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Scythe - Divorced Land CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.71 | 36 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Scythe's "Divorced land" is, IMHO, one of the best prog releases to come out of Germany in the new millennium: this is a concept album about the miseries of lost love and broken families. The band's style is rooted on the modern symph approach that is usually called neo-prog, refashioned with the combined influences of 75-76 VdGG (dense emotiveness), Novalis and Eloy (harsh guitar parts, lush keyboard layers), and Gabriel-era Genesis (melodic sensitivity). In many ways, I find their style parallel to those of Dagmahr and Discipline (other fave contemporary prog acts of mine). Guitarist Thielen's performance on lead voice helps to convey the emotional restraint described in the lyrics: his hoarse timber - which locates him somewhere between "Still Life"-era Hammill and a somewhat high-pitched Fish - allows him to vocally incarnate the inherent tension of the concept theme. The opening 'Outro' is both majestic and somber, announcing the manifesto of melancholy and hopeless passion that fills the repertoire. The dramatic 'Am I Really Here?', the sophisticated 'Weight of the Wind' (the most complex number in the repertoire, which includes frenzy touches of jazz fusion), and the epics 'One Step Further' and 'Denied' (great closure!) are quite accomplished examples of the band's penchant for writing and arranging long compositions with convincing inventiveness and exquisite musical taste. Gehrards and Thielen complement each other perfectly, allowing their keyboard and guitar parts interact very fluidly, at times alternating or dueling in solos, but mostly, creating emotionally rich ambiences that properly enhance the melodic potential of the composed ideas. Meanwhile bassist Roden and drummer Walter work effectively as a solid rhythm section that flows confidently all throughout the tempo and mood shifts. The other not so long epic are remarkable, as well: 'Discussed' exhibits some of the most somber passages in the album, while 'Run' follows in a similar vein than 'The Weight of the Wind', even a bit jazzier. Here you can also find some pleasant, brief interludes that allow the listener to focus on some simple ideas in between the demanding, more complex long tracks: 'Faded' is a drum and bass duet built somewhere between jazz and post- rock; 'Access' is a melancholy nocturne, in which the dominant piano chord progressions are beautifully complemented by a distant mellotron chorus; 'Naivety' returns to the jazz-meets-post-rock realm, this time with Thielen's guitar assuming the leading role. Overall balance: "Divorced Land" stands out as an excellent modern great prog album, since it's full of great musical ideas, amazingly delivered by Scythe members' energetic performances.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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