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5 stars I discovered this album by listening to the Prog Rock station Aural Moon. The moment the first few notes played I knew I was going to like it and when the CD arrived I gave myself a pat on the's wonderful.

If you like your prog rock in the "Classic" style with Sweeping keyboards, soaring, beautiful guitar work great bass lines and time sigs that have you tapping your feet then this album is for you.

As I type this I'm listening to the first track "Wake the dragon" and it is superb. Well done Azureth. This album really hits the spot. It's not often that I'd give 5 stars to an album but I have no hesitation this time.

Report this review (#31251)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars How could this gem have not been released by a prog label is still a mystery for me. For this disc really deserves wide attention. Calling all symphonic prog heads, this disc is for you! All fans of Yes, Geneis will enjoy this album, especially Stephen Rivera's gorgeous keyboards! By the way, the fact there is a (great and welcome) Genesis reprise ('Afterglow') is meaningful. A pity the band couldn't benefit a better production and distribution. In a nutshell, recommended.
Report this review (#117333)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A prediction of the future

Together with a promo copy of The Promethean Syndrome, Azureth send me a copy of their debut album - released three years earlier in a different line up. The album clearly shows what the band was already capable of right then. Even though the album is not as progressive as The Promethean Syndrome, it deserve judgement on it's own merits.

What is clear on this album from the first instant is that we are dealing with skilled musicians who take their job seriously. Wake the Dragon contains very well performed keyboard, guitar and bass work - supporting a well sung, Grendel like (?) story of a dragon. It is followed by the ballad-like Searching, which is more of a mainstream rock song, with clean and/or acoustic guitar work. Man on the Moon, the third track, is pretty much a guitar driven rock song, with some very nice keyboard and bass work in the background. Too bad the lyrics revert to "lalala" at some point. The 36 minute (!) epic The Grand Design covers tracks 4 through 9 on the CD. Listening each individual track give the impression that the album is a mix of prog and non-prog tracks, combined they definitely show a clearer prog picture. Most striking for me was in track 6, Shadow of a Man, which clearly shows late 60s and early 70s influences. A bit of Beatles, a bit of Pink Floyd (around the time of Wish You Were Here) and even some Moody Blues influences in the vocals. After the epic, we are treated to three more tracks. The first one, Timeless Moments in Sherwoods is strongly keyboard driven, and reminds me of some of the keyboard intermezzo on later Styx albums. The Lathe of Heaven is a bit off on the album, like searching, it is more of a pop/rock song with a vocal melody that brought the line "The captain of her heart" to mind... Afterglow closes the album in a rock ballad like manner, which doesn't do much for me - even though it contains a nice guitar solo.

All in all, Yesterday's Future, Tomorrow's Past is certainly far from a bad album, but it clearly shows room for growth. Growth that has since taken place - the list of keyboards and emulations used by keyboardist Stephen Rivera is amazing, but nowadays it sounds a lot more coherent and complete than on this album. Azureth is definitely a band to keep an eye on - lurking in the background of the prog stage.

Report this review (#154851)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Azureth is a multi-national band who proposes an enjoyable and very accessible prog music.

This album sounds pretty fresh and full of dynamics and it is quite daring to create an epic of over thirty-six (yes 36!) minutes on a debut album; even if the five parts are clearly marked.

This is a good mix of bombastic keys, fine vocals and pleasant instrumental harmonies. Even if some parts are less interesting, the whole of The Grand Design (I bet you!) is a fine musical moment. I felt absolutely not bored with this lengthy song: it is sufficiently varied to avoid this. And believe me, to be able to keep the listener's attention for such a long time is not an easy affair. Still, brilliant parts aren't too many either. Otherwise, it would have been a masterpiece, right?

The fourth part (Fanfare) is the most energetic one. Keys are strong of course, but there is also a very good guitar solo on a crazy and jazzy background: the whole sounds pretty dynamic and breaks the overall mood which is usually softer. It is a fine interlude.

It is true to say that the closing section (six minutes) is not as good: I would have expected some more grandeur to finish this epic. But it won't come. Too bad.

The other songs are (relatively) short pieces which are more on the neo side like the good and speedy opening Wake The Dragon or the synth oriented instrumental Timeless Moments In Sherwood sounding like Genesis.

If ever you are in the mood of a romantic ballad, you can listen to Searching: somewhat mellowish but featuring a great guitar solo.

And we'll even get a cover: Afterglow. It starts with some notes from Dance On A Vulcano. Vocals are rather flat and lacks the passion of Phil while he was singing this great piece of music (one of the highlights from Wind & Wuthering IMHHO). It also ends with some guitar work which is not too bad and brings another angle to this song.

This is a very even album; nice to listen to the opening number to the closing one with no need to press any next key but it lacks of ground breaking songs as well. Three stars.

Report this review (#186417)
Posted Sunday, October 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars AZURETH is the result of the collaboration between two musicians from USA and one from Norway.Leading figure keyboardist Stephen Rivera hails from Florida,guitarist Mark Connors comes from Texas,while drummer/bassist/vocalist Kenneth Aspeslaen is the Norwegian guy.While info about this project are scarce,it seems that their work came as a result of exchanging music ideas through the web!Their debut had the surreal title ''Yesterday's future,tomorrow's past'' and it was pressed privately in 2004.

AZURETH seem to have been influenced by the giants of prog rock's golden era.Immediately GENESIS,E.L.P. and YES spring to mind,while listening to this album,of course there are lot of modern elements in here,but the three musicians definitely wanted to create something close to the likes of these bands.The album is characterized by the extremely well-crafted melodies,the retro aesthetics and the absolutely well-executed compositions,while everything in here seems to have been worked very well.Rivera does an excellent work,using both modern and vintage keyboards like the Hammond organ with also some traces of mellotron and guitarist Connors is the guy responsible of all the great melodies played in this effort.Aspeslaen uses the grandiose Rickenbacker bass and his voice is very balanced and emotional.The greatest example of these guys' talent is the grand suite ''The grand design'',clocking close to 40 minutes and split in six parts,offering everything a classic prog fan wishes for:melody, changing moods, shifting tempos, Classical piano/keyboard parts and a heavy amount of emotional atmosphere!There is also a very good cover of GENESIS' ''Afterglow'' from the ''Wind and wuthering'' album, which I really enjoyed!Generally this is an absolutely satisfying release with some good and some great moments,which I personally recommend more than highly.An unknown modern progressive rock pearl!

Report this review (#250013)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars AZURETH are a trio made up of 2 Americans and one Norwegian. I must say that this album was a pleasant surprise to me.There is an accent to the vocals as the Norwegian drummer / bass player is also the singer. I really like the guitar and the keyboards on this one.This is some sort of a concept album.

My favourite track is the opener "Wake The Dragon". It opens with nature sounds as the vocals join in. Guitar before a minute. Great sound. Nice prominant bass too. Synths lead 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar 3 minutes in sounds great and so do the synths and bass that follow. The guitar is back before those nature sounds return to end it. "Searching" opens with guest cello and other sounds as vocals join in. The guitar before 2 minutes is Gilmour-like. "Man On The Moon" opens with spoken words before it kicks in. Vocals and strummed guitar follow. Drums and keyboards are next and guitar late. "The Grand Design" is divided into 6 parts. First up is "Overture" with the church organ leading the way before drums, bass and guitar join in. Keyboards take over 2 minutes in in this uptempo section. It settles with sampled mellotron. Bass follows as the drums continue. Synths are next before the guitar returns.Part II is "The Grand Design" which opens with spoken words before the music kicks in. I like the guitar 4 minutes in. Lots of synths late.

"Shadow Of A Man" opens with piano. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in and they get passionate after 2 1/2 minutes. Guitar a minute later sounding great as usual. It settles as contrasts continue. It blends into "Fanfare" and they really end up jamming here with guitar. "Humanity Revisited" opens with piano followed by a full sound including vocals. "The Sleeper Has Awakened" opens with nature sounds and spoken words. Vocals and acoustic guitar follow. The wind is blowing as the bass joins in. "Timeless Moments In Sherwood" is led by synths and drums early. Guitar 2 minutes in then it backs off. "The Lathe Of Heaven" is laid back with the focus on the vocals and message. There is an instrumental break though then the vocals return. "Afterglow" is the best track of course. Well that's because it's a GENESIS cover. They do a great job by the way.

So a good album and a solid 3 stars.

Report this review (#256360)
Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Azureth originally formed from a collaboration of artists from different parts of the world. The lead vocalist and drummer (and bass player too) is from Norway. The keyboardist is from Florida and the guitarist is from Texas. So the music for this debut album was recorded in three distant studios and probably shared over the Internet between the three musicians.

The album really starts off with a bang with the wonderful Wake the Dragon, reminding me at first of early Arena, but the instrumental ending is very reminiscent of Yes' Starship Trooper ending. Nice song to start the album off with. Unfortunately things go downhill from here, and then have a series of uneven ups and downs. This is expected from many debut albums by a band, let alone a band that collaborates across the Internet, that's just trying to find itself. The songs range from ballads, to pop rock numbers with neo prog leanings to full-out symphonic prog outings.

The album also features an "epic" entitled The Grand Design which is apparently about 36 minutes long. But don't let that scare you. It's not really a 36-minute long song. It consists of tracks 4-9, and each track sounds like a separate song to me. I notice no overarching theme between any of the songs and cannot even tell if they are lyrically connected. So, it's not really an epic, per se; just a bunch of unconnected songs. Again, it's like the rest of the album with the highlight being the instrumental Overture. I found myself skipping through some of the less interesting numbers.

The real highlight of this album is the keyboard-driven instrumental Timeless Moments in Sherwood. Other than a misplaced guitar solo that feels out of place, this song is a true treasure of Genesis-like inspiration and the one song keeping me from rating this album any lower than three stars.

They close off the album with a cover of Genesis' Afterglow. It's actually rather nicely done, but doesn't really compel me like the original song does. It's also one of the easier Genesis numbers to perform, so the band doesn't extend itself beyond its capabilities.

Some of the poorer moments on the album are the use of subpar nature sounds that aren't properly mixed into the beginnings of the few tracks that use them. You really need to fade these into the songs. The spoken parts I found quite distracting. The other disappointing part was that the CD doesn't come with a booklet with lyrics, but rather you need to go to their website and "register" it in order to download a PDF file and look at artwork and other goodies. The problem was that I could not find where to register the CD, as both places mentioned on the CD appear to no longer exist on their website. In fact, their website hasn't beeen updated since 2007.

I got the impression from other reviewers that Stephen Rivera uses an arsenal of modern and vintage synthesizers, but the insert seems to indicate that he uses mostly modern synths supplemented by virtual synths (i.e., synthesizer software). He uses the Arturia Moog Modular V, which is a virtual synth that replicates what an authentic Moog synthesizer would sound like. I don't consider this a bad thing. Use what you can to get the sound you want sounds like a logical thing to do. But I felt this was worth bringing out for the purists out in "Prog Land."

Overall a solid three stars for a somewhat haphazard release, with good and bad moments, and a couple of great moments. This debut has intrigued me enough to add their followup to my list of future purchases.

Report this review (#349576)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2010 | Review Permalink

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