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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone CD (album) cover


Corvus Stone


Crossover Prog

3.81 | 177 ratings

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5 stars Corvus Stone, a musical concept that stems from the meeting of three talented musicians in three different countries. The current musical project is very hard to review due to its length (1h20 mn !) and its variety of musical genres (southern rock, pop, jazz-funk, psychedelic pop, ethnic music, ambient...). The following review will be performed on a track by track basis. The album starts off in a middle-eastern mood with zither, acoustic guitar and percussions. It follows with two upbeat tracks with echoes of southern rock and very fine melodies thanks to tasty piano and keyboards. "Ice King" is a laidback tune with nice theremin layers. It is here performed with vocals, but is repeated in an instrumental version towards the end of the album. Next track is more surprising, "moron season" is indeed in a jazz-funk tone, excellent B3 hammond playing and you really have the impression that you are back in the golden era of Blaxploitation. The title track is intriguing with vintage keyboards hailing to the electronic experimentations of Czeslaw Niemen in the mid-seventies with Aerolit, some meditative guitars conclude the track. Next is a track that starts off like a mellow tune with distant vocals, but soon evolves towards another jazz-funk tune with more daring vocals alternating between right and left side of speakers. B3 Hammond on fire with southern rock style guitar in this track ! Also, one will notice a wink to Deep Purple with a short solo from "smoke on the water". "Horizon" is a cheerful track with various keyboard sounds, among which one like vibraphone played on bells. Once more, southern rock is not far in the guitar solos. An acoustic guitar interlude follows with "intermission", and is soon followed by a psychedelic-pop tune with a play on words in the title. Keyboard/guitar interplay provides this time again great results. "Pilgrims" has a laidback ambient introduction and develops into a dynamic instrumental piece full of great moments showcasing B3 Hammond virtuosity and southern rock riffings. "Jussi Pussi" is an experimental track, avant-garde rock interspersed with circus music. It could be regarded as a transition between the first part of the album and the second part. This second part begins with my favourite track on this otherwise fabulous album, "Iron pillows", very lush arrangements, aerial guitar and once more very tasty keyboards / organ. A real delight for the ears and a good lesson of instrumental progressive rock. "After solstice" has its main theme sounding like a progressive rock version of Shadows, Colin Tench in the shoes of Hank Marvin ! It is followed by a drum solo (Wolff is the name of the drummer, hence the title of the track), highlighting the skills of the drummer, akin to the ones of Marco Minnemann or Simon Phillips ! This drumming is a good introduction to the next track, with its bolero "colors". Afterwards, "Scary movie", as suggested by its title, has a more haunting and intriguing atmosphere. A wink to Led Zeppelin can be witnessed in a short solo from a song that I unfortunately don't recall the title. "Cinema" is the next track, a long song, following in the same line as "scary movie" when it comes to the haunting atmosphere, thanks to the harpsichord-like introduction. The, soon the musicians wander in gypsy jazz and ambient-jazz-world territories. A touch of southern rock can be heard in electric guitar solos and warm kayboard layers arrive towards the end of the tune together with Vai-esque guitar solos. "You're so wrong" is a nice pop tune with Randy Newman-like vocals, and guitar by Black Widows guitarist ! The instrumental version of previously mentioned "Ice King" follows and the album is concluded in an acoustic mood with "10 inch Lisa". The guitar is versatile all along the album, with influences ranging from southern rock to Frank Zappa and alumni Steve Vai through Steve Morse and David Gilmour for the aerial solos. This album is also a must-have for any keyboard lover, as the range of sounds is very wide. Virtuosity is combined with melody and makes for a very enjoyable album, you even crave for more after 80 mn ! A few words about the artwork, as Sonia Mota, the lovely person who created the front cover and the inner images, is part of the band. The front cover with the crow holding a camembert in its beak and the predominance of red and black colors may have a link with french literature (respectively La Fontaine and Stendhal). Also, similarly to Iron Maiden's 'somewhere in time', some song titles are associated with the artwork (the signs with titles 3, 4, 8, 10, 11 / the cinema theater with titles 17 & 18). However, there seems to be a contrast between the overall dark cover (a crow, a celtic cross, the ruins of a church, dusk) and the music (you could expect a stoner/doom band). The signs on the pole pointing towards various directions and the contrast between the modern cinema theater and the ruins are a good illustration of the band's versatility. In a nutshell, a very good discovery, that I owe to the illustrator of the pictures, the talented Sonia Mota, who deserved to be thanked 5 times (!) in the liner notes. An album that easily deserves 5 stars. Open-minded people will find a lot to appreciate in this music played with heart. The musicians played what they like, and we like what they play.
lucas | 5/5 |


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