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The Anabasis - Back From Being Gone CD (album) cover


The Anabasis


Heavy Prog

3.49 | 42 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars When it comes to ambitious new projects, southern New England's own The Anabasis is certainly a good place to start. The new band, formed by friends Barry Thompson and George Andrade, has attracted quite a bit of attention lately with their debut album Back From Being Gone. Boasting an epic concept based in the history of the three of the largest ancient civilizations (Rome, Egypt, and the Norse), something that can be gleaned simply by the telling track listing, the album contains 74 minutes of some pretty tasty stuff; the band's style is most easily equated to a mixture of Spock's Beard's grandiose Hammond-led symphonics mixed with a heap of Riverside and Dream Theaterarian progressive metal and a side dish of proggy hard rock right from the 70s. At a first glance, this formula seems like it would be a huge hit, and so it is.

The two main band members don't do all the work, however. Much of the glory of the album is also due in part to the great cast of musicians they called from all over the world to work on the album. With the likes of Spock's Beard's very own Ryo Okumoto on keyboards, new prog metal act Relocator's Stefan Artwin putting a few (or quite a few) guitar notes, well- known Norwegian vocalist Per Asly leading the pipes, and many more, the undeniable virtuosity and professionalism on this album is astounding. The band creates an exemplary balance between emotion, which simply pours from the music on this album, and musicianship, which is top notch and refined all throughout the music, a dynamic which many bands fail to achieve on their albums.

The compositions on the album are based mostly in the epic, multi-movement style that has been perfected throughout the many years of progressive rock's history. The album contains three clearly identifiable "epics," the 14 minute "Rome," the 17 minute "Vikings," and the 23 minute "Egypt," all of which follow a multi-textured multi-movement complex format exploring the history of the three civilizations in which their eponymous titles suggest. The lengthy, epic compositions are truly the heart of this album and effectively display the creative core of the band's stylistic origins.

Displaying a wide dynamic ranging from heavy progressive metal sections to light and feathery major-keyed symphonic prog pastures, the hugely diverse songs can be exciting to say the least. My favorite of the epics is "Vikings," which, while also exhibiting the most "dry" history of the three tracks, truly expresses a strong sense of emotional tension throughout the staged Viking invasion of the Mercia in 877 AD. The emotive backing music to the family's dialogue as they prepare for the imminent invasion is haunting to say the least, and the segue to the well-executed battle description and instrumental section is extremely well put together and performed. Besides the three epics, three shorter tracks appear on the album as well. Next to the lengthy pieces, they might not seem as 3-dimensional, but they certainly contain their share of punch. "Carpe Diem" is one of my favorite tracks on the album, delivering a concentrated burst of delicious prog rock with a great beat that's easy to bob my head to. While at times the other songs can seem like filler, each does have a special dynamic that contributes nicely to the overall atmosphere created by the highly diverse album.

I was overall very impressed by the debut album of Massachusetts based The Anabasis. Showing not only an avid love of history but also an appreciation of high-quality, well-made progressive rock, I have a feeling these guys will be here to stay. While every aspect of the album is not perfect, the album is incredibly well-done for a debut from any band, nevermind a band with a core of only two members. The flaws thankfully are few, with my only main gripe being the vocals. At times Asly's higher register vocals don't mesh with the music quite as well as they should, which at times detracts from the listening experience. Overall, however, this is miniscule compared to the grandiose power of the music. I look forward to more from these guys. 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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