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Apocalypse - 2012 Light Years From Home CD (album) cover

2012 LIGHT YEARS FROM HOME

Apocalypse

 

Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 27 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars The first thing I have noticed about Apocalypse, before even getting to the music, is the lavish beautifully illustrated album covers. The artwork on "2012 Light Years From Home" continues the fantasy elements seen on the previous 6 releases, featuring an individual in a top hat staring at a monolith with a blazing Mayan ornamental dish, ordained by sunfire, and the hourglass in the foreground signifies time is quickly running out. The Mayan temple on the horizon is an allusion to the Mayan calendar as 2012 signifies the apocalypse of planet earth; did you know that? It is a fascinating idea and draws one into the music. With a cover like this I was expecting a tirade of very heavy metal riffing, but it certainly was a more ambient approach.

'New Sunrise' opens immediately with a barrage of melodic vocals in the chorus, with a modern Yes vibe. The vocals of Gustavo Demarchi are high register and reminded me instantly of Ian Gillan. Although the band are from Brazil all the vox are English, rather than in Portuguese as some other releases were, so it has mass appeal. Eloy Fritsch's keyboards add a symphonic texture, and there are some dynamic guitars from Ruy Fritsch. The rhythms are usually straight forward, not intricate like Threshold, and they are well performed by Eloy Fritsch on bass and Fabio Schneider on drums.

'Set me Free' continues the symphonic rock style and there is an infectious riff and some labyrinthine passages of keyboard. The vocals again have that Gillan sound, and are easy on the ears, every word is discernible.

'Take my Heart' is a great track that features the flute playing of Demarchi,that sounds like Ian Anderson high jacked the studio for a few moments. It is rather odd to hear with all the rocking guitars and keyboards, Jethro Tull was never like this, but it is a compelling sound.

'The Angel and Seven Trumpets' is a reference to Revelation in the Bible, and it rocks along with a nice tempo. 'On the Way to the Stars' has a scorching lead guitar break from Ruy Fritsch; one of the best tracks. The tempo is measured, rarely fast or thrashy, and the keys of Eloy Fritsch keep things in symphonic territory.

'Till Another Side' has a fabulous shimmering organ sound and some delightful acoustics; one of the quietest songs with a melancholy atmosphere. Demarchi's vocals are excellent maintaining a strong high register and always integral to the melodies woven in the tapestry of guitars and keys. I like the way the guitar howls towards the end and is joined by wafting gentle flute.

'Morning Light' opens with those Yes like harmonies before the music chimes in with a soaring lead break and very slow tempo. The vocals over acoustics are well executed, and Apocalypse create a musical soundscape of orchestrated synths and ascending guitar string bends that feels majestic and suits the mood perfectly. The lyrics in the infectious chorus are effective; "Our sun is coming out to shine again, come and take my hand to be free, Morning light, the magic horizon will come, take my hand and we'll be in a dream." The female soul improvisations at the end are very nice too.

'Find me Now' is a short ballad style song reminding me of Whitesnake, and it is followed by majestic AOR rock style with 'A Cry in the Infinity'. A strange soundwave of a clock chiming, soldiers marching and aeroplanes soaring above, followed by guns and grenades exploding leads to the opening acoustics on 'To Kiss the Tears You Cry'. After such a powerful intro it settles into a melancholy approach, almost sounding like 80s AOR like Survivor or Journey. Ruy's wailing lead break further augments the emotive lyrics; "I'm here, close enough to kiss the tears you cry." A child's voice speaks and it leads to an extended coda with a crescendo of guitars and keys, on a fractured time sig. The Gentle Giant-ish a cappella vox harmonies are a nice touch, and the isolated whistling. 'Blue Angel' is a steady melodic rock, gently sung with lyrics that focus on longing for paradise with the blue angle; "you show me the paradise, you are my hope, you are my heart, my blue angel."

The final track is the mini epic clocking almost 14 minutes, opening with piano runs, and the more progressive time sig on the album. the organ lines are fast and frenetic, and is reminiscent of Keith Emerson from that band. Indeed, there are references to 'Tarkus' which is surprising after the melodic rock previous. It settles into a mod tempo jazz figure as the vocals enter. '2012 Light Years from Home' is no doubt exploring areas not visited previously on other tracks, and it is a breath of fresh air that they have left their most adventurous music till last. It really is designed for headphones and one would gain the full experience if they concentrated on the lyrics as they have a powerful story to tell; one that seems to run as a theme on the album, preparing for the apocalyptic end times.

Each song builds up this story and there does not seem to be a happy ending as, after all, not everything turns out like a fairytale. Though the lyrics have an optimistic ray of hope, "For you are light inside your dreams, Inside your dreams the sun will lead us, be ready to save the world, our reason to be here, the more we live, the more we learn, the more we fear, the more we lie, the spirit of imagination can lead us through the shadows, so let´s change the world." The symphonic strings and piano are strikingly like Emerson Lake & Palmer's 'Take A Pebble', and then a synth solo like 'Karn Evil 9' enters with staccato Hammond stabs and an irregular synth rhythm. An extended hammering synth sound follows and some of the best keyboard wizardry from Eloy.

I love this final track and particularly the extended passage of music, even though it was a soundalike of ELP; at least it was adventurous and musically challenging rather than some of the straight 4/4 sig AOR previously. If the whole album had been something like this, at least as musically dextrous, I might have been more impressed. As it stands, this is a decent quality album, and though it is overall songs with a safe rock structure, there is nevertheless a lot to offer the symphonic prog listener.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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