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Deluge Grander

Symphonic Prog

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Deluge Grander August in the Urals album cover
4.03 | 187 ratings | 21 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Inaugural Bash (26:57)
2. August in the Urals (15:52)
3. Abandoned Mansion Afternoon (12:14)
4. A Squirrel (8:45)
5. The Solitude of Miranda (7:18)

Total Time 71:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Berggren / guitars (1,3-5)
- Dan Britton / keyboards, vocals (1-3), guitars (2), acoustic guitar (5)
- Brett d'Anon / bass (1-4), oud (2)
- Patrick Gaffney / drums

- Frank d'Anon / xylophone & trumpet & flute (1), keyboards (5)
- Jeff Suzdal / saxophones (1)
- Adnarim Dadelos / vocals (5)

Releases information

ArtWork: Detail of Thomas Cole's (1801-1848) painting "The Voyage of Life: Youth" and Kezia Terracciano (interior)

CD Emkog Records - EMKOG 001 (2006, US)

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DELUGE GRANDER August in the Urals ratings distribution

(187 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DELUGE GRANDER August in the Urals reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars The prime mover of this musical project is Dan Britton (keyboards, vocals, guitars) from USA progrock band Cerubus Effect. He had been working on material of his own and wanted this new group to record the music he had composed and even play it live. Well, fellow collaborator Avestin has done his best to take notice of this outstanding new progrock band and I am glad to agree with Avestin: their debut CD is highly recommended, what a dynamic, alternating and surprising prog and what an excellent musicians!

The first, very long and varied composition Inaugural Bash (running time over 25 minutes) impressed me from the very first moment: captivating and enervating music featuring splendid interplay and lots of great shifting moods: from soaring Mellotron with fiery guitar and powerful bass work to propulsive with an adventurous rhtytm-section and sumptuous climates with howling guitar and lush Mellotron. A surprising and often subtle element is the blend of instruments like the xylophone, trumpet, church-organ and male choir. The references range from King Crimson and Gentle Giant to Frank Zappa and Yes, all bands that deliver virtuosic interplay, lots of dynamics and musical ideas (at some moments even avant-garde but quite melodic). The other four compositions are also on a high level: the titletrack contains great tension between the acoustic guitar and a varied 'vintage keyboard sound' (Hammond, Mellotron, harpsichord and Grand piano), in Abandoned Mansion we can enjoy a wonderful duet from Fender Rhodes electric piano and acoustic guitar, the song A Squirrel features swirling play on the Moog synthesizer and Hohner D6 clavinet (evoking Gentle Giant) along howling, distored electric guitar and the final, very exciting track The Solitude Of Miranda has a sultry Andalusian atmosphere with play on the Oud (a kind of Arabian lute), fluent Spanish guitar runs and a flashy synthesizer solo.

In my opinion this album will turn out to be one of the highlights of 2006, what a stunning debut!

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In a time when the veteran prog rockers seem to dominate the scene, I begin to wonder if some new artist will come along and wow me. Deluge Grander has done it. Not that there aren't other very good new artists out there, but none have snapped my head around like this. This is modern symphonic prog at its very best.

The highlight of the album is the opener, "Inaugural Bash." For those of you that think very long pieces are boring, this one may just change your mind. It is an amazing journey of emotions, and playing styles. It begins sounding a bit like jazz-fusion, but that all changes. There is grand piano, mellotron, guitar riffing, jam outs, and soft interludes. However, this is not loose improvisation, it is well thought out orchestration. There are some soft vocals that resemble chanting, but it is primarily instrumental.

The next two tracks are in a softer, murky mood, and are the weakest on the album. That is not to say they aren't good, but after the grandeur of the first track, they don't measure up as well. The musicianship is just as polished, and offers some beautiful themes. This is also where the vocals come in, and could be where some people get turned off. It is a bit of a mix between Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), Ian Curtis (Joy Division), and a little Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy).

The fourth track, "A Squirrel," jams it up again, beginning with the guard chant tune from "The Wizard of OZ" (Oh we oh, oh weee oh ...). And that leads us into "The Solitude of Miranda" to close it all out. It may not have the epic length of "Inaugural Bash," but it is no less grand.

Don't let the variety of styles fool you, this is symphonic composition at its finest. Deluge Grander have managed to bring Symphonic Prog into the present, without sounding derivative. This would be a true five star album, if not for the letdown of the middle tracks. It suffers a bit from the "2112" syndrome. If you pull out all the stops in the beginning, of course the rest will pale. However, it is just under five. I'd say 4.75 (so I'll round up), and one of the best albums of 2006.

H.T. Riekels

Review by fuxi

Oh boy, the early seventies... SUPPER'S READY, FOXTROT, NINE FEET UNDERGROUND... More than thirty years have passed since then; surely you don't expect any NEW bands to come up with such epic tracks? Ever since the 1990s many have tried (Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings and the Tangent are just a few that come to mind) but all, in my view, have failed. Why? Well, they certainly had no problem tackling half-hour pieces, but most of what they did seemed derivative... they lacked vision and churned out even more embarrassing lyrics than Jon Anderson...

Deluge Grander could easily be the first prog band to change all that. In some of their work you may hear echoes from classic 1970s prog, but such influences have been completely absorbed, in compositions that are ambitious, superbly structured and highly dramatic. AUGUST IN THE AURALS lasts for more than 70 minutes, but there's never a dull moment. In fact, the album is so full of quirky and original ideas - I'm sure even after the 20th spin I'll be discovering new things. So if you like your symphonic prog BUSY, this is one for you.

I must admit not everything is perfect. Production is a little shoddy. Dan Britton, the main composer, does terrific things on all the keyboards you can imagine, but some of his piano and organ solos sound a little lost in the mix. Dave Berggren is a magnificent guitarist whose subtle playing gives great pleasure, but every now and then his licks sound a bit hesitant, which makes you wonder why the band couldn't have used more exciting takes. A whiff of amateurishness hangs over the whole enterprise, but I'm wondering if this shouldn't be seen as a plus - just as the rough edges of NURSERY CRYME and FOXTROT are preferable to the glossy polish of 1980s corporate rock...

The sombre and sporadic lead vocals are 'satisfactory' at best, but surely we ought to admire Deluge Grander for NOT employing over-dramatic lead singers like Neal Morse, and for NOT spoiling their compositions with AOR-warbling a la Kansas. Only on the title track I really regretted the absence of a powerful solo singer (a bright female voice would have been most welcome) since it has such a majestic, soaring melody (somewhat similar in spirit to FIRTH OF FIFTH and THE FOUNTAIN OF SALMACIS) - perhaps a live recording will do it justice one day.

Meanwhile let's not carp, but be grateful for what we've got. The 26+ minutes 'Inaugural Bash' sounds, at times, like Hatfield and the North meet The Gates of Delirium and, as I indicated above, there's an incredible lot going on... Since the death of Frank Zappa, no- one in prog has attempted such convincing and IMAGINATIVE extended compositions as Dan Britton and his mates. 'A Squirrel' and 'The Solitude of Miranda' are superb as well. I guess you could describe them as symphonic prog folk with some fusion influence. They occasionally reminded me of Gryphon or Pekka Pohjola, but you may hear other infuences too. The main point to remember is that this album is far more than the sum of its parts. An astonishingly rich and rewarding experience.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend AUGUST IN THE URALS to all true progheads. Buy as many copies as possible, for yourself and your proggy friends - and let's hope Deluge Grander are at the start of a long, brilliant career.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars You have two options:

1. You can read this review and be bored and waste your time reading it.

2. You can save your time and go ahead and order the album right away and save yourself the trouble of reading my tedious review. because the bottom line is - This is a fantastic Symphusion (symphonic/fusion) album. Go to the summary directly if you wish.

I absolutely loved Cerebus Effect's album Acts of Deception, so when I learned that Dan Britton started a new band with CE's Patrick Gaffney I knew I had to listen to it. And I was not wrong. Britton manages to create those melodies and mélange of musical styles that I find beautiful, original and they fit my musical taste. In August in the Urals the overall music ranges from fusion to symphonic prog apart and mixed with some small surprises in each track. I thought the term Symphusion can fit some tracks here, especially Inaugural Bash. This album, while not "catchy", managed to absorb quite quickly in my brain and leave a very positive impression; one that would make this album one of my favourite albums and one of the highlights of 2006.

A word about the mood this album gets me into. I have those albums which whenever I put them on, I enter this "other dimension", a dreamlike place, which can be pleasant or scary dependent on the music heard. With this album, this is not the case with all of it, but it is certainly the case with some of the songs, especially the first three tracks. The main cause for this are the different sounding keyboards and the occasional vocals which project outward a mystical sensation that can be felt in man 70's symphonic prog albums. I can best describe it as shivers that go through a person before entering an unknown place, a forest filled with magical musical beings portrayed by the various instruments played by the band. This is the feeling I get in particular with Inaugural bash, which has this mythic journey feel to it. The atmosphere is mostly a somber one, leaning towards a darker mood but not depressing, just a tad melancholic. This album on a winter day with a warm tea, while sitting at your window can be perfect.

The songs are arranged from the longest to the shortest and the order does justice with the album and the listening experience. You start with a long journey and end with a climatic catharsis and in the middle experience different musical sensations.

I will go over the songs, but I will not go over every second like some other reviewers feel the need to do, but will focus on those parts that will help understand what the song is like and what are the main characteristics of this magnificent album.

Inaugural Bash: A mellow majestic opening, one that reminds of Cerebus Effect's sound, and then the keyboards spread the musical carpet and let you enter DG's sound world with a start that has a fusion style with a guitar in the lead and the bass giving good support. And then, wait. is that a mellotron? It sure sounds like one. The music keeps on shifting from more "optimistic" sounds to a gloomier one (reminiscent of Cerebus Effect) with effortless ease. And there is also the grey area with sounds that seem to be in between those two. This "battle" between dark, dense and heavier mood/sound and the more cheerful and uplifting side is one of the characteristics I like here. It brings in a point of interest when you listen to this. But like real life, there are the grey spots (which I hear in the more mellow parts where there is a semi-cheerful semi-sad tone). This was so far the beginning which ends at around 3:40. An interval of piano setting the pace and the guitar playing short notes and then the mellotron and the percussions come in to complete the atmosphere. It goes on slowly, calmly with some peaks which are more pronounced thanks to the keyboards and percussions. A peaceful interlude, which is then abruptly over as the piano takes a speedy ride and the drum help them accelerate the events. There are also smurf-like background vocals (as if they inhaled helium). And you would think it would not fit this, but this is where I appreciate the band's composing skills. They are open to use uncommon sounds in their music and don't hesitate to experiment.

At around 10:00 starts another part which is where the keyboards shine and the trumpets come in too. You can find some familiar sounds from CE here, but it is only remnants. Here you have DG at its splendour. This part communicates with the previous parts, making this whole track not lose its grip and get out of context. This is where you see the composing skills. Always in touch with the roots of the composition and always looking forward, progressing and moving forwards and to the "sides" with their experimental touches. It never gets boring. Another key aspect here is the regard to every instrument and its role in the whole musical picture. You should really dive into every track (and this in particular) to realize the attention to the details as every instrument does its part. Try to focus on one instrument alone and then listen to the whole "orchestra" and you will realize how well everything fits in. This can be said about many other prog albums, and it is especially right here. It may not be the most sophisticated form of composition, but it sure is rewarding and very enjoying listening to. At around 17:35 they slowly step down from the dynamic part and go into a more ponderous phase of the track. Here you hear Britton's vocals which are augmented by the keyboards.

Here is the place to raise the point of the vocals. Britton doesn't actually sing, and doesn't really narrate. It's somewhere in the middle. Some might not like it, saying that this sort of music deserves a classic symphonic prog type of singing. I don't know if this style is due to a personal decision or because of other consideration but it is not something that should make you dislike this. I find this to fit the music, eventually. Since the tracks are mainly instrumental, it is not that detrimental. Moreover, there are parts where the vocals are more in a chanting style.

I love how this part ends. It fades out and in comes again the resurrected theme form before played by the keyboards. It goes on in a slow pace and everyone joins in (bass, guitar and drums) and advances towards a high volume climax. While this is a more than 26 minutes track, there is no dull or redundant moment here, no needless part. They even prolonged it from a shorter version as they felt it needed more or could use more parts to it. I think they chose well. Let's move on as the description does not do justice to the music.

August In The Urals: The title track starts with an acoustic guitar playing a short intro and then bursts into a beautiful rhythm with the keyboards providing the backup and a lead guitar doing a small appearance. Then you have Britton's more narrative style vocals (semi-narrative, semi-chanting is the best description I can think of), but they are very well done and fit this song very well. This is more reminiscent of the symphonic prog genre. It is lush, rich in sound, dynamic and majestic; all you can ask for in this sort of song. Very good keyboards work here, I was blown away. You might find here some Genesis influence. Of all the tracks on the album, this is the most similar to 70's symphonic prog. Yet, it does not sound at all dated. It is "fresh" sounding, and takes advantage of all those old prog sounds to create the modern equivalent.

Abandoned Mansion Afternoon: This song continues at first somewhat the previous song's symphonic prog approach but here I hear what I refer to as the Symphusion part. The rhythm " is fusion" (as is the keyboard's sound) and the overall sound and structure "are symphonic prog". And thus it drifts between those two platforms and creates a common ground made of both and the merging of the two sounds great.

A Squirrel: This song marks the return to more a dynamic path and a while starting with a sound similar to previous tracks, it will "abandon" this during the song. At 3:00 begins a very cool part with keyboards sounding like a clavinova along with the guitar sounding a bit similar to them playing a rather amusing tune that keeps on wearing more instrumental layers upon it and more musical ideas as it goes on.

The Solitude of Miranda: This is the shortest track here and has the most captivating tune on the album. It starts off with the acoustic guitar with a Spanish flavour accompanied by 60's sounding keyboards (sound, not quality) and then the acoustic guitar goes to make play the rhythm section with the electric guitar doing the lead and all instruments join in occasionally. I can only say I find this fantastic music, brilliant, very well done and quite emotional as well at times. I hardly feel this is over 7 minute long. They seem to be enjoying themselves here, as there are some parts which seem to "tease" the main theme; i.e. take the main theme and play it humorously, while never losing the thread of the track. All this goes on and develops and arrives to the climax which starts building up at around 5:33 where the acoustic guitar introduces again the theme and goes on until the sweet peak at 6:08. One word - Brilliant! Only I fear no one will share this enthusiasm I have with this piece. Try to dive into it. Listen to it alone on headphones, with a dim light and focus on the music; follow it with your brain and let it diffuse. Listen to how the music develops, intertwine, goes around and about. It's a shame you can't hear it the way I listen to it. Only due to this part, which lasts a few seconds, I enjoy repeated listening of this track. This has to be heard a high volume to be well appreciated.

Summary: It is one brilliant album, and I am delighted that this kind of music is still done today. It has fresh and modern interpretation of "old" and original ideas of "new". This is an excellent album which I highly recommend. They create a theme/basis and build on it more layers or in other songs, shift away but eventually return to the source but what a ride was it. 4 stars (more if it was possible - 4.5 stars). If you liked this album, then you should try Cerebus Effect as well, especially the album Acts of Deception.

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars I'm going to be an Evil Guy here - 3.5 stars actually!

Well, DELUGE GRANDER is unquestionably great in instrumental pieces, but there MUST be a halt (for me). They are LONG. Yes, that's what Prog has been always struggling for, but please don't make it long for the sake of length only! Another complaint is voice. Guys, DON'T sing. Stop this backward whispering you call "vocals" in credits and better concentrate on music (which is - I'll repeat it again - great and beautiful, almost brilliant!). Now, with more concise or concentrated tracks and without vocals it would be THE GREATEST SYMPHONIC PROG ALBUM OF 2006!!! Shame on those who ignores it - only 5 ratings now including mine - this is a must for every Prog freak (despite my notes above)!!! It's like NATIONAL HEALTH meets YES!!! Highly recommended!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars The thing I like the most about this album is the cover art. I ddn't notice for some time that there is a city up in the sky that the person in the boat is pointing at. I was previously taken up with the river, trees and mountains all looking so beautiful. DELUGE GRANDER are basically CEREBUS EFFECT with a different bass player playing a more symphonic style of music.

The opening track "Inaugral Bash" is almost 27 minutes long and is divided into seven parts. A song of this length has many tempo and mood changes with sax, xylophone, trumpet and flute being used. There is a darkness that comes and goes as well as sampled mellotron not only on this track but on other songs as well. Lots of piano on this one and some good guitar work.

"August In The Arals" opens with acoustic guitar as the tempo picks up a minute in. We get vocals on this track but they really disappoint. The guitar and soundscape after 5 minutes is fantastic. Vocals are back 12 1/2 minutes in and the bass is prominant. "Abandoned Mansion Afternoon" has vocals and the guitar is a little more aggressive as flute comes and goes. "A Squirrel" is my favourite song on this album. Drums and piano are fast paced to open and the song becomes quite jazzy. The keyboards really liven this song up. The guitar sounds great especially after 5 1/2 minutes. "The Solitude Of Miranda" has a Spanish feel to it. There are female vocals with uptempo piano melodies all over it. The Spanish flavour is back.

This is one of these albums that I feel I should really like, but for some reason I can't get into it. 3 stars.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A stunning debut by this US outfit.

The five tracks on their first release is steeped in the symphonic prog traditions of yesteryear; but although a multitude of sounds and instrument utilizations are familiar sounding and even pretty easily placable in terms of where you've heard similar outings previously; there's nothing even remotely derivative about these ventures into a vintage sounding symphonic territory.

Indeed, these jazz and classical tinged compositions are immensely detailed, with plentiful of sonic textures and a myriad of subtle elements changing, evolving, subdued, added and drawn away faster than you're able to note them down.

Energetic themes in mellow segments and majestic moods created by subtle effects are the rule rather than the exception, and dominant sounds are toned down rather than up - with an excellent production that despite coming across as somewhat subdued really manages to brig forth all details you'd like and a few more.

A delightful creation, well worth checking out if elaborate, adventurous symphonic prog is to your liking.

Review by lor68
3 stars Well the present CD was a surprise in the period of its issue, above all regarding of this strange mix of a symphonic music (sometimes simplistic)- tinged with the Canterburian tones- which makes this product diverse and quite interesting too. Ok you think of the band Cerubus Effect from Baltimore, but the main leader is always in search of a certain complexity in the arrangements, even though the drums performance is not the best feature to be remarked here!! At the end it's an interesting project by Dan Britton (playing the keyboards, especially the Mellotron, as well as the guitars) being involved also in the jazz tones (do you remember the immediate jazz arrangements regarding for example the albums by Hatfield and The North?).

Ok this cd probably doesn't reach the peak of inspiration like that unique one within "Rotter's Club" by H. & The North, but it's never an emulating sample of the seventies, being quite original too!!

So you could also add an half star at least- in your evaluation!!

Post scriptum: A special mention for the pretty cover picture of this album dated 2006!!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Bombastic and pompous, but at the same time sober and intelligent

The first time I heard about DELUGE GRANDER was in 2006 when this USA band was suggested for Symphonic, the first member of the team that listened them was my good friend H.T. Riekels who was really impressed. Being that on those days we had a lot of work, I let it pass for some weeks, but H.T. put a lot of pressure on me not only sending PM's and mails, but also mentioning the band in our daily coordination chats.

The guy was so insistent that I had to buy "August in the Urals" without listening samples just to stop listening him, and even when this is not the Symphonic I was used to, was really impressed with the magnificent, pompous and at the same time elegant sound of the band.

It was clear that the Symphonic structural evolution that started on the 90's in Eastern Europe, had spread all around the world and that we were before a new form of the genre that would bring freshness to the music we grew with, so immediately mailed all the team and the band was added.

This evolution I'm talking about is obvious since the first note, if the 70's pioneers of Symphonic were masters blending Rock and Classical, this guys are making a richer fusion of genres that cross, Jazz, Classical, Avant Garde and everything we can just imagine.

The album opener "Inaugural Bash" is a good example of this tendency, the first couple of minutes they play some sort of Symphonic soft Jazz, but then the change begins, it's not radical as we are used to, but progressive even when not less dramatic. The music slowly morphs from fast and lets say light, to mysterious and haunting, even when the piano is the lead instrument, the organ mix is simply out of this world. As the song advances, we can perceive the influence of such musicians as Rachmaninoff mixed with dark chants and soft choirs.

But "Inaugural Bash" is 25 minutes long, and the band has time to bombard us with Mellotron guitar riffs, trumpet, xylophone and many other instruments, creating wonderful dissonances without loosing the concept of melody, simply brilliant.

"August in the Urals" is absolutely different, more fluid and less mysterious, but this time the interplay between piano and acoustic guitar is simply amazing. The subtle and sometimes vocals even when not in the same level of the music are good enough to keep intact the beauty and complexity of the music This time the changes are really dramatic and unexpected, as we Symphonic freaks enjoy so much.

"Abandoned Mansion Afternoon" again starts jazzy for almost three minutes, but then as in the first track, the soft metamorphosis begins, and after a couple of minutes of guitar and vocal transition we are again before a complex and haunting musical piece with surprises each minute and a frenetic finale.

"A Squirrel" is an incredibly dynamic track, and even when it seems as a jamming session between piano and drums mainly, they manage to transform it into a full blown Prog piece of music with sudden changes and odd timings, play special attention to the organ section around the fourth minute, that leads to a jazzy passage and another dramatic finale, it's specially brilliant.

The album ends with "The Solitude of Miranda", a frantic track that starts with a hint of EMERSON LAKE & PALMER keyboards to change into something hard to explain but easy to enjoy, the speed and accuracy of Dan Britton is impressive, now closer to the style of RICK WAKEMAN; but the combination of soft female and strong male choirs surrounded by Moorish/Flamenco guitar, is the cherry on the top of the pie.

What else can I say about an album that pioneers the Symphonic evolution in USA and that doesn't have a single weak track?...Well maybe that it's 100% essential to understand the music we will be listening in the next years.

Even when I rarely give the maximum rating to a debut album, this time I can't go with less than 5 solid stars, without being unfair.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars Dan Britton is a man that I have come to have an enormous amount of respect for, and the recent arrival of my Emkog 2010 Sampler has reminded me that it has been far too long since I listened to any of his material.

Deluge Grander was Dan's first project - okay, technically, he was in Cerberus Effect before this, but this is the first one that was his (Cerberus Effect already had released some material before he even joined the group). And this is Deluge Grander's first album. There is no doubting that there is some sort of crazy, idea-spewing genius living inside the brain of Dan Britton. And Deluge Grander is a band that I wish I could always give five star ratings to. The music is dense, complex, challenging, original, and interesting.

Unfortunately, as much as I can hear the genius behind the music and as much as I can tell that someday - someday - this band will release a masterpiece, or just as likely, a string of them, they haven't quite hit that point yet.

This album suffers from two major flaws. The first is the production - which, in itself, wouldn't necessarily be too bad, but it is not as clear as one would like, especially with music that is as dense as this. 99% of the time, I would never mention this but after having seen Deluge Grander perform live on the Romantic Warriors DVD, I realised that there are some excellent parts that are buried under the music, either because of the production or the mixing. Some of this is also cleared up in the Emkog sampler.

The second flaw are the second and third tracks - each of which, while I wouldn't necessarily call bad, tend to drag and vanish from memory not long after they end.

Deluge Grander's second release, The Form of The Good, would be a much more consistent release than this one, but this one still has their best moments. Specifically, I am talking about the last two tracks, "A Squirrel" and "The Solitude of Miranda". These are just as dense and complex as anything else in this album, but it feels on these tracks like the band really cut loose, each being quite upbeat and, dare I say it - fun and catchy. Perhaps this is why I always forget August in the Urals and Abandoned Mansion Afternoon - each is slower and more ponderous, and the energy of these closing tracks simply takes over.

I have sort of a confusing relationship with the opening epic, Inaugural Bash (In - Aug - Ural - August In the Urals - coincidence?). When not listening to it, I don't feel like it is worth being 27 minutes long, yet whenever I do listen to it, I tend to enjoy it from first note to the last. It is full of strong dynamics, great melodies, and odd sounds - all with the denseness and creativity that make Deluge Grander such an awesome band. But it just doesn't have enough parts that are memorable enough for it to feel like a fulfilling 27 minute songs while it's not playing. I don't know, it's complicated.

All nitpicking aside, this is a very strong first effort, and with music that is this challenging to listen to, i imagine it is much more difficult to write it perfectly the first time through. And it demonstrates that, once they've perfected their process, Deluge Grander is going to be a major force in the prog world.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dan Britton tends to be the US equal to Italy's Fabio Zuffanti.He is a man with an esoteric lust for creativity and originality in music,which have lead him to form a number of projects along with his own Emkog label.Dan was a member of Cerebus Effect,where he met founding member drummer Patrick Gaffney,with whom he decided to form a new band,DELUGE GRANDER (a pun on "Delusions of Grandeur'') in Baltimore in 2005.The two musicians were supported by Dave Berggren on guitars and Brett d'Anon on bass.Next year finds the band releasing the 70-min. prog journey ''August in the Urals'' on Britton's own Emkog label.

STYLE: Complicated prog with retro influences to say the least,performed in a very unique and personal way.Five adventuruous cuts ranging from 7 to 27 minutes with very limited vocals,focusing on intricate,complex,tight and challenging musicianship.Britton is a guy with an education both in Jazz and Classical music,a fact taped almost in every composition of the album.Describing the album track by track would be useless,as everyone of them has so many twists,it's almost impossible not to write a sum of over a thousand words for all of them.I will generally that if you want something trully complicated with a sound approaching Classic 70's Prog this is the album for you.Main characteristicts: Dominant and grandiose use of mellotron,trully heavy and dark bass lines,alternating use of keys,a guitarist changing his style from smooth HACKETT-ish playing with jazzy overtones to heavy intricate parts and a style twisting constantly between Symphonic Rock to fast and furious Jazz-Fusion with endless interplays and tightly connected themes.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Mix 1/3 of classic period smooth GENESIS/YES with the darkness of mid 70's-period KING CRIMSON or early VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR along with the complexity of GENTLE GIANT or the jazzyness of CAMEL.A symphonic side of CEREBUS EFFECT would be quite accurate also.Am I the only one to hear some of early 70's Italian Prog influences also?

PLUS: Of course with so many influences the sound is not 100% original,but this band is definitely unique in their approach.Despite the long tracks,all of them are as tight as they can get with an unstoppable flow and a fast tempo generally.Mellotron sounds tend to almost avant-garde at times and that is original.Jazz-Fusion parts are absolutely fascinating and among the best to be heard in the modern league, I guarantee that. Britton's playing is also awesome,atmospheric mellotron parts give their place to non- boring professional solos and delicate piano passages.The guitar playing is a highlight too,despite to obvious HACKETT-ish influence.One of the most adventuruous releases of modern prog.

MINUS: Vocals are fortunately limited,as they are distorted and could fit more in a Gothic band than a Prog Rock one.A very difficult album which is not for any part of the day.

WILL APPEAL TO: ...anyone without exception!

CONCLUSION/RATING: ''August in the Urals'' is great music experience,which requires numerous repeated listenings to be fully appreciated.One of the top albums of 2006,which dramatically blends Symphonic and Jazz Rock with a hard to desribe atmosphere.Worth its money,purchase at any reasonable price.4 or even 4.5 stars!

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What we have here? A great symphonic album that comes from USA? Yeah, that's right!

Well, I'm not used to listen Symphonic rock albums from USA, so, for me, it's quite a big surprise, specially because it's a very good one!

I've heard about Deluge Grander when I bought my copy of the DVD Romantic Warriors (which, by the way, is a great Prog Rock documentary). And I was really curious, so I started with a copy from their first album, the 2006's August In The Urals.

The man behind the band is Dan Britton (composer, keyboards, vocals and guitars), and maybe the production isn't that great (well, it's the first release from his own label Emkog and independent at the same time), but that don't affect really the overall sound. My only complaint is about the vocals, I do think they're good, a kind of spoken voice style, but they're way far too 'hidden' on background. It should be on front, that would make the music even more relevant.

All in all August In The Urals have some great symphonic passages, keyboard driven (good ones, not that kind of 90's prog rock comeback stolen from Pink Floyd's The Division Beall that I always disliked).

5 tunes on the album, 2 of them with more than 12 minutes long and a big opening track: 'Inaugural Bash' with 26.

Deluge Grander have 2 albums, the second one, 2009's The Form Of The Good I have to pick it up yet, hope they fixed the vocal thing, cause if they did, it's probably a great record.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars August in the Urals is an ambitious blend of meticulously composed symphonic prog-rock and jazz fusion. Largely instrumental, Dan Britton and band bring their impressive songwriting and playing virtuosity with panache. Songs are extended and diverse, consisting of countless musical ideas that shift tempo, dynamics, and tone regularly. While in reality most of these ideas were probably stitched together in the studio, the result is a mature sound that feels organic. There is a ton of music to consume with this release, and it'll take a dedicated listener to discover them all!

First let's talk about the overall feel of August in the Urals. Throughout this album you'll hear a band recreating the "classic" prog sound better than most of the other throwback groups around today. There's something about the production that really captures a rawness that was heard frequently in the '70's. Nothing is overproduced, and there are no slick studio tricks; this really does sound the band is playing this stuff in one take and in unison, and it's very impressive. If you love to hear real musicianship in your music, you'll get an overwhelming amount of it with this album! Songs make no effort to create hooks memorable melodies; they are musical moments that move from one to the next, allowing you to take away what you will in the process.

Instrumentally the group is off the charts. They pull off ambitious compositions in what sounds like effortless proficiency. Britton's keyboards are varied and always doing something interesting. Bassist d'Anon plays very melodically, often with a fuzz distortion that gives moments of this album sound very Crimson-esque (from "Red" era). Berggren's guitars are very understated, sounding little like a typical rock player, but using restraint and enthusiasm when called for. He's at his best when playing in a classical style. Gaffney's drumming is unflappable as well, keeping up the time and melodies equally well. Though his kit sounds limited, the amount of sound and diversity he creates certainly isn't.

One of the few criticisms I have of this album's is the integration of Britton's vocals. He sings only on two tracks, and honestly, it's really difficult to tell if they're meant to be sarcastic or serious. There is a playfulness to the album that it really makes me wonder! Britton's voice is unabashedly simple, without much inflection or range. Most "normal" listeners will probably be turned off by it; for me, they drift in to the background. They aren't awful, but I'm not sure they strengthen the album. On the other hand, the lyrics are thoughtful and sensitive, so they get a pass for me.

If you're a fan of Britton's other projects, such as Birds and Buildings, you'll probably find August in the Urals very enjoyable and less intense. It's an approachable piece of symphonic prog for those who enjoy instrumentals most of all, and to be honest it's the record's slow and quite moments that I enjoyed most. That being said, while you can appreciate the artistry within, this album may not resonate with you as much as other works because so much of it's emotion comes from the subtlety of instruments. Still, a worthy purchase from one of the under appreciated artists in the prog community. Recommended!

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars OK, i have to admit that my mind is in the gutter because every time i read this title it translates as "August In The Urinals" which makes me think of unthinkable stinkiness on the streets of San Francisco freshly excreted by the burgeoning homeless population. But wait! I digress before i even get started! Thankfully when Dan Britton left Cerebrus Effect, he didn't waste any time taking his passion for progressive oriented rock and taking it to the moon and back and this album in reality is the exact antithesis of that misconstrued mistranslation. The debut album by DELUGE GRANDER is a triumph in the one, two punch that the 90s provided in the prog revival scene with bands such as Anglagard and Dream Theater leading the way. The correct title of the album, ah hem, is AUGUST IN THE URALS and debuted in 2006 but despite its release well into the 21st century, this band was in love with not only the usual suspects of the past but also the lesser known prog acts such as Cathedral, Kenso, Maneige, Miriodor, Semiramis, Asia Minor, Kotebel and Crucis. This rich palette of influences gives this music a true classic feel although the complexity meter is turned up to 11 and counting.

Britton explains that the DELUGE GRANDER debut album was a work of passion that lasted 8 months right after he finished grad school and before he found full employment. Inspiration occurred in the sleepless cycles where he would labor away in 26 to 30 hour cycles and catch a nap whenever time would permit. This frame of mind in this period of his life explains the labor of love which resulted in a staggeringly complex behemoth of prog that nearly hits the 71 minute mark. While this was the period of time when Britton admits he didn't have a lot of musical equipment and even incorporated on this album an old analog Univox synthesizer that he found lying outside his apartment complex all covered in snow. While the money and equipment may have been in short supply, the passion and inspiration were clearly not lacking. This is the type of album where every single stroke of the key and pluck of the string is cleverly crafted and adroitly animated in a serious never-ending stream into the prog universe.

The album begins with the monstrosity near 27 minute long "Inaugural Bash" which slowly begins with a simple keyboard and guitar riff that ratchet their way into a complex web of sonic subtleties and compositional prowess that ebbs and flows like a never-ending stream wending its way through a lush verdant vale in some bucolic setting. This piece is mostly instrumental with only scant few vocals poking out of the moody mist of layered synthesizers and irregular time signature workouts with bass and drum marching along like a jazz-addicted clown on Bourbon Street in New Orleans after a few drinky-poos circulating in the old blood stream. While the grooves and melodies are all over the place, there are some that recur for an anchoring effect but mostly, this one drifts off in a musical march that takes you on a ride that you never want to disembark. The title track is only about half as long but still at a near 16 minute time run is another prog behemoth that continues the symphonic bombast with tender and heart-felt melodies fluttering into your ears and directly into your center of prog sensibilities. This one has a lot of interesting guitar workouts performed by Dave Berggren that are sort of flamenco-esque yet very unique and frenetically displaying a rotisserie of complex time signature workouts. While musically this is another beauty of a prog standard on steroids, one of the weakness of the band occurs with Britton's vocals much like the same style of vocal tracks on his debut Birds and Buildings album. While not unlistenable in the vocal department, the style seems to be substandard for the type of vocals that such dynamic music seems to be calling for. Nevertheless, the title track is another winner of proggy yumminess guaranteed to win a high place in the prog museum on that far away world that only exists in a Roger Dean album cover.

The third track "Abandoned Mansion Afternoon" is yet another behemoth track that slightly exceeds the 12 minute mark and ushers in yet more moody symphonic laden prog rock workouts that shuffle time sigs, dynamics and tempos into a mystifying blender of spits them out in incremental deliveries. This is another vocal track that sounds most like the title track with Britton's baritone and detached sounding vocals that cruise along in a rather monotonous manner residing on a lower octave. The quirky bass lines and guitar riffs meander and wander aimlessly at times into completely new pastures but always result in extremely precise and bizarre instrumental interplay. The final two tracks "A Squirrel" and "The Solitude Of Miranda" are all instrumental and show more varied tempos with emphasis on some of the more energetic passages on the album. Without the vocals keeping them on the leash, the individual instruments are allowed to run free range and conjure up whatever mojo they can muster up and with keyboard riffs run amok, bass slaps and guitars whizzing up and down the scales, we get a satisfying ending of prog workouts to end the album.

AUGUST IN THE URALS is a contumacious display of unbridled prog that knows no limitations and provides the utmost efficacious pomp and awe that many a modern act is incapable of dishing out in such lofty doses. This is one of those albums that is just so grand in scope that its intransigent serpentine flow of ambitiousness will surely leave even the most hardened progger having to gasp for air. While the melodies and grooves are rather airy and light-hearted, there are just so many twists and turns that it's almost impossible to grasp upon first listen. This is one truly for those who love it dense and complex as possible and in that regard DELUGE GRANDER deliver the goods in an unapologetic procedure of symphonic prog overload. This is exactly the type of music that floats my boat the most. This is a brilliant album slightly bogged down only by the vocal parts that don't do the music justice but even on those parts, AUGUST IN THE URALS is a splendidly well constructed album that displays all the passion and devotion that went into it. Excellent debut!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Back in the 2000's, the discovery of Deluge Grander took my breath away because it seemed like an advent of progressive rock that was original, fresh yet combined many influences from the past in a delicate taste. Elaborate compositions, thoughtful playing, enigmatic singing and plenty of sonic ... (read more)

Report this review (#2639030) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, December 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Baptism by fire. The album opens with a real bash. Absolutely necessary to enter the musical world of Dan Britton! From the start, he offers us music shrouded in mystery, romantic and dense. The compositions are rich and loaded (like Relayer of Yes), the vocals are bizarre and distant, the chords ... (read more)

Report this review (#2484286) | Posted by Muskrat | Saturday, December 12, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Remnants of the Baltimore-based jazz-fusiony band Cerebus Effect head up this wonderful new prog band with the abstruse name of Deluge Grander. I don't know if it was the subliminal influence of the cover art and album name, but this album frequently had a sound reminiscent of something Russian or f ... (read more)

Report this review (#2440719) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Monday, August 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 3 1/2 stars really. Who would have imagined that there could be anything new and original in the symphonic prog sub-genre? Well, there is, and it's Deluge Grander. Now, being honest, this is not quite in the category of "like nothing you've ever heard before". It is symph prog after all so ... (read more)

Report this review (#604036) | Posted by infandous | Friday, January 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the nicest surprises of recent years: August in the Urals is symphonic prog, a bit Canterbury, a little jazz, but with a freshness and inventiveness not listened for some time. The compositions are quite long, but flowing nicely thanks to the superb and exciting atmosphere created by Britt ... (read more)

Report this review (#279809) | Posted by prog61 | Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is most certainly not for the faint hearted. I myself barely survived this experience. This band went out to create a fusion between symphonic prog and fusion/jazz. In this process, they touched base with some other genres too. Did they suceed ? Yes, is my answer. I have been ... (read more)

Report this review (#257480) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This a by far the one of the most interesting album in many years, does not sound like the neighbors band, no, these guys have developed a really inspiring sound. Rarely have i lately listened to a new record so intensive then this one, this is music where you can discover huge depths of musicali ... (read more)

Report this review (#168692) | Posted by progpsych4ever | Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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