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The Emerald Dawn - In Time CD (album) cover


The Emerald Dawn



4.16 | 19 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
5 stars *Originally written for*


The Emerald Dawn is back with another offering. Their previous record, To Touch the Sky, was in my top 10 albums for 2021, and I think it would remain there even now. There is just something arresting about this band and their style. The new album is called In Time, and it releases on September 23rd.

This band fascinates me to no end. There is something spectacularly reserved and united about the style, and even though it may seem odd compared to some of the more cliché prog rock bands out there, I think they are better. The lineup for this album includes Tree Stewart on keyboards, Roli Seaboard, flute, and vocals; Ally Carter on guitars, tenor and soprano saxophones, and keyboards; Dave Greenaway on 6-string fretless and fretted basses, and Tom Jackson on drums.

Let me tell you why I love this band. I've been reviewing their works since 2017, and I continue to see them progress and grow. All four of these musicians are of the highest quality; they perform wonderfully and masterfully. But their sound is their own, and no one else really approaches what they do. As I've said in the past, they come from a progressive heritage that leans more towards Mike Oldfield, Renaissance, and the Moody Blues than the typical "big three" of Yes, Pink Floyd, and Genesis. I'm not saying they don't like those bands or anything, but I'm saying their music is more ambient, more spectral, and more interesting.

For In Time, the band has increased the level of intensity somewhat. To Touch the Sky is a haunting, faraway sort of record that echoes from the horizon of your mind. In Time is more grounded, and while their signature shadowy and dreamy sound is still there, you will hear instrumentals that have some fire to them. This album is a great balancing act between ambience and rock, and I think they handle it very well.

I mentioned the performances earlier, but I want to discuss them again. I absolutely love Ally's guitar work on this record; it is expressive with a sense of familiarity in its phrasing. He does a superb job here. Tree's vocals are better than ever, and I like how she adds little touches here and there to give the music even more character, and both Tree and Ally lay down an excellent layer of keys that define the band's sound, in my opinion. However, I will also say that Dave and Tom give us one of the best rhythm sections of the year on this album. I was mesmerized by the powerful and groovy bass that Dave injects into every nook and cranny, and the voluptuous fills and remarkable moments that Tom gives us on drums are real highlights.

In Time has spirit. I love how the band can transition from hopeful lyrical passages to serious rock vibes to playful and colorful instrumentals. These songs wind and weave with precision, even though the band makes it feel natural and peaceful. The opener, "Out of Time", is a great example. Tree sounds great on vocals with her message of encouragement and edification, but it's also the sparkling piano, amazing bass, and terrific guitar lines that make this 23-minute epic work. The second half features Middle Eastern flavors and haunting atmosphere, and the percussion becomes a highlight, and I love how the whole song comes full circle with more fervor near the end.

I think the second track, "Timeless", might be my favorite, though. This 15-minute piece is dark and bass-driven, and again Dave's bass just absolutely stuns. I love the ethereal keys and spacious atmosphere of this song, and one of the highlights is Ally's outstanding saxophone. I like the way he plays, not resorting to specific jazz refrains, but going wild and untamed with it. "Timeless" is just so good. I can't get enough of it.

The final track, "The March of Time", is the shortest piece at only about 8 minutes. You might guess that percussion plays a larger role here, and a marching beat is indeed a major part of it. However, maybe even bigger than the methodical drumming and deft cymbal dancing is the dark beauty of the keys; the keyboards on this mostly instrumental piece are simply amazing in how mysterious and even foreboding they sound, but even at their most razor-sharp, I find them immensely beautiful. I also appreciate the way Tree's vocals filter in near the end to add another layer of melody. That's just so good.

I might have to start calling The Emerald Dawn "one of my favorite bands" soon. I like all their albums, but To Touch the Sky and now In Time are just so damn good that I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. I love their sound and how they morph and twist it into new ideas, and I equally love when they just hang back with a casual, soothing portion that speaks volumes. In Time is a fantastic record from a band that deserves so much more recognition than they get.

Second Life Syndrome | 5/5 |


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