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Different Light - The Burden Of Paradise CD (album) cover


Different Light

Crossover Prog

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5 stars For the unaware, DIFFERENT LIGHT have been around since 1994. The combo went through various personnel changes to emerge the current line-up, embracing Trevor Tabone (keyboards / vocals), Petr Lux (guitars / backing vocals), Jirka Matousek (bass) and Petr Matousek (drums). Their newest CD 'The Burden of Paradise' takes the listener on melodic journey, blending a handful of styles. As far as I'm concerned, the subject matter balances between high standard neoprog and symphonic AOR, joined by glossy progressive metal and pop sensibility. These components result in great alliance. Particular album begins with a lengthy opus 'In the Grand Scheme of Things', where each segment is constructed to showcase the common route. The deep flowing keyboards and excellent guitar overlay scatter across 22 + minutes, bringing charm to thematic development of suite. The rhythm section is given ample space, animating the context within. Evocative vocals are turning around the instrumental prowess. The second track 'Voice of Outside' keeps acoustic guitar, elegant piano and affective singing. Later on, some strings and percussion are appeared but the whole vibe remains light and airy. Graceful harmonies provide a supplementary depth. The follow-up, instrumental tune 'A St. Martin's Summer' reflects a calm approach of Dream Theater as source for inspiration. Then we cross over into 'Eternal Return', featuring plenty of sequences. Like a homage to musical trademarks of Supertramp, this multi-part composition is replete with spectacular orchestrations underpinned by exciting choirs. There are noteworthy hooks, shifts in tempo and direction. The album continues by 'Transient Dream'. Wriggling through changes, the song is full of colour and vibrant. What next? A kind of filmic interlude 'Mare Imbrium', whereat sound effects inject disturbing atmosphere. The penultimate chapter 'In Love and War' is divided on two respective halves, setting much more than a sum of diverse ingredients. The CD finishes off with balladry 'All for You'. Translucent keyboards and evolving vocals lead the way. Cleverly crafted harmonies broaden the horizon. Occasionally, the acoustic guitar has an opportunity to shine. Switching bass and drums move along underneath a melody line. Au revoir! ' Overall, the listening experience is most pleasant. The enjoyment seems to increase with every spin as additional nuances are drawn out. Fans of softer, melodic progressive rock should definitely want to pick up a copy of 'The Burden of Paradise'. Visit the band's website for more info, details and updates.
Report this review (#1548929)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review #33. I must admit that I had no idea about 'Different Light'; this is actually the first album I listened by them, and I am very pleased to say the least. When I sit down to write a "review" I try to listen to the album at least 3 or 4 times first. (Right now I am listening to it for the 3rd time).

So, let's take a closer look: The album includes 8 songs, with 2 of them being divided into many smaller parts, and has a total running time of more than an hour. The album's characteristic is the 2 long suits, 'In the Grand Scheme of Things', and 'Eternal Return'. 'In The Grand Scheme of Things' is the album's opening song, an - almost - 22-minute-long suite, which is divided into 8 shorter parts. It is a typical example of modern Progressive Rock, (I will not say Neo-Prog), including very nice melodies and many turns and changes. The dominant instrument is the keyboards, with the electric guitar playing a significant role as well. Personally speaking, I heard many Marillion influences here and there, but it doesn't really matter since the outcome is very good and pleasant to the ears. (Upon listening to it over and over, you will discover more "hidden" influences from other bands as well). Next comes Voice of Outside, a beautiful and melodic tune, which is one of the album's personal favorites. Voice of the Outside is followed by the instrumental A St. Martin's Summer, a very pleasant tune with very good guitar work, and a heavier overall sound. Although it is not a bad tune, it passes - let's say - unnoticed, because of the 2 previous and the next song, which are really good ones! So, after St. Martin's Summer comes the highlight of the album in my opinion, Eternal Return. It is the album's second long suite, divided in 6 parts. With very good rhythm, beautiful melodies, sweet piano passages and nice changes in the song's main structure, it surely is a very good song, that "catches" the listener's attention from the first listening. Transient Dreams is also a good piece, but being placed after Eternal Return is loosing some of its dynamic. After that, Mare Imbrium enters, which is actually the intro for the 10-minute-long Love and War, that is divided in 2 parts. Another very good tune! All for You is the album's closing song, a cool and relaxed melody, with piano and acoustic guitar in most parts. Not bad, but also nothing special as well. So, in order to sum up, what we have here is a very good album, including some impressive moments, especially with the presence of the 2 long suites, beautiful melodies and a soft and pleasant sound, that can be appreciated by almost everyone, being a Progressive Rock fan or not.

In my opinion their overall sound and style reminds me of the Scottish band Comedy of Errors, but in an improved way so to say. The Burden of Paradise is a very pleasant and enjoyable album, one of this year's surprises, that you should definitely give it a try! [Because of my radio show, I get the chance to speak and "meet" with many artists, and sometimes their overall behaviour matters to my final decision. I contacted their leader Trevor Tabone a few days ago, and I have to say that he seems like a very cool and gentle guy. (I will have him actually as guest in my radio show on the 16th of October).] So, my rating will be 3.5 stars for the album, plus 0.5 stars for Trevor's overall behaviour, which adds up to 4.0 solid stars.

Report this review (#1611227)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars I never knew about this band, but I'm blown away.

I really like this kind of progrock. It has some similarities to IQ, Millenium, Pendragon but also It Bites and Saga. The style is a heavy kind of prog, with lots of guitarriffs and solos. There are lots of rhythm changes and nice heavy soloing on synths and guitar. Sometimes the heavier parts remind me of Threshold and Subsignal.

On the softer parts there also lots of use of piano. Also a reminder of Threshold. The heavy riffing and piano has also some Savatage-moments, even Queen sometimes. Haven't heard such use of piano in heavy rock for a very long time. The vocalist is very good. He sings with a gentle and often warm voice but can easily hold his ground when the music gets heavy. There's lots of use of backing- and harmony vocals. All very melodic and catchy.

There are two long epic suites that work very well and the different parts flow into eachother very easily.

I can really recommend this cd to people who get tired of modern prog being either depressing or too much metal. This is oldschool progrock with a heavy rock approach (with a pop/aor flavour here and there) and offers a lot musically. A very colourful album.

Report this review (#1612553)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars In short: this is going to end up very high on my list of favourite albums of the year, and it won't surprise me if it takes the top spot.

Beautiful, intricately constructed, melodic progressive rock with gorgeous harmonies, interesting lyrics, lovely interplay between parts and the occasional virtuoso stand-out moment. Lovely, unusual chord changes, great use of suspense in pedal note bass, some delicious guitar trem arm flutter moments and all sorts of other technical observations, but above all this is just musical and engaging. It took me a couple of listens to really take to it but now it grows on me with every listen.

Stand out tracks: Love and War is sublime. Special mention for "At First Light" too. There are moments which are a little like modern (songful) Rush, some more Neo-prog moments that could be Marillion if you squint a bit. Loads of big majestic, symphonic moments, and a brave but wonderful end to the album.

This is really, really fine stuff. Not wall to wall virtuoso stuff, but some of the most musically engaging prog I've heard in a long time. Top marks with no reservations.

Report this review (#1640975)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars So Much To Love On This Album!

Starting with a low droning synth patch which segues into a delicate piano pattern with a portion of Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" speech setting the tone for what follows, you know that this is probably NOT going to be your average, standard Crossover outing...

Overall, there appears to be a larger story (a semi-concept?) of individual freedom co-existing within interdependence found throughout this endeavor.

I'm a musician; I play music, and sometimes, I'm not very good at describing with any semblance of cogent articulation what I'm hearing.

For this, I apologize...

However, ever since I first heard The Burden Of Paradise I've been particularly moved and inspired and find myself naturally gravitating to putting it into Winamp for another go-around. I'm NEVER disappointed in my choice when I do decide to give this personal treasure another listen.

The themes opened, explored and recapitulated are very musically consonant and captivating to my senses. Although there are three larger Suites, the individual components as well as the songs not directly related to the larger Suite pieces seen to help to hold the whole of the album together. There is no filler, all these songs seem to have a place within the whole, and the album would be a lesser product had these pieces not been included...

There's such a great balance of melody, harmony, gentle and rough - there are great hooks within both the verses and the choruses, & memorable lyrics, all of which which lend to the sense of "completeness" on this outing. Every instrument (especially the vocals of Trevor Tabone) are given ample opportunity to shine in their respective moments.

The guitars are well balanced between clean, distorted, and acoustic and the solos contain enough emotion with just the right amount of flash to keep an old "shredder" such as myself interested.

A fine example of the guitars in my opinion can be found on the almost Heavy Prog-like track "A St. Martin's Summer"; it's a bit of a romp somewhat in the style of Opeth's take on old Goblin songs - with some very tasty guitar work! Also of note in the guitar department are the solos during "Eternal Return VI. Waking Moment" and also "In Love And War II. War".

The historical vocal samples are a nice touch to be found on this album!!! The Neil Armstrong samples during "In The Grand Scheme Of Things : V - Pascal's Wager and VI. Out Of The Goldilocks Zone" is a nice, familiar touchstone to be found on this adventure. And once again, we find a return of Chaplin during "Eternal Return IV. A Carpathian Day", and also "Mare Imbrium".

All in all, I find this to be a very satisfying album and more than a worthwhile investment in time and effort in listening!

I'm giving this a very warm, 4.5 PA Stars!

As always, your actual mileage may vary.

Grace and peace, Cylli Kat (Jim)

Originally written January 21, 2020 Uploaded April 30, 2020

Report this review (#1840681)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2017 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars DIFFERENT LIGHT is a band project that serves as the creative vehicle of composer and musician Trevor Tabone. Initially formed in Malta in 1994, the band fell apart a few years later but then reappeared as a venture based in the Czech Republic starting in 2008. Following the return of Different Light they have released a compilation album and two studio productions. "The Burden of Paradise" is the most recent of the latter, and was self-released by the band in 2016.

Sometimes you do not need to say all that much about an album, and this is just such a case. A well made album on all levels, featuring material that should please just about anyone with a taste for classic era, mid 80's style neo-progressive rock. If this is the kind of music you tend to enjoy, this is an album that most certainly warrants a check.

Report this review (#1889093)
Posted Monday, February 26, 2018 | Review Permalink

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