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Iluvatar - A Story Two Days Wide CD (album) cover

A STORY TWO DAYS WIDE

Iluvatar

Neo-Prog


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Marcelo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Nothing new. Good music, but standard neo prog. Standing out the brief song "Even Angels Fall" and the changing epic "Indian Rain". Without complexities or surprises and a little bit "amateur" to my ears, but still a nice album. PENDRAGON or IQ fans, surely, will enjoy it.
Report this review (#3545)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well usually they are a mainstream and light new progressive band, whose melodies remind us of such easier GENESIS before changing these latter their route definitively, in the direction of such tepid pop mainstream path, traced by Phil COLLINS (period regarding the issue of "Duke"). But coming back to the present issue, the album is characterized by some pleasant tracks in the vein of PENDRAGON or such melodic IQ. For instance "Sojourns", is a pretty song, but above all the 15 minute long last track "Indian rain", is alone worth checking out, because it presents some interesting breaks through and pleasant music excursions as well.

Good new progressive album from USA, even though it is not essential!!

Report this review (#3547)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars YES i know, you´ve heard it all before...only better!! Ha..ha...only these are the guys that brought you " Children" ...that extremly well proposed prog album !! This time they made it better...as this is a progmasterpiece!! So who cares if it sounds like IQ / Pendragon everybody steals from everybody....there are only so many chords !! Nevermind this beautiful record is filled with wonderful themes and guitars de luxe (Dennis Mullin absolutely soars on almost every track...there are blistering solo´s and solid riff´s to be heard)... singing´s superb and those lyrics...ah...well.....listen to the voice of Glenn McLaughlin and you´ll know what i mean.So friend´s of prog music a la Pendragon and IQ ...this is about as good as it gets!! Do try this one ...you can always say....damn!! But you wont !!!! Promise!!!
Report this review (#3548)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very good album, but not as wonderful as "Children" is. Maybe I was specting something better than their las album. But, again, they close with the best track "Indian Rain". Simply one of the best tracks I have heard and I will always give it a special listening.
Report this review (#3552)
Posted Friday, May 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Realistically, I'd give the album 3.5 stars more than 4. The band reminds me of Grey Lady down with better vocals. I do like the emotion in the music compared to GLD. The musicianship is also superior to GLD.

I am generally critical of American Progbands because I find them sterile for the most part but this CD left me with a warm feeling. It is the only album from the band I've heard but it moved me enough to explore the rest of their library.

I found it energetic and engaging. Thoughtful songwriting blends with above average musicianship and some original ideas. Everyone compares this work to Genesis and IQ and a few other bands but in this genre, who doesn't sound like someone else?

The object of cutting a progressive album is to, in some way, pay homage to those who paved the way yet branch out and do more with what's been offered up by the masters. It's truly hard to come up with something totally and completely original.

Illuvatar accomplished the goal with this album. It shows tribute and goes in other exciting directions. If you like good solid progressive rock with great hooks and melodies... add this to your collection.

Report this review (#42319)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars As a Pendragon and IQ fan I would not place this album anywhere near as good any of the classic albums by those bands. I found the album very cliched, tired touches of old Marillion in the guitar sound and overall the music very dull and dated. The songs and melodies are simply not strong enough against the quality prog bands and the vocals border on grating/irritating. Like the previous album 'Children' the vocalist sings with little variation and has no real power in his voice and all the vocals sound the same. That to me is the main reason why I do not like this band much as all good neo-prog bands really rely on a decent front man and this guy, to my ears anyway, sounds like a 3rd class Rush singer. While Nick Barrett of Pendragon is an acquired taste as a vocalist, his strength as a songwriter of superb melodic songs compensates for his lack of vocal prowess. Peter Nicholls of IQ is a wonderful singer and allied to that some of the most crushing melodies in the IQ back catalogue makes them head and shoulders above Iluvatar.

You cannot beat a quality prog song - listen to IQs last album - and this has no real song that stands out but in kindness, some of the final track is not too bad but not enough to warrant buying this.

In summary, too much vocal and not enough real instrumental playing or changes in styel, bog standard songs sung by a very mediocre vocalist and for any genuine fan of IQ or Pendragon - AND I STRESS THIS MOST STRONGLY - do not believe the hype as this band are not in the same league as those 2 quality bands and sound absolutely nothing like them. Beware, but if basic neo-prog is your thing then by all means go ahead and buy it.

I know this review will piss some people off but having listened to prog music since 1970 I think I am more than qualified to comment on what is good or bad. Unfortunately, this album falls into the latter category IMHO.

Report this review (#44698)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good stuff. Savant is haunting and infectious. I agree, nothing new (how often is something new?) But they do it better than Pendragon or Hogarth era Marillion. I will explore this band further
Report this review (#46937)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album might favor those who like the "melodic" side of prog music. Well, actually this album is not truly melodic as some segments I feel like the melody being pushed too hard by the musicians to get this album so powerful. Composition-wise, I think there has been quite an effort for the members of the band put together their idea. Conceptually, this album seems like what Marillion started their career in prog arena. This time the lead vocalist Glenn McLaughlin wrote almost all of the lyrics while the rest of band members (and the vocalist) wrote and composed the music.

Musically, this is a good album with the opening track reminds me to the works of Genesis combined with ELP and Pink Floyd - especially the psychedelic part. Structurally the track is OK but it lacks harmony and melody. Track 2 "Savant" is an excellent track with medium tempo and relatively melodic compared to opening track. There are light sounds of mellotron to accentuate the textures. The vocal quality of McLaughlin reminds me to the lead vocalist of Pendragon. The guitar solo by Dennis Mullin in the middle of this track is really stunning.

"Holidays and Miracles" is a very accessible track with nice vocal line and guitar fills. The tempo is quite stable and it flows naturally from one segment to another. It's good to mention that bass player Dean Morekas demonstrates his work excellently. Jim Rezek / keyboards provides his solo nicely at the ending part of the track. His pulsating keyboard work is heavily influenced by Rick Wakeman. For those who like mellow part of prog music, you would definitely enjoy this track which confirms that Iluvatar is a neo prog band.

"Indian Rain" is completely a melodic song which might typically favor most of neo prog fans. It has simple composition, natural flow of music, Floydian long sustain guitar solo, and sweet vocal. The music intensifies as the vocal takes higher register notes combined with instrumental part exposing the combination of keyboard and guitar. Oh yes, this is definitely an excellent track. You might associate what you are listening is similar with what Pallas, IQ, Pendragon, and Marillion have done before.

It's a very accessible and enjoyable album with a series of melodic segments. If you are neo prog fans, you might not regret owning the CD. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Report this review (#84525)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars Well to say that I am not a fan of neo-prog is probably the understatement of the millennium. But to find such a mediocre album is actually pushing me to call this type regressive rock. Not that this type of album is bad per se, but I have problems realizing who might actually enjoy it, knowing that this typical mid-80's neo-prog is still faithfully reproduced, warts & flaws and all, some 15 years later. I mean to want to repeat the early Marillion sound without having Fish's power is quite suicidal and a clear lack of personality knowing this is their fourth album repeating this formula. Well at least Illuvatar remains true to themselves: the same twee neo-prog with precious few real innovations and the same awful 80's sound that only them bothered with around the turn of the millennium. Sad, but true! Apart from those typical neo-prog vocals heard hundreds of time before, not even one track manages to stand out from the rest: all of them are uniformly and annoyingly bland and even irksome nowadays. That such an album might have been enjoyable in the mid-80's because there was absolutely nothing else around is one thing; to be able to believe that this type of album would still encounter much success from a demanding proghead is either naïve or playing on loyalty. In either case, this album is best avoided.
Report this review (#93953)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Though I'm not a huge NEO-Prog fan, I was curious to hear what Iluvator sounds like. I think I read something about them, maybe a link from some other band, I don't remember. I did order this disc, as well as "Children" on the hope that it would click for me. "A Story Two Days Wide" is a pleasant experience. Not ground-breaking, (what neo-prog is groundbreaking?) but enjoyable.

The band takes 70's era Genesis and attempts to re-write the themes, without Marillion's over-the-top melodrama. Sojourns is a catchy opening. They carry a nice melody line with enough keyboard and guitar embellishments to create a friendly aural experience. Iluvator doesn't shriek or pound the senses.

Savant is another catchy tune. It can get locked into your memory with it's ascending guitar riff. Dreaming with the Lights On reminds me of something from Styx. I can't put my finger on it. Lots of creamy Hammond and hook filled vocals, Gabriel/Collins/Fish like. Holidays and Miracles is more of the same mixture of Genesis, Marillion, Pendragon and IQ. Better Days takes a harder MOR edge that Marillion's Fish era was so good at. The soft ballad, Even Angels Fall, sets up the final "epic," Indian Rain."

This is a "nice" album. Not essential, not groundbreaking... nothing new. Just a good collection of quality songs, strong musicianship, good lyrics (nothing cringe-worthy), loads of melody and a seemless soothing sound. For fans of Marillion, Genesis, Pendragon, IQ, Mind Sky and other NEO-Prog bands.

Report this review (#112099)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars So, the last release ever from Kinesis. Larry Kolota has decided to call it a day and all those in the prog world will miss the releases from this high quality label. He has managed to go out on a real high as well, as this album by Iluvatar definitely lives up to the promised of their superb debut album some years ago. I have been a bit disappointed with the intervening release but with this one they have again struck that rich vein of tunes and musical excellence which will have all progheads up and dancing (or at least nodding appreciatively in time to the music).

It captures all that is good about modern 'neo-prog'. There are some rocky sections, some which sound as if they have been listening to classic Marillion, and others which come totally out of left field. "Better Days" is full of all of these, with some great keyboard sounds, but when it is back to the chorus it is all gentle and light with harmony vocals. Glenn has always had a great voice and here he has the opportunity to show it off. Only one song over ten minutes long ("Indian Rain" is a nearly impressive fifteen), but it is all about quality and not length. There is still plenty of time for interplay, musical jousting and switches of time signature and melody, along with everything else that will keep the proghead amused.

A wonderful album that will be a great addition to the collection of those into progressive rock. I don't know which label will be releasing the next Iluvatar album but on the basis of this album, record companies will be beating a path to their door.

Report this review (#137023)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Third achievement of this great American neoband and after having reviewed and rated the first and second as well the remarkable thing is here that this Story Two Days Wide is actually of exactly the same calibre than its predecessor, Children. This makes Iluvatar a very consistent band and for my taste the level is very high.

Sojourns is a nice warm up for what is to come but they are not yet giving away all their secrets with this song. Average (which is high) for Iluvatar standard. 3,5*.

Savant starts like a Rush ballad (Madrigal ?) but it's not really Rush imitation what Iluvatar is about, just this first minute. The rest of the song is with great ambience, a feature significant for Iluvatar's music and one of the reasons I love them. 4*.

Dreaming with the Lights on is one with an excelling Dennis Mullin, another important feature because guitar solos are of high quality in almost all cases. The rest of the song is excellent as well. 3,75 *.

This goes even more for Holidays and Miracles where the guitar shines even brighter. 4*.

Did Savant have some resemblance with Rush, the 5th track Better Days suddenly reminds a bit of fellow countrymen Enchant but also here it's just slightly. Good track. 3,5*.

With Even Angels Fall we arrive at the only ballad of the album, just nice. 3,25*.

Save the best for last Iluvatar must have thought and also this is the same set up as with the predecessor Children. The epic as closing act is the same idea and also this is a terrific composition. From 3:00 till 6:00 is the ultimate example for my love for this bands music. It's a pity this kind of sheer class just happens in a few of their songs in their total career. On the other hand I'm grateful because a song like this is one of the jewels in my entire collection. 4,75* for this magnum opus.

Up till now this is their latest release although I read in a topic on PA there are rumours they are working on a new album. I hope the rumours are true and there is another gem to come. I'm looking forward to it. Bring it on ! 4 stars easily for this album.

Report this review (#160722)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. Another enjoyable release from this band although the music on their previous record "Children" is much superior in my opinion. I also found the production and the liner notes to be much better on "Children". It's maybe not so surprising that the Kinesis label would choose this for their last release before closing up that part of their business. I say that because ILUVATAR's debut was up to that point the best selling album for that label back then.This record doesn't seem to be as dynamic and alive as the "Children" recording, but maybe this one is just more mature and laid back. I love the title by the way.

"Sojourns" sounds so soothing once the intro is over.The keys and vocals feel like home to me.MARILLION is once again the closest reference to the sounds these guys create.There is mellotron in this song,and the tempo does change several times. "Savant" opens with gentle guitar and mellotron as reserved vocals come in. Vocals become more passionate 2 minutes in. More mellotron a minute later. Tasteful guitar solo 6 1/2 minutes in. "Dreaming With The Lights On" opens with a guitar / synth melody that comes back later. Vocals lead the way,although the organ runs are a nice touch. Guitar solo 6 minutes in.

"Holidays And Miracles" reminds me of MARILLION at the beginning. This is a mid-paced song that is fairly restrained until 6 minutes in when it shifts into a higher gear. "Better Days" has a definite RUSH feel to the intro as it's quite powerful. Vocals and an uptempo melody follows. It settles down with mellotron. Even the strummed guitar brings Lifeson to mind. Good song. "Even Angels Fall" is a mellow track with acoustic guitar. It's ok. "Indian Rain" is the epic at over 15 minutes in length. It's raining as a pastoral soundscape is heard. Vocals and a full sound take over. Check out the extended guitar solo after 5 minutes. It's tranquil 7 minutes in and mellotron arrives before 8 minutes. Organ after 9 minutes. An uplifting section before 12 minutes but when that's over it drags on too long.

A must for you Hogarth era MARILLION fans out there.

Report this review (#168186)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars First off, I am more generous with 5-star reviews (and 1-star reviews) than most. The top 20% gets 5 stars from me, and this album is top 20%.

I tire of critics whining about "nothing new here." People, prog rock is a genre, and artists are not expected to knock themselves out and come up with something new every time. The 23rd James Bond movie is slated for 2012, and it's a formula, and a very satisfying one. Same with symphonic prog. If you prefer Rock in Opposition, go listen to that.

So on to this album: what more could you want? Genesis and ELP are done releasing albums, and Yes has only released one in the past decade. So if you want new music that sounds like those bands,Iluvatar is a great choice, and in my opinion their 3rd album is their best yet. On the first album, they were finding their way ? still immature. On the 2nd album, Children, their songcraft improved, but they weren't ready for extended pieces.

On this album, it all comes together: great melodies, extended mini epics, constantly changing tempos, great guitar and keyboard interplay, very good and sincere singing, and lots of big bombastic organs and keys and walls of sound that we prog fans know and love.

So if you're tired of listening to ELP, Genesis and Yes for the 1,000th time, this is a very satisfying substitute.

Best tracks: Dreaming With the Lights On, Sojourns, and Better Days.

Report this review (#471415)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Iluvatar;s final album sounds rather lightweight and a little simplistic next to the somewhat meatier material on Children, or even their debut album. Once again heavily Marillion- influenced melodic neo-prog is the order of the day, but this time around the band's approach seems a bit more pedestrian, failing to distinguish itself from the ranks of other bands who follow this general formula. The concluding epic, Indian Rain, is probably the album's high spot, but even then it suffers a little from padding and pales in comparison to more imaginative works by numerous contemporaries of the band. At the end of the day, it's an OK album, but there's plenty of better albums to get through before you turn your attention to this one.
Report this review (#637494)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Review Permalink

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