Oaksenham - Conquest of the pacific CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 43 ratings

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3 stars Maybe it's just me. Maybe being bored by such high-quality stuff is a product of age, jadedness, evolution, I don't know. In fact, I hear nothing at all wrong with this Armenian band's well-received first studio go, known for the interest it generated in the Prog world when released. And it's deserved. The six-piece do a brilliant job of taking the best of fixture medieval rock - Gentle Giant, Tull, Gryphon - and mixing it down to a healthy blend.

But that's it. That's all there is. Just a lot of really impressive post-progressive rock. They even throw in a couple Gentle Giant covers for good measure, as if the influence wasn't a bit less obvious than an unshaven man in drag. As I listen I can barely grasp a hold of the fine music as it passes by me, no tension, cues, hooks, knowing winks & nods, or even humor: once a treasured part of Prog, now a rare find. Perhaps it's all too good, lacking the delicious mistakes and unforeseen musical happenings that are so vital to rock, even prog rock. A vast, unending desert of very well-constructed and recorded music that moves continuously but goes nowhere. At first I'd hoped it was due to a bad case of "Haven't Listened Enough Syndrome", so I ignored my first impression and eagerly re-spun the 12-cutter. It actually got worse on the second and third tries, and as my disillusionment deepened with the knowledge that not only would I likely be selling the disc for credit at my nearest brick&mortar, but that I'd also have to someday be honest about my opinion of a respected record, I could only sit, stare at the beautifully done notes, this earnest band of young players risking a trad-Prog album in our time, and wish that things had been different, that I had been different. A truly regrettable three stars.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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