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Leap Day - From The Days Of Deucalion - Chapter 2 CD (album) cover


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5 stars Ow man, this album is too good to be true! Recently I discovered Dutch proggers Leap Day. Their album From the days of Deucalion, Chapter 1 made a big impression on me. And now Chapter 2 is in my player (for two weeks now) and I just can't stop listening! This is symphonic rock the way I really like it!

The album starts with an instrumental song: Pseudo Science. I recognize it as the track the band used for the trailer on YouTube. It's like the soundtrack of some kind of movie. But it is also an ouverture in a way. Then Amathia starts with very subtile vocals and a beautiful Camelesque part 2. Taurus Appearance is another instrumental song: beautiful themes struggle against almost rude chords...breathtaking and addictive song! Phaeton has a tremendoes groove, but it starts very dramatic ("Am I your son?...."). Very different moods... the song constantly changes like a chameleon..... awesome! Then a Chinese speaking lady tells me the story of emperor Yawho (I'm glad they included the translation) and a very odd song reveals itself. Chinese music flows into a beautiful chorus. God of Wars is a true prog gem with all the ingredients a good progsong (imho) should answer to. And then there is Deucalion. Finally we get to know him. This Greek version of Noah is the subject of the longest track on the album (almost 11 minutes). A real prog epic with great vocals and superb battles between guitar and keys. In the shadow of Death is another beautiful symphonic outburst that really stands out! Ancient Times (Reprise) is the echo of the first track on Chapter 1and a wonderful end to this Deucalion chapter.

Leap Day has done it again! They deliver time and time again with amazing songwriting, with themes that give me goosebumbs each listen and with outstanding musicianship! I can only agree with Aussie-Byrd-Brother that the band is 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. I didn't mention the outstanding artwork and production which is even better than chapter 1 I think. So what else can I do then to rate this album with five well deserved stars!

Report this review (#1487696)
Posted Monday, November 16, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars Oh dear! Yet again I find myself swimming against the tide of opinion. It must be some sort of conspiracy. Either that or I need a wholly new set of ears.

Leap Day announced themselves on the prog scene in a big way with Awaking the Muse, with great melodies and musicianship to the fore. Skylge's Lair maintained the high standard and was only slightly less enjoyable overall. Sadly, The Days of Deucalion Chapter 1 witnessed a spectacular decline, with little originality, and no genuinely memorable tunes - apart maybe from Changing Direction which bounces along joyously (and the refrain of which gets a shameless - and welcome - second airing in God of Wars in Chapter 2).

And so to Chapter 2 itself. About which I regret there is very little to say. We have now hit the ground at a hundred miles an hour. Multiple changes of time structure, disjointed rhythms, intermittent reggae back-beat, plaintive vocals, heartfelt and self-consciously meaningful lyrics, animal noises ...yep, all very familiar. There is nothing original in any of this. I will partially tip my hat to the aforementioned God of Wars and Phaeton (because of its terrific guitar break towards the end), but 10 minutes in total out of 63 doesn't amount to a worthwhile percentage.

I note that a fellow reviewer regards Chapter 2 as being too good to be true. Quite an accolade. I really must be on a different wave length.

Report this review (#1490620)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars I reviewed From the days of Deucalion, chapter 1 a while ago and I felt I had to do the same with this new release. Well, let me start by stating that From the days of Deucalion, Chapter 2 is one of the best releases of 2015 as far as I'm concerned! I already raved about Chapter 1 (2013) and I am still enjoying that album a lot. But now with Chapter 2 in the spotlight I even more like this whole Deucalion epos. On this new release it's becoming clear how the two parts are connected. All new songs are tied together with themes from the latter one and some themes from the new album are recognized by me because some interludes on Chapter 1 already gave them away. How clever these albums are crafted! Very well done I must state! The new songs on the album really stand out. There are no weak tracks here. These are nine delightful prog diamonds that twinkle in my ears. No highlights for me because these are all highlights! Leap Day did it again and to be honest I didn't expect any less. But listen for yourself. And please listen more often than just once. Because with each listen you will explore more and more within the multiple layers these guys crafted together. Highly recommended to all sympho lovers!

Report this review (#1491002)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Leap Day is around in this weird corner of the music business since 2008 and they have delivered some remarkable albums. Remarkable because of the outstanding music they keep on delivering. But not only remarkable in a positive way. What to think of all those strange titles they came up with? I mean, 'Awaking the muse', what do they mean by that! And who in the world is Skylge??

Anyway, now we have to deal with Deucalion. And at least now I do understand who we're talking about. I also understand the concept they've been working with. It is all explained in the booklets of Chapter 1 and now Chapter 2. I wasn't familiar with the work of mister Velikovsky but after some research on the www I found out he was a close friend to Einstein himself, but he also has made a lot of enemies with his written theories . I think he never could expect that 65 years later a few Dutch musicians would create two albums based on his ideas.

Back to the music. Because that's what we're here for. 'From the days of Deucalion, Chapter 2' is by far the best symphonic record I've heard in a long time! Nine outstanding songs, connected with each other in such a clever way, that's what this cd is about. Very vulnerable moments are followed by harsh and cruel motives. This album is like a musical rollercoaster. Bombastic orchestral moments are followed by funky passages. You can find Chinese music here, but also a true hymn. It's like a free ride in a candy store for my ears! Everywhere you can find tight playing crafty hands delivering the finest rock music you can ask for. Outstanding songwriting and very well played. Especially the voice of Jos Harteveld I like a lot! But great guitar melodies and superb keyboards are also ruling everywhere on this disc. Leap Day find themselves on top of the Dutch progressive rock scene, no doubt about that. Bravo guys! And a huge Thank You for this (again!) wonderful album!

Report this review (#1494984)
Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars While I do not quite agree with those reviewers willing to vault this album into the echelons of prog Valhalla, I do not think it a wasted listen. Melodies and good musicianship abound. Some of the "tricks" are familiar but still manage to feel fresh enough to be enjoyable without sounding too redundant (though there were a lot of times that I found myself thinking to myself, "This sounds so much like Unitopia"). Still, there is a lot of derivative and cliched musical gimmicks, the sound mixing is not great, the singer's pitch is suspect, and the individual songs' musical foundations are often quite simple. Also, I can't help but find it sad that "...nothing but a fart in a windstorm..." plays a significant role in the lyrics of the chorus of a song here (2. "Amathia" [Homo Ignoramus]" [4:50]). The lyricist is obviously mad at the stupidity of humans--whose choices have propelled its species onto a course of extermination. Usually I love messages like this. But this one is served up in a bit too much syrup and cake.

Best songs: the instrumental 3. "Taurus Appearance" (7:28) (9/10) and 4. "Phaeton" (7:30) (8/10)

Overall, this is a competent if inconsistent representation of Neo Prog. Not nearly up to the impact of 2015 releases from bands like Sylvan, Mystery, Fetish, Perfect Beings, or even, Barock Project or Comedy of Errors, but decent.

Report this review (#1502364)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hailing from Holland, LEAP DAY was formed some 8 years ago, consisting of veterans from the Dutch progressive rock scene. They have consistently released a new album every other year since their debut album "Awaking the Muse" appeared in 2009. Their fourth and most recent album is "From the Days of Deucalion Chapter 2", released by the Polish label Oskar Records in 2015.

Leap Day presents us with a tasteful album of neo-progressive rock with the second chapter of their Deucalion album series. The album isn't one that will provide you with too many unexpected developments, but for those with a taste for late '80s and early '90s neo-progressive rock this CD should come a cross as a quality specimen of this specific orientation, and I'd suggest fans of the Fish-era Marillion to be something of a key audience for this album.

Report this review (#1514029)
Posted Sunday, January 17, 2016 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Dutch symphonic prog band Leap Day return with a second volume of their `From the Days of Deucalion' series, which began back in 2013 with `Chapter One', a gorgeous work full of deceptively strong song-writing and colourful instrumentation. The group have once again taken lyrical inspiration from Immanuel Velikovsky's baffling alternative-history book `Worlds in Collision' from 1950, a complex work that proposed that a series of natural catastrophes and cosmic disturbances, all mentioned across a range of early mythologies and religions, influenced the course of civilisation in historical times, before culminating in a new `Celestial order' that maintains to this day. That doesn't even begin to adequately explain the intricacy of the ideas of the book, but it gives the listener an idea of what Leap Day are working with here, and they present another superb symphonic work with thoughtful tunes and sumptuous instrumental passages that perfectly compliment the first volume, whilst also allowing this new one to stand on its own merits.

The short instrumental opener `Pseudo Science' teases some reprised themes from the first volume before roaring into dramatic keyboard-drenched bluster and driving guitar duelling, a nice taste of what's to come throughout the next sixty-three minutes. Vocalist Jos Harteveld instantly takes the lead on the first proper track `Amathia', his world-weary gravelly croon reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's raspiest moments, yet he never comes across as purposefully trying to emulate the Genesis singer. The piece has softly melancholic and contemplative verses that rises with majestic symphonic instrumental themes in place of a chorus, and Eddie Mulder's extended guitar solo is the first epic moment of the disc.

The entire band shines brightly on longer instrumental piece `Taurus Appearance', truly a showcase for all the musicians and the first truly standout moment of the album. In just over seven minutes, the band tear through enough symphonic themes worthy of a vinyl length side-long epic, the highlight being the improvisational skills of Peter Stel, who's fluid and upfront bass playing purrs warmly alongside the twin vintage keyboard assaults of Gert van Engelenburg and Derk Evert Waalkensage, delivering no shortage of dirty Hammond organ blasts and whirring Moog trills. Koen Roozen drums up a storm and controls the piece beautifully, guitars glide romantically one moment, grind with gutsiness the next and finally switch to Hackett-like chiming acoustic prettiness in the finale.

The final instrumental two minutes of `Phaeton' bristles with Mellotron veils and Moog spirals battling buoyant bass, the Eastern-tinged `Ya-Who' is a sophisticated ballad with a memorable inviting chorus, and `God of Wars' is a cool foot-tapping up-tempo playful rocker with an impossibly catchy chorus that will become stuck in your head for days (and the instrumental run in the middle is simply dazzling)! The ten minute `Deucalion' delivers spirited classic-era Genesis flavoured peppy Moog runs and some choice slow-burn bluesy and jazzy guitar licks in-between a beckoning and embracing chorus, triumphant and dramatic symphonic themes course through `In the Shadow of Death, and a final reprise of `Ancient Times' is a surprisingly sombre close to the disc.

Leap Day are not a progressive band that can be instantly grasped and enjoyed, instead many repeated listens are essential to grasp how good they are at what they do. Their musical intelligence, varied instrumental qualities, cleverly and subtle melodic song-writing and thoughtful vocals reveal themselves over time, and while there are many flashier and more obvious, instantly satisfying prog bands currently active, Leap Day are a sheer joy for lovers of symphonic prog rock. With `Worlds in Collision' so rich and full of interesting themes as an inspiration, the band have probably barely scratched the surface in presenting the ideas of the book, so hopefully they commence work on Chapter Three in the near future!

Four stars.

Report this review (#1551058)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | Review Permalink

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