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Sanhedrin - Ever After CD (album) cover

EVER AFTER

Sanhedrin

 

Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 116 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Ever After' - Sanhedrin (8/10)

Quite a charming piece of prog, this. Although instrumental prog bands come a dime a hundred these days it seems, there really are few that I would bother checking out, much less return to for repeated listening. Perhaps its just the formula's fairly cold dynamic of exercising performance abilities and erudite composition over emotion, but I have never managed to enjoy many of these acts. Thankfully, I was able to give Sanhedrin the time they needed to grow on me, and for me to realize that they have more going on to them than the usual play-hard instrumental groups I am used to finding. This is a group from Israel that started off as a tribute act to the classic UK band Camel, but have since evolved to writing their own material. While the roots in Camel are plainly evident on this, their debut record 'Ever After', the sound that this band creates is intelligent, inventive, and full of ideas that grow with time. While my preconceived fatigue with the style held me against the album at first, new listens to the album over the course of this afternoon have led me to see what a gem Sanhedrin have made here.

Sanhedrin are a new band, but the sound they make is rooted deeply in alot of classic symphonic prog acts. Adding a dash of jazz fusion to the sound, Sanhedrin is vintage, but fresh, and I would rarely say that about a band who looks to the past so much for their inspiration. Besides the obvious main influence in Camel, I am also hearing alot of Jethro Tull here, specifically in the prevalent flute work of Shem-Tov Levi. Solos are generally alternated between the flutist and guitarist, and the rhythm is beefed up with rich organs and fusion-based drumwork. Upon my first listen to this album, the first thing that is readily evident are the band's skills as individual musicians, and overall tightness as a group. Although the actual hooks and quality of the composition are a little less immediately evident, there are many times here when the band pulls off some very slick passages, each starting and stopping in an organic unison.

The state of the band being an instrumental act is something that may turn off some, although they are not necessarily held back by the lack of a vocalist. On this note though, Sanhedrin's music could easily integrate a vocalist into it. Unlike so many instrumental prog bands, there is not always someone noodling around with leads, the strongest aspects of Sanhedrin are when they are adhering to their songwriting. There are a fair amount of solos throughout 'Ever After' though, most notably led by the flute. The first half of this album is dominated by flute solos, and gives it a strong feeling of Jethro Tull. The latter half of the album gets more moderate from this, and although while Levi is a great flutist, the seemingly incessant flute work in parts can ultimately feel more like a ramble. This is only a small gripe I had with the record, and some listening to this record may not even see it as an issue at all.

'Ever After' is certainly an excellent album by all accounts, and I might even say that it has opened me up a little more to the instrumental brand of prog rock. After all, prog has never been about adhering to notions of popular music, and Sanhedrin seem very content here to do their own thing, all the while paying homage to the greats that got them into prog in the first place. An exceptional debut album.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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