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The Minstrel's Ghost - Dream Things True CD (album) cover

DREAM THINGS TRUE

The Minstrel's Ghost

 

Crossover Prog

3.39 | 14 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US act THE MINSTREL'S GHOST is the creative vehicle of composer and multi-instrumentalist Blake Carpenter, a musician with a long past in various band projects who eventually decided that going solo was his best options in terms of pursuing his creative and musical ideals. "Dream Things True" is his debut album, and was released in 2011.

The hour or so of music on this production reveals an artist just as fond of gentle ballads as of harder edged material driven by guitar riffs first and foremost, and a composer who tends to opt for more of a mainstream structure to his creations. The songs tend to be fairly predictable in development, structurally as well as musically. As such, this isn't an album that merits inspection if you're the kind of listener that have a constant need to be surprised to maintain interest in any given record.

While listening through this disc my associations mainly stuck to a handful or so of artists whose material should be familiar to most. Styx and Rush most commonly, and for some reason or other Triumph was a band name that kept popping up in my mind when listening to this production too. On a select few occasions the material incorporates something of a Pink Floyd vibe too, and on one occasion Tangerine Dream was a bad that came to mind too. But mostly the material made me think about the first two artists mentioned, and for the latter of these their late 80's period first and foremost.

The compositions themselves are fairly pleasant acquaintances throughout. The majority of them are dominated by vocal sequences, and while Carpenter's voice is a distinct one that won't have a universal appeal it is always a pleasant surprise to encounter a vocalist that is actually a good singer and know how to utilize his range and delivery to emphasize his strengths in that department. He comes across as a decent instrumentalist too, although I'll have to admit that the drums came across as somewhat less interesting. Not a key factor for the majority of listeners I suspect, but those who desire a few bells and whistles in that department will have to cope with the nice and steady approach on this particular album.

Apart from that I found the more ballad oriented pieces to be somewhat less intriguing than the harder edged material. Material of a calmer and gentle nature are hard to create in a manner that makes them stand out from the plethora of similar material that has been made, and in this case I didn't find them to be substantially different or more interesting than the majority of ballads around. With one exception, the slightly Floydian tinged Creature of the Night. A piece with a strong and distinct atmosphere that gives rise to associations towards the dark and the night in an intriguingly pleasant and easygoing manner.

The harder edged material obviously made more of an impact on me personally. With cleverly constructed themes pairing off darker toned guitars with wandering piano motifs and a mostly subdued symphonic backdrop as key features for the songs of this kind as central features. Frequently with a nifty bass motif providing a distinct foundation, occasionally with bass and keyboards combining to form effective initial phases for the main themes. There's also the mostly instrumental energetic flamboyance of a piece such as Future World that merits a special mention, this particular piece a one off that sounds pretty much like the shorter material made by Tangerine Dream in the White Eagle era, with guitars added in to enhance the contrasts.

All in all this is a pleasant production. And while it may not be found on too many lists of the best albums released in 2011 it is a disc that merits a looksie. And I'd guess that people who generally enjoy the majority of the material released by the trio of Styx, Triumph and Rush should make out something of a core audience for The Minstrel's Ghost, in particular fans of the former two of them.

Windhawk | 3/5 |

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