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AGAINST REASON

Credo

Neo-Prog


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5 stars Studio album number three "Against Reason" see's British neo prog stalwarts Credo growing in strength. This is just an album of pure and sublime brilliance. The band may have take two and a half years to record and release this new album, but one thing this is for sure, the wait has been more than worth it, two and a half years that have definitely not been wasted.

The band continues to move in the realms of early Marillion, IQ and Arena, but it never becomes dull. In fact this is a band that has a story to tell and as a listener it is a story that needs to be heard. This is a band that isn't afraid to challange and stimulate, from the opening track which features the dexterous Mike Varty inviting you into the world of Credo; "Staring at the Sun" is a anthemic song about global warming, which intelligently comments about our ability to mess things up, its sense of urgency really highlights the point and will have you singing along in no time, being a spectacular album opener. The rest of the band step up and present their case, Tim Birrell really excels here with his guitar structures; a dynamic that when it's incorporated with Mike Varty's layered keyboards makes for perfection. The icing on the cake is Mark Colton's ability to tell the story vocally, poignantly, his voice presents every emotional nuance that is displayed through the song, which is something that he does excel in. There are few vocalists out there that can tell a story and have you hanging on every word like Mark can.

"Cardinal Sins" has the band moving in darker circles topically, the whole band displays a fantastic ability to control themselves, one minute sedate, the next brooding, musically offering soundscapes that twist and turn, offering pain and sorrow. It's a piece that carries such sincerity, warmth and comfort musically, as it wraps and encompasses your senses, unlike the subject mater which is cold and callous. "Intimate Strangers" majestically struts from the speakers, rhythmically touching all the required points, the band sits in the shadows, almost voyeuristic as Mark Colton is allowed to develop his quest to build images that are almost real, you can imagine yourself being there. His moody approach really confirms the intentions of the characters, its a song that sounds less convoluted than some of the other tracks, but on repeated listening, this idea is blown out of the water, the song is just fantastically layered proving that the band can provide and play neo prog of the highest order.

"Against Reason" is a moody instrumental interlude, the calm before the storm, before the powerful and thought provoking "Insane" kicks its way into your world. A song which questions the justification of how television bombards its images of violence into everybody's safe haven day after day, the atrocities being justified by religion, a relevant and pertinent song for today's woes, which almost negates the message of the two songs "Too Late" and "To say Goodbye" presented on Rhetoric. The vocal prowess develops like a well acted conversation; each tone used being a different character, which is questioning, angry and perplexing never understanding the justifications on the whole insanity of the cause, something that the music really amplifies. This piece just twists and turns exemplifying what Credo are all about. The haunting "Reason to Live" develops the beautiful melodies that spew forth from Tim Birrell and Mart Varty's interactions, the shortest piece on the album, ethereal and sedate confirming that Credo's songs don't have to epic in proportion to be classy.

"Conspiracy" along with "Ghosts of Yesterday" utilise the might lyrical power of the band, cleverly playing with words, "When all that's left is hear say, truth masquerades as lies, disarmingly economic with the facts, you fill them full of half truths, an illusion of the mind, confuse them with coincidence" words that collude, building their own conspiracy's, as does the music. Mike Varty underpins the whole movement with fantastic dexterous keyboard wizardry whilst the rest of the band weaves in and out of the meter and timbre with excitement, succinctly hitting those perfect tones that they are renowned for. "Ghosts of Yesterday" powerfully builds a picture of society that has imploded in on itself, the will to battle or change, lost, the cycle repeating itself, "Village of the living dead, can't be arsed get out of bed, waste the day get out your head never see the new world out there". The approach used here really confirms what Credo are all about, perfection in emotion, musically and lyrically, never afraid to challange the listener, a song that will have you talking, a song that will draw you repeatedly back for another listen, never really sure as to whether what you have just witnessed was real, being the perfect musical bookend to the album opener "Staring at the Sun", which to be perfectly honest is what will happen when you have hear this seventy minute nirvana of neo prog. The statement of intent of the band is that powerful.

Musically Tim Birrell touches on all the musical notations that I love in music, his playing is passionate, emotive and very impressive, whilst bassist Jim Murdoch frenetically runs his digits all over his bass fretboard, never getting chance to breathe, punctuating precisely along with drummer Martin Meads, whilst Mike Varty builds his layered tones, that swirl, twist and turn in your head, being perfectly married with the might and rather awesome vocal presentation of Mark Colton.

Where the band goes from here I'm not to sure? What I do know though, is that on the strength of the progression of each of their album's recorded, album number four maybe something to behold. 2011 and prog is starting to gather pace with intelligent and stunning albums, something that Credo should be proud of, as they are a part of this and its albums like this that are keeping the genre alive.

John O Boyle

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Send comments to Credo Man (BETA) | Report this review (#442201)
Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Credo - Against Reason Review 6th May 2011.

I have a huge smile on my face this morning as i have had a chance to review the latest cd from a band that may be familiar to some progressive rock fans. Rhetoric was a benchmark in progressive rock and was treasured by the more disconcerting of listeners and hailed as a classic amongst this select group who have had the pleasure of listening to this almost fabled of groups.

We begin with the opening track "Staring At The Sun" which begins with some superb keyboard defining the melodic intent with which credo want to make their mark on the progressive world as a whole. The guitar just sounds sublime during the first few minutes dueling very effectively with some very confident keyboard parts throughout. When the vocals kick in we have credo back in a fashion which has evolved to a newer and unbelievably more mature and assured sound. The music manages to ebb and flow with such majestic ease it is difficult to imagine a better opening track than this full of everything you could imagine but pieced together with such imagination it will leave you simply wanting for more.

After the breathtaking opening we now have the superbly titled "Cardinal Sin" which has one of the best opening few minutes i have heard this year menacing and brilliantly atmospheric. Mark Colton is on fine form with some very direct and accessible lyrics which match the melodic soundscape which is the trademark of credo and one with which they feel very at home with. With Rhetoric being one of my favourite albums the follow up album always seems to be a general disappointment because of one issue or another but with this album they have exceeded my expectations and then some. I defy anyone to find a better song than Cardinal Sin this year within the progressive genre. You can almost sense the togetherness of the band on this track and well worth the wait,a classic and masterful example of what modern progressive rock should be.

A slower pace greets us with "Intimate Strangers" and yet again this track hits the spot placed superbly within the running order and full of superb production values that just oozes class from its every pore. The keyboards try and dominate but are thwarted by an impassioned vocal performance yet again by Mark Colton,subtle but with a real edge.One thing that really strikes me is the maturity and development of the credo sound as a whole. There is so much to praise here is is difficult to describe in words just listen to how the melodic waves carry you on their majestic journey.

The title track "Against Reason" is an instrumental and really cements what we have heard so far into place.It manages to perfect the art of blending a number of different influences with some superb guitar and sound effects to a new level.

"Insane" begins with some dominating vocals and more quite incredible keyboard playing from Mike Varty. The song makes a statement in a very direct way but without ever sounding overblown,the musicianship from all the members of the band is really just sublime and very tight but still retaining the freedom that the progressive rock genre allows. A track that rewards repeated plays and one you will always return to without question and just gets better with every listen. The guitar towards the end of the track remains some of the most forceful i have heard along with some surprising sound effects at the end which just drive home the message.

A short chance for a breather before we open up to "Reason To Live" which has some superb part harmony vocals and a subtle keyboard and guitar backing.You expect the track to explode to life around the two minute mark but the band keep you guessing throughout and it is just as powerful as previous tracks but this time just laid a little barer than usual a real triumph.

We are hit with the full Credo experience on "Conspiracy" and it is a song that really gallops at pace and has many time changes throughout its tenure of 10 minutes.Where else in music can you have Roswell or for the real ufo buffs "Crash at Corona" mentioned within in a song without it becoming pompous or overblown. The keyboards really deserve a mention her yet again adding to the multidimensional sound that just builds layer upon layer. Credo have approached the subject matter of this song in a hard hitting and memorable snapshot of something we all probably believe in but are afraid to speak out through fear of ridicule.

Unfortunately we have reached the end of this journey with the last track titled "Ghosts of Yesterday" which is another 13 minute epic and a superb way to round of what will probably be the album of the year for a number of people in 2011. Acoustic guitar gently strums its way through the first few bars along with crystal clear vocals before the keyboards begin to dominate the structure before giving way to the ever present keyboards. The guitar adds so much throughout the album sometimes subtle as in this track but at other times purely dominatory in its presence. Credo have managed to culminate all of their experience from the past few years into this track and it just projects a progressive melodic experience that you are unlikely to hear again this year.

A perfect journey that you will wish you stay on for ever,and through repeated listens rewards with its depth,strength,maturity and style. An album that you will want to lend to your friends but just make sure you have their front door key as you will want it back whenever you need you musical fix of quality progressive rock

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Send comments to TheProgessor (BETA) | Report this review (#443583)
Posted Friday, May 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent opening track - Staring At The Sun. The songs are great - tuneful with great transitions between sections. This band could do so much better - you can go from good to excellent. What spoils the whole CD is the mix and although each track has its merits 60 mins is too much of the same sound. The mix doesn't do the music justice - very dated and lacks definition on many parts. I've read other reviews and most being polite mention the dated sound - remember guys there are five members in the band at times you would think the drummer has left the room - also I notice the lyrics are very dated - Lebanon -Ireland? get into the 21st Century...Like another review I also read - Imagine what this band could do???? You are capable - look forward to the re-mix!!! Overall - a good CD - nice artwork

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Send comments to Marion Manzoni (BETA) | Report this review (#444785)
Posted Monday, May 09, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Isn´t it great when you see a band that has a very promising sound reach its full potential? A few years ago I found this CD called Rhetoric by the group Credo and thought it was really terrific. It was ok that the band was still emulating its heroes of Fish-era Marillion, but they were clearly devolping their very own personality and their perfomances were superb, as well as their songwriting skills. They still needed a little more maturing, so I was eagearly waiting for their follow up. But for a long time there was no news and I was afraid they might ended up like so many other potential great bands that break up before they could do their best (french band Arrakeen is a good exemple). But they did reappear in 2009 through their excellent DVD This Is What We Do. And now, almost 6 years after Rhetoric they finally release thier third CD of original material. And, man, was the waiting worth it!

Against Reason sees this band reaching another level completely in terms of songwriting and perfomances. They still are what I call a ´real´ neo prog band (meaning symphonic prog rock with more guitars, less pomp and lots of emotional, pleasant melodies), but they surely have outgrown the Marillion mold. The new compositions are bolder, more complex and exciting, while still retaining their fine melodic sense. In short, they have matured in a very natural way. Since the first notes of Staring At The Sun, I could tell that the other reviewes here were right when they praised the album so much. After all, it is not every day that you stumble upon a CD that has not a single weak track, which sounds fresh, powerful and convincing from beginning to end.

With a right production and strong perfomances, everything works on Against Reason. With tasteful. subtle arrangements you hear chimming electric guitars, elegant keyboards lines, brilliant bass runs and a versatile drummer. Singer Mark Colton has a very good voice and has a fine dramatic interpretation that, while still showing Fish´s influence, is now very much his own. Although all the tracks are excellent, there is always the case of some that you pick up as your favorites from the very start and those are the beautiful and highly emotional Intimate Strangers, the very inspired Conspiracy (what a brilliant marriage of clever lyrics and fine melodies!!!) and last, but not least, the 13 minute epic, The Ghost Of Yesterday, that rivals with Rhetoric´s The Letter as their best song ever.

With Against Reason Credo has graduated from a very promising group to one of the best neo prog bands of the new millenium. If you like the music of the great bands like Pendragon, Flamborough Head and Collage you should not miss this CD.

Rating: something between 4,5 and 5 stars. Highly recommended for the ones who think that symphonic prog rock should be pleasant to the ears like in the old times!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#445705)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I listened to this eagerly awaited Credo CD in great anticipation having been bowled over by Rhetoric. Half way through I was looking at my watch and wondering how much longer it would last. Guys, you need to listen to your mix. That whole wall of sound thing is doing you no favours. Your musicianship deserves to be heard with much clearer definition and more light and shade. I have to say I also wondered if some of the lyrics had been resurrected from old 70s material rather than written in the 21st century. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Credo fan, but you can do so much better.

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Send comments to Zurich Prog Fan (BETA) | Report this review (#446136)
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Is it reasonable?"

Every so often a new album comes along which reassures us that it is still possible for a band to come up with material which is of the quality we enjoyed all those years ago when prog was in its heyday. These days, with the word prog no longer being a dirty word, many bands are finding it convenient to add prog to their CV's, pulling the name in directions for which it was never intended. It seems though Credo are intent on creating music for which the epithet progressive rock was truly meant.

By any standard, "Against reason" is a mighty album. Released some 6 years after the acclaimed "Rhetoric", and only the band's third full album since their formation almost 20 years ago, "Against reason" boasts an unchanged line up. The highly talented (and indeed sought after) keyboards player Mike Varity (also of Landmarq, Shadowland and Janison Edge) takes charge of production, with the band collectively sharing the writing credits throughout.

With just eight tracks, and a running time of around 70 minutes, it is immediately apparent that the tracks here have been carefully nurtured to their full fruition. The band play to their strengths throughout; Mark Colton's vocals are perfectly suited to what we can conveniently label neo-prog; Mike Varity either lays down the lush swathes of sound on which the tracks are founded or flies off on one of his wonderful solos and Tim Birrell is surely one of the finest lead guitarists currently recording. Not just in terms of dexterity, but in the perfect lead guitar sound he has developed. The band is rounded off by the powerhouse of Jim Murdoch on bass and drummer Martin Meads.

The album opens with the 10 minute "Staring At The Sun" (this song can be heard on the band's website), an environmentally friendly number which hits the ground running with an attention grabbing synth burst introducing the album's most anthemic track. "Cardinal sin" ventures into sensitive and emotive areas, exploring the trauma suffered by victims when bringing the guilty to justice. Birrell's lead guitar solo captures the emotions of the song beautifully, while Colton's vocals expose the full drama of the lyrics.

"Intimate strangers" is a softer portrayal of the breakdown of a relationship. The track features the voices of band in full harmony, before concluding with a fine instrumental section. The title track is the only completely instrumental track on the album. A relatively brief piece, it offers a relaxed interlude between the heavier numbers which surround it.

"Insane" takes on the weighty topic of what people will do, especially in terms of violence, in the name of religion. Understandably, this is probably also the heaviest track musically too, Colton beseeching "Insane, are we insane?". "Reason to Live" is the shortest track on the album, and thus acts as a second respite among its weighty peers. The song is a reflective harmony piece with atmospheric floating synths.

"Conspiracy (MCF)" deals with the dearth of truth and conspiracy theories in modern society in a "Jesus he knows me" (Genesis) sort of way. Indeed there is a bit of a Genesis feel to the track in the Banks like synth breaks too. The album closes with what for me is the best of the bunch. "Ghosts of yesterday" reminds me in passing of the earlier days of Arena, and in particular "Solomon". Lyrically the song looks at the human impact of political decisions, in particular those relating to traditional industries. Like "Solomon", this 13+ minute epic is performed at a regal pace (dictated by the ticking clock which opens the song). Beginning as a quasi-acoustic number, the track builds through strong melodies and repeated refrains in classic neo-prog style. Birrell's lead guitar never sounded better, but the whole band are in their element here. As the piece reaches its crescendo in a melting pot of soaring guitars, sways of synths and repeating refrains, we are lifted ever higher by the majesty of the music.

In all, a truly excellent set, which sees Credo maturing into one of the finest of the bands we refer to as neo-prog. Hopefully "Against reason" will find the global success it warrants.

"Is it reasonable?" proclaims the graffiti on the back of the accompanying booklet. Yes, it is entirely reasonable.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#451347)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Credo are back. Welcome back to the office my friends !! Their last studio output (the excellent 'Rhetoric') hit the shelves in 2005, and although in 2009 we were treated to the sublime 'This Is What We Do' live CD/DVD set from the Slaski Theater in Poland, many non- believers may have thought a new studio album would only be found at the end of the rainbow... Imagine not seeing your best mate for 5 years or so, then meeting up with him again...things would have changed and that's the case with Credo. Many of us dislike change, but not when it's for the better, not when the change involves musical output that has matured like a vintage wine.... Credo have come of age. The album kicks off with 'Staring At The Sun', where a totally addictive chorus (with a 'made for air guitar' riff - yes these boys can rock !!!) blends commercial viability to progressive integrity. Then 'Cardinal Sin' offers some resplendent acoustic keyboard lines from Mike Varty before the lush melodies of 'Intimate Strangers' seduce you like only your lover could...This song is about sex and it vibes its subject matter perfectly !!! Tim Birrell's gorgeously melodic guitar work reaches trouser tenting heights on this piece. PRS and Mesa Boogie have never gelled so well...I can't see any birds on Tim's guitar fretboard but his licks soar around you gorgeously like birds of paradise would, indeed his guitar work is integral to the success of the whole album. Next up is the title track, a mysterious instrumental with an Eastern heir, Tim's guitar lines cut through you like an assasin's knife with melody that is painfully beautiful...however, I'm slightly puzzled as to why this is the title track, and it leaves me slightly unsettled, wanting more, the track somehow promises more than it ultimately delivers. 'Insane' follows, with some lovely, catchy synth lines from Mike (vaguely reminiscent of the catchy lines of 'Skin Trade' from 'Rhetoric') that take us to prog nirvana again as the song tackles the emotive subject of religious and political extremism...'Reason To Live' is a shorter song with more luscious melodies before 'Conspiracy' takes the reigns. Here, Mike's catchy synth lines vamp superbly with Tim's fluid rhythm work and Mark's vocals to provide a stunning and catchy song structure. Mark Colton's seminal vocals are also crucial to the album , often known as 'son of Fish' (not certain if this is a moniker he appreciates...) , he proves here that he has his own distinctive vocal tone that has little to do with Fish (but Fish fans will definitely approve..) and this suggests that the comparison is probably more aimed at his jesterial stage presence during live performances. Mark is also the band's wordsmith and raconteur, each song here conveys a story or a message about life. The album ends with 'Ghosts Of Yesterday'. The longest track on the album, it provides a more acoustically driven and more laid-back but yet anthemic conclusion. Not as immediate for me as the earlier tracks but more enjoyable with each subsequent listening. If you like prog rock and if you like melody you will love this album, I guess it may indeed be "Against Reason'' not to buy it....

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Send comments to Distant Planet (BETA) | Report this review (#453525)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, where do you start with this album, like some I suppose, I had been put off by the people that say Marillion like and Arena like, but hell guys, you got it wrong.

This is an amazing band in their own right, yeah there are bits of a number of the "Big" bands in there, but this is a band that rocks and knows how to grab you and pull you in.

My only dissapointment is, I avoided them for years, but I guess that means I got the other studio albums to hear :-)

I ordered this and the live DVD at the same time, and I have watched the DVD, but this hasnt been off of the cd player yet.

Yeah, I guess Birrell does sound a bit Rothery or Gilmour, but to my ears there is some Carlos Santana, bits of Skynyrd and Steeley Dan in there too, Colton is no Fish clone, his voice is amazingly rich and tuneful, melodic even, and like a "proper" singer, a bit like the guy from Del AMitri, with bits of Gillan, Dio, Martyn Turner maybe in there too!

Murdoch plays the bass like a lead instrument, and does some back up vocals, along with Varty, so not sure who's voice is who, but when these three harmonise its brilliant, a real point of difference. The drummer, Martin Mead, is no metronome sort of drummer or sub standard Portnoy clone, he plays the drums like a real instrument.

And then, there is Varty, and I guess it must be difficult for him doing the Pointer script band and then making sure he does'nt just sound like a generic Prog keyboardist or Mark Kelly clone, but, and I dont say this lightly, for my money, he is the best keyboard player in prog.

Onto the album, the reviewers here mostly get it right, but not sure about the 3 star and below reviews, you have to wonder if those people have really listened to the album, or if they just dont like neo prog and do it out of spite.

Staring at the sun, and what a statement, how confident have you got to be to start your album with three minutes of instrumental before the most amazing and instant prog you will ever hear hits you between the eyes. This could be a hit if it was released as a single, even today.

Cardinal Sin is next, dark, dirty, filthy, brooding and scarey, it sucks you in chews you up and spits you out with the abrupt end, the last three minutes show these boys can play as well, if not better than any of their contemporaries at the top end of the proc spectrum.

With Intimate Strangers coming up next, what you get is an intro and outro that alows Tim Birrell to shine, and the middle section is a song that breaks your heart with its sentiment and simplicity, colton will have you hanging on his every word.

Against Reason into Insane seem like they should be joined, so I will assume they are, and this song is just a killer, about the ways mankind justifys killing in the name of religion, not judgemental, non blaming, but amazingly powerful, the guitar sollo and Coltons vocal towards the end make the hairs on the back of my head stand up every time.

Next is Conspiracy (MCF) - I think I know what it stands for as it is hidden in the art work I think!

Clever lyrics, great melody, and good song, but then we get the sublime Reason to Live, deceptively simple, and a beautiful performance from Colton and the back up vocalists.

And then the mighty "Ghosts Of Yesterday", on a you tube clip Colton dedicates the song to anyone who has grown up in the UK in the last 40+ years, and the lyric brings it all back to life - The song's melodies, solos, Chorus and middle section will move you more than any description can say.

Dont miss this great UK band, check out My Space if you arent sure, but do yourself a favour, buy it. It is great has tunes, melodies, songs, everything - Even the art work is great!

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Send comments to TommyWright (BETA) | Report this review (#457375)
Posted Sunday, June 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars A more credible release

My first acquaintance with Credo was with the live DVD This Is What We Do, released in 2009 and featuring a full live performance of the band in Poland in 2008. I enjoyed it, but I was hardly impressed. The DVD featured a live performance of the band's previous studio album Rhetoric in its entirety (though not in the same running order as on the studio CD) as well as a substantial number of tracks from their debut album Field Of Vision. I still haven't heard the studio versions of these two previous albums, but if the live versions are anything to go by, Credo has taken a significant step forward with Against Reason. Again judging from the live recording, Rhetoric was an album in the style that I would prefer to call "romantic" Prog. Good examples of this style are Fish-era Marillion (especially Misplaced Childhood) and Clive Nolan's Shadowland (especially Ring Of Roses). Both the lyrics and the vocals of the Rhetoric material were heavily in the style of Fish. Against Reason brings Credo closer to Arena in being darker and harder edged. The material is also stronger and more memorable both musically and lyrically, and there are lots of great instrumental workouts. While before I heard Against Reason I would recommend Credo only to those who already have a special interest in classic British Neo-Prog, the present album merits a (slightly) wider audience.

As I pointed out in my review of the This Is What We Do DVD, Credo is a British band that has a very long pre-history. Lead guitarist Tim Birrell and bass player Jim Murdoch have been playing together since as far back as the early 70's! It wasn't, however, until the early 90's that they adopted the name of Credo. Today they consist also of lead vocalist Marc Colton and keyboard player Mike Varty. Colton has a fine voice and does a very good job here, but it is Varty and Birrell that deliver the greatest musical moments.

There are three Credo studio albums to date including the present one and there seems to be widespread agreement on the improvements of each over the previous one. The music of the band is hardly very original or ground-breaking even on this new album, but I think it is fair to say that they deserve to be mentioned among groups such as IQ, Pendragon, Pallas and Arena and Against Reason would surely sit well in a collection that already holds the recent albums of these other bands. While not among the very best albums of the subgenre, and certainly not a masterpiece, Against Reason is a highly enjoyable release and worthy of four stars. It will please anyone with a taste for the style.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#458438)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2011 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Credo strike again!

Over the past few weeks, you may have wondered to yourself, "Who's that band I can see in the 'Top 50 Artists' list on this website?" I'm here to tell you that band is Credo, whose latest album, 'Against Reason', is a wonderful mix of progressive rock and pop music. Since their last album, 'Rhetoric', it seems as if Credo have learned a thing or two about writing good songs, and as a result, there's far more of the stuff you want to hear on this album, like instrumentals and time signatures.

There are also some similarities with the last album. Lead singer Mark Colton still sounds so much like Marillion's Fish, that it's just uncanny! Unlike most progressive rock, rather than being camped in fantasy, the lyrics here all deal with contemporary issues, like the environment (Staring at the Sun), paedophilia (Cardinal Sin) and religious wars (Insane). All of these are tackled with a great deal of tact, but the words are still hard hitting. The songs all have a very poppy feel to them, but in an unashamedly progressive way. You'll still hear the three-verse, three-chorus structure, but it might be spread across 13 minutes!

Since 'Rhetoric', Credo have become extremely creative in their songwriting. While there was a certain 'sameness' to the tracks on 'Rhetoric', the songs are all very individual here. Instrumentals abound, where we can hear Tim Birrell's beautiful guitar sound, or Mike Varty's well thought out keyboards. One moment that never fails to make me smile is at 2:40 on the opening track Staring at the Sun, where the whole band cut out, to let Birrell play an incredibly catchy 7/8 theme. Staring at the Sun is undoubtedly the group's best song so far. Insane is another surprisingly good track, as it starts in 5/8, and just gets weirder from there. Ghosts Of Yesterday is a long track, but somehow manages to have a chorus that seems very similar to Robbie Williams' Advertising Space. The CD booklet is also very well thought out, as each song will have a famous quote to go with the lyrics.

If you're tired of airy-fairy fantasy prog lyrics, and feel like you need some more down to earth emotion, then you should really give this album a shot. Credo show no signs of stopping, and I can only imagine that their next album will be even better than this!

PS I'm still trying to work out what MCF in Conspiracy (MCF) means!

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#459300)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first discovered Credo with the amazing Rhetoric album a few years ago, and was looking forward to this album. I was nervous it wouldn't match up to the previous album, but knew that Round n Round was going to be on the album so was confident it would be a good one. Well imagine my surprise when I got the album and the track wasn't on there!!!

Staring at The Sun is a great album starter, and the perfect marriage of prog and AOR which will hopefully expose Credo to a whole new audience, it reminds me of It Bites and Rush. The follow up track is Cardinal Sin, which I was unsure of to start with, the intro is "different" and the lyrics disturbed me, but the way it's sung drags you in, and like the whole album the subject matter is up to date and as meaningful as any band you can think of - No cloaks, wizards and princes's here!

The song Intimate Strangers is dreamy yet the lyrics hit hard to anyone who has had their heart broken and Insane gives me goosebumps everytime I hear it, it is preceeded by Against Reason, the title track, which is surely Credo poking a bit of fun at the genre as given the power of their words, its the only instrumental the band have recorded, which is surely Against Reason.

Next up is the stunning Reason to Live which allows Mark Colton to show what an amazing singer he is and how much he has grown since their first album back in 1994. My favourite on the whole album, except....

The Ghosts Of Yesterday - words fail me on this song, I love it and play it every day at least once - it fills me with smiles and tears and makes me feel excited and sad all at once.

I missed Conspiracy off the list, which is the song before Ghosts Of Yesterday, and the music and the singing and words paint a vivid picture of the current world where people like Jade Goody and Simon Cowell can become celebrities, footballers earn £200,000 a week, yet the country falls into ruin around our ears.

Mike Varty and Tim Birrel really push their dual and duel soloing throughout this album and, Martin Meads and Jim Murdoch tie all the great words and melodies together brilliantly

So all said a great album with passion, emotion and a lot of good sense - to ignore it is Against Reason....

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Send comments to pooh62 (BETA) | Report this review (#471432)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars You don't need to push the envelope to make good music

A friend of mine who hate the neo-prog subgenre brought by Marillion, IQ, Pallas and Pendragon in early 80s because it's basically a simplification of symphonic prog ? that's what he said. I could agree with his opinion but disagree in his conclusion that therefore we should stay away from neoprog. I even like the subgenre as an expansion of the subgenres that already existed in prog music by that time. I think, as we all like this kind of music we also learn to have a progressive mind that is open to any further development of progressive music. Yeah, we have to be progressive in seeing the whole world and in the development of music. The facts that there is some simplification of the music, it's fine with me. We have seen how Pink Floyd which the music was at that time quite simple was later developed in even simplified manners with bands like RPWL, Porcupine Tree, Sylvan and any other crossover kind of bands. So ? what's wrong with symphonic prog that is simplified into neoprog? In fact, it's good because the music can reach wider coverage in terms of fans base so that the music can educate the younger generation and let them explore the past ? the 70s era.

You might think that neoprog has already reached its limit and nothing more that we could expect from the subgenre that pays particular attention and subtleties on melodies and harmonies in composing the music. The result is typically a mellow kind of melodic music with good exploration of keyboards and guitars ? boths as rhythm section or solo. So is the case with Credo "Against Reason" album released this year. The album really blew me away the fisrt time I listened to it. They are really smart and creative in making their music in the corridor of neoprog and has no effort to push the envelope ? but it's an excellent composition as the result. This proves that you can do goodwork in the coridor of existing music subgenre.

The album opener 'Staring At The Sun' strats wonderfully with keyboard solo followed with a medium tempo music in typical neoprog scene. Wow! It's a fabulous opening especially when the guitar solo enters the music. I really enjoy the opening part of this opening track. Th music then provides a break with guitar rhythm section just before vocal enters. While the vocal fills the music you can grab the Gensis guitar fills style accompany the vocal. The music moves in crescendo nicely with dynamic drumming and long sustain keyboard work at background. There are many style changes throughout the song. The interlude part at approx minute 6:48 is nice.

The next track "Cardinal Sin" starts ambient with keyboard work followed with music that brings the vocal. The music really reminds us to bands like Pallas, Pendragon. The music moves nicely with guitar work that reminds us to Gilmour work. The interlude part changes the style into ambient music with different drumming style augmented with piano fills. The guitar solo work is really stunning, performed in Floydian style backed up with piano work. It's cool. The song moves in different style of music and it has wonderful ending part.

"Intimate Strangers" starts mellow with guitar fills, keyboard and bass guitar followed with soft guitar solo. He music then flows in mellow tempo with keyboard as background when vocal enters. The album title track "Against Reason" starts mellow with guitar fills backed with spacey keyboard work. It's basically a short instrumental that brings forward nicely the next track "Insane". I love this fifth track as the vocal and keyboard is so powerful. Oh by the way, one thing that I forget to tell you is that the bassguitar work of this album is excellent and it reminds me to Graeme Murray of Pallas. "Insane" is an excellent track with accentuated vocal work, composed in moderate tempo but quite energetic especially when the keyboard performs its solo work. It also has excellent guitar solo. The rest of the tracks "Reason To Live", "Conspiracy(MCF)" ? the combined keyboard work and vocal is great, and "Ghosts Of Yesterday" are all good tracks in neoprog style.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. It proves that neoprog has not reached its full potentials yet as you can see this album is an excellent example of this subgenre. Keep on proggin' ....!

Peace on earth and mercy mild ? GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#474223)
Posted Saturday, July 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Against Reason' (Festival Music)

Three albums and a live DVD in seventeen years may sound like a work rate to rival that of Boston, but it's what happens when real life and other priorities get in the way. Unlike Boston, Credo has managed to 'up the ante' with each successive release, and it has to be said right at the outset that 'Against Reason' is really quite a stunner, and exceeds even my (admittedly high) expectations. Eight tracks sprawling over some 65 minutes give some idea of what is in store, but the four tracks book-ending the album ('Staring At The Sun' and 'Cardinal Sin' at the start, and 'Conspiracy (MCF)' and 'Ghosts Of Yesterday' at the end) are all epics, each clocking up more than ten minutes: and each one an absolute masterpiece. 'Staring At The Sun' has global warming as its mantra and gets the album off to a breezy start, and reveals just what a cohesive unit Credo has become; moreover vocalist Mark Colton has never sounded better. He does not have a great range ' but delivers the frequently acerbic lyrics with authority, poignancy and verve. 'Cardinal Sin' is a song focused upon the sleazy underbelly of human relationships ('hunger fuels the greed; loathing turns to lust'). Progressive rock is rarely packaged more effectively than it is here: musically subtle - twisting and turning and inducing strong emotions as it spits out menacing sounds that enhance the callous lyrics. There is so much happening here, and the maturity of musical understanding amongst the combo is breathtaking! 'Conspiracy (MCF)' finds the strength of Credo's lyrical mastery reaching a zenith on a track that questions whether information in the public domain is 'conspiracy, truth or lies' as well as engaging upon the focus of some mystery case files. The wizardry of keyboardist Mike Varty is significant here while Tim Birrell (guitars), Martin Meads (drums) and Jim Murdoch (bass) prove once again what an effective unit they are as they weave dramatic layers of sound of varying intensity. Concluding number 'Ghosts Of Yesterday' will surely resonate uncomfortably: a despairing song about the plight of a society that is coming close to imploding ('Communities brought to their knees by governments deaf to their pleas; industrial diseases from false economies sold down the river on a half-baked scheme'), a ticking clock - real and metaphorical - introducing and closing this phenomenal song. Although I have chosen to emphasize these four juggernauts, 'Intimate Strangers', 'Insane' and 'Reason To Live' are all hugely powerful statements both lyrically and musically only the brief instrumental title track somehow failing to maintain the flow. It's a not unpleasant but moody number that has the temerity to fade without quite making a clear statement of intent. So, this is Credo's equivalent of 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and could so easily have been entitled 'Dark Side Of The Earth' given the brooding lyrical focus upon some of the less savoury aspects of society, human life and existence. The insignificant title track apart, this is a tremendous triumph for Credo and one that sets the bar at pole vault level for album number four. Tremendous, thought-provoking songs, gorgeous melodies, wonderful musicianship: 'Against Reason' is my album of 2011 so far'

Paul Jerome Smith

Reproduced from Fireworks Magazine June 2011 With Permission

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Send comments to neolover1 (BETA) | Report this review (#486355)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Against Reason' - Credo (7/10)

As many fans of progressive rock music already know, in the early '80s, there was a resurgence of bands that sought to recapture the feeling of adventure that the 70's prog legends had. Given the now-obsolete title of neo-prog, some view this style poorly due to the fact that the style had too much of an emphasis on melody and tends to get stuck in anthemic choruses and cheesy synth solos rather than actually pushing the envelope. All the same, some great bands have done great things with the neo-prog sound, and Credo is a band that has recently received some heavy acclaim for this new album. A band somewhat infamous for their long waits between releasing new albums, Credo have only produced three records starting in 1994, and as a result, their albums are highly anticipated by fans of the band's existing work. As with many though, 'Against Reason' is my first experience with the music of Credo, although like many neo-prog bands, it is a very familiar sound. 'Against Reason' is a talented and consistent journey through a familiar melodic rock sound, and has enough substance to it to satisfy anyone looking for a melodic prog album.

Credo's sound is explicitly neo-prog; the music revolves around big choruses, melodic and upbeat song structures, and the synths get more than a couple of moments to lead the band onward. My personal musical angle can usually lead me to hold derivative prog convention against bands, and while I cannot bring myself to say that I can completely overlook the formulaic nature of the music here, it does not stop Credo from making some memorable music. With the exception of one track 'Reason To Live', all of the songs on 'Against Reason' are fairly long, typically over the ten minute mark. Each of the longer songs is memorable in its own right for one aspect or another, although the music tends to follow one running musical style throughout the entire thing.

Instrumentally, the band sounds very familiar to Marillion- especially in the heavy use of melodic synthesizers- and while the music does not stand out as particularly original to me, it is done very well. Mark Colton's voice works brilliantly for the sound, and the lyrics here are one of the greatest things that the band offers. Especially on the most memorable song 'Conspiracy', the witty way the lyrics address the titular subject matter can make a listener both laugh and think, and I think that for an album like this, that is the best possible outcome. Credo certainly takes their music and art seriously, but they are able to do so with a tongue in cheek personality. The compositions here have many different ideas in them, but they are all bound by a somewhat similar sound palette. I do think that these tracks may have done better with either being shorter, or having some more integral ideas in them, but the songs rarely truly feel like they are overstaying their welcome.

'Against Reason' is a very good album for neo-prog rock, although I will close the review by making the note that I did not like it nearly as much at first. First judging it by its derivative and familiar sound, it took several intent listens before these compositions really began to earn their merits in my eye. Credo's third album has not disappointed me in any case, and while I may not see it as a masterpiece as many others deem it to be, 'Against Reason' earns its bread.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#488057)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The kind of second-tier 'prog rock' that bores and alienates many of the listeners who like music with more intricate, multi-layered compositional content, less predictability, and more virtuosic or 'classically trained' musicianship. High points: all of the electric guitar and keyboard soli; "Intimate Strangers" (9/10 despite its "Sky Moves Sideways" beginning). Low points: shockingly simple song constructs; rhythm sectio;, lyrics. Seriously, my first impression as I listened to "Staring at the Sun" (6/10) was that this was a 'wedding singer' band that is trying to venture out on its own. They are, IMO, on a par with other decent 'second-tier' bands like Unitopia, RPWL, Astra, Mystery, Black Noodle Project, Cirrus Bay, Combination Head, David Minasian, Dredg, Airbag, Gazpacho, Grand Stand, IOEarth, IZZ, Guilt Machine, Knight Area, Maze of Time, Mindflower, Hostsonaten, Moongarden, Outerlimits, Overhead, Parzival's Eye, Pineapple Thief, The Reasoning, Satellite, Sense, Silhouette, Slychosis, Sky Architect, The Source, Subsignal, tinyfish, Touchstone, Trion, Vienna Circle, XII Alfonso, and Xang. Not sophisticated enough for me. Good, but by no means essential.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#497517)
Posted Thursday, August 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars If this band has reached its full potential and glory as some have said, I wonder what they sounded like when they weren't. Don get me wrong, this isn't bad, but I do find it hugely overrated. All this band does, is to blatantly copy Fish-era Marillion to an extent that they lose all credibility. It all sounds very well crafted and written, but it isn't convincing. Never do I get the idea that I'm listening to a band, other than a Marillion cover band trying to do some own tunes.

I just hope they will get a more own sound and try to put some variation in for their next album.

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Send comments to snoe (BETA) | Report this review (#533167)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars In another lifetime (or at least it seems that way now), I was talking to singer Mark Colton one day (previously of Casual Affair and then with Freewill) and he told me that he had been approached to also join another band, then called Ad Hoc. The name soon changed to Chequered Past, and then to Credo and the band started to make their presence felt on the London circuit. Mark's 'main' band Freewill folded and he put all of his energies into Credo who signed a contract with Cyclops and soon released their debut album 'Field of Vision'. Back then I was very involved with the band, attending most of their gigs and trying to publicise them in any way that I could.

It became apparent that keyboard player and main lyricist Mik Stovold wasn't going to be the right fit going forward, and Shadowland (and now Landmarq) keyboard player Mike Varty came on board and this was where the band really started to get traction. While drummer Paul Clark and bassist Jim Murdoch provided the solid background, guitarist Tim Birrell and Mike Varty lifted Credo to new heights while Mark was the consumate frontman. But although the band were improving all the time, writing great music and having storming gigs, all was not well. It transpired that Mark was seriously ill, and at one point was only a few hours from death, while Paul was also having some issues. This meant that the band while working behind the scenes seemed to have gone dormant to many prog lovers minds.

Mark started singing with a folk rock band where he met drummer Martin Meads, and when Paul announced he was leaving Martin was the obvious replacement. It was the new line-up that released 'Rhetoric' only eleven years to the day from the debut. During the intervening years myself and Mark has located to different parts of the country, so I wasn't so up todate with the material but the album blew me away and I did manage to see them play again before I moved to the other side of the world.

And so, onto the third album. I haven't seen the band play live for more than five years, so this was all new to me. Mark had been raving about it to me, so it was with some trepidation that I put it on the player. Straight from the opening of "Staring At The Sun" I was captured and enthralled, and everything that I had planned to do for the next 69 minutes was placed on hold. The band may be accused of playing neo-prog, but what's wrong with that? I like neo-prog! I was lucky enough to be heavily involved in the UK prog scene in the early Nineties, and while it could be argued that this belongs to that time it is way more polished and musical than most of what was coming out then.

This really is a musical tour de force ? it is everything that a prog fan could want and much, much more. I have always previously viewed Mark as more of a frontman than I have as a vocalist, his passion onstage is what lifts the band and the performance. While he is often likened to Fish I feel that it is an unfair comparison ? there may be similarities but his range and intonation are quite different. However, my view has now changed as having heard just about everything he has ever recorded (including much that has never reached the public domain) I can categorically state that this is easily his best performance ever. The control and pitch are superb, and the rest of the guys have also stepped up considerably. Tim Birrell has been their secret weapon since the very beginning, one of the finest guitarists ever to grace a UK prog stage (if you don't believe me then search out "A Kindness?" from their debut and imagine how much better that was live) ? and here he is using a controlled restraint as he links with Mike to provide incredible interplay. Martin and Jim provide the bedrock, which allows Mike and Tim to really stretch out. If you want to listen to just one minute of how good this album is then start playing about two minutes into "Insane" and the next sixty seconds provides everything you could ever wish to hear from this style of music.

Credo's best album to date? Definitely. My favourite prog album of the year? Oh yes. Any regrets? Yes, I'm the other side of the world so haven't heard any of this being played live. If you enjoy progressive rock music, melodic rock, neo-prog, art rock, or any of the other labels that get bandied about then you owe it to your ears to get this.

Credo 'Against Reason'. It doesn't get any better than this

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#539624)
Posted Saturday, October 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The year is 2011, it's been a long time coming, but CREDO have finally delivered a new studio album !!!

"Was it worth waiting for ???"

"Was Rome built or perfected in a day ???"

These are of course RHETORIC-al questions !!! (Please excuse my extremely bad humour.....)

And of course 'AGAINST REASON' IS truly the sublime chunk of ultimate, epochal, trouser- tenting, neo-prog minstrelsy that we all hoped (and knew) it would be.

In fact the opening track exceeds expectation. 'STARING AT THE SUN' is one of those songs that is so good that it defies belief that humans actually created it !!!! It's a pop song, it's a heavy metal anthem and it's both classic rock and neo-prog nirvana rolled into one holy grail-type opus. I bet when the band wrote this they knew they'd hit the jackpot. Cleverly, they gave the track away with 'Classic Rock Magazine' and on the F2 website, knowing it would seriously whet the appetite of anyone with any sort of musical taste. Hopefully this clever marketing ploy created the sales levels that this band deserve. This is a song with totally universal appeal (if you don't believe me play it to your better half - they will like it - trust me !!!)

These guys are professional musicians who have to operate on a semi-pro basis, partly due to the niche-market popularity of prog-rock and partly due to the difficulty of the current day music market. So when I talk about marketing ploys they are only hoping to break even and still be able to give us fans what we want....I am not talking about profits...

The band are of course fronted by vocalist , raconteur and ace showman Mark Colton. Often (deservedly) compared to Fish, who was probably an inspirational mentor, Mark has now established himself as a big fish in the prog-rock pond in his own right. Commanding and yet amiable on stage, he is sublimely-intonated and inspirationally motivated in the studio. Since he got together with Tim and Jim, CREDO have definitely become the jaw-droppingly good band he always knew they were going to be....their name is defined as 'a statement of belief' in the dictionary and I believe it sub-conciously originated from the band's own perpetual and totally warranted self-belief in their endless possibilities as a united and progressive musical unit. Tim Birrell delivers 'PRS thru Mesa-Boogie' guitar licks that ache with passion and melody. Mike Varty conjures up harmonies and atmosphere like only a keyboard-ial and compositional Gandalfian wizard could. Bassist Jim Murdoch vibes with Tim like he was his long-lost brother (well he probably is !!!) and then batons down the hatches solidly with drummer Martin Meads.

How do you follow a track like 'STARING AT THE SUN' ? The obvious and correct answer is : with the remaining tracks of 'AGAINST REASON' !!! Initially the dark subject matter of 'CARDINAL SIN' yields to the ultra-melodic soundscapes of 'INTIMATE STRANGERS'. Whilst melodically the former track might entice fans of Pallas, there is something of the latter track that to me evokes Wishbone Ash at their very, very best. The melody on the latter track is in fact so strong, that to me it creates a similar vibe to that magical feeling you get when you meet someone really, really special for that magical first time.....

The title track then kicks in with an incredible air of mystery and suspense ....before 'INSANE' rocks you into prog overdrive and hooks you line and sinker with a commercial and anthemic chorus, just like 'STARING AT THE SUN' did a few tracks beforehand......

'REASON TO LIVE' then brings melody to the fore again before 'CONSPIRACY' raises all of those questions that none of us can answer, even though we all know we wish we could.........

'GHOSTS OF YESTERDAY' closes the album. This is a very contemporary song for everything that all of us feel today. Probably the ultimate CREDO track ???......and if Carlsberg made a classic rock track this of course would be it............Or would it in fact be 'STARING AT THE SUN' ???? My friends, this (for once) is not a RHETORIC-al question....I think you guys and gals will answer this question for yourselves in the future, when you listen to this superb album and decide for yourselves ....................................

If you like melody, if you like neo-prog, if you like Classic Rock : buy this album !!! ...it is 'AGAINST REASON' that you will ever regret your purchase....

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Send comments to prog_head1 (BETA) | Report this review (#596958)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Credo's 2011 release is a dynamic album, one that should find (and has found) favor with fans of bands listed as Neo Prog. The lyrics are occasionally insightful, occasionally clumsy, but well-sung in either case. In fact, I think all of the musicians are top notch, delivering incredible performances individually and as a tight group. Ultimately, this is a good album, just one that fails to capture my attention, as the compositions usually lose me while they are playing or don't remain with me after they are finished.

"Staring at the Sun" A thick synthesizer run opens the album. The main riff seems to borrow heavily from the Rush tune "Xanadu" (the section beginning about two-and-a-half minutes in). My tongue even instinctively clicks Neil Peart's percussion bit in between each part. The vocals occur over light clean guitar and deep, plodding bass. I would say that this is the most memorable and brilliant of the tracks, but perhaps that is because of the obvious influences present.

"Cardinal Sin" There's a slight Marillion vibe to this tune, particularly with respect to the vocals. The piano passage and lead guitar work midway through are elegant. The second half of the song begins with a thin synthesizer riff in a 1980s rock context before launching into a well-performed organ solo. The piece is a hodgepodge of musical ideas that, while not quite cohesive, is generally enjoyable.

"Intimate Strangers" With a verse in 5/4 and plenty of synthesizer and guitar tones, this song remains surprisingly consistent even if it may not be especially memorable. For this fairly straightforward song, I would draw comparisons to IQ.

"Against Reason" Airy dark tones set the stage for a mournful, siren-like lead guitar.

"Insane" Again working over five beats, this song I think exemplifies Credo's penchant for unusual and sudden shifts in rhythm.

"Reason to Live" "Reason to Live" is one of the weaker and more forgettable tracks- just a quick bit of lyrics over uninspired music.

"Conspiracy (MCF)" The high frequency tone in the introduction of this track hurt my ears the first time I heard it- not cool. Is there any reason to include something like that in the beginning of a song that has no ostensive relationship to the composition? The listener is hereby warned to turn his speakers down or off during the first few seconds. The song proper involves a variety of synthesizer tones in various roles (the whiny one midway through isn't one of the better ones), and while the music displays their usual assortment of rhythms and penchant for stringing multiple musical sections together, this song has always failed to grab me. Oh, and did the listener miss that painful tone in the beginning? No worries- it ends the song too.

"The Ghosts of Yesterday" Acoustic guitar and synthetic strings provide a bed for soft vocals to awake in. This final track is the most powerful and anthem-like of all the songs on the album, even if overall it feels somewhat generic.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#600356)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 6/10

"Against Reason", although not being consistent all the way through, has some charming and wonderful moments worth returning to.

Credo is just one of the many incarnations of this small gathering of musicians that have been almost all active since 1971. However, they attributed to themselves the name Credo only in 1993, and ever since, they have released a total of three albums, the first one being "Field Of Vision" and second one being the more recognized "Rhetoric". "Against Reason" though is the most popular of their releases so far, and the one that guaranteed the band a small place among the greats of the newer wave of Neo Prog.

Like on previous albums, Credo aren't afraid to show their influences, from bands such as Marillion and IQ. Mark Colton's vocals are theatrical, passionate, and reminiscent of Eighties Prog Rock, just like all the different synth sounds and the soloing electric guitars, influenced by David Gilmour's playing more than anyone else's. Credo however develop a more unique sound, compared to the more stereotypical feel "Rhetoric" had. The songwriting has noticeably improved, a lot of the songs present on this new release are much more memorable and original at the same time, giving a pretty big impact on the listener. The tracks are also longer than an average Neo-Prog song, even though the structures of the songs aren't as puzzling and ambitious as the lengths would suggest.

Rarely Credo go towards dark themes, and prefer sounding cheerful or haunting for most of the time. There is however some sort of social awareness behind the lines, and sadly their take on trying to be a little aware is a bit cheesy in the lyrics, some moments more than others. At times, what Mark Colton sings is very banal and could make one cringe pretty easily. However, besides the lyrics, the world "Against Reason" portrays with it's music has a certain charm to it.

This album reaches almost the seventy minute mark, but overall the time seems to pass pretty quickly, especially in the first part of the album, definitely the better side: from the positive vibrations of "Staring Of The Sun", ending after more than ten minutes, that are very well constructed and executed, follows the best song of the album, "Cardinal Sin"; in many parts epic, the beautiful echoing guitars, the soothing keyboards are a delight to hear and will guarantee any Neo Prog fan an eargasm. Most of the melodies in this track are extremely full of passion, whether it be frustration or melancholy. The album doesn't quite reach those levels, however there are still moments to enjoy greatly like the subtly mysterious title track. The rest of the songs have interesting moments, others are very generic and not at all memorable. "Ghosts Of Yesterday" is unfortunately the track that has the most of these parts: it gets very tiring in many spots, and the fact that it is the last song of the album makes it even worse. "Conspiracy (MCF)" is also a bit forgettable, the melodies not being that focused and the performances by the musicians not being really unique.

Credo with "Against Reason" have definitely improved songwriting-wise, but they still haven't made an album consistent all the way through, because of some forgettable and practically time wasting moments. However, some songs truly shine with emotion and beauty, hopefully next time they will manage to do so for the entire album. Only then will I be completely satisfied with this band.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#633396)
Posted Monday, February 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Credo don't stray much from the new-prog template as established in the 80s. Spacey guitars during solos and mostly clean ones during verses, emphasized vocals with a pronounced English accent, synthesizer runs. But on Against Reason they do it more energetically than most neo-proggers, and even their own previous work. The mood is immediately set by the rollicking 3-minute instrumental intro in the first song, Staring at the sun. Lyrically, the songs are mostly bleak social commentary - hence the title, Against Reason.

Most proper songs extend beyond the 10 minute mark. But they are not necessarily very progressive, just long songs. Sometimes artificially so, with choruses - albeit very catchy ones - are repeated way too many times.

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Send comments to Progrussia (BETA) | Report this review (#1004228)
Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
3 stars This album is solid, but not much more than that. I hate to start a review like that, but that is the overwhelming impression I get from this album. It is neo-prog, for sure; and it falls as comfortably into that label as possible. We get the standard synth solos and such, but what we don't get is inspiration.

Inspiration is rather absent on this release. I was really disappointed because the opening track begins with a great synth intro, and the first track is even very good. However, after that, we get cookie cutter tracks by the tray-full. And, just when you think the album is over, they start another track. It just seems so, um, pretentious at times. I almost get----I'm going to say it--- "bored" by the album. Little happens besides the standard neo-prog fare.

Like I said, though, this album is certainly solid. It is well-played and the production is great, but the composition just seems so dull and repetitive. Besides that, the topic is about global warming and conspiracy theories and such, but I didn't like the approach. I tend to like global warming apocalypse settings, but have a hard time with highly politicized perspectives. I feel they went for the latter. In general, though, this is good background music that may find a audience somewhat. Me? There are too many other bands that are pushing the boundaries out there for me to waste my time on standard fare like this.

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1011540)
Posted Monday, August 05, 2013 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars Keep it short - that was the view of a prog fan I met a few weeks ago discussing about how a review should be written. All you need to answer, he said, is "is it a good album?", "what does it sound like?", "do you recommend it?".

Credo's ''Against Reason'' is a good album indeed, it sounds like neo-prog (surprise!) and I warmly recommend it - but this is does not satisfy me fully so here I go: eight tracks and 70 minutes of music is quite a challenge. Throughout the album the neo-prog character is quite distinct with melody and strong lyrics being at the forefront of everything Credo do. The influence of Fish-era Marillion (Cardinal Sin) and a general aura of Arena are defining the band's sound, which - nevertheless - does not fall into the trap of copy/paste.

The ''street-rock'' feeling (Staring at the Sun, Conspiracy (MCF)) the melodies of Intimate Strangers (watch for that ending solo) and the raw power of the anti-war, keyboard-lush Insane (the heaviest, most creative and possibly best composition) stand out in a generally consistent album. What else? Tight performance from all band members, dynamic emotional singing and polished sound also tick the box. Compositions are not particularly complex and rather long - this combination along with a couple of short indifferent tracks just take away a bit of the solid work that has been put together for this album. Especially towards the end, the compositions sound somewhat "elongated" which spoils the magic that reached its peak with Insane.

So, against reason, I assign 3.5 stars to this album, with a small regret that it could have been kept somewhat shorter. Warmly recommended to all neo-prog and modern prog fans that are in for the melody.

Best moments: Staring at the Sun, Insane

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#1053880)
Posted Friday, October 04, 2013 | Review Permalink

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