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Advent - Cantus Firmus CD (album) cover

CANTUS FIRMUS

Advent

 

Eclectic Prog

3.44 | 47 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
3 stars The gift Advent bring to modern prog is the appreciation and value of space and discipline in music. While I feel the band has a lot of growth ahead, I definitely want to encourage them to keep at it: I love this kind of music; IMO, it is too rare in modern prog.

1. GK Contramundum (2:00)
(7/10) opens the album in a GENTLE GIANT/MOON SAFARI way with this acappella song. (Had Moon Safari heard this album before it wrote and recorded Blomljud?). Unfortunately, the message is lost to me cuz I don't 'hear/process' lyrics. I hear the music, the melodies and harmonies. In this respect, the final 15 seconds are the best.

2. Awaiting the Call. (5:10)
(7/10) is an example of how similar much of the instrumental music on this album is to MIKE RUTHERFORD (and ANTHONY PHILLIPS)'s Smallcreep's Day or STEVE HACKETT's Please Don't Touch-through-Spectral Mornings era music. The second section of picked strings is sublime. (1:53 to 3:03: "All in a Mouse's Night" anyone?)

3. Parenting Parents (6:45) (8/10) starts with vocal, organ and synths, to which is added acoustic guitar. Beautiful, angelic voice. Medieval sound and lyric & vocal style. As with the previous two songs, one can grasp and aprreciate the complex intricacies of this song-- subtle though they are--however, they lack any kind of melodic or emotional "hook" to draw/suck in the listener--i.e. those magical moments that cause the listener to forget about time and the existenxe of any external world. 


4. Utter Once Her Name (5:30)
(9/10) is a brilliantly constructed and executed song--again in the Smallcreep's vein. The vocals of this song must be quite difficult to perform live (though I'd love to see it!) because of its numerous unaccompanied rests and odd time signatures and frequent key shifts.

5. Remembering When (4:00)
(8/10) has an awesome start--NEAL MORSE-like guitar hooks you in right from the start. Fretless bass and electric guitar are woven together most exquisitely. A second--and, later, third--electric guitar adds just more beauty and interest to the weave. However, the song is just not developed enough. It's more like an interlude song.

6. Ramblin' Sailor (18:14) (8/10) is the albums epic. It sounds a lot like a JETHRO TULL/GENTLE GIANT mix ŕ la RITUAL's 2007 album, The Hemulic Voluntary Band. A bit drawn out and slow to develop.

7. Your Healing Hand (8:18)
((8/10) sounds a bit like THE TALLIS SCHOLARS being accompanied by STEVE HACKETT's electric live band. Beautifully constructed and arranged--and very technical--but, again, lacking development and the magical "hook." These songs must look awesome on paper--i.e. in musical notation--but the don't transmit that cerebral mathematical genius well to the listern. Space and subtlety reign supreme . . . to the neglect of 'danceability;' great to observe; difficult to participate in.

8. Firmus Finale (4:40)
(7/10) sounds so much like BABYLON's "Dreamfish" or GENESIS' "Watcher of the Skies. The 4:00 shift to Hackett-like pedal work is nice but the synth horns don't work for me.

9. Rear View Mirror (Bonus Track) (3:34)
(7/10) is so familiar in a Smallcreep's/MOON SAFARI way. The vocal even sounds like it's NOEL MCCALLA!

10. Alison Waits (A Ghost Story) (Bonus Track) (10:40) (8/10) is again very familiar in a Smallcreep's Day/ANTHONTY PHILLIPS Wise After The Event kind of way. I like the drumming on this one. Interesting "A Trip to the Fair" kind of circus eeriness to it. There is a great ANT-like buildup in the middle before returning to the eery theme.

The similarities to the Swedish band MOON SAFARI are numerous. (Are they mutual admirers?) Both bands obviously value greatly vocal tradition?as do I. A often forgotten or under-developed side of music, IMHO. While I commend Advent for its 'classical' efforts and tremendous musical discipline, there is something missing, overall, in the music's (and, therefore, band's) ability to lure me in and keep me there. The album's music seems to lack necessary emotional tension and intrigue. Oddly, I found the two bonus tracks--both written (and recorded?) several years before Cantus Firmus--much more engaging than most of the 2006-released material.

Keep on trying, Advent! I love this kind of music! I will be an enthusiastic supporter and follower of this band from here on!

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |

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