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The Allstar Project - Into The Ivory Tower CD (album) cover

INTO THE IVORY TOWER

The Allstar Project

 

Post Rock/Math rock

4.00 | 3 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

R-A-N-M-A
4 stars Up until now I've scarcely listened to a single math/post rock album much less had a chance to delve through the rare releases so you have to believe me that this is a truly serendipitous course of events which led me to picking up, loving and ultimately reviewing this album.

While perusing the review last week with one foot out the door, I happened to catch a review of an album by a nearly as obscure space rock band called Pyramidal. I've really been broadening my horizons as of late and decided to take a stab at it. The trouble is, I couldn't find the album on iTunes my typical hunting ground and without the benefit of a lot of time on my hands I had to change course. Among the albums which came up as a suggestion for Pyramidal was an eye-catching painting of a calamity befalling some classical Mediterranean civilization. Being something of an enthusiast for Greek and Roman history and culture, I had to check it out. Upon hearing a sample of the first track, I was delighted to hear that it was in fact a prog album. So I zipped over to PA only to find it to be the work of some underappreciated Portuguese group called The Allstar Project. And so I downloaded it and hopped in my car and listened to it for the course of my long drive. I was not at all disappointed with Into the Ivory Tower.

The only way this album could possibly have escape a swath of positive reviews is because of its geographic obscurity and the relatively lack lustre reviews for its precursor. I have to say, I am not only sold on the album, but possibly the entire genre as well. So cast your negativity aside and give Into the Ivory Tower a listen.

It is made up of a number of instrumental pieces which bear some loose resemblance to one another. The title of the album tracks and what lyrics do appear, suggest an overarching concept of an Earth which has suffered some form of metaphorical and possibly literal astronomical misfortune and is now growing cold, barren and fraught with strife. The faded dream like music, calamitous art work and the implications of the title give the sense the people of this world are trying to escape their fate both physically and mentally.

The first two thirds of the album are good, but a little predictable in sticking to the worn but well wrought wall of sound format. Most songs are presented as a wall of heavily faded sound with the generally high tempo, though there are some softer moments, rock instrumentation rising up from the fuzz. It gives the sense that the music is very loud and far away. Pretty typical of what I would associate with post-rock, but more structured and generally a bit brighter that my previous, admittedly limited experience. The music also possesses a slight Mediterranean quality owing to some of the softer guitar work somewhat resembling a bouzouki.

The only lyrics on the album are spoken during the second last track, Not All a Dream. They are clear but obscure and likely belie a deeper meaning. They recount a tale about warring people who are overcome by the cold and stop their conflict to "selfishly pray for light." The rest of the track is fairly dark, with a good deal more speaking, but its deliberately buried in the wall of sound. These prayers penetrate the darkness and are eventually heeded on the longest, final and easily best track of the album, Light for A Thousand Nights. It is an ever rising wall of sound which at its apex gives me goose bumps. It's both heavy and light at the same time and leaves you with an enduring feeling of positivity.

Into the Ivory Tower is a hidden gem. Those who enjoy some of the softer touches of metal and those space rockers who don't mind a little introspection with their music will probably be most inclined. I think it has a broad appeal though. Anybody who wants something creative, complex and just a little different will probably enjoy it just as much as I did. After all, it's why we come to PA. That's my case for Into Ivory Tower by Portugal's The Allstar Project. I'll honestly be disappointed if no one takes me up on this one. It is easily an excellent addition to any progressive music collection and at times reaches for more.

R-A-N-M-A | 4/5 |

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