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Disconnect - Enough Blame To Go Around CD (album) cover

ENOUGH BLAME TO GO AROUND

Disconnect

 

Crossover Prog

4.01 | 145 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars After hearing Disconnect's 2010 debut "Radio Hostile" I was curious as to the direction that the band had travelled over the years. The lead guitar work of Erich O'Dell really shines, and he is also very good on bass, keyboards, and vocals. He is joined by Brian Eschrich who keeps things pumping on percussion and synths. As a duo the band are accomplished musicians though one wonders how they would perform live with all the over dubbing and multi tracking or studio trickery. The duo record from different locations so it is feasible that they would never perform live anyway. The vocals are great, sounding a bit like Roger Waters' style or Neal Morse in places.

This latest 2012 album "Enough Blame to Go Around" is a very well developed musical journey, that delves deep into the very serious topic of what really happened on September 11th when the Twin Towers were demolished by plane collisions. It is a topic that has sparked a myriad of conspiracies and Disconnect explore some of these in their lyrics. The album cover took me by surprise as I did not even notice the enigmatic falling man image almost subliminally seen in the centre. The infamous image is one that has led to the "Falling Man" documentary where many people jumped to their deaths when they knew the building was going to collapse. It is a potent image and the music on the album seems to echo with empathy towards the victims.

'Adventures in Taxidermy' gets things rolling with an ambient though unsettling soundscape, and then a phased guitar with a riff sounding similar to Beethoven's famous Symphony No. 5 intro. It launches into a simple guitar riff and some processed vocals, though I prefer Erich's vice without the effects vocoder. The track builds inexorably to a powerful lead break over a broken progressive signature. This is a heavier track with a ton of distortion, though maintains clean guitar modulation and picking in the Robert Fripp style. I like the deep bass tones on the ending and the staccato piano flourishes, giving it an atonal resonance. 'Inside Job' is a powerful instrumental dominated by guitar prowess and brilliant keyboards. It has a driving beat that locks in and some outbreaks of guitar finesse. The rhythm reminds me of King Crimson, clear influences on the album. It is akin to parts of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and the "Discipline" era. It is terrific how it builds with synth pads and ascending guitar phrases. The fractured time sig is more progressive than the Crossover genre will often allow, and perhaps this is the band's most progressive and creative album, particularly in terms of utilising progressive elements. Although parts are not consolidated or juxtaposed together well, somehow it still maintains interest and I would suggest that this instrumental is an outstanding composition that brings together a plethora of ideas in to the mix.

'Falling Man' has a prominent news broadcast about the 9/11 tragedy, one that I had not heard so I did not know of its legitimacy or not. It certainly leaps out of the speakers when the sirens resound and those words are heard from a collage of many broadcasts over a Middle Eastern musical figure; "we have something that has happened here at the World Trade Centre, terrorist alert planes crashing into the tower, there is smoke billowing and covering all of the smaller skyscrapers, there are people jumping out the windows!" Once the guitar riff locks in we hear some vocals and a King Crimson polyphonic time sig similar to the Crims 80s era. The very strong synths that are heard are mesmirising and then a blistering wah-wah lead break dominates. The vocals sung are rather potent; "As I look around the world, shoulda known this would come, you may not like our voice, but at least we have a choice." This leads to soaring lead guitar and a crunching riff, and then another verse voicing the hopelessness of the situation; "as I look from my tower." The next section leads to a rather surprising Eastern guitar rhythm, with Iraqi flavours. The lead guitarwork is phenomenal in the next segment at 10 minutes in. One may be reminded of 80s era Rush in the section at 11:10 with the jangly riff and soaring lead work. This masterful track is easily the best song on the album.

I had my ears peeled throughout the album for other lyrical hints as to what happened or what is speculated to have happened on that fateful day. I was also quite taken back as to the musical structures throughout the album, at times sounding like Spock's Beard or as complex as King Crimson. Much of this is elongated instrumentals that have nice melodies and some odd time signatures to keep things flowing. It takes a while to grow on the ear but certain sections are unforgettable. I love the musical break on 'Falling Man' for instance, and there is a very assertive time sig on 'Sufficient'. The main hypnotic motif of 'Sufficient' is very effective, oddly off kilter and with some well executed vocals with a distinctive Spock's Beard sound. The reverb electric piano works well, and it leads to a very strong instrumental passage, with dark bass and drum crunches, a towering lead break and relentless spacey synth washes. At 4:15 it gets atmospheric with ethereal whispers and reverberating synth. It explodes into a faster tempo and exceptional lead solo over polyrhythmic figures.

The final track is a mammoth epic, 'Twisting the Knife', beginning with an ominous drone and ivory tickling as a guitar chimes. There is the sound of waves crashing and an intoxicating Pink Floyd guitar sound. A guitar and piano riff enters and more processed vox in the same vein as Porcupine Tree's 'Radioactive Toy'. It moves into a faster and irregular time sig, with more Crimson punctuated guitar rhythms. Edrich sings; "You're out of your league, making best of what's left, unexpected chance, far convenient romance, anxious days, endless night, what's meant to be, passes us by." The time sigs switch often as does the vocal style, and more Pink Floyd style verses are heard similar to the melodies in 'Time'. The wah-wah lead break and rhythm in the instrumental is akin to the music on Pink Floyd's "Animals", such as 'Pigs', as is the echo vocal style. With all these influences emerging it is hard to latch onto the band's definitive sound, but it seems to be divided between the melodies of Spock's Beard, the vocals and guitar work of Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd, and utilising the polyrhythms of King Crimson. I must admit the peaceful guitar solo at 9 minutes is nice and bluesy creating a gentle atmosphere. It motorvates along for a while until the whole song changes at 14:00 with some nice industrial rhythms and it sounds more like Porcupine Tree at this point. It ends with fret melting lead guitar work featuring a flurry of sustained string bends and fast arpeggios and hammer ons.

There are only 5 songs but some are of considerable length such as the 3 epics 'Adventures in Taxidermy' (12:00), 'Falling Man' (17:32) and 'Twisting the Knife' (18:44). Overall, "Enough Blame to Go Around" is a vast improvement over the debut and is well worth a listen for anyone who is not too discerning and likes their prog served up chilled with melodic flavours and simmering with atmospheric lengthy instrumentals.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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