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Persephone's Dream - Pan: An Urban Pastoral CD (album) cover

PAN: AN URBAN PASTORAL

Persephone's Dream

 

Heavy Prog

3.98 | 78 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Don't bring the world into balance; bring your balance back into the world.

It is difficult to place this album, for although it does not sound particularly "out there", it does not have any glaring cliches to make it's categorisation easy. As such, it's placement in Heavy Prog is as appropriate as any other, despite the fact that there are moments in here that hint at Symphonic, Heavy, Eclectic, and even Folk prog.

The album is split into 19 songs of varying length, which tell a tale of disillusionment with modern city life and the hidden world of the gods of nature that is hidden beneath the surface of it all. Quite an ambitious concept, and although it does come with a story summary in the booklet, the lyrical and musical aspect of the album goes beyond what is written, giving the listener the ever-so-important chance to take what they hear and make something their own out of it, while at the same time giving listeners a common ground to start from.

Musically, as I mentioned above, the album features many different styles, but it is built such that it flows from one song to the next very naturally; like the very best concept albums, it would be very difficult to separate any of these pieces from the whole. And although the music can be so varied, one never feels jarred or confused by the way the album flows; it seems that the band thought this out very carefully and so moves from section to section with a certain grace.

To move the story forward, we are treated to the vocals of both Ashley Peer (who primarily sings as the Maenads) and Jim Waugaman (also the keyboardist). Both the singers are quite excellent, and bring the appropriate amount drama necessary for this style of album. I am particularly fond of the vocals of Ashley, who gives the music that oft-time missing in prog female aspect. The off-kilter vocals in Nectar of the Gods demonstrate that she is quite a flexible singer, and inject a little extra fun into the album.

My favorite part of the album is the section from Chaosong to Nectar of the Gods, a good chunk of the album. This is where Jim's vocals shine the most, "Give me offerings ...". There are also sections that sound somewhat pagan to me (maybe folksy is a better word) and these have a unique texture that I really enjoy.

But really there are no bad parts to this album. Ideas are succinct, varied, and dramatic - leading to what I can only describe as a great concept album worth many listens.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |

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