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Epignosis - Still the Waters CD (album) cover

STILL THE WATERS

Epignosis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 56 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars A visionary achievement of ambient textural landscapes and spiritually uplifting themes

Epignosis is the brainchild and vision of Robert W Brown Jr and it is not easy to make a debut album with so many ideas swimming in your head or not knowing where the musical direction will take you, but this release seems to be geared toward a solid ambience in the same vein as Anekdoten with some guitar work akin to Camel. The musicianship is accomplished and all played by the Robert himself so this in itself is a feat worthy of attention; three years in the making. The themes are based on Biblical principles and are Christian reflections on faith, life and love. For both these reasons I feel to award this 4 stars. But the production really lacks polish and at times the vocals need work in parts. But all this will come on subsequent releases. You have to start somewhere and these things can be forgiven as we concentrate on the sheer uplifting spirit of the album, the majesty of mellotrons and soaring guitars in a truly symphonic soundscape, with positive, thoughtful lyrics.

'Still The Waters' features echoing clean guitars under a lead solo in the foreground of the musical horizons. The sound is uplifting, beautiful and has textures of light and dark as the guitar becomes distorted in the instrumental section. A great start.

'A Pearl in a Field' is soaked with ethereal mellotron, and bass spilling over and dripping down the sides of the musical framework. The drums are a strong factor on this, and when the guitars clang in, the mood is set in stone. Vocals enter the soundscape and have a Christian thematic content making for some intensely relaxing and compelling music.

'Move' focuses on guitar picking and dominating organ. The vocals are well performed, clean and low, with some intriguing lyrics; "The evils of this world and my heart were intertwined, A stagnant heart, a stagnant mind, a stagnant hand of the confined, Blind from birth, deaf from the cradle, mute all my days, Teach me to see and hear and speak of your displays..." There is a sad melancholy feel as the vocals keep time with the clanging guitar using phased pedal effects. The lyrics cause one to reflect upon their faith or the existence of God and how hard it is to retain faith in an evil world.

'An Everlasting Kingdom' begins with acoustic with a Spanish flavour. Keyboards chime in with a dreamy atmosphere. The guitars sound excellent on this, very clean, spacey and soaring, and the odd time sig is carried by loud bass and drums with cymbal crashes. The organ features in an instrumental break and then a ton of piano with guitar sends the track into a lulling dreamscape.

'No shadow of Turning' is the prog epic with layered keyboards, some clean guitar and well executed volume swells to emphasise the ethereal atmosphere. The guitars are more spacey on this with a soundscape of majestic keyboard pads and a symphonic edge that lifts the sound to new levels. The bass is notable and all the piano runs are lovely. The vocals are gentle and reflective over an accomplished piano; "I'm afraid, And I'm so tired, Of ill meant for me, And kindness displayed, Is somebody here, Who will never go back on a promise he's made?" The vocals falter and are imperfect but there is nothing wrong with those lyrics; "This world's so full of shape-shifters' embraces, I see you're the one who'll never change faces, And though I'm a child, I keep on learning, In you there is love and no shadow of turning..." A fractured time sig here follows with great drum fills and mellotron. The instrumental break is a key feature with melodic guitars and a myriad of time shifts. The mellotron has an excellent timbre with huge dollops of symphonic sustained chords. The vocals are gently sung at first and then launch into a more aggressive sound with distorted guitars. The guitars crunch with excellent feedback and heavy basslines. The melody locks in with mellotron and picking guitar. This track clocks in at an epic 20 minutes and is a multimovement suite of lavish mood swings. It changes at 11 minutes in with a new feel and some interesting guitar effects, the harmonies of Robert's multilayered voice are well executed. He sings on the next section with a lot of emotional depth and I particularly love it when the lead guitar takes the helm. The synthesizer has a time to shine at 15 mins and there is a minimalist feel as acoustics and vocals merge in questioning faith and answering it in turn; "(Why should I put my faith in him?) He shows unfailing love (Just what defines who I am?) This promise I speak of (How can I blindly trust your God?) Faith is never blind (My stain is too deep and too broad) Not deeper than he is kind." The vocals are excellent on this track, perhaps due to the multi layered approach. The keyboards then play a sweet melody with distinct bass shapes, until the next question and answer vocalisation. The music swells to a majestic crescendo as the time sig shifts toward a closing denouement. It is easily the highlight of the album.

To end this review I can only say that there a number of factors on this album that stir my emotions and make this an excellent listen. It is symphonic, but not without some darker heavier guitars to release the ambience, like fire and ice. The lyrics are uplifting and Godly and I am all for that, especially when there are so many bands that turn to darker depressing themes to fuel their anger. The music on "Still the waters" is soothing, calm and spiritually touching. And lastly this is an amazing achievement from a solo artist, an incredibly talented one who can sing and play so many instruments; this reviewer is in awe.

It is said that if you have a fiery passionate vision, people will come from miles around to watch you burn; I am glad I had a privilege to feel the sparks of this fire.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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