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Shaun Guerin - By The Dark Of Light CD (album) cover


Shaun Guerin

Symphonic Prog

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Dan Bobrowski
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Shaun Guerin played the Peter Gabriel part in the LA Genesis tribute band, the Cinema Show. Guerin also worked with Clearlight Symphony and is the vocalist on Ken Jaquess' K2 project. Shaun Guerin died at the age 41.

I wanted to score this a bit higher, but instead I'll play it safe. Shaun Guerin's music will be classified strictly by his vocal stylings, which are so similar to Peter Gabriel that those comparisons are inevitable and unfortunate. The depth of his work may not be appreciated. This disc features mostly instrumental music, all composed and performed by Guerin, except for guitar on one track. These instrumental pieces range in variety and intensity from filler prog wandering to full out prog-fusion jams. Aside from the Genesis influence, I can pick out some Yes-isms, a bit of Hatfield and King Crimson. Very eclectic and well played.

Sing My Prayers is a very spiritual and emotional tune with a very strong Phil Collins drum feel, as Guerin pounds the toms with passion and power. She's Sad has a beautiful melody line and heart wrenchingly plaintive vocals. This is not My World has strong Genesis vibe to every nuance, almost a lost tune from 1973. France begins with a piano intro and the synths carry the tune throughout. Run to Fall reminds me of Gazeuse era Gong with mallet percussion and Morlien styled syncopated drumming. The album closer, Crazy, is also reminiscent of that era. Son of Gorp and No Misery show Guerin's instrumental prowess and display vivid imagery in the melodies.

The album cover art, designed by long time Genesis collaborator, Paul Whitehead, is wonderful. The disc is enhanced and offers some special features. Three "hidden" MP3's can be accessed through your PC.

I would recommend this disc to fans of classic prog and jazz-rock fusion, with a heavy prog influence. There is nothing heavy about this music; metal heads will probably find it boring.

Report this review (#34702)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars The late Shaun Guerin had several links with Genesis (as you can read in the previous review from Danbo), no coincidence that his voice was very similar to Peter Gabriel.

On this album we hear pleasant and varied songs: powerful electric guitar and a jazzy piano solo in "By the dark of light", tasteful keyboards and soli on guitar and synthesizer in "France", great keyboard overdubs in "Run to fall", powerful electric guitar and a catchy rhythm in "Victory", a spectacular keyboard sound and fiery electric guitar in "Son of Gorp", an up-tempo rhythm and again great work on keyboards and guitar in "No misery (5:08) and finally a swinging rhythm and wonderful keyboards in "Crazy".


Report this review (#44322)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not a bad album by the late Shaun Guerin. "By the dark of the light" has a great painting on the cover which is drawn by Paul Whithead who also did the cover art for a couple of Genesis classics. Therefore the similarities between the voice of Guerin and the voice of Peter Gabriel didn't surprise me at all but most of the album is instrumental anyway. The music is clearly piano based prog rock which includes influences from bands like Genesis & Peter Gabriel, Gentle Giant and ELP but there some influences of American song writers as well. The melodic music is a mixture of jazz rock and symphonic prog. While there's definitely a bombastic edge to it, the jazzy moods deliver the perfect antidote for preventing the sound from getting overblown. Throughout the album the playing of the instruments is decent without signs of virtuoso. The dynamic keyboard parts & sounds are the most diverse and fascinating elements of this music. Take "France" for an example, one of the highlights of this album, this gets driven by compelling moog parts on top of the excellent piano line & atmospheric keys underneath. The music is well balanced and the sound is really open ; there's not too much happening at the same time which is a good thing. There's several moments of brilliance like the marvellous tune at the beginning of "She's sad" which could have been a song penned by Tony Banks. Strange enough the static sounding rhythm in "Sing my prayers" remind me on the second Collins solo album but with the addition of a symphonic wall of sound. This song gives a clue what's wrong with this music. It starts with a fabulous atmosphere which is repeated over and over again. On moments like this the song writing, melodies & arrangements could've been developed a tad better. Every now and then the feeling pops up that I'm listening to a piece of music that hasn't been finished proper. As it is now, there's many enjoyable moments like the wonderful atmospheres on "Son of Gorp" but it could have been more memorable.

Conclusion : Not an album I play very often. Somehow it fails to make that eternal mark in my brain but still a very decent prog offering anyway. Genesis fans should check this album out.

Report this review (#60949)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I first got acquainted with Shaun's voice while he was singing in the "K2" project and their strong album "The Book Of Dead". His Gabriel-esque type of voice was a kick to investigate a bit deeper into his own music.

And this album is pretty much of his own; since Shaun plays all the instruments (except on one track). More than a "Genesis" album, this one is very close to Peter's solo work and probably therefore is not so appealing to me.

Compositions are average and highlights aren't that many (if any). The first symphonic piece is the excellent instrumental "Friends" which features some very good guitar work and identifiable synthesizers (hi Tony).

At times, Shaun's keyboards play is reminiscent of Emerson as well ("By The Dark Of Light", "Run To Fall" or the closing Crazy for instance). Unlike his work with "K2", this album is mostly instrumental which can upset some of you (myself included) who were probably expecting a more lyrics-oriented album.

"Victory" is another instrumental, fully neo-prog, even heavy. So far, this album is far to fulfil my expectations. Little variations, lack of catchy melodies, same rhythm throughout most of the songs. This is what's available so far.

The whole album has a slow and heavy beat; and "Sing My Prayers" is just one out of many songs of this type. Drumming is dominant (but since Shaun used to be a drummer, there is no real surprise). This album sounds rather dull to my ears and is a complete disillusion.

The problem when you are on your own to create an album from A to Z is that there is no one to give you some sort of guidance or back you up if you are short of inspiration. And it is a major problem with this release. It is a collection of uninspired tracks. Not bad but hardly interesting.

Two stars.

Report this review (#156667)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The symphonic prog albun "By the Dark of the light" of Shaun Guerin is a high quality composition and execution work. Highly recommend for fans of Genesis, El & palmer, Camel and in some moments Rush. In fact the musical blended not is restrict to a simple symphonic prog rock, the final mix shows moments of heavy, symphonic, canterbury and jazz rock,. The only weak point im my opinion is the vocal tracks, due to the voice is much nearly - almost a clony- of Phill Colins timbre and interpretation style. The quality of recording is very good, and the Shaun Guerin performance is perfect. My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#275123)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Shaun Guerin was a musician from Los Angeles,California,who began playing the drums in 1969,at the age of seven,next to his father John.His first listenings included Jimmy Hendrix,The Cream,Jannis Joplin and of course The Beatles,but it was his contact with E.L.P.,which turned his preferences around.Getting into the sounds of Genesis,Hatfield and the North,King Crimson and Brian Eno,Shaun became a huge prog rock fan,while during the years he also studied keyboards and guitars.He was the secondary drummer and lead vocalist of the Genesis tribute band Cinema show,but in 2002 he released his first personal work ''By the Dark of Light'' on Clearlight,entirely composed and performed by himself.

The album is a typical example of modern melodic Prog/Art-Rrock with strong Classic 70's Prog vibes.The tracks are split between vocal- and instrumental performances,with Shaun's voice being very close to that of PETER GABRIEL's.Additionally the album has strong GENESIS hints,especially from the 75'-80' years.The drumming of Shaun is of course steady and confident,but it's his guitar and keyboards abilities,which were a questionmark.Regarding his keyboard/piano work,Shauh delivers some good passages with flashy synths and melodic piano around,but the plastic sound does not help at all and buries the good ideas.His guitar work is mostly on the background with a few nice solos to be found throughout.Most of the instrumental tracks are very complex with a grandiose style and heavy synth and piano work,but not always inspired and conveincing.The obvious reference points are bands like MAGELLAN,AJALON,FOREVER TWELVE or AKACIA.

For most of its duration time,''By the Dark of Light'' justifies that it is a one man effort.Plenty of light mistakes,absence of tight coherence,as all vocal tracks are mellow with the instrumental being far more energetic, and average compositional skills.On the other hand plenty of passages really shine and show strong indications of a better follow-up.This one though is exactly in the middle...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#512287)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permalink

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