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Falling Edge - Falling Edge CD (album) cover


Falling Edge

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars An excellent debut record by this symphonic prog rock quartet out of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada known as FALLING EDGE. Guitarist and vocalist Chris Rupert had put out a few solo records of acoustic and classical instrumental guitar pieces in the `80s and `90s. This is his foray into the progressive rock genre and the results are very impressive. Primarily symphonic in the writing department, one can also detect some space rock a la ELOY. Also, a symphonic sound not unlike the Dutch band FINCH, but less busy. Perhaps the better parts of John Williams`s SKY project would apply to this release. The album opens up with the epic `Social Engineering`` which provides the listenner with many dips, valleys and recurring themes. Some great angular guitar at the beginning of the track with a Steve Howe approach and a Chris Poland tone. A great way to start an album to tell the Progressive Rock World you have arrived. Thinking this album couldn't possiblly match the opener, it is followed up with the band instrumental/wordless vocal "Crippled By Fear". This is worth the price of the album alone and invokes the band CAMEL. "Not That Far Away" is an acoustic vocal and percussion piece between Chris Rupert and drummer Kevin Tetreault. A nice piece of music, but not in the progressive vein as the aforementioned. The next track "Next Time Around" is 7 minutes in length and reminds me of Italian band ACQUA FRAGILE(without the accented vocals). The final track "I, Awake" is reminiscent of Nathan Mahl and a bit of IQ and probably the only track with a Neo Prog approach. 14 minutes in length and a great conclusion to a debut album. Falling Edge is a fine debut production that every fan of Symphonic Prog should hear in the year 2013 and beyond.
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Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars (5/10)

"Falling Edge" is the first release by the Canadian band of the same name. Their sound is based in the symphonic prog bands of the 70s, but with aspects of other bands like IQ and Pink Floyd as well. The album is full of lush keyboards with plenty of vintage sounds and long clean guitar parts. There should be some appeal to Neo-Prog and Space Rock fans. The guitarist (Chris Rupert) in particular, has clearly been listening to the likes of Howe, Hackett and Gilmour as well as Holmes, Latimer and Chandler.

Falling Edge seem to be happy taking their time to build up the musical pieces on the album, with three of the five songs around the 15 minute mark to leave room for extended development. "Social Engineering" is the first of these, and opens the album with that familiar melodic guitar over synth sound we all know so well. This is my favourite song of the album. It has good dynamic range, often flowing into quieter passages and building back up, a good range of sounds, such as the main guitar theme being replayed by harpsichord, and a good overall melodic feel to it. There is a weird howe-like guitar excursion near the end, before the song suddenly launches into a more exciting climax ending on a final reprise of the main theme. Confusingly, there's about a minute of extra music tacked on to the end that should probably have been its own song

This is followed by another of the epics, "Crippled By Fear", which is structurally quite similar to the first song, though this time instrumental. The whole piece flows quite nicely, starting with acoustic guitar with some ethereal keys, and maintaining a sort of uneasy sound that evokes a bit of tension. It eventually moves through some bouncy synth and guitar solos that can also turn in mood quite easily. Again we get a good strong main theme that resurfaces throughout the song, and the guitar solos are quite impressive. They can be quite fast at times, sometimes reminding me of the more melodic moments of John Petrucci's solo album "Suspended Animation".

The next two pieces are the shorter more straightforward songs of the album. "Not That Far Away" is a nice mostly acoustic basic piece, with a bit of a tribal feel to it. It is quite laid back and subdued; pleasant without venturing too far from its core sound. It gives me a bit of a similar feeling to ELP's "From The Beginning". "Next Time Around" is mostly the same, a pretty and delicate little symphonic piece. It's maybe a bit more poppy than "Not That Far Away" (especially with the chorus/vocal harmonies).

The album ends with "I, Awake", and I have to admit that I'm not so keen on this one. There is a good Neo-Progressive start, followed by some emphatic Hammond organ, which leads into some emotive solo piano that slowly fades. All good. But then out of nowhere almost an entirely new piece starts, and the rest of the song is just this repetitive simple music, with easily the weakest vocals of the album, that just sort of meanders its way to the end. It's a shame that's the final impression the album leaves, and not the soaring melodies from the first two songs.

"Falling Edge" is a decent and mostly enjoyable album, but with little to differentiate it from many similar releases. The vocals certainly don't have the range for some of the songs, and can sound strained when stretched too far. They aren't used a lot though, or heavily relied upon. Most of the album is instrumental, and an excellent vehicle for melodic synth/guitar soloing. Overall the album is good for lying back relaxing, but not much beyond that. I do like it, even if the quality does drop off with every track. I expect most people will find the majority of the music here enjoyable though, and there are some good symphonic prog moments to hear.

Report this review (#1027674)
Posted Tuesday, September 3, 2013 | Review Permalink

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