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A Big Goodbye - History In Rewind CD (album) cover


A Big Goodbye

Heavy Prog

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Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars Prog has the phenomenal ability to fuse with just about any genre of music and enhance it musically. From the genre's very inception with the fusion of classical and jazz elements with the popular rock of the day to the fusion of prog elements to metal, jazz, avant rock, and so many more, essentially any genre's spectrum of variety can be expanded by prog elements. One of my favorite standard adaptations of this concept is the fusion of hard rock and prog, making what we at ProgArchives call Heavy Prog. The musically dense riffs, strong melodic sense, and exquisite musicianship always make for a phenomenal listening experience.

Many bands have mastered this fusion, from Rush to Karnivool to Porcupine Tree and more, but a newcomer to the scene, A Big Goodbye, seem to be catching on very quickly. The band's 2011 debut Sounds and Silences saw a mature and experienced group of musicians who were not shy in their compositional abilities and made sure the listener was aware of this. The songs were musically dense, melodically powerful, and catchy to boot. The band took their time to write and record their next album, History in Rewind, and it works in their favor. This sophomore effort shows a further maturation and exploration of an already strong musical voice.

The album contains a host of styles - the strong hard rock element that was present on the debut, a mysterious dark heavy prog atmosphere, carefully crafted piano pieces, and the catchy rock songs which made their appearance on the band's debut. The band can be compared to a host of different sources, from Dream Theater, Rush, and Orphaned Land to Metallica and Iron Maiden, all of which contribute to an incredibly eclectic sound palate for the album.

The diversity of the tracks lends itself to a very nicely varied listening experience. Heavy songs like the opener "The First Time Around" contrasts gorgeously with the lighter, airy song "Breathe." The band made no effort to stay within the bounds of a single style, and it works to their benefit. Transitions between styles works perfectly as well, so the listener does not feel jostled by any harsh shifts of tone. The only complaint I would have is that there is a weak sense of continuity around the album, but even with the non-linear progression of style shifts, the album holds together excellently.

The band decided to fill out some of the album by re-recording some of the best of their debut and placing them on this album, which both benefits and detracts from the album. While the re-recordings sound gorgeous and the augmented orchestral tracks of "Thinking Out Loud," "Solitude," and "The Great Divide" only accentuated some of my favorite songs from Sounds and Silences, I typically don't like when bands put old songs on new albums. For new listeners, this is absolutely not an issue and it provides a nice review of the best of the first album, but for a listener who is familiar with the old album, they're mostly unnecessary.

Even still, overall the new album by A Big Goodbye is excellent. The variety of tone, maturity of songwriting, and purity of recording quality make an outstanding sophomore effort. Some songs are simply killer and unfairly catchy, like "Numb" and "The First Time Around." The instrumentation is strong throughout, and while some songs could have a little more complexity and could be put more 'outside the box,' overall the album is a very strong heavy prog album. I said it when I reviewed Sounds and Silences and I'll say it again - I can't wait to hear more from these guys! 4 stars.

Report this review (#1159596)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

Three years ago I had the honor of being awarded the opportunity to hear the band's debut album The Big Goodbye , through its leader Matt Glisson who sent me an online copy. Now this situation is repeated , and again I have that honor , with his new album entitled History in Rewind.

All I can say is wow ! The band has really grown a lot in that time, and this is reflected in this new album, which surpasses the first in all respects. The point where praise is more tear production, which is far superior and better-made. Where in Sounds and Silence I felt a certain lack of emotion in music, here I am rewarded with a more crystal clear and audible output. This is particularly notable when we heard the recordings of three songs from the first album that are also here and compare with their original versions.

It is clear that no use of a good production is the musicality of the group had not evolved too. This was an album that grew on me defintivamente as they heard him, and even though the songs are shorter than the first album each is well-crafted and executed, lacking highlights here. My particular favorites are the mini-epic The Beggining of the End, The Other Side, the gorgeous Breathe (which has a beautiful duet with Elise Walker) and Choices. In addition, the three tracks on the previous album, although not deviate from their original sound, continue to be a huge highlight, especially The Great Divide, which stands for me as the best song this band has ever done.

4 solid stars. This is a band of immense potential, and again express my gratitude to enjoy the courtesy of their music.

Report this review (#1171794)
Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars So the guys are now back with the difficult second album, and I have to say that I think they've nailed it pretty well. Although PA have them listed as Heavy Prog, there is a lot on this album that would find them more happily suited to Crossover, with a very strong sense of melody. Whereas the first album impressed due to the complex heaviness of much of the music, on this one I have found that it is actually the 'simpler' songs that hit home. This feels very much like an album of restraint, where the band have taken their time to craft something that builds on the first and takes it in a slightly different direction, without ever straying too far from the path they set out in the debut. There are times when they are reminiscent of Vangough, or possibly Pain of Salvation, but with a more melodic almost AOR feel to the vocals. The guitars are kept (mostly) under control on this song, but the bass is allowed to run riot with some incredibly complex runs

The piano sound is just superb, and that combined with strong harmony or double-tracked vocals and wonderfully beguiling atmospherics and hooks makes this a delight. "Breathe" is a full on duet with Elise Walker guesting, and the gentle percussion and rhythmic accompaniment allows the listener to drift away on a sea of vocals that have a wonderful pop feel, without every straying too much into that area.

In many ways this feels like a very mature album, by a band who really know what they want to achieve. The result is something that is very easy to listen to and enjoy on first hearing, and the more it is played then the more the listener discovers.

Report this review (#1213386)
Posted Monday, July 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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