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Ten Jinn - Ardis CD (album) cover


Ten Jinn


Crossover Prog

3.88 | 12 ratings

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3 stars Pennsylvanian NeoProg band is back with an album conceptualized around Jack London's political sci-fi novel, Iron Heel.

1. "Elegy I" (1:29) computer-generated piano and strings open this with a melodic cinematic piece to set the scene. (4.25/5)

2. "Brotherhood of Man" (4:02) the musical construction, vocal talents, instrumental sound choices, and NeoProg bombast of this song are all rather simple and "borrowed," i.e. every element of this song feels old and already done. It's pretty, melodic, and proggy, to be sure, but it's just ? old--sounding/feeling like the work of a regional prog cover band, not an artist who has aspirations to contribute something on an international level that might serve to progress progressive rock music. (8.4/10)

3. "Slaves of the Machine" (5:47) sounds a bit like or ICEHOUSE or SAGA with John Strauss's Michael Sadler voice. The music is solid but just there, providing nothing exceptional to distinguish itself--and the QUEEN-modeled vocals, while competently delivered, are so vanilla! Plus the aged keyboard sounds continue to grate on me. (8.5/10)

4. "Say Aye / Bishop's Vision" (6:45) Such a weird blend/phase out/phase in to two different songs. Why not just have them be separate? (12.66667/15)

5. "Elegy II" (5:49) an instrumental that shows John and his band members' true talents (despite the aged sounds coming from those keyboards) as both composers and performers (and engineers). (8.75/10)

6. "Adumbrations: Beginning of the End" (3:52) I can see why this song was released as a single: it's very poppy, reminding me quite a bit of 1974's PILOT (with the hit "Magic") or THE BAY CITY ROLLERS. (8.25/10)

7. "The Red Virgin" (7:54) again a dated, "already been done" feeling comes with every note of the first three minutes of this song--even if parts of it are blended together from multiple inspirational sources. Very nice instrumental weave in the fourth minute which, to my utter surprise (and delight) turn into a Tony Levin/King Crimson in the fifth! And then it continues on its angular, Crimsonian path--until the chorus at the very end of the sixth minute. The choral vocal melody weave and following section in the seventh minute are very likable and more original expressions. Easily my favorite three minutes of the album--and my favorite song on the album. (13.33333/15)

8. "Nightmare" (4:15) another instrumental, this time trying to convey in the domain of the menacing--through the use of very cinematic sounds and contrivances in order to do so. (8.66667/10)

9. "Ardis / Elegy III" (7:32) I very nice mix of excellent instrumental performances--especially from the Rick Wakeman- like keyboards, drums, and bass--but the vanilla Michael Sadler voice of John Strauss just rubs me the wrong way. (Or maybe it's how John's voice is engineered/effected cuz he's actually quite talented and stays on pitch incredibly well.) Plus, I have a strong aversion to the Brian May guitar sound--which is used almost exclusively in this song. (13/15)

Total Time 47:25

Overall, and continually when I listen to this album, I feel as if I'm listening to 1970s/early 1980s SAGA or even Australia's ICEHOUSE or Detroit's ART IN AMERICA. The keyboard artists, guitarists, bass/stick players, and drummers are all very skilled and talented, but the compositions often lack originality and are definitely held back by dated computer-keyboard sounds. I'll grant that the album's songwriting and musicianship is solid--and that most of it seems to gel better as the album goes on--but I just can't get past the too-familiar soundscapes and their out-dated keyboard sounds.

C+/3.5 stars; a pleasant listen of melodic SAGA/QUEEN-like music that might be of interest to many prog lovers. Give it a chance! You may love this!

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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