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Credo - Rhetoric CD (album) cover





3.84 | 114 ratings

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4 stars My personal view on the Neo prog controversy is scaled down to the core meanings, i.e. that when you combine 8 minute songs with the basic guitar, keys , bass and drums, throw in a Fish/Gabriel clone as a singer et Presto! Neo. The moment you add length, assorted 'classical' instruments such as flutes, brass, strings in liberal doses, you are now welcome in the Republic of Symphonic-Prog. My own tastes ride heavily on the symph side with a massive collection of stylized prog rock, even indulging in some electronica hybrids but I do have some serious Neo jewels (the list is long, just have to look up my review profile , now past the 500 mark !) that have blown me sideways. Let us not forget that Marillion saved our prog butt back when we all neared extinction and our gratitude should never waver. Credo is a new addition to the long series of recent Neo bands that have rocked our world such as Legend, Nine Stones Close, Anubis, Satellite, Leap Day and Introitus (they are "symphy" though), among many others.

So here is the recipe: Tim Birell on guitars, right out of the Rothery school but with occasional forays into other styles, Mike Varty supplies the keys that not only decorate but also paint a few slippery streaks on the musical canvas, the firm bass held down by Jim Murdoch keeps everyone in check while the Martin Meads drums are ruthless and yet seductive. All that is left is a vocalist that does wink at the 2 neo giants mentioned above but Marc Colton has his own style. A major plus is the crystalline production that provides a wide sonic berth that quickly envelops the listener. Theses prog vets then decide to put together a human theme that proves that we are not in the presence of random poppy tracks. They ain't poppy and there is a story for each song based on a famous quote. The musical story starts out in the finest Fish-era Marillion style on "Skintrade", a passionate voice that occasionally yelps in pain (like on Assassins) "technically obscene", swirling synth solos veering into the ether searching for "release" , pastoral acoustic guitar arpeggios that shimmer in the aural ecstasy and a clear sense of drama. The violent "Turn the Gun" is more rambunctious, as its title would imply, complete with an eerie middle section that hides between the two massively different bookends. The next 3 tracks form a sort of a mini-suite and is the undeniable heart of the recording , as both From the Cradle , To The Grave and the splendid The Letter combine to exalt, titillate and explode in a proggy paroxysm that is simply put stunning. "She cried herself to sleep last night" is just the opening seconds of a wondrous anthem, where music, lyrics and delivery are so attuned with each other that the emotion can seep through undiluted. The grandiose 2 part chorus is to expiate over just let the stupendous "Like bird in a gilded cage?. And she knows, she shows she can't let go?" flow over you and feel the angst. The subsequent axe solo evokes the deep pain brilliantly, finely chiseled and yet restrained, as if unbearable. The second stanza repeats the same feelings but with different words. Clever! "To the Grave" is the instrumental blow-out that divulges this band's capacity to adorn their craft with some interesting twists and turns, choir-mellotron aiding in the crime. "What gives you the right to rampage through my dreams", hmmmm back in early Marillion mood, not a bad thing that, especially when done this well. The extended jam is quite exceptional. The killer track remains the ballad "The Letter" a poignant eruption of melancholia, beautifully sung and expertly played. This is a bluesy, romantic dirge, exuding a sense of class that makes it timeless , not at all a pop song, but closer to PF than anything (some prog purists swear that Floyd is pop anyway!) . The brooding gets progressively intense (did I just use the P word?) and ratchets the "after all the hell I have been through" up quite a few notches, a Tim Birell fretjob adding to the slashes. Then things get outright angry and Colton really shows off his lungs and it hits home as I am dealing with a broken relationship right now. I will mail her the song and the lyrics soon. Not that it would change anything but a romantic is a romantic to the bitter end. "The Game" barrels forward all cylinders piercing the night air, another acerbic essay on infidelity and fluid relationships that find no anchor to weigh, just deep pain and disbelief. The brilliant 2 part mini-epic "Too Late" and "To Say Goodbye" is another stunner, the very essence of sad, melancholic prog done to the hilt, lyrically extremely vivid and disturbing. This time the theme is the futility of war "The eyes of exhaustion and those of the dead" . The finale "Seems Like Yesterday" puts this bleeding heart story to rest, proggy blues at its finest, healing words though painful they may be.

Granted, its not RIO or Avant-post-math-space but it's still definitely entertaining. Fans of Arena, IQ, Pendragon and Marillion will gobble this up but a wide array of prog fans will enjoy this for its melodic content and expert execution, perhaps some even shedding their silly misconception that Neo-prog sucks! Hey, the current media-music sucks, remember!!!! This is a very enjoyable hour of epic and uplifting music.

4.5 stylish doctrines

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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