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Visual Cliff - Freedom Within CD (album) cover


Visual Cliff

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Take the plunge over the Visual Cliff.

A heavier Visual Cliff album with some excellent riffs and vocals. This was the first time the band decided to add the vocals of Shane Lankford and it was a welcome change. The instrumentals of past albums are still here on occasion but the songs are the best tracks. Sacred and Beneath the Sand a re wonderful heavy tracks with very powerful lyrics based on Christian living. The guitars are subtle but very riff heavy, like recent Rush in some ways.

The riff in Radiant Departure could do with a vocal accompaniment but it works well enough. I like the scratchy guitar and the lead breaks are as excellent as past releases.

This album does not have the ambience and heavy reliance on piano of the other Visual Cliff albums and once again the change in style is for the better. Having said that there are still wonderful keyboard sections but not as bombastic or overbearing.

The progressive time changes in Torn From Expression are great, another killer instrumental based on heavy riffing and clean lead breaks. This track is a bit Dream Theater/Rush in style and structure. I love that riff! Check it out here on the PA. In fact once again the entire album, indeed the entire discography of the band is free to listen to here on streaming audio!

The riffing continues on Spirit Rain, another instrumental. Rush sounding as ever, and memorable melody with a number of time signature changes, heavy to melancholy in blasts and the lead guitar shines on this instrumental track.

So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge over the Visual Cliff. This is definitely one of the best bands I have heard in a long time. Yet to produce a masterpiece, but this comes very, very close. All are 4 stars but this is their best album along with 'Into The After'.

Report this review (#252562)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. It's a coincidence that i'm reviewing this album not long after reviewing the ORPHAN PROJECT's latest.The connection between the two is vocalist Shane Lankford. This is the first time VISUAL CLIFF has used vocals and it works quite well. Like ORPHAN PROJECT's latest, VISUAL CLIFF have also increased the heaviness substantially on this one.

"Sacred" is quite heavy as the vocals join in. Guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. A crunchy opener. "Electric Soul" is an instrumental that reminds me of Satriani. A heavy guitar led tune. Some synths before 3 minutes followed by a ripping guitar solo. "Future Impact" is another instrumental, this time the focus is on the drums early. Great sound 1 1/2 minutes. Drums become dominant again then it's the guitars turn before 3 1/2 minutes. "Let It Ring" is heavy duty as vocals come in.

"Beneath The Sand" sounds really good to start as we get this heavy and uptempo soundscape. Vocals join in. The vocals seem to get deeper before 2 minutes. Then it settles before kicking back in. "Radiant Departure" sounds amazing. The guitar lights it up around 1 1/2 minutes. "Torn From Expression" is heavy with some great sounding guitar playing over top. Synths 2 1/2 minutes in. "Spirit Rain" opens and closes with rain and thunder. In between we get some crunch and some beautiful guitar when it settles.

Like ORPHAN PROJECT's latest I have trouble with the vocal tracks. Shane is an excellent singer but his deeper voice in this style of music recalls NICKELBACK and all the similar sounding bands that are all over the radio.That bothers me. Only 3 vocal tunes here though. I still prefer their debut "Lyrics For The Living"(barely 4 stars), although if this was all instrumental I think i'd pick this one.

Report this review (#259589)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Freedom Within, Visual Cliff's third release, shows the band entering to a more heavier territory than their first two albums. Some nice riffs are indeed found here, and the album is a nice listen, almost straightforward considered that it's prog. While the tones are accessible, they are also a bit more shallow in depth compared to the other VC albums. Therefore I'm giving this album one star less than the others. Still, like all their albums, this is a quality release of heavy prog with fusion elements that doesn't degenerate into mindless shredding like so many of its kind. Visual Cliff's albums can be listened and downloaded via their website, worth checking out.
Report this review (#819878)
Posted Thursday, September 13, 2012 | Review Permalink

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