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Epignosis - Refulgence CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 31 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars This mirror may be cracked, but it is refulgent just the same

Epignosis is the solo project of ProgArchives very own... Epignosis (who'd have guessed). Robert Brown is his real name, a humble North Carolinian multi-instrumentalist who plays all the instruments (and programs some too) on his two solo records. His latest, a labor of love (and occasionally frustration) is titled Refulgence, and is certainly an album with a worthy name. Refulgence is a noun meaning 'radiance' - which is appropriate to the Christian theme that runs all throughout the album, with pious lyrics and subtle Christian themes. However, this theme is not present on every track of the album, as Rob sprinkles in his second ideological love - Libertarianism. Although I may only agree with one of the topics, the album still presents itself as a slightly flawed but overall very engaging and attracting piece of symphonic rock.

Unlike Epignosis' first effort, Still the Waters, which came off as an overall amateurish studio effort, Refulgence emerges as a large improvement, with much more professional and clean production, inviting atmospheres, and a better mix than the last album. The instrumentation is stronger than much of his last effort, with some really fantastic moments that remind of Spock's Beard. Although the drums are programmed, they are for the most part quite realistic, although they do at times grate against this drummer's skin. Away from percussion, however, Rob's masterful use of acoustic 6- and 12-string guitar is fantastic, and his subtle use of mellotron and other keyboards adds a fantastic texture to the music. His guitar tone in the title track is very reminiscent of Mike Oldfield, which a great folky dynamic to that epic track. This peaceful feeling really holds itself throughout much of the album, with the exception of truly rocking tracks such as Bold Eternal Day and Riddles in the Dark.

However, the one major flaw that truly sticks out to me is much of the vocals. To me, they don't really match the emotion of the music, and seem flat and unanimated at times. Although occasionally they really shine through and compliment the music, overall I feel like they don't match the power of the music. Although Tasha's vocals, oftentimes simply adding harmony to Rob's, can really add that 'umph' needed to make them appropriate for the music.

The lyrics, too, don't click with me either. Of course I will not have this mark against the rating because my viewpoints on religion can be different than others, and I can (usually) tune out religious allusions in music. But references to the bible, such as Romans 5:5 'Hope Maketh Not Ashamed' don't really fit with much of the music atmosphere in my opinion. Luckily these lyrics don't come off as preachy, but more as a humble tribute. Although I completely respect Rob's beliefs, I don't completely agree. Of course lyrically I do quite enjoy Handful of Humanity, which is a tip of his hat to his Libertarian friends.

As a lover of literature (and the owner of a Bachelor's degree in English if I recall correctly), the man can truly compose some great lyrics, and whether I agree with them or not, poetically they can truly hold well.

In the end, this album is truly a wonderful, if not a bit flawed, piece of music. Bestowed with beautifully peaceful atmospheres and superb dynamics, ranging from a near metal song to peaceful folky acoustic tracks, the album is easily worth the time and energy put into composing and producing it. The album has some truly wonderful moments, from the mellow pastures of his acoustic work to the rocking power of his electric work. Overall, the album is a truly wonderful display of one man's passion for the music he loves, and I highly recommend it to all! 4- stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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