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Syzygy - A Glorious Disturbance CD (album) cover

A GLORIOUS DISTURBANCE

Syzygy

 

Crossover Prog

4.77 | 23 ratings

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Squire Jaco
5 stars OK - I have to address this nagging thought that keeps recurring in my brain: "Is this the modern-day Yessongs?"

Yeah, I know - my lifelong respect for that sacred live triple-vinyl album keeps shutting down any inkling that Syzygy's "A Glorious Disturbance" could possibly stand beside it. And there are certainly no flowing capes or long hair here, and the pretentiousness of those young Brits is missing here. But with Syzygy (as with 1973 Yes), we have a band with a fairly limited studio catalog, beginning this live adventure with a short audio clip of classical music, and reinterpreting the best of their back catalog with a couple of new band members who were not present on their first two albums. A handsome fold-out package with a small poster and multiple photos of the band?...it's little surprise that the Yessongs comparisons keep resurfacing, no?

Regardless! This is a fantastic album by one of my favorite progressive rock bands of the modern day. Syzygy has always had this great ROCK foundation to their music (Zep-Rush- Deep Purple) which is enhanced with PROG flavors (Yes-ELP-Genesis) and a classical approach to composition to create a beautiful (glorious?!) result. This outstanding package of 2 DVDs and 1 CD is very well done, and the sound production is flawless (which is particularly important during the more complex musical sections).

Over the course of the CD and concert DVD, they cover most of the great ones from their back catalog, including my two favorites from their Witsend debut - Strange Loop II and Mount Ethereal. Those songs are now enhanced by Al Rolik's bass playing, plus there are now words sung to parts of them! Yeah, at first I was like "Hey, how dare you mar a great instrumental song with singing!" But the lyrics are cool, and the vocal line fits great with the underlying music. These are really cool versions to have now. Mark Boals' vocals still remind me of a combo of Dennis DeYoung and Ian Gillan, and he has been a nice addition to the overall sound of the band.

They also cover most of the "Realms" cd here - I still would have been even more exuberant if they had included one more from that great album - the inimitable "Dialectic". (LOVE that durn song!) The whole-band vocals are featured nicely on "Dreams" with some great live vocal harmony and polyphony.

The concert video from 2009 includes five songs that are also included on the CD. My only gripe with this concert footage is that you hardly get to see the phenomenal drumming of Paul Mihacevich, who is mostly buried behind his massive drum kit. That issue is rectified on the 2010 show where we get to witness his fantastic chops that remind me at times of Neal Peart and Jon Hiseman. That show also ends with covers of UK's "In The Dead of Night" and Deep Purple's "Burn". Fine, fine renditions!

Carl and Sam are, of course, awesome on this set; ya gotta love Sam's Italian barista look behind the keys. Ha! (sorry sir) But seriously, they are still the heart and soul of this fine band, and they play their arses off on every one of these songs. The other DVD included in this package has an hour-and-a- half of special features (band member interviews and such) that audiophiles and Syzygy completists will need to own.

I have a personal collection of progressive rock that includes hundreds of artists; only a handful of those artists are able to really hit that sweet spot and "play the music I've always heard inside of my head." Syzygy is one of those few special bands, and "A Glorious Disturbance" is an excellent live testament to their unique brand of progressive rock. Great album!

...and it'll sit just fine on my CD shelf a few inches away from Yes...

Squire Jaco | 5/5 |

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