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Drifting Sun - Veil CD (album) cover

VEIL

Drifting Sun

 

Neo-Prog

4.29 | 42 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars Although DRIFTING SUN is celebrating its fourth decade in 2024 as a band having formed in Chesham, England way back in 1994, founder and remaining member Pat Sanders didn't really get the band started until it reformed and started releasing albums again in 2015 with "Trip The Light Fantastic." Since then DRIFTING SUN has been quite productive and not only has the band released six albums in less than ten years but has in the process become incrementally a better band with each passing release as well as becoming one of the most revered neo-prog bands of the modern era. Following the excellent "Forsaken Innocence" from 2021, the band is back with its 8th overall release - VEIL.

With an ever rotating cast of musicians and backing singers, VEIL finds Pat Sanders back in the driver's seat performing another keyboard dominated slice of stellar prog. Also returning is ex-IQ bassist Jon Jowitt as well as vocalist John "Jargon" Kosmidis who took the last album to an entirely new level of prog perfection. New to the team is guitarist / mandolin player Ralph Cardall of Thedeepstate and ex-Pendragon drummer Fudge Smith. The new lineup is joined by Suzi James from Fearful Symmatry and T.A.P. who performs violin on a few tracks as well as seven choir members who pop up randomly on this eight track album that spans the playing time of just over 47 minutes.

Despite a new lineup the band sounds like a team of seasoned pros on VEIL and demonstrates how to make the proper neo-prog album for the 2020s. Graced with a diverse listing of tracks, this album is a wild ride that implements all the expected keyboard heft with flashy synthesizer runs and layered atmospheres but goes so much further in exploring textures, timbres and dynamics. Starting out with a short two-minute instrumental with the time signature of a waltz, "Veiled" delivers a piano-based orchestral with dramatic a dramatic choir and a slow build up to the album's longest cut, "Frailty" which takes on the role of a mini album's worth of ideas in its own right with its many movements that tackle soft melodic passages with the grittier heft of guitar based rock.

The album continues with one killer strong track after another with all kinds of pleasing developments. Melodic hooks without any cheesiness and dynamics that range from pacifying piano rolls to raucous guitar solos add the spice. The highlights include? well everything! ~ however some interesting moments include the moments of virtuosity which neo-prog doesn't usually excel in. This includes the guitar shredding antics on "Eros And Psyche" and Sanders demonstrating his virtuoso piano rolls on the phenomenally precise "2-Minute Waltz." Another personal favorite is the closing "Cirkus" with its circus music rhythms and Kosmidis' vocal style that reminds me a bit of Anekdoten. The use of keyboards, guitars, choirs and varying percussion makes this entire album a gem of a listening experience.

Honestly i wasn't too impressed when i sampled the tracks available before the album's release but when i hear the album in its entirety i'm completely blown away! DRIFTING SUN really is the hottest ticket in the neo-prog section of the prog universe delivering a fresh new stylistic approach that doesn't rely on past masters for its inspiration. Sanders demonstrates his musical genius on so many levels on this one. I was fearing "Forsaken Innocence" would be a one-off fluke of brilliance but i am happy to be totally wrong on that note. VEIL is every bit as original and compelling as its predecessor and a welcome surprise in the first quarter of 2024. This band is on fire! I sure hope they can keep this intensity and perfection up for a few more albums because this is really the stuff melodic prog dreams are made of.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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