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Cryptic Vision

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Cryptic Vision In A World album cover
3.40 | 46 ratings | 14 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In a World (16:22)
2. This Dream Part I (1:06)
3. Common Ground (4:37)
4. Merkaba (3:14)
5. All Along (5:09)
6. The Space in Between (4:58)
7. I Am the Energy (4:10)
8. Point of View (4:49)
9. Power to Mend (10:03)
10. Find (4:09)
11. The Balance (8:42)
12. This Dream Part II/In a World (Reprise) (5:03)

Total Time: 72:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Duncan / drums, guitar, keyboards
- Todd Plant / vocals, guitar
- Sam Conable / bass, vocals
- Timothy Keese / guitar, vocals
- Howard Helm / keyboards, vocals

Guest musicians:
- David Ragsdale / iolin
- Alan Morse, Ralph Santolla, Jerry Outlaw & Shawn Bowen / guitar
- John Zahner / keyboards
- Carrie Martin / Angelic Choir Vocals

Releases information

CD ProgRock Records (2006)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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CRYPTIC VISION In A World ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CRYPTIC VISION In A World reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch

When I listened to this fine mainstream prog/AOR album the first time I was actually thinking, that it's not worth at all to lose more than 3 words about. But since this would be not sufficient here I'll come to a final rating for it by raising a few questions.

1. Artrock? - Yes, definetely, if released a couple of decades earlier.But adequate for the year 2006? - Absolutely NO!!

2. Can a record like that be called an essential or excellent one in PROGRESSIVE ROCK let alone a masterpiece six years after the turn of the century? - Certainly NO!

3. Though being undoubtedly not a bad record at all in general can it be considered a good one in PROGRESSIVE ROCK of the year A.D. 2006? - Again NO I would say!

Thus the answers to these three questions are leaving merely the options for me to rate it with 2 stars (Collectors/fans only) or 1 star (Poor. Only for completionists). Since it's really not badly done if being considered as a mainstream rock album I would say 2 stars are adequate for it. For old KANSAS-fans only! But for anyone who's interested in good modern PROGRESSIVE ART ROCK: Stay away from this record and band!

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Personally I feel 5 stars is too much for this album but 2 stars would be too subjective.

This second studio album by USA five piece band (and many guest musicians) starts with the epic title track, it sounds tasteful and alternating, from dreamy with piano, folky with acoustic guitar and bombastic with lush keyboards. Halfway there is a sensational break delivering a latin-American touch with swinging piano and trumpet, exciting! Also included are many great soli on guitar, synthesizer and violin. The music evokes symphonic rock like Spock's Beard and Kansas but during the vocals parts this bands leans more towards stadium-rock bands like the more commercial era from Journey and Kansas. That's also my problem with the sound of Cryptic vision: there is plenty to enjoy on the 12 compositions (lots of fiery electric guitar soli, powerful Hammond runs, flashy synthesizer flights and exciting shifting moods and some spectacular breaks) but the difference between the polished moments and symphonic rock parts makes me feel uncomfortable, just when I am enjoying great symphonic rock the music changes into commercial sounding stadium-rock. But to end objective: this band delivers good songs, they are good musicians and when you have no problem with my problem (if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge), this album will please you!

Review by WaywardSon
4 stars It seems that whenever a band has a vocalist that has a lot of "soul" or "sings from the gut" they are quickly given the AOR tag. Iīm not saying that there isnīt an AOR sound at times, but to dismiss a band because they have strong melodies and a vocalist that puts the "rock" into progressive rock is wrong.

If you like the vocalists of Kansas and Enchant, you will really like Todd Plantīs voice. The guitarist is also impressive on this album and delivers some stunning solos throughout this album. Actually the entire band are class A musicians and you can hear each instrument clearly (the bass isnīt lost in the mix but is clear and intricate)

The lyrics are another strong point in Cryptic Visionīs songwriting, although they are spiritual lyrics they are never "Bible punching, in your face" preaching. Listening to this album and I can hear the strong Kansas and ī70īs Prog influence. To really appreciate this album I suggest listening to it through a pair of good headphones.

Strong songwriting, strong melodies, excellent lyrics and excellent musicians!


Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second studio release by US band Cryptic Vision.

I knew of their first release, with it's nice and promising blend of elements from Kansas and Dream Theatre, and were looking forward to this release.

But strangely enough, this release leaves me a bit cold. If it is the hooks, the well-used vocal harmonies in the chorus section, the uplifting mood making me think of gosepl (!) or just the general AOR feel to this one that left me a bit cold I can't say. But in my ears this one isn't as good as their debut.

It's not a bad album, don't get me wrong there, but it is plain and average fodder for the soul, and not the sonic gourmet meal I had hoped for. In my opinion at least.

Standout track: I Am The Energy.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Invoking the spirit of 70's bands Yes and Kansas as well as more contemporary artists Spock's Beard and Dream Theater Cryptic Vision is out to prove that you can create well made accessible prog in this day and age. I find it refreshing that the band doesn't resort to noise, long electronic parts or have to change its time signature every 15 measures to prove the music is intelligent, sophisticated or progressive. On this release this is now a band as the first CD was more of solo project between vocalist Todd Plant and Drummer Rick Duncan. This CD adds the talents of Tim Keese guitars and vocals, Sam Conable bass and vocals and Howard Helm (Trans Siberian Orchestra, Steinhardt Moon) on keyboards and vocals.

People might use the word derivative and I won't argue the influences behind the band. The question is are they being derivative to copy another band or are they building on the influences? My answer with this band and this recording is the latter. The album starts off with the 16 minute title epic track In a World. This piece has several movements to it both vocally and instrumentally. Todd Plant sings some very emotional and spiritual lyrics reminiscent of Steve Walsh and Dennis De Young. I said it in another review I'll say it again Todd Plant has a great voice in a world of really bad prog singers. If that is AOR than fine I am a fan of AOR and proud of it. I would rather be a fan of that than something like the vocalist of the Tangent who's voice is grating and silly in parts. The piece also contains a good violin solo by David Ragsdale. The piece ends up with a very emotional climax and leads into the second song an acoustic song called The Dream Pt 1.

This is not a ballad but a segue form the first number to the third Common Ground and fourth, Merkaba, an instrumental. These two pieces really builds on what Kansas tried to create many years ago with some really nice instrumental hard rock parts built around a really good song. Merkaba is a high energy piece that Kansas would stick into a middle of song like Miracles out of Nowhere or Myriad.

The next part of the CD moves into a more modern sounding progressive rock. All Along, The Space In Between and I am the Energy are reminiscent of mid 90's Spock's Beard. Very emotional vocals over some power guitar or keyboard with some moving instrumental bridges and good solos. Power to Mend is a very powerful song cutting guitar and Hammond parts along with great vocal line.

Point of View is the only song I don't really like. It's not bad but a very average song compared to the rest. It does have another great violin solo by Ragsdale in it so I can't just say filler. Power to Mend is a song that took me a long time to like in fact it wasn't till I saw them live that I really appreciated it. The vocal line that accompanies the words "We have the Power to mend We have the Will to Survive" is a little sing songy to me but the rest of the music and harmonies are outstanding. Very Yes like in parts of the vocals this is maybe their most ambitious song on the CD.

Find, The Balance and The Dream Pt II /In a World Reprise end the CD with some very good progy parts. Great Keyboards guitars and grooves spotlight these pieces with the final revisiting the ending of the opening suite.

All in all a CD that I put away for a month and take out and still sounds fresh. This is really the fist CD for the band and I think the next is going to be even better. For fans of American Prog in the vein of Kansas, Spock's Beard, Early Styx and maybe even some Dream Theater fans might like this. 4 stars.

Review by progrules
3 stars Well, there's another nice new band in progworld. Where do they all come from ? They shoot up like mushrooms the last few years. I mean: Magic Pie, Knight Area, Sun Caged, Redemption, Mind's Eye, Apple Pie and this band: Cryptic Vision (and no doubt a lot of bands I don't even know yet or have forgotten to mention). They are all very good and relatively new and it shows prog is really alive. It makes me feel really good. There can't be enough great prog to me, so keep bringing them on !

What is Cryptic Vision like ? I think it sounds a bit like Magic Pie (vocals !) although I feel CV is more polished and smooth than the somewhat rawer sounding Magic Pie. I'm not sure about the classification Heavy prog, it could also be neo prog or crossover or even prog related to me. It shows that this band is hard to pigeon-hole. I think it sounds very nice, the melodic aspect is ok, compositions could be better, maybe someting they can improve on. Common ground, Space in between and Point of view are my favourite tracks, it resambles a bit of the accessability of the latest Rocket Scientists album, though they sound quite different, really. But the similarity lies in the fact it's hardly true prog. It has certainly quality but you could almost call it very good pop music. On the other hand there are a few epic like tracks on this album so I think all in all this is prog to me. But a peculiar sort of.

I think Cryptic Vision shows potential with this album and I'm looking for ward to the next one. 3 stars for this (3,25).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This Florida-based progressive rock artist has previously released the critically acclaimed "Moments of Clarity" followed by "In A World" which had a chance being played as opening act for Asia concert on June 13, 2007 in Sarasota, Florida. The lead singer Todd Plant, also performs with the classic rock groups The Chet McCracken Band, Santana Tribute Band "Supernatural", and the corporate variety band "Southtown Fever". The musical characteristics of the band is keyboard-driven, be it as altar sounds with long sustain play or as solo. The band's music is blend of Kansas, Saga, Supertramp, Pallas, and sometimes it has some Rush components as well. In this album, Rick Duncan wrote all the music and about half of the lyrics with Sam wrote the lyrics for 2 songs and Todd wrote the lyrics for one. Some of the songs were co-written by Rick, Todd and Sam.

Keyboard-driven music featuring violin .

The album opens with a bit bombastic epic "In A World" which might please those of you who love symphonic prog in mellow style like neo progressive. There are quite memorable segments throughout the passage of the music especially when organ / keyboards play at the background or some breaks with nice piano work. Even though there is practically no syncopation but I can find varied time signatures. David Ragsdale of Kansas features violin solo at approx 8:46 when the music breaks into the like of Kansas, especially when vocal enters. It then moves to nice jazzy part combined with excellent acoustic guitar backed with latin music style.

"Common Ground" (4:37) is very Kansas especially during the intro part and the melody line. Todd's voice timbre is somewhat similar with Steve Walsh. "Merkaba" (3:14) brings the music into heavier style with nice keyboard work and some syncopated segments. "All Along" (5:09) is a piano-based music in the vein of Kansas. "The Space in Between" (4:58) moves the music in a bit complex composition with ELP-like keyboard at intro. Nice guitar solo in the middle of the track. "I Am the Energy" (4:10) maintains the dynamics and energy of previous track. Another long track "Power to Mend" (10:03) starts nicely with mellow keyboard solo augmented with guitar follows. The music suddenly blasts off in progressive metal like riffs and moves in crescendo into louder sounds and faster tempo. Todd sings with his full power here. The music is quite interesting - with Kansas sound. The album closing track "This Dream Part II/In a World (Reprise)" (5:03) sounds like closing all chapters they have opened throughout the album.

This album is recommended to those who like melodic prog with keyboard-driven music augmented with guitar solo. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I do feel that this is a step up from the debut but it's still barely a 3 star album. I'm just not into KANSAS or bands that sound like them or have that AOR style. Just sayin'. This is an improvement though. Ragsdale is back guesting on violin and SPOCK'S BEARD guitarist Alan Morse also helps out along with some other guests.

"In A World" is spacey to start then it kicks in before 2 minutes.The tempo will shift throughout. Reserved vocals and strummed guitar before 5 minutes. A fuller sound a minute later takes over.Violin before 9 minutes as it settles right down. Reserved vocals follow. A Spanish section comes in before 10 minutes then it changes back with a long guitar solo. A calm before 13 minutes and reserved vocals return. It kicks back in one more time. Quite the ambitious opener. "This Dream Part I" is a short piece with strummed guitar and reserved vocals. "Common Ground" has a nice heavy sound that comes in quickly including vocals. Synths lead 3 minutes in then a calm before the vocals and a fuller sound return. "Merkaba" is uptempo and violin comes in before a minute. Guitar then synths follow.

"All Along" opens with piano as vocals join in. Some backing vocals too. "The Space Inbetween" is uptempo until it settles with vocals and strummed guitar.It gets fuller. A guitar solo before 3 minutes. "I Am The Energy" has some great sounding bass early on then vocals come in. Some light riffs then more prominant bass 3 minutes in. "Point Of View" has vocals a minute in. Not a fan of this one at all.Too poppy. "Power To Mend" is kind of spacey then it kicks in quickly.Vocals around 2 minutes. It settles down after 4 minutes.The guitar solos after 5 1/2 minutes and piano then vocals follow. "Find" has these melancholic background synths that I like. "The Balance" opens with synths then organ and a beat take over followed by vocals and harmonies.Very KANSAS-like. "This Dream Part II / In A World Reprise" doesn't sound that good to me, mainly the vocals, but the overall sound too.The second part is better as strummed guitar and reserved vocals take over but then it gets fuller and the vocals take a turn for the worse.

As I said earlier this is barely 3 stars for me.

Review by Wicket
2 stars It's too bad I was hungry when I stumbled upon this album.

It still left me hungry for more.

Cryptic Vision is a band of guys from Florida, clearly a state where the sun is always shining and where bad and imperfection doesn't exist. Apparently. This disc clearly shows that it's constantly major "happy music" is supposed to resemble some sort of utopia, evidenced by the lyrics in such aptly named tracks like "This Dream", "The Balance" and "In A World". Judging by the production alone, this record is hyped to be something amazing in the world of prog. In reality, it's just left me wanting more.

Take the title sequence, for instance. It's supposed to begin with an overture, and the slow building 40 second intro promises greatness, but the overture is just bland, lacking, not exciting enough to pull me into a 16 minute juggernaut. The Spanish flavored interlude brings some life into the track, but it's just not enough to salvage it. Hopefully, you'd say, that's only one song.

But no, it's all of them. Even the one instrumental track "Merkaba" fails to provide any instrumental prowess of any kind.

Some of the brighter sides include the heavy "I Am The Energy" and the Dream Theater- Spock's Beard-esque "Power To Mend", the former showing that these pacifists don't mind getting angry once in a while, while the later provides a little bit of red and blue to this disc of black and white.

Overall, though, it's not an entirely bad album. It's just that this disc fails to provide anything new, interesting or unexpected on this album in the wide world of prog. This disc was hyped to stand out in the crowded sea of new bands, but in reality, it's just a fish out of water.

Perhaps Richard Hammond was right. Much like James May's driving laps, this record lasts over an hour long and makes no sense to anyone.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars So, Florida based progressive rock quintet Cryptic Vision are back with their second studio album, and while in the past they have been likened at times to Spock's Beard and Kansas (among others), they have now taken that to the next stage by asking Alan Morse and David Ragsdale to guest on the new work. If these guys aren't careful they are going to find themselves being held in as much acclaim as those two bands, although this will also appeal to progheads of every style, whether it is he keyboard driven Saga, the symphonic harmonies of Yes or just lovers of good music.

This is prog that while looking backwards is also very much looking forward and is very much of the moment. Whatever you could possibly wish for in prog music you will find it here. Whether it is stomping solid bass lines, complex complicated rhythms that come together to make musical sense, great soaring vocals, tunes to stick in the skull, it is all here. For some reason I don't think that these guys have been getting as much publicity this side of the pond as they richly deserve ? let's hope that they play some dates over here soon to rectify that. This is progressive rock of the very highest quality.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This band has some really great instrumental moments. In fact I thought I was listening to a masterpiece work when In A World began. Then the vocals started and I was a bit disappointed, but overall I thought the song was good, The album continued to lead me on with Merkaba being the true stand o ... (read more)

Report this review (#106384) | Posted by Failcore | Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although this album has nothing on it that makes it sound like a seventies styled prog-rock album, the fact is undeniable that those influences shine through throughout. Although this album does not sound like anything like what the more contemporary prog bands are doing, it has their infl ... (read more)

Report this review (#88755) | Posted by Toddzirra | Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars All prog fans are going to love this album and it's an essential addition Reviewer: Paul Williams In A World is the second album from this 5-piece from West Coast Florida. Their debut album - Moments Of Clarity - received great critical acclaim in prog rock circles and sho ... (read more)

Report this review (#84533) | Posted by RoundWound4003 | Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If Peter Collins would have produced Yes' Tales from Topographic Oceans or had Trevor Rabin produced Kansas' Song for America, In A World is what you come up with. Cranking out a more tuneful version of thinking man's music, Cryptic Vision draws from both the classic and modern eras of progres ... (read more)

Report this review (#83985) | Posted by CrypticRick | Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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