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Dredg - El Cielo CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.07 | 276 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Absolutely a masterpiece. Usually I think a little bit when that little message comes up warning about five-star ratings, but this time, no hesitation. This is one of the best modern prog albums ever created, period.

This album shifts moods, atmospheres and styles faster than you can blink. One second you're in the middle of a gorgeous piano solo, the next second, you're in a powerful heavy rock song, and then again a trippy, wholly psychadelic song, then a jazzy light rock song. And Dredg manages to play all styles flawlessly, while tying in the theme of the album seamlessly. These guys are seriously talented, with their drummer, while not having near the chops of other drummers, is one of the finest modern drummers in terms of pure creativity. For examples, the last song, "The Canyon Beyond Her" has some phenomenal drumming. The creativity as a whole of the album is, as I said, stunning because of the changing styles and moods. And the concept is really really interesting, as is the manual...if you can decifer the handwriting.

The album is made up of 11 songs and 5 Brushstroke songs, which are short musical interludes of various styles. One just recaps the main melody of another song with a cool feel, one is a piano solo, one has an awesome Indian feel, one is just a really beaitufl song, and another is the first track, which is kinda filler, but it serves its purpose as an introductory piece. The whole Brushstroke idea originates from the concept of the album, which I should probabaly explain too.

The album revolves around two things: sleep paralysis and a Salvador Dali painting called Dream Caused By The Flight Of A Bee Around A Pomegranate One Second Before Awakening (thus the acronym for the first Brushstroke). Sleep paralysis is a quite horrible thing that happens to people where their body more or less wakes up from the REM stage of sleep too fast, so their body hasn't recovered from sleep and is still in the paralyzed state, but their mind (and eyes) are wide awake. Commonly during this are auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, a sense of dread and death, horrible images and terror, shadows and evil laughter...nasty stuff. Maybe if you're lucky, however, more calming things will happen in form of hallucinations, like I dunno, your long-dead mother or something appearing next to your bed to comfort you and get you back to sleep. It's a very interesting and somewhat frightenign phenomenon often linked to lucid dreaming, hwich is also touched on in this album.The lyrics to "Scissor Lock" sum it up pretty well. White noise is also a common thing, which is kinda where the Dali painting comes into play. Dali's wife suffered from slepp paralysis, and described as 1000 bees buzzing aorund her...I believe, I may be wrong on that one, so the painting Dali made kinda revolves around that as well as Dali's own trippy style.

The songs themselves are fantastic. Songs like Same Ol' Road and Of The Room are more in the style of Catch Without Arms with some of the heaviness of Leitmotif. These are catchy, single-type songs and are fantastic. Songs like Convalescent and Eighteen People living in harmony are just basically slightly less heavy versions of Same Ol' Road and Of The Room with a much more proggy twist in them. Meanwhile, songs like It Only Took a Day, Scissor Lock, and I'm Sorry But It's Over are a little more on the bleak side of the album and create a good atmosphere, much helped by Gavin's excellent voice. Sanzen and Triangle are more on the trippy side and use lots of sounds to help along the song and many tempo changes and mood changes, Triangle being the most interesting (not the best) song on the album. Lastly, The Canyon Behind Her and Whoa Is Me are probably the proggiest songs on the album, Teh Canyon Behind Her being simply epic and a beautiful closer, and Whoa Is Me flirting heavily with jazz with the Dredg songwriting style thrown in there. All the songs are rather ethereal-feeling and give you a sense of being transported into another dimension, kinda like...say, Devin Townsend's albums, although this transports you to a completely different place than say, Terria.

Honestly, there is no weak link on this album. It took quite a bit of time to grow on me, like all of Dredg's albums have, but once I began to appreciate it, it was bliss. I've waited nearly two months to review this, I was so lost on what to say. But now, I've never been more sure. This is a msterpiece. Every song stands out on its own. I cannot point a finger at a track and say it's the worst. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probabaly be the closer, The Canyon Behind Her, but even that is highly debatable for me.

You must own this. For those who believe no one is doing anything creative or creative, not even Opeth or Dan Swano or Porcupine Tree or Devin Townsend or Pain of Salvation or The Flower Kings or Riverside or Transatlantic...whatever you may think of, this may just be the album to change your mind.

FishyMonkey | 5/5 |


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