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Ajalon - On The Threshold Of Eternity CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.04 | 42 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Ajalon crafts songs that would more likely appeal to people who love contemporary Christian music (artists like FFH, 4HIM, or the late Rich Mullins). That's not to say that a progressive element is absent, but it does take a backseat to a more candid approach, often having the worshipful and biblical lyrics drive the album, even at the expense of melody sometimes. The performances contained on this album are clean and profession, even if the sound as a whole is formulaic and very unoriginal. Appearances by three guest musicians provide an occasional sense of newness. My copy has a bonus track, "You and Me," a cover of a song from The Moody Blues.

"Anthem of the Seventh Day" Beginning the album with a regal, Celtic feel, this instrumental is somewhat unlike what will occur on the rest of the record. Breathy synthesizer and penny whistle close this lovely piece.

"The Promised Land" Simple acoustic guitar and a light vocal melody are what this is all about. I find the lyrics a bit churchy, in that much of the verbiage is overwrought with vocabulary best suited for the pulpit or a Sunday school class. Others may not feel this, but as someone who has for the most part grown up in church, the lyrics just have a stale familiarity- a minor gripe, really. The terse acoustic guitar solo is a lovely interlude.

"Sword of Goliath" Overpowering synthesizer begins the third song- it's a relief when it goes away, leaving an easygoing but upbeat chord progression. The refrain is saccharinely hackneyed, but that is not to say it is not enjoyable or appreciated; musically it has something of a 1980s vibe.

"Holy Spirit Fire" Of all the songs on the album, this is the catchiest and perhaps the most rewarding lyrically (the line "Breathe in your freedom, dance away from your chains" resonates most vibrantly within my heart). It sounds quite like Bruce Hornsby for the most part, with yet another brief, excellent acoustic guitar solo- this one courtesy of the maestro Phil Keaggy.

"Psalm 61" Christian artists occasionally take a Psalm right out of the Bible and use it more or less word for word as lyrics to a song. Due to the nature and structure of Hebrew poetry, these attempts can often be strained and difficult to listen to, but Ajalon takes the first few verses of the sixty-first psalm and does a passable job placing them in the form of a straightforward contemporary Christian song (it helps that some of the words in the English translations incidentally rhyme). The music itself is again up-tempo and positive, relying heavily on acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies.

"What Kind of Love" The opening vocal harmony reminds me of Yes's work while Trevor Rabin was in the saddle. After a string of more straightforward songs, it's nice to hear something more complex and demanding. The synthesizer work is top notch here, and with good reason: The first time I heard the organ solo, I thought to myself, "That sounds quite a bit like Rick Wakeman," and as it turns out, it was indeed the caped keyboardist!

"The Highway" Picked acoustic guitar introduces a rather uncomplicated number, which has pleasant vocals (particularly the backing vocals). It is nothing spectacular, but is a nice song nonetheless.

"Forever I Am" Once again, picked acoustic guitar sets the stage for this extended song. The vocals are breathy and the lyrics uncomfortably squeezed together- the melody just seems forced. Over a simple piano and bass riff, those awkward vocals continue; fortunately the refrain is a tad stronger. Wakeman's synthesized brass may seem appropriate on paper, but in practice it sounds out of place. This may be one of the gaudiest examples of progressive rock, but again, it isn't terrible- just quite mediocre.

"On the Threshold of Eternity" While the previous song was a stab at progressive rock, the title piece, a sixteen-minute beast, does so a little more successfully. It is pumped full of lively keyboard work initially, but soon becomes a placid, airy piece that ushers into lone piano and a bleak vocal. Handling the task of serving as the voice of Jesus Christ is none other than Neal Morse. Perhaps the worst part of this lengthy track is that the vocal sections are almost all slow; they almost drag down the piece and make what should be an inspiring and hopeful work into something sleepy and tiresome.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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