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Epignosis - Refulgence CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 31 ratings

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4 stars When I joined this forum, Epignosis extended to me a warm welcome and offered to share his recent album with me: Epignosis - Refulgence. I was just starting to build a home theatre/music listening room from scratch and whatever free time I had left, my toddler took,(actually I have that backwards...) This is a progressive music forum, I am assuming that most of us listen to music intently and enough times to form an "educated" opinion. I figured that Epignosis deserved more than a single playing of his work on my PC system and a cursory "Oh that is just lovely" from me. So after several listens on Definite Technology towers and a Denon 125 watts(ZERO distortion) per channel, and then a hand built custom headphone amp & Senheiser HD 328 cans, I can offer the following review:

Epignosis - Refulgence Never judge a book by its cover

Reviewed by Dennis Moore

Refulgence is actually a Latin word(refulgentia) which means to shine brightly. Which explains the glowing Camaro on the cover of the album, I had thought it was actually a "smokey" Camaro due to some groovy people inside enjoying some Pink Floyd on the 8-Track. Just proves: 1. My first thoughts are almost always wrong. 2. Never judge a book by its cover.

Epignosis - Refulgence is Progressive music in the Christian "Praise" vein.

Praise music doesn't appeal to me, but I do revel in most music(that isn't crassly commercial or redundant) & especially Progressive Music. Who cares about what I listen to? Well quite frankly my cat cares, ok? I clarify this to show my objectivity to you the reader. I'm not the guy to rubber stamp this type of record or give a friendly review out of common beliefs or social alignment. I am just a guy who steals brightly colored flowers from people. Some wise-acre might then say: "DennisMoore: Why don't you just stop stealing flowers from people? I would answer: "Because that is what I do, and I rather enjoy it". That same wisenheimer would then say: "Dennismoore: If you don't like this kind of music, then why are you listening/reviewing it?". I would say: "Because the artist was quite kind to share his work and asked me to AND I believe we should dwell on the things that unite us and not that which divides us. This forum is all about Progressive Music and Refulgence is most assuredly that. So I would tell that same young wisenheimer to go back to his Justin Beiber CDs and call me when he has kissed a girl that he hasn't paid $$$ to prior. This is probably the most unequivocal & long winded proof of reviewer objectivity you are likely to come across. Lucky you. On with the show. I won't be doing a song by song, blow by blow review, every listener does that on his/her own. "Nope not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent"

An important consideration needs to made here as this is an entirely self produced effort. I've had the good fortune to record in the studio(during a college course) with a professional producer and a top notch engineer. Producer & engineer value & contributions can not be understated as most people have no idea how important this is and how it greatly affects the final product in its impact and wow factor. My producer did things with parametric eq and tape tracking and microphone placement technique that were awe inspiring. Things we take for granted when we buy music. For further proof listen to the George Martin produced Abbey Road then listen to the Beatles, Let It Be, naked verison. Nuff said. My review is based on the work being self produced at a home studio and would no doubt be more polished & benefit greatly with a professional producer & engineer.

All instruments were in fact produced, composed & recorded by Epignosis himself on computer with an additional female vocalist.

Ok, opinion time. I like this music a lot. Why? There are so many aspects of it to enjoy. I will throw out a few quotes which I have always believed in:

"You'll never make any money playing music that people can't sing."

"In order for progressive music to excel and have a new generation of listeners, I think the melodic, thematic development of which ever piece is used as the main vehicle has to be distinctive and memorable."

As to the first Quote: Refulgence is right on the mark with solid melodies that people can grab on to, though it is certainly not simplistic.

Second quote: Refulgence's composition are solid & well structured. Theme building is a strong suit here. Refulgence has many dynamic changes, nice soloing, long arrangements, fragile moments & variety.

No comparisons here to other bands. As a composer/player myself, I would cringe after working hard on a piece of music and a friend listens and says "that's great! That sounds like YES!" No matter how flattering it was intended, it is taken as a failure as no artist wants to think his work is an imitation. However I will make one comparison (Isn't it nice to break one's own rules?) The album is filled with the most wonderful sounding electric lead guitar that has a warm & biting Steve Hackett timbre. Good tone indeed. While no further comparisons I offer, I will say that all throughout the record, one can easily pick out many wonderful influences from the bands that Epignosis has said he enjoys. He pulls this off with flying colors, never did I get the sense of imitation, just one of creativity & inspiration, musically speaking. Placing influences in one's playing calls for balance & Epignosis pulls it off nicely. Refulgence has a plethora of song styles, each which the artist pulls off with aplomb. There is the prog epic, a folky fun guitar strumming ditty, a delicate praise inspired piano piece, etc... I love the chord progressions, I love it all. This is a wonderful album. Lots of resolves to the tonic and classical and Mediterranean acoustic stylings. This record will not please metal heads, but if you enjoy the delicate, classical yet bluesy side of prog you will find much to fascinate here.

Immediately delightful are the clarion clear alto female vocals that are harmonized elegantly throughout. Delicate & poignant they provide lead in the song "Fade". A beautiful voice that should be featured more on future records.

Lyrically, this type of praise music is not for me, but I kept with it because I made a commitment, and after many listens I say that I thoroughly enjoyed it all. Never judge a book by its cover indeed.

Well done to the lad with a terrifying yet disappointedly low rez avatar. Please do keep up the fine musical work. There is much for all to enjoy from Refulgence if not simply to admire the arrangements, writing, playing & soloing. The fidelity could be better with a producer & engineer, but for a self produced effort there is more than enough here to relax & really enjoy the music.

Those who are looking for Christian music with a little more depth & chops than say Amy Grant, should go bonkers over Refulgence.

By the way, about those two quotes: The first was Keith Emerson's father's advice to a young Keith. The second quote was Keith Emerson, himself.

dennismoore | 4/5 |


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