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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone CD (album) cover

CORVUS STONE

Corvus Stone

 

Crossover Prog

3.90 | 158 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FatOldSun
5 stars I purchased this album after hearing a couple of tracks on internet radio. I must also admit that I know some of the people involved in making this album but I will attempt to be as honest as I can with this review.

The first thing to say is that it's a long album. Not a double CD album but as long as a vinyl double album. It's also a mainly instrumental album. The next thing to say is that it's not an album that you can listen to the once and instantly enjoy every minute of it. Like the best progressive rock albums, you have to listen to this a few times before the tracks even start to sound familiar, and several more times before you think you know how most of it goes. I've had this album for a few weeks (on MP3) and am only now able to write a review. This week I also received the hard copy which contains some stunning artwork created painstakingly by Sonia Mota.

It's quite unlike any other album I own and is therefore difficult to describe in terms of it sounding like something else. As a whole, it's an extremely interesting listening experience with some fun parts, some heavy parts, some serious parts, and some nice gentle parts. It's by no means a perfect album but there aren't too many of those in the 40+ years since progressive rock has been around. I don't even know if this is progressive rock, but I think it's the genre which encompasses the majority of the music. What I can say is that it's a very good album which grows on you the more you listen to it, the only drawbacks being the time it takes to sit down and listen to the whole thing properly without any interruptions, and the fact that it perhaps seems like a collection of good ideas rather than an album which flows completely naturally. It's not quite worthy of 5 stars but maybe 4.5 if there were such a thing - so I've had to round it up as 4 stars doesn't do this album justice.

I will now attempt to describe each track the best I can.

The Curtain Rises The album begins with a short instrumental featuring some Spanish-style acoustic guitar and some subtle and slightly odd keyboard sounds, setting the theme for much of the album.

October Sad Song A mainly electric guitar-driven instrumental with piano and synthesiser to back it up, and some twiddly bass. The acoustic guitar comes back in briefly. Despite the song name I find it quite uplifting!

Highway To Emptiness Another instrumental, this time with a rockier beat and more electric guitar, but then some early 1970's Hammond organ kicks in, and then Moog-like synthesiser.

Ice King This song has an element of fantasy about it, including the haunting vocals sung by Blake Carpenter. A fairly simple song on the face of it, but with enough going on to keep your interest.

I'll Leave It All Behind This Hammond-driven instrumental conjures up images of 1960's girls dancing in their mini-dresses in a hip London nightclub. A fun, funky track to bop along to.

Corvus Stone The title track of the album is one of the longest at over 8 minutes. It starts off gently with some synthesised strings and acoustic guitar, before the electric guitar kicks in with some gentle noodling. Then the speed picks up a little, drums are introduced, and the synthesiser and guitar take turns to give ever-changing solos. The layers gradually build up and it gets more manic as the song progresses, with some unusual guitar and keyboard stabs to break it up. The last couple of minutes of this instrumental see the music slow right back down and are more like the first part, with synthesised strings and electric guitar accompanied by piano.

Moron Season The second song to feature vocals, and again it starts off gently with a sense of fantasy. However the song completely changes and returns to a funky 60's Hammond sound reminiscent of I'll Leave It All Behind, but with manic vocals on top. A homage to Deep Purple surfaces towards the end.

Horizon This is another short instrumental which reminds me of the melody from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Quite a simple track but lots going on again.

Intermission The second shortest track at only 41 seconds, consisting of layers of acoustic guitar. It does separate the quirky and upbeat first part of the album from the darker second part.

Moustaches In Massachusetts Fast drum beat with more electric guitar on top of organ and synthesiser layers. The theme of the track changes a little but the general sound remains the same until it gets distinctly heavier towards the end.

Pilgrims This track begins with nice gentle electric guitar with Hawaiian sounds, before changing into a more upbeat and heavier track, which repeats a theme a couple of times before the opening guitar returns, then a more quirky, poppy version of the heavier section. This track is the one on the album which reminds me most of BunChakeze, one of Colin Tench's earlier projects.

Jussipussi A track named after Finnish bread rolls (of course!). A quirky, humorous track with strange synthesiser noises and spoken words. Even reminds me a little of the Batman theme!

Iron Pillows Another instrumental led by the electric guitar, but this has a much darker, proggier feel to it, aided by the jazzy organ sounds. Not a track to "get" first time, you will need a few listens before it rewards you ? to me it is probably the most interesting track on the album, with hints of Thrak-era King Crimson.

After Solstice This is an instrumental which is based around the same tune as Moron Season, but the middle section is heavier, reminding me of the faster section of Stairway To Heaven, before returning to the slower tune towards the end.

The Rusty Wolff Attack This is purely a drum solo, those little interludes you sometimes get at live gigs but rarely recorded on albums. For a solo lasting 2 ½ minutes it does vary and just about holds my attention.

Lost And Found A short song featuring a marching band drum beat reminiscent of some songs from The Wall, but starting off like it could be a version of Bolero. Nice vocals slightly reminiscent of the late Richard Wright, and a quite unusual ending.

Scary Movie A dark, insane instrumental which goes with the track name. A well-known riff by Fleetwood Mac kicks in briefly, before drum and bass play along to haunting synthesised strings. This is relieved by some nice electric guitar which continues to the end.

Cinema Another dark feel to this, the longest track on the album at nearly 11 minutes. Some nice acoustic guitar work and a "cinematic" sound whatever that may be! This is probably the most Pink Floyd-like track with hints of both Comfortably Numb and Welcome To The Machine.

You're So Wrong After the dark feel of the previous few tracks comes this rather gentle, uplifting song, beginning with a nice piano and then Blake's vocals. Certainly the least "odd" track but equally as good. This is actually a cover version of a song by Black Widow first recorded in 1972, and it certainly has that early 70s feel to it.

The Ice King This is an instrumental version of the earlier song, it doesn't seem to be much different otherwise.

Ten Inch Lisa A 30 second instrumental to close the album.

Bonus Tracks

The Stones Meet Cheryl In The Soundtrack From Hell This track belongs in the same section as Iron Pillows and Scary Movie. A heavy, dark track.

Cinema (Alternate Version) This is a shorter version of this track, based on the last 6 minutes of the full version but with a few subtle differences.

FatOldSun | 5/5 |

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