Twilight' (7:29) especially when Sylvan sings 'tick tock of the cock' ...yeah it reminds me to Mr Peter Gabriel in early Genesis - when he sung The Musical Box. In terms of overall music style this album is more into the kind of music that Genesis played when they were four-piece band with Mr Hackett still the guitar player. Yes, in some tracks Sylvan emulates Gabriel singing but most of the time he sounds like Phil Collins. Sometimes the music reminds me also to Anthony Phillips solo album in his early career.

If you love Genesis, you would definitely tend to compare this album with Genesis because the nuances remind us to Genesis. But be careful .. once you start comparing the music with Genesis you would then find yourself in a trap: any single segment of the music you start comparing it with any composition by Genesis. That's what I experienced because my first spin with the opening track brought me back to the glory days of Genesis. Nothing wrong with it but it made me suffering because in any given segment I try to compare with other tracks of Genesis.

The composition revolves around good melody combined with harmonies created from the instruments or the vocal. The opening track blew me away at the first spin. I got no trouble listening to the Sylvan's voice emulating Peter Gabriel. I truly love the way piano works brilliantly throughout the song and how the bass, guitar and drums find themselves positioned nicely in the music. However this song suffers in its structural integrity as in the middle of the track the style change not smoothly to another style that provides musical break.

The second track "The Unwanted Brother" (5:45) melody line in someway another reminds me to The Beatles "Lucy In The Sky with Diamond" with some bluesy elements. I like the guitar playing here. "Afternoon Skies" (4:01) is an acoustic setting with good combination of acoustic guitar feels and solid bass lines accompanying Collins-like singing. "Heroes & Beacons" (9:06) is a very nice song with great piano touch at the opening part followed with ambient keyboard work letting Sylvan's vocal line. This time he switches between Gabriel on low register notes and Collins on higher register notes. I remember Phil Collins singing for Anthony Phillips solo album "The Geese and The Ghost". I like the chorus line .. it's melodic.

"Jesus On The Barricades" (4:02) sounds like Phil Collins solo album. "Waiting For The Sun" (5:17) brings The Flower Kings style in with Roine Stolt takes the vocal part at the intro part. Yeah, this track sounds like The Flower Kings. "We'll just keep hanging on .." reminds me back to Genesis actually. "A Different Sun" (8:08) tries something different with heavier elements and more accentuated singing style of Sylvan. "Ready To Fly" (4:53) sounds like a ballad with acoustic guitar as rhythm section, lacking melody in its overall music stream in the song. "People Like Us" (4:54) is a poppy stuff that does not create anything great even though the music is more on The Flower Kings than Genesis. "A Soldiers Tale" (11:48) is too long in composition - it could have been done with shorter duration. "Bomb Inside Her Heart" (4:25) is another ballad. "Mercy & Mercury" (7:56) reminds me to Procol Harum especially in the keyboard work at the opening part.

Overall, this is a good music offered by Stolt (The Flower Kings) and Sylvan (Unifaun). Some songs have great melodies but the music lacks the soul. The contribution of big guys from King Crimson and The Flower Kings are not so obvious here, it's because most of the arrangements are mellow. The project actually does not need the contribution from the BIG guys, really. It's a good 'refreshment' for those of you who expect Genesis continues in music making these days ... Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Total Time 77:50

Gatot | 3/5 |


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