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Leap Day - From the Days of Deucalion - Chapter 1 CD (album) cover


Leap Day


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5 stars Dutch proggers Leap Day are around for quite a while now. They started back in 2008 and they were called a 'super group' right from the start just because almost all the band members played in other prog bands as well. But to be honest I never considered them to be a 'super group'. They're just a couple of guys trying to do something different. If you listen to the music of Flamborough Head, King Eider, Trion and Nice Beaver there really isn't that much resemblance with the music Leap Day creates. Leap Day has a sound of its own. And they can be proud of that!

With 'From The Days Of Deucalion, Chapter 1' they've delivered a beautiful album. It's inspired on Velikovsky's book 'Worlds In Collision', a rather controversial book that really shook up the tree of science back in the sixties. Leap Day isn't defending Velikovsky's ideas. They've used the stories, the myths and legends Velikovsky writes about (and tries to prove his hypotheses) as an inspiration for their compositions. There are eight songs on the album. They all refer to a myth or legend or a biblical story.

The songs are really different from each other. Signs On The 13th for example starts as if you're listening to the soundtrack of a movie. But there is also this heavy rock song called Hurricane and the more poppy song Ambrosia. And what to think of Changing Directions which starts as a right-in- your-face rock song (and has a chorus that keeps bouncing in your head for the rest of the day) but develops as a mind blowing progressive jewel. I can hear some echoes of Camel and Genesis (especially in their epic Insects) but passages in the vein of Gentle Giant are also to be found.

I think Leap Day has made a huge step forward with this album. I really liked their previous efforts a lot, but this one is their best so far. No doubt about that! Beautiful compositions (thumbs up Engelenburg and also Mulder/Waalkens) and superb musical craftsmanship from start to finish. And finally there's the beautiful artwork of Rafal Paluszek that really stands out!

I can't wait to hear what Chapter 2 has got to offer. But I'm afraid that will take a while. In the mean time I will keep on enjoying this album. Leap Day is no 'super group'. But their music is superb. Especially this one!

Report this review (#1076915)
Posted Friday, November 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is actually the first Leap Day album that I got, so I can't compare this album with their other works. But a true solid album it is! Just by the cover I knew this was going to be good. The head painted by the dots of the stars (Deucalion?) grabbed my attention right away. If you combine the title and the cover, then a lot of images come to mind. The cover is putting you right on place, right in the middle of cosmic turbulance and/or balance. The best artwork of 2013 without a doubt! The music is remarkably excellent, chosing a multiple set of moods fitting with the exquisite artwork. The keyboards being very present are in the capable hands of Waalkens and Van Engelenburg. Together with guitarist Mulder they've composed some really beautiful stuff! This album pleases your ears from A-Z, to me reaching climax in Llits Doots Nus Sun Stood Still, Insects, Signs On The 13th and Changing Directions.

This is a true prog gem to my ears! Tunes that you keep on humming all day long, lots of layers man only can discover by multiple listens. Just very honest and well crafted symphonic progressive music of the highest standard. Highly recommended!!

Report this review (#1080058)
Posted Friday, November 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Neo Prog by a Dutch band totally new to me, interesting. I'm having some positive expectations for this nice looking album. At first the low volume level fooled me until I understood to turn the stereo notably louder than usual. Yeah, all right, this is pretty functionable and typical Neo stuff, derivative mostly from GENESIS. Solid, clear guitar sounds and a lot of keyboards. The compositions too have some IQ style here and there, with some slowly built dramatic tension, but the music is never as effective as IQ can be.

The vocals are the weak link to me, sounding like a cross between PENDRAGON's boyish Nick Barrett and an effort to be a Peter Gabriel clone. Occasionally, at least on calmer parts, that effort succeeds, but frankly I'm very bored of vocalists who try to sound like Gabriel. Here it too often means just stuffy, bad vocals. Luckily many tracks are instrumentally oriented, so the vocals are not ruining the whole (nearly 54 minute) album. But honestly the level of compositions on this album is very uneven, variating beween pretty good and annoyingly bad ('Hurricane'). After all my wish of having found a new good Neo band was not quite fulfilled. Either 2½ or three stars, since the best tracks may be potential growers.

Report this review (#1147772)
Posted Friday, March 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars LEAP DAY, from Holland, was formed in 2008, consisting of veterans from the Dutch Neo-progressive scene. They were signed to the Polish label Oskar in 2009, and since then three full length albums have been issued by the band through that label. "From the Days of Deucalion: Chapter 1" is the most recent of these, released in 2013.

Leap Day's third full length album is one that fits the description well made, well performed and pleasant to perfection. Apart from at times slightly weak vocals there's nothing you can point your finger at, and while it didn't give me any goosebumps while listening to it this is a production that has a defined audience that will appreciate it highly. If you love 80's and early 90's neo progressive rock, Leap Day is a band you should take note of, and their latest production one that should satisfy your cravings for more music of that kind quite nicely.

Report this review (#1163765)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars And the award for `biggest mouthful but oh-so proggy album title of the year' goes to Leap Day's `From the Days of Deucalion: Chapter One'! The Dutch band have taken their inspiration for this concept album from the 1950 novel `Worlds in Collision' by Immanuel Velikovsky for this 2013 album, and that cryptic and fascinating work is ripe for some progressive self-indulgence! Turning a dated screwy pseudo-science book into a melodic prog album was always going to be a bit of a gamble, but despite the odd clunky or forced moment here and there, the band has completely succeeded. Taking little cues from the classic era of Genesis and the epic sound of Pink Floyd, but with a vocal personality all their own and little traces of humour, this atmospheric work is not only Leap Day's crowning achievement to date, but one of the finest Neo Prog albums in a long while.

"Hear the silent pressure, feel the growing tension...". With those words and the charismatic tones of lead singer Jos Harteveld, Leap Day delivers one of the most confident openers I've heard on a prog disc for quite some time with the two part `Ancient Times/Signs On The 13th', a shining example of perfectly executed dramatic build, supreme instrumental taste and a thoughtful lead voice. A mysterious chiming guitar introduction, a slowly approaching march of stormy military drumming and disorientating synths, moody ambient passages, and a searing electric guitar weave around a sublime chorus with slow-burn pressure. The foot-tapping `Changing Directions' lifts the mood instantly with some energetic lead guitar runs to open and close the piece on, an up-tempo beat and a truly infectious melody. `Insects' has lovely mellow acoustic guitar flavours over soothing vocals that not only has the unenviable task of turning words like `Aphids come by, crawling caterpillars they jump so high, high in the sky' (yes, really!) into a wonderfully flowing chorus, but then wraps it in sweet group harmonies as well (that even briefly offer some very Collins-esque `Wind and Wuthering'-era phrasings), rising and falling Mellotron wisps, stormy strangled electric guitar apporoaching tension and loopy darting synth battles.

`Hurricane' breaks up the pleasing sounds a little with a raccous and stomping Iron Maiden-styled heavy rocker with a bellowing repeated chorus. The stirring vocal, chunky bass and whirring Moogs of `Ambrosia' is a call to glasses raised - "Let's celebrate life now, drink with me, let's be immortal, eat with me divine Ambrosia", and it's hard not to be caught up in the occasion. `Haemus' carries on the merriment and positivity contrasting uplifting classic Genesis-flavoured instrumentation with tough lead vocals and heavy grooving guitars. It's then surprising that the band closes the album on an addictive instumental, `Llits doots Nus', that could have easily come off any 80's Genesis albums (if, you know, they weren't terrified of being a prog band by the time `Invisible Touch' rolled around), with it's pulsing beat, churning hard guitars and icy synths, but with a little regal fanfare bluster to end in a grand manner as well.

Accompanied with a lavish CD booklet that perfectly matches the colourful variety displayed throughout the music, this album is an excellent example of a band stepping up in a massive way, despite already having delivered strong work throughout their two previous discs `Awakening the Muse' and `Skylge's Lair'. Tighter melodies, tastefully executed instrumental passages without the need for drawn-out showboating, warm production and a surreal subject matter showcase the band improving everything they already did very well, while also setting the bar very high for not only themselves, but the Neo Prog sub-genre itself. High claims, no doubt, but along with Flamborough Head's recent `Lost in Time', Leap Day's `...Deucalion: Chapter One' lifts the Neo Prog standard to great heights, so roll on `Chapter Two', Leap fact, why not make it a trilogy?!

Five stars for one of my favourite Neo discs ever.

Report this review (#1180100)
Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2014 | Review Permalink

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