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Echolyn - As The World CD (album) cover

AS THE WORLD

Echolyn

 

Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 225 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album received less attention from me when I purchased it because I thought the music was too complex and less melodic as compared to neo prog music when at that time in 1998 was my major mood in prog music. Sometimes I spun it for a change when I needed something different but it never got my full attention merely due to the melody issue. I expected all prog bands should sound something like early Marillion or IQ Ever / Subterranea. But I was wrong, I learned from Echolyn (and of course Finneus Gauge) that excellent prog albums do not necessary require nice melody. And, Echolyn is a good example for this. The chief reason I grabbed this album from my CD shelf was because of my astonishment toward the great performance by the band through their latest DVD set "Stars and Gardens". Any prog fan should own this DVD, I think. It's a highly recommended prog DVD. A masterpiece.

As The World represents the true characteristic of Echolyn's music: a blend of rock, fusion and avant-garde. All elements and styles merge beautifully even though mostly are not melodic. It does not necessary mean it's not enjoyable because, in fact, most compositions are excellent - combining complex arrangements, high energy and frequent tempo changes. I think the joy of enjoying this album is in fact on the non- melodic-ness of most songs. Why? Because they usually contain complex textures, styles and arrangement but when they are combined together they form a great harmony. That's the strong point of Echolyn's music. Echolyn's music is original. There might be bit influences from bands like Gentle Giant - especially on choirs part, Hatfield and The North, National Health, Caravan or even Genesis. But it's not really obvious influences as far as my ears can detect. As colleague collaborator James Lee put this "Unless you have better sensory processing skills than I, you'll need to listen to "As the World" at least three times before you even start to hear everything that's going on", I also had to spin even five times before I could get the music. Too complex? It is.

All tracks featured in this CD are excellent and favor my personal taste (remember: I was grown-up with mostly melodic prog bands like Genesis "Firth of Fifth" or Marillion "Script for A Jester's Tear"!). The album opener All Ways The Same is basically short overture exploring excellent keyboard work. It flows seamlessly to album title track As The World (4:50) in energetic way, fast tempo and many tempo changes. The high energy Weston vocal line has lifted up the energy of this track. Again, even though it's not a melodic song, this track is really great. I like the short part that contains a kind like a musical break followed with inventive guitar, bass and keyboard work in complex arrangement. Uncle (6:54) starts off with solid bass lines followed with guitar work. When vocal enters, the guitar fills at the back. Some choirs may remind you to Gentle Giant even though it's performed in different style. The keyboard solo is really stunning, accompanied with great rhythm section by other instruments. This song is somewhat complex in structure - but it's really nice!

Another track that makes me stunned is The Cheese Stands Alone (4:48). It opens with voice line and music start together in relatively fast tempo with high energy and rhythm section. The arrangement is bit complex with some discrete sounds of guitars, keyboard and dazzling drums. Guitar sound is not typical guitar solo you usually hear but it's wonderful. Some lyrical parts are sung together and they produce excellent choirs that remind me to Gentle Giant. This album also contains an epic Letter that is formed by five songs from Prose to One For The Show.

In summary, it's a very rewarding album, an excellent addition to any prog collection. It has tight composition with complex arrangements and structures, and powerful songwriting. On musicianship, it's no doubt at all. This band has a great vocalist, talented guitar player, great bass player, wonderful keyboardist and great drummer. Maybe, you can observe through this album that the drum is played dynamically with some snare drum sounds similar to Bill Bruford's. My overall rating for this album is 4+ out of 5 stars. Highly recommended and original prog album! Keep your passion for prog!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #312

Arrogance has no friend! - Echolyn "As The World"

Gatot | 4/5 |

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