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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone CD (album) cover

CORVUS STONE

Corvus Stone

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 150 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Corvus Stone is an interesting little project that popped out of nowhere in early 2012 and suddenly released an album only a few months later. Comprised of an international group of internet musicians, the 'band' cooked up a generous offer of quality prog music to the online community of proggies, and many jumped on the bandwagon. With heavy lobbying here, the band quickly became fairly well-known within the forum reviewing community. In no time at all I was approached to review the album, and after hearing the mounds and mounds of positive press, I was eager to hear this new debut as well.

Sporting an impressive play time of 79 minutes and 59 seconds, filling up every ounce of space a standard CD has, the album was sure to contain its fair share of proggy goodness, or so I expected. After spinning the unbearably long album for the first time, however, I realized I was sorely disappointed. The 80-minute opus is a menagerie of progressive styles, ranging from blues rock, jazz, funk, symphonic rock, avant-garde, hard rock, and more. I quickly realized that this album had far too much on its plate for a single sitting. Trying to devour this musical monster required a musical appetite that I simply wasn't willing to sacrifice in one sitting, and even after splitting the disc into a number of separate listens (as the 'Intermission' does provide a nice place to stop and take a breather), I still felt as though so much music was shoved into so little space there was no way I could properly enjoy this album.

Let me break down what I understand to be the basic premise of this album. A collaboration of international musical connoisseurs, a backbone of keyboardist Pasi Koivu, guitarist Colin Tench, and bassist Petri Lindstrom recruited a vast number of 'session' men to record bits and pieces of the album over the course of a year. With the help of their friends, the band's self-titled debut was released. It seems, however, that the bits and pieces of professionally recorded music and not so professionally recorded music (mostly a few of the seemingly programmed drum tracks) do not mix well for an overall messy sounding album. The far reaching influences, highly eclectic musical spectrum, and variety of the level of production quality really muddle the maximum enjoyment this album can give.

Not don't get me wrong. There are a number of truly great moments on this album. Every here and there, I was really impressed by the general songwriting ability of the core of the band and the ability to pull strings from so far away and pull together an internationally recorded album. If the band had cut the album to just these gems, such as October Sad Song, Highway to Emptiness, Intermission, The Rusty Wolff Attack (which is a great drum solo and very well recorded), and Lost and Found, they would have had a superb album. Seeing as that is five of the twenty-one tracks that appear on the album, however, I was overall mostly unhappy with the album.

The music, for the most part, started out very strong. With my first listen to the first few tracks, I could see why people thought so highly of the album. Once the album really started going, though, it lost its shimmer. The album, to me, is cold. While each individual instrumental track is played with emotion and passion, there is no chemistry between parts. There is no "warmth" in the music to add color or dimension to the sound. While this seems to be a common problem with bands who record internationally, I feel like each part of this album is exceptionally 'lonely' in the grand scheme of the recordings. To add to this, most of the instrumental parts are terribly runny in terms of loose instrumentation. While each part is surely played with skill, few songs really play together well. Keyboard parts and guitar parts seem to clash and sound awkward, tones are harsh and non-complimentary, and the album has a horrible mix of real drums, which are superb, and programmed drums, which are just a total drag. Often keyboard tones that should be meaty and organic are flat, boring, and stale. Sections of 'improvisation' fail to impress due to the lack of musical communication. While the album has its golden moments, it is marred by more lackluster ones.

In the end, I feel this project does, however, have a lot of potential. The song structures, melodies, and general ideas behind the songs present on this album are really great. The orchestration is well done, but execution is lacking on many parts. I'd like to hear what the band has to offer next, but I dearly hope that the band's next album is slimmed down considerably and more attention is given to how the music talks. I see the desire, the passion, and the drive to create quality progressive rock, but there is significant work that needs to be done before Corvus Stone can be with the greats. 3- stars.

Andy Webb | 3/5 |

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