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Eric Gillette - A New Day CD (album) cover


Eric Gillette

Progressive Metal

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2 stars As I remarked about Eric Gillette's Winter Solstice EP from the previous year, A New Day is likewise categorized as 'Stage & Screen' on the EP's Discogs page. The former--as I referred to it in its review, a 'seasonal concept'--sported little in the way of dynamic compositional interest and had simple 'orchestration' in the form of piano/keyboard, light (selective) percussion and what I assume to be programmed string arrangements. And I've frankly expected much of the same here. This EP focuses on a song cycle representing 'an entire day', much like the Progressive Rock 'original' album-about-a-single-day album, Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues (1967).

"Sunrise" begins our day and so naturally begins our album here. It does start off so beautifully, with soft strings. I will say, Mr. Gillette hit this pretty much out of the park. An almost New Age, just left of Ambient track, bringing to my mind the ever-modern Post-Rock idiom. Especially once the drums come in in full, and I mean like a legit drum set (not the silver screen drama of timpani), it is all Post-Rock. Some will be more excited about this, you can be sure. And already, just to make a point of his last one, this album is significantly more interesting than Winter Solstice. Next is "Bloom", a plunky piano met soon enough with frankly lush string arrangement. I had already mentioned Gillette's use of specific chords. The strings die away so our quietly optimistic piano can shine. Fade to black... And then, still in the middle of this track, a dark return? Honestly caught my ear. Pretty dramatic number. Didn't expect to say this damn much.

For a total shift in style, and to additionally impress me in a sense, "A New Day", our title track, is a bright Country/Old-Time bit of instrumental music. Dynamically very interesting. We even get a solo fiddle over arpeggiated mandolin, it sounds like. For Prog standards, I'll make as clear as possible, just shy of 'Good'. So, yes, in many ways, on its own, clear of this site's standards (generally), a pretty darn good song indeed. And already, our day is reaching its close, the next song being "Sunset", a sweet, short number which has harmonic tension and a bit of darkness; how fitting. This is the sort of standard of song (not as appealing to me) that the prior release was chock full of. To follow is "Dusk", an even more pressingly dark track featuring more of the sort of straight-laced movie percussion of that prior release, as well. It's good. I'm just not feeling its future playability.

We are then graced with "Moonlight", another moment where I feel like he really knows what he wants out of a piece and just a showcase that he knows what he's doing. Again, as stated in my other review for the now much-mentioned previous EP, I figure these string arrangements are programmed and, other than that honky tonk fun earlier, I assume that's mostly been the case. This is a lovely number, certainly. Still, less staying power than the start of the EP. Finally, with our New Day now old, we have "Midnight". And now we're talkin'! This is some tension! It's like a war haha. We get these really intense percussive elements, calling to mind for me that one battle scene from The Two Towers. Pretty darn cool. So, really, if anything on this album pulls its ratings up, it's this one. Truly cinematic piece, too. I just wish there was more of that nonsense [a compliment] from its start in here, sheesh.

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Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2023 | Review Permalink

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