Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Vienna Circle - Secrets of the Rising Sun CD (album) cover


Vienna Circle



3.89 | 47 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars Secrets of the Rising Sun is an album I've discovered while trying to listen to the good lot of 2021 prog. I've given it one listen, but it was enough for me to determine how I feel about this record. It's a real mixed bag, with some songs having both really good highs and really shallow lows. I want to be fair, especially with an album that has only a few reviews (eg, regardless of the actual score of this review, I don't want to persuade anyone to not check this album out).

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way: what the heck were they thinking with the vocal production? On the vocals on the first song, I thought it was a stylistic choice because of how clear it was. I'm not sure what kind of auto-tune/pitch correction they used, but it completely destroyed the timbre of all the voices on this record. It sounds vocoded because of how heavy it is, but it's clearly just an effect that was stacked on (with also a boatload of compression and really grossly pristine reverb). On one hand, this wasn't even a musical choice but a production choice (I say choice because there's no way they weren't conscious of how it sounds), but it demolished the delivery of the album for me. I know Vienna Circle knows how to produce an album because the guitar and even the drums sound not just fine, but actually really good. The worst of the bunch is That Night. If it's a stylistic choice, it just doesn't sound good. It's a shame, because I think without it there are some awesome songs that could've shined (fly lady fly, title track, golden sunset roulette). In fact, I could see myself giving this album a higher rating if it was purely instrumental.

The worst songwriting flub is on the song Rivers, just the clap track towards the end. It took away from any sense of development and frankly sounds out of place where it is. Some of the synth tones on this album are very typical of neo-prog: questionable, but not really huge offenders.

The guitars on this album, however, sound awesome! There are some prime moments scattered throughout this record. The best is definitely the peak of the song Fly Lady Fly. Carnival is a killer track! It's a really sick buildup, although I feel like it gets cut up somewhat. Sunset Revolver is my pick for the highlight of Secrets of the Rising Sun. It hits the right spot with the combination of prog metal/heavy neo prog riffage, and it's also instrumental, so no robot vocals. Canyons is also awesome, with some atmospheric soloing that evokes Pink Floyd. The closest the vocals come to working is on the title track, which is actually really catchy! It blows the other vocal songs out of the water.

This is definitely not an essential album, and I feel like it would turn off people who aren't used to the pitfalls of a lot of neo-prog albums. That said, there are legitimate highs to this record that make this a difficult album for me to put a rating on. I can't see myself going back to it other than for the title track or maybe to re-evaluate my listening later down the line.

mental_hygiene | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this VIENNA CIRCLE review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.