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Red Sand - The Sound of the Seventh Bell CD (album) cover

THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL

Red Sand

Neo-Prog


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4 stars RED SAND, known personally in 2005 with'Gentry 'released their 10th album, more and more distant from neo to Marillion. Simon Caron, an absolute Rothery fan, had even slipped down nicely with the sound of Pink Floyd on their last album; reminiscences of Camel, IQ or Pendragon can be found there. We are dealing with a concept album based on the seven deadly sins, mixed by Michel St-Père (Mystery) on beautiful progressive rock melodies.

'The Sound of the Seventh Bell, Part 1' bell at the start as a memory of 'The Division Bell', a haunting dreamlike ballad, monolithic melodic neo-symphonic rock decked out with a deep and airy guitar solo and an imposing drums. 'Reichenbach' for an acoustic instrumental that starts halfway through a sensitive explosion bordering on spleen; orchestral beauty as a backdrop. 'Insatiable' and his electro overture, a bit on Keane, the loud voice as on the Jon & Vangelis association; a title with many breaks in the neo vein, their own, far from Marillion or Pink Floyd from the last album; synthetic rhythm, warm effective phrasing and incisive solos, here's it for a long river track, the voice reminiscent of the Beach Boys, the soaring rock dance, the psyche pop, a little Andalusian spaghetti, a little Alan Parsons. 'Breathing' and the bucolic ballad with a cotton wool voice, a drums that give the rhythm to dance arm in arm, the final solo melancholy and filled with hope.

'The Sound of the Seventh Bell, Part 2' with symphonic intro on piano, aerial guitar and the sound of the great Genesis: its alluring synths, a Camel-like tune in the middle that sends on the progressive ethereal nimbuses, the title of the 'album in my opinion with its air which imprints itself in the head; final as in the intro of the first piece. 'The Sound of the Seventh Bell, Part 3' with a bucolic acoustic interlude time to rest, calm before 'Cracked Road' centerpiece of more than 20 minutes: intro where Gilmour invites himself, voice after 7 minutes of intro hovering over Camel and Pink Floyd; halfway through it's more psychedelic like 'Animals' with this airy 60's pop guitar; in short, drawers galore combining various influences for a thunderous melody. A finale that never ends with the guitar juggling drums, bass and keyboards. 'I Can Feel It' and the extra-track on vinyl for a syrupy slow with organ from the time when balls existed in the deep countryside, personal memory where I heard 'A whiter shade of pale' resonate and where I ' understood that the music was going to follow me for a long time.

RED SAND offers us a conscientious album surfing between dreamlike and majestic moments, varying musical themes such as stories of sins, swindles, pedophilia, cruelty, abuse; a sound that becomes singular, unique, which finally departs from Simon's musical precepts and which ultimately gives more character to this album.

Report this review (#2606044)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2021 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars While neo-prog may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one things of prog from Quebec, RED SAND has proven for almost two decades now that you can follow your musical dreams no matter where you were born. This creation of guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Simon Caron continues to nurture his love of blues and space rock guitarists ranging from Davide Gilmour, Andy Latimer, Steven Rothery, BB King and Albert Collins. The lineup of RED SAND has changed drastically since the band's 2004 debut "Mirror Of Insantiy" and on the the tenth album THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL, Caron tackles most of the duties on board by playing electric and acoustic guitars, bass and keyboards. Longtime drummer Perry Angelino returns along with vocalist Steff. For touring André Godbout has been recruited for bass duties and JB Lemire on keyboards.

RED SAND is one of those neo-prog bands that loves to craft those scrumptious mixes of old school bands like early Marillion, IQ and Arena and mix in heavy doses of Pink Floydian inspired space rock, sensual layers of keyboards and a mix of slower, mid-range and faster tempos. THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is a concept album that is based on the seven deadly sins and following RED SAND's track record features lengthy sprawling prog behemoths that include the 14 1/2 "Insatiable" and the 21-minute "Cracked Road." Despite this band emerging from Quebec City, Canada, the hub of French speakers in all of North America, RED SAND continues to sound more like a number of bands from the British scene. Certain parts remind of Pendragon, others IQ, some Arena, early Marillion, Anubis etc.

Soundwise THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is very much in the traditional neo-prog camp with bucolic ballads in the form of "Breathing" and intros to the soaring guitar solo led works of the Floydian inspired title track which is split into three segments but spaced apart in various track placings. Lots of arpeggiated acoustic guitar riffs reminiscent of Pendragon's most recent "Love Over Fear" and haunting atmospheric synthesizers building crescendoes and the proper mood enhancing spaciness. In accord with neo-prog characteristics, the pop hooks are poignant and prominent and Steff's vocals fit in perfect with the moody and emotive style that narrates the overarching concept of the seven deadly sins.

The most satisfying track is without a doubt the 21-minute "Cracked Road" which allows the various movements to unfold gradually with more twists and turns than the shorter tracks although all of the aforementioned elements are the fundamental basis for the compositional flow. There's even a nice section in the middle that reminds you of Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Overall, RED SAND will not win any points for originality as the various sounds involved have been staples of various neo-prog artists since the 1980s and the same can be said for the Floydian space rock sounds. When it comes right down to it, THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is business as usual for a neo-prog band that has sort of found a tiny niche that exists between the cracks of other artists but in the end they entire album is quite impeccable crafted with a pleasing production and doesn't disappoint in entertainment value. While other 2021 neo-prog albums by Drifting Sun are much more exciting, this one is nonetheless quite satisfying.

Report this review (#2629070)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2021 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is studio-album # 10 by the Canadian trio Red Sand since their debut Mirror Of Insanity from 2004, multi- instrumentalist Simon Caron and drummer Perry Angelillo are members from the beginning, singer Steff Dorval joined Red Sand since the second effort Gentry, from 2005.

About the previous CD entitled Crush The Seed wrote: "On this new effort I notice that Red Sand still make simply structured prog with the focus on colouring the music with wonderful work on guitar and keyboards. Singer Steff Dorval has a distinctive voice, very intense and with a strong melancholy undertone."

Well, again Red Sand will not disappoint the many fans around the world with this new album. Lots of intense mellow climates, very melodic and harmonic, embellished with sensitive guitar work (between Steve Rothery and David Gilmour), pleasant, often melancholy vocals and a tasteful keyboard sound.

My highlights.

The Sound Of The Seventh Bell, Part 1 (5:44) starts with dreamy vocals and acoustic guitars, in a folky climate. Then a slow rhythm featuring a powerful bass, followed by a moving and fiery guitar solo, finally majestic Mellotron choirs and bell sounds.

The Sound Of The Seventh Bell, Part 2 (7:56) delivers tender piano play and howling electric guitar, then an accellaration with a tight beat and synthesizer flights, soon Mellotron choirs join in a Cinema Show (Genesis)-like rhythm, in the second part lots of howling guitar soli, a Red Sand trademark.

Cracked Road (21:05) is the longest composition. First a mellow climate with a spacey synthesizer solo and then sensitive Gilmourian guitar runs, it strongly evokes Shine On... by Pink Floyd. Halfway a surprising break with propulsive drum beats and moving guitar, and finally a bombastic atmosphere with howling guitar and emotional vocals.

The bonus track I Can Feel It (4:20) contains a dreamy atmosphere with a slow rhythm, beautiful soaring Hammond organ and warm vocals, finally sensitive electric guitar solo, simply wonderful.

My rating: 3,5 star.

This review was previously published at the website of Background Magazine, the oldest Dutch progrock source.

Report this review (#2635601)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars A massive fan of neo-prog and always on the look out for new discoveries, I found Red Sand years ago and listened to all the albums. There were some absolute gems but also some so-so moments on each album that left a sense of something missing as a whole.

THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is a joy from start to finish. Beautiful sounds throughout, and I never skip a track or pick out selected ones. A similar thing happened for me with albums from Marillion and Millenium that were really hit and miss until they released FEAR / AN HOUR BEFORE IT'S DARK and THE SIN, where I loved all the tracks.

Great to enjoy a whole album for 60 mins.

Report this review (#2756087)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2022 | Review Permalink

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