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Apocalypse - The Bridge Of Light CD (album) cover

THE BRIDGE OF LIGHT

Apocalypse

 

Symphonic Prog

3.69 | 28 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I usually gravitate to the somewhat understated side of prog's most traditionally melodic sub genres, and shun anything approaching "arena rock", which might be more culpable than punk in delivering the fatal blow to progressive rock in the late 70s. Yet every so often I have the pleasure of an audience with a band that synthesizes those cliches in such an enthusiastic and uninhibited manner that I simply cannot lift them from the virtual platter in time to give others a chance. Exhibit A is the latest release from APOCALYPSE, which is all the more remarkable for being a live disk of all new compositions.

The sound of APOCALYPSE is rather busier than I like it. Gustavo Demarchi's voice is altogether overly powerful for the style, and at times unpleasantly shrill, in a manner of a Steve Perry, who epitomized the cringe worthy crooning of AOR for a long decade. At times the band members get in each others' way with their themes, failing to provide the necessary space to shine. But yet once experienced 6 or 8 times, "The Bridge of Light" becomes whole, and even lesser tracks like "Ocean Soul" ,"The Dance of the Dawn", and "Meeting Mr_ Earthcrubbs" becoming just less significant pieces of a majestic whole, even if the audience participation moments in "Dance..." are altogether too much. Although not credited above, the flutes appear frequently and add a welcome timbre to complement Eloy Fritsch's considerable keyboard passages, themselves hearkening back to a much earlier era of masters like WAKEMAN, even if he doesn't solo on for days.

The highlights, and where the album really heats up, are on the first 4 songs of the second part. "Wake Up Call" is one of a few tracks that seems to have violin, and its bouncy folk meets classical intro gives way unexpectedly but skillfully to one of the few truly mellow tracks and some of Ruy Fritsch's best guitar licks to be heard. This can be compared with a very ambient work like CAMEL's "Dust and Dreams", right down to the Latimer-esque phrasings. "To Madeleine" is more typically upbeat, with a hard rock riff that works in the manner of early SAGA. "Escape" is really the peak of the whole disk, probably the most powerful melodically, vocally and instrumentally, everyone cooking at double strength. It makes me want to give RUSH a chance, but then Demarchi is no Geddy Lee thank heavens. Finally "Welcome Outside" continues raucously, shifting near the end to a brief but noteworthy acoustic segment. I sense that this might be the key moment thematically. The closing track, the ballad "Not Like You" is another brilliant stroke.

Unfortunately, about half of what's presented is just ok; while it doesn't need to be skipped over, the effect is better if gentle editing is applied. Still, this is a surprising and somewhat guilty pleasure for me and I am torn between 3 and 4 stars, ultimately rounding down for now , but don't burn this bridge without crossing it first. Recommended to fans of bombastic symphonic and neo prog.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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