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Dick Heath
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars A lovely, intelligent album put together by an American band of essentially amateur musicians (and an Italian label has to release it?). Recorded over several years on a part-time basis by Alan Benjamin and co., but this does not show because everything sounds most professional. Benjamin is a self-confessed Gentle Giant fan: the harmonies heard on several tunes and the references on BITB, give that away. However, this isn't a hard copy of GG, there are other things and other influences - I'm sure there is even some Go West to be discovered, while the tight guitar solos are Holdsworthian. "Maginot Line" and "Trompe L'Oeil " are standout tracks. It is also an album which has stood the test of time, by me having me regularly playing it since finding it secondhand a few months after it release. We are promised a follow-up, but perhaps in the next 10 years.

Worth a three and half star rating, if that existed - folks should support independent artists who make good music!!!!

Report this review (#511)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars

Composition/Creativity: 20/25 Starts strong, but flags a bit toward the end of the album.< If the record had held the quality of Maginot line or Alison waits I'd be much happier with it.p> Musicianship: 21/25 Well played throughout. The instrumental tracks and vocal arrangements are varied and interesting.

Production/Sound: 15/25 This is one where the poor production gets in the way of the music. I know it was a home recording and all, but it still hurts the recording.

Overall Effect: 18/25 I ordered this CD directly from the band back in 2000 hoping for greatness based on the Gentle Giant connection. I was disappointed then and still can't get the good feelings for this record that I wanted.

Total Score: 74

Grade: C / 3 Stars

Report this review (#176922)
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If there ever was a case for the defense and edification of prog, then this debut from New Jersey amateur musicians certainly would be a fine cause célèbre! All lovingly put together with joyous celebration and what have they chosen as influence and inspiration? The poly harmonic troubadours, Gentle Giant! Ambitious, you bet your freeway! The medieval cover drollery is enough to get the charm flowing, and from the opening bars of the splendid "the Maginot Line", one is thrown into the maelstrom of undulating rhythms, surging choruses and swelling themes. One has to nevertheless forgive the rather muddy production as this was an entirely homemade product. The drums are another sore point, heavily rigid and sounding often like electronic programming, even though a drummer (Mike Carroll) is credited. "Alison Waits" is a nearly 10 minute affair that glides along on Alan Benjamin, Henry and Mark Ptak's dense keyboard interplay, where organ (mostly the church-organ patches), piano and synths combine to weave some serious sonic tapestries with occasional burst from the electric guitar. "Rear View Mirror" is a short, mostly vocal arrangement that evolves into a pastoral Anthony Phillips-like reverie. "Trompe L'Oeil" is another viable piece that oozes class, even though it may sound a tad dated today (what doesn't?), what with the buzzing bass and the wheezy synths, almost funky chorus displaying a playful unpretentiousness that breathes a little freshness, until the Holdsworthian lead creeps through the door. The next two tracks, while still maintaining the attention, are not as strong as the preceding material, breezing along with a bit of complacency, still highly polyrhythmic but way less complex than the "Mild Colossus". A brisk fret solo does highlight "Nowhere Else to Go" in an otherwise unproblematic romp. "In the Tree" really shines on the vocal level, obviously "acquiring the taste of the three friends" but not enough to peel the paint right off from 10 miles away. Strangely, this is not a harsh criticism but rather an august observation, as there are very few professional bands anywhere who are capable of emulating Giant's ridiculously multipart craft. "Marche to the Fighte" is a welcome instrumental dive into a more medieval/classical style with broad romantic frills and the companion segment "The Retreat" signals a more cinematographic element to the whole, giving the recording some much needed breath. In fact, the very brief "Caminando" sounds almost Gryphon-ish in its playfulness. Of course, the Jersey boys lovingly toss in their cover of Giant's "Boys in the Band" and do a fantastic job(mind you, it takes 3 guys to play Minnear parts!), sticking initially close to the original and then veering off into a ELP-like swirl mid-section that has "We enjoy this" all over it. When the vocal harmonies kick in, you know exactly which regal raconteur/troubadour they are kneeling to. You can only encourage such devotion. Oh, yeah, love the artwork, one of my favorite covers . Because there is lots of legitimate amusement in the air and the boys really display their emotions vividly, I frankly give this recording easily 3.5 Panurges
Report this review (#204922)
Posted Monday, March 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, the debut album from Advent is a bit of a split personality.

From the obvious Saga and The Human League references in songs like Maginot Line and the ghastly Trompe L'Oeil to more epic, pastorial songs in the likes of Alison Waits. I prefer the latter one. Thankfully, they went down the epic pastorial route on the follow up album Cantus Firmus. An album which also include Alison Waits as a bonus track. But enough of the future; back to this album, their debut album.

Their debut album has a split personality. So much that it is more or less two or more albums put into one. I honestly do not know what Advent wanted to do with their music. But thankfully; the follow up album gave that answer and everything on their debut album is forgiven. That includes a couple of ghastly songs where it seems like Advent want to become a 1980s revival synth pop band like The Human League. Just like Saga did some years ago, btw. The good songs here are really superb so I will give this album three stars.

3 stars

Report this review (#278693)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink

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