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Azureth - Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.42 | 28 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Azureth originally formed from a collaboration of artists from different parts of the world. The lead vocalist and drummer (and bass player too) is from Norway. The keyboardist is from Florida and the guitarist is from Texas. So the music for this debut album was recorded in three distant studios and probably shared over the Internet between the three musicians.

The album really starts off with a bang with the wonderful Wake the Dragon, reminding me at first of early Arena, but the instrumental ending is very reminiscent of Yes' Starship Trooper ending. Nice song to start the album off with. Unfortunately things go downhill from here, and then have a series of uneven ups and downs. This is expected from many debut albums by a band, let alone a band that collaborates across the Internet, that's just trying to find itself. The songs range from ballads, to pop rock numbers with neo prog leanings to full-out symphonic prog outings.

The album also features an "epic" entitled The Grand Design which is apparently about 36 minutes long. But don't let that scare you. It's not really a 36-minute long song. It consists of tracks 4-9, and each track sounds like a separate song to me. I notice no overarching theme between any of the songs and cannot even tell if they are lyrically connected. So, it's not really an epic, per se; just a bunch of unconnected songs. Again, it's like the rest of the album with the highlight being the instrumental Overture. I found myself skipping through some of the less interesting numbers.

The real highlight of this album is the keyboard-driven instrumental Timeless Moments in Sherwood. Other than a misplaced guitar solo that feels out of place, this song is a true treasure of Genesis-like inspiration and the one song keeping me from rating this album any lower than three stars.

They close off the album with a cover of Genesis' Afterglow. It's actually rather nicely done, but doesn't really compel me like the original song does. It's also one of the easier Genesis numbers to perform, so the band doesn't extend itself beyond its capabilities.

Some of the poorer moments on the album are the use of subpar nature sounds that aren't properly mixed into the beginnings of the few tracks that use them. You really need to fade these into the songs. The spoken parts I found quite distracting. The other disappointing part was that the CD doesn't come with a booklet with lyrics, but rather you need to go to their website and "register" it in order to download a PDF file and look at artwork and other goodies. The problem was that I could not find where to register the CD, as both places mentioned on the CD appear to no longer exist on their website. In fact, their website hasn't beeen updated since 2007.

I got the impression from other reviewers that Stephen Rivera uses an arsenal of modern and vintage synthesizers, but the insert seems to indicate that he uses mostly modern synths supplemented by virtual synths (i.e., synthesizer software). He uses the Arturia Moog Modular V, which is a virtual synth that replicates what an authentic Moog synthesizer would sound like. I don't consider this a bad thing. Use what you can to get the sound you want sounds like a logical thing to do. But I felt this was worth bringing out for the purists out in "Prog Land."

Overall a solid three stars for a somewhat haphazard release, with good and bad moments, and a couple of great moments. This debut has intrigued me enough to add their followup to my list of future purchases.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |


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