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Persephone's Dream - Anomalous Propagation CD (album) cover


Persephone's Dream

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Eclectic Team
2 stars In 1993, a guitarist named Rowen Poole and a bassist named Chris Siegel found a vocalist by the name of Judilynn Neidercorn got together and created an album called "Evening Mirage" under the moniker of "Persephone's Dream". In 1998, some changes were made and Karin Nicely became vocalist and drummer Ed Wiancko joined the band. The music started becoming longer and a bit more complex, and in order to take the show on the road, they added John Tallent on percussion and Kim Finney on keyboards in 2000.

In October of 2019, the band is still going strong as they released their 6th album "Anomalous Propagation" 9 years after their previous release. To say that the band came out of their hiatus relatively unscathed would be an understatement as the band lineup is completely changed from those earlier days, except for the original duo that founded the band. The current line-up consists of Rowen and Chris on their original instruments and adding in synths to both of their contributions, but beyond that, everyone else has changed. Heidi Engel is now on vocals, Jim Puskar on drums and percussion, Jason English on guitars and vocals, and Laura Martin on pianos and keys along with vocals. The band has definitely gone through a lot of personnel in their time. "Anomalous Propagation" consists of 11 tracks and has a robust run-time of just over 74 minutes.

"Red Light Syndrome" (8:10) (with lyrics by Heidi) starts it all off with a complex, sometimes soft, sometimes heavy track. The verses tend to be deceptively simple while the chorus is more complicated with heavy progressive sounds. Some of the vocals seem to be a bit off as far as tone, and I don't think that is intentional, at least it doesn't seem to be. Granted, the instrumental parts don't necessarily follow the vocal melody, so it is obviously difficult to sing on key, but the vocalist's delivery isn't really that appealing. The music itself is excellent, though, with some great guitar and keyboard work, and a level of complexity. There is some band banter in the middle of the track as the band resets for a very interesting turn of style as the singing turns into a layered, almost operatic style and the music intensifies quite well. This change is a turn for the better, for sure, as things get more interesting, but before the end, it returns to its questionable state felt mostly in the vocals. At the end, Heidi says "Nine more songs to go." Hopefully they are better, at least from her end.

"Surveillance" (5:50) has an Alan Parsons/Pink Floyd feel to it and the vocals starts out as spoken word, and then regular singing follows. Again, things seem to be a bit off between the instrumentals and vocals. The music is a bit lighter here, and I would rather hear the vocalist do the spoken sections. Also, again, the music is in a better league than the vocals. It's really too bad that things don't seem to mesh up between the two, because the music itself is quite good. Unfortunately, things don't change as the album goes on. The stirring and catchy intro to "Desponia's Dagger (10:45) starts off promising with a nice "Rush"-like bass line, but now it seems like the entire band is off. It is more noticeable as the intro tries to catch the solid groove, but now it all sounds off-beat. Also, you can hear some great ideas here, but the music needs a high level of tightness in the band to really be good, and it just doesn't get there. It comes across quite messy.

Going through the album, you keep hoping that things will get better, because the great ideas keep trying to shine through and the progressive level is there, but it is very distracting that everything just doesn't seem to come together very well. It ends up sounding very disjointed and out of sync. The first part of the album just seemed to be an issue with the vocals being out of synch, but after a few listens, you notice that things are also a bit off there too. It's really too bad that this issue wasn't worked out, because it could have been a decent album with the excellent ideas that are here, but that all comes to naught when it is all put together. In the end, it all just becomes very difficult to listen to.

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Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 | Review Permalink

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