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THE FORM OF THE GOOD

Deluge Grander

Symphonic Prog


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Deluge Grander The Form Of The Good album cover
3.79 | 90 ratings | 14 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Before the Common Era (5:22)
2. The Tree Factory (14:08)
3. Common Era Caveman (6:26)
4. Aggrandizement (19:12)
5. The Form of the Good (8:41)

Total Time: 53:49

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Berggren / guitars
- Dan Britton / keyboards
- Brett d'Anon / bass
- Patrick Gaffney / drums

Guest musicians:
- Nathan Bontrager / cello
- Frank d'Anon / chorus, wood block
- Brian Falkowski / clarinet, flute, saxophone
- Heather MacArthur / violin
- Jose Luis Oviedo / trumpet
- N. Aaron Pancost / trombone
- Kelli Short / oboe
- Megan Wheatley / vocals

Releases information

Emkog 004

Art work by Kezia Terracciano

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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The Form of the GoodThe Form of the Good
Emkog 2009
Audio CD$10.70
$17.53 (used)
August in the UralsAugust in the Urals
Emkog 2006
Audio CD$12.99
$6.21 (used)
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DELUGE GRANDER The Form Of The Good ratings distribution


3.79
(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
20%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

DELUGE GRANDER The Form Of The Good reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars I took a hiatus from P.A. almost a year ago, and really had no immediate plans to come back. Then, out of the blue, I got a package in the mail. It was from Dan Britton, and contained a copy of the new Deluge Grander album. Apparently he did not realize that I was no longer active. However, he did know that I was a big fan. So, because he took the trouble to send it to me, I thought it only right that I submit a review (and the first one) here. His action also inspired me to resume writing about the music I love. For that (and more) I am very grateful.

When I first heard Deluge Grander, I became an instant fan. "August in the Urals" made my list for best of 2006, and got me very excited about the future of symphonic prog. There was much debate during the initial inclusion process as to whether this was truly a symphonic band or not. I argued vigorously for symph, and have been completely validated with this release.

The opener, "Before the Common Era," Should sound very familiar to anyone who has Heard Deluge Grander before. The mood, tonal quality, and ghostly vocals are all there. It sounds like something that could have been left off of "August in the Urals." The difference is that it is fully orchestrated. This gives it tremendous depth and lushness. It's not an overt, in your face type of thing, but it is rich. The strings are absolutely gorgeous. This time out, the band is also taking us in slowly. This is definitely an intro, and as Dan Britton says, the shortest thing they have ever written.

"The Tree Factory" begins in classic symph land (tasty mellotron), and gets darker as it goes along. Two minutes in, it becomes a fusion jam out. This builds, changes gears, and even total direction a few times. The jazz themes remain present, but not always in the forefront. One thing that strikes me is that it makes me think of Birds and Buildings. I think the esthetic from that project carried over a bit. There is a distinct Zuehl feel to the pace and intensity.

"Common Era Caveman" seems to be more of an extension of the previous track. It continues the frenetic fusion jamming. Only this time there is more fuzz, and a strong Zappa influence.

The next part is where this album really comes into it's own. In my review of the debut, I mentioned how it suffered a bit by starting out with the big epic. After that, nothing else quite measures up. This time it is next to last (was someone listening?). "Aggrandizement" is full on glorious symph. In fact, I think it is closer to classical music than rock. It really is a big orchestrated symphonic piece. It is pure Deluge Grander all the way, but boy did they hit the nail on the head this time. There are parts that may sound derivative, but they are nonetheless welcome. Other parts I find truly striking, and surprising (check around ten minutes in). When the mood takes them, this outfit can really cook. It's just an outstanding piece of music.

I find the title track very interesting. The beginning is like something that would be a short, postscript closer. It evolves into something dark, and subtly menacing. The music is actually soft, but there is an uneasy tension. The tension and menace continue to build to eeriness. Just when the decent into the netherworld seems imminent, redemption is found. The grandiose, 'all is well now' thing may seem trite, but it is pulled off expertly. I mean come on. Didn't most of us dig our classic prog opuses because they made us feel renewed at the end? Well, I sure did (think "Misplaced Childhood," and "Supper's Ready").

So, how does the sophomore effort of this Dan Britton project measure up? Is it as good as "August in the Urals?" Is it a let down, or is it even better? You know what, I'm not even going to go there. The first couple of listens didn't take hold. Perhaps it was because I wasn't paying close enough attention by the time "Aggrandizement" started (which alone is worth the price of the CD. But now that I have applied the "critical" treatment, I see that its value should not be judged that way. Some things are very familiar, but the addition of strings and winds provide what may have been missing before. The quality of the production is also much improved. Whatever the differences, or similarities may be, Deluge Grander just makes great music. I was ga-ga about the first album, and a lot of that had to do with how original it was. So, this one doesn't sound as fresh, but that doesn't make it any less good. Go get it.

H.T. Riekels

P.S. As much as I love it, something is keeping me from giving it the full five. Sorry Dan, but his one gets four.

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Send comments to bhikkhu (BETA) | Report this review (#211673) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Good is in great Form

Let me start by saying this: There are several bands and musicians that when I listen to their album I think to myself: "I wish I could compose music like this. I wish I would have composed this". This is the case with Deluge Grander's music.

This is the second Deluge Grander album, another musical delicatessen from Dan Britton's creative mind (keyboards), along with his highly talented band mates, Dave Berggren (guitars), Brett d'Anon (bass) and Patrick Gaffney (drums). This time around Dan hired the services of a large lineup of classical musicians to enhance the sound and add more dimensions to the music. The musicians, mostly from College Park, in Maryland, bring in the lineup such instruments as cello, clarinet, flute, saxophone, violin, trumpet, trombone and oboe. This orchestral addition comes out very well and is best heard on the track Aggrandizement.

As this album is different somewhat in sound and also style to August In The Urals (which I love), I will not compare it to that one, but only mention, that in this album, Deluge Grander show a fabulous progression and change and adaptation of new ingredients in their music. This album is not as affluent and volumetric sounding as the previous one, but it sure does not lack anything in creativity, musicianship and beauty. Though the music has influences from the classic symphonic-prog-rock days along with jazzy touches and funk-sounding parts and also sounds that might fit very well in Canterbury scene albums (with that fuzzy sounding keyboard), this album presents fresh sounding music, that warms my heart each time I listen to it. Not only are the melodies captivating, but their execution is as good. I also hear some elements of Birds And Buildings' highly energetic sound here in the third track, Common Era Cavemen.

In this album, Dan's keyboard work takes a different approach from their previous album; more poignant, edgy and at times squeaky sounding (in a very good way). They are very much on the front of the mix, setting the tone and leading the way of the melody. The drumming by Gaffney is fantastic and seamlessly change rhythm and patterns as different sections of each track come about.

The album starts with Before The Common Era, which is as Dan writes in the release notes, the shortest piece Deluge Grander ever wrote and also the quietest one. Frank d'Anon, Brett's uncle, again contributes here, and this time in the form of chanting. This track is an atmosphere creator, a mood and tone setting piece and it is quite restrained and mellow, but serves as an appropriate opener, though I might have put it in the middle of the album and opened with another track. But that is a minor detail. This opening track reaches a majestic climax brought about by the keyboards in its middle part and the goes back to its original volume level and theme. Listen to this (and the rest of the album) in high volume to achieve the best listening experience.

The intricacy, the swift changes from fast and dynamic to slower and charming - all of these are here. Take for example The Tree Factory with its several main themes assembled together into one woven coherent piece; there is one passage here at around 10:30 where the keyboards make a subtle yet heart warming sound to signal a rebirth of sorts, a dawning of a new time, the coming of a new part of melody which sounds familiar to what we heard in the beginning and yet is not the same; building a future based on the past, but improved. I hear here several styles, each one being dominant in one part (though not being the sole style prevalent); you have "conventional symphonic prog", fusion and funk. Dan mentions in the attached release notes that he used a "conventional Supertramp-styled electric piano pattern" and this in fact adds a lot of warmth to the sound and this piece. I have to mention the wonderful drumming here by Patrick Gaffney, who does the wonderful transitions between the various themes and rhythms and provides highly engaging dynamics. The "decorations" of this track with the classical instruments is another well done feature.

The third piece, Common Era Cavemen, opens in a mellow fashion and then spurs into action with more great keyboards work that envelops everything and cast a spellbinding atmosphere and creates a vast and rich sound. All band members here do an excellent work (not to say it's not the case in the other tracks, but here is a fine example of how well they play and mix it together). This piece doesn't develop as much as the others in the album, being mostly, as Dan states, a "2-chord sequence", but the intensity and the layers the instruments provide are such that I find myself drowning in sound here (in a good way) and get carried away by the power of this almost jam-like session. Brett d'Anon on bass and Dave Berggren on guitar provide excellent and powerful playing that make this piece work very well in addition to the saxophone playing by Brian Falkowski.

Aggrandizement, the center piece here which is also the longest track is a fabulous achievement. Starting in a mellow fashion (again) it gains power as it proceeds. Here the orchestral side gets the most exposure, as the other tracks in the album, while (most are) featuring them, aren't as fully decorated with them as it is here. The opening segment is grandiose and then seamlessly flows into the band itself starting to play along with the orchestral side, making the band sound as rich as ever. To me they sound so good and natural together that I hope this kind of collaboration continues in future efforts by the band, even though, as Dan told me, it is a very elaborate project to write the parts for them, have them rehearse it, record it (and then re-write it, rehearse again and re-record etc.). But I think the result is more than worth it. This "Form" of the band, having an orchestral side, is a thing of beauty. The way the band sounds with the addition of the additional instruments unravels extra dimensions in the music and adds colors and imageries to the music that the lineup of four members, as talented as they are, can't always create. This piece again is made up of several segments and like in their other epics, such as Inaugural Bash from their previous album, I find it to be very well arranged and put together, which is not an easy task at all. There are shifts from the magical and slow paced theme to a faster and louder part that reaches high levels of intensity. I think some might say that parts of it (such as the one from around 15 minutes onwards) are over the top and unnecessary, and while I understand such a comment, I simply love every minute of wonderful music this band can provide. It does get very loud sounding and can be overwhelming at some points, but I personally am not bothered by this. There are some hair-raising moments in here, such as in the very end, at 18:30, where you just about feel like the enlarged band is about to choke you with their wall of sound and it ends.

The title track, The Form Of The Good, opens with a quite foreboding sound and mood; as if something bad is going to happen. Is this the form of the Good? It goes on quite mellow but still powerful for about two minutes and then silences a bit for two more minutes with an air filled with suspense, setting a stage for something to happen, but we are not sure what. This section may remind you with its use of the enlarged lineup, of a Univers Zero theme where a menacing pattern develops to reach a peak but here the peak at about 4:30 turns out to sound very optimistic and not scary at all. A very well done arrangement and well structured. This benevolent sounding pattern dominates the track from here on, drawing the Form of the Good. And its Form is very attractive. Layers of sound built on this melody as well as additional re-arranging of it make this repetitive segment anything but dull.

The overall sound is not crystal clear and clean, but more rasp and raw, which fits the music very well and as Dan writes, this is not as polished sounding as other bands, but I feel this is not necessarily a drawback. The warm fuzzy sound of the music and especially the keyboards and saxophone are part of the heart of what makes this music be in such good form.

This album is another brilliant achievement from Deluge Grander. This is one of those albums I want to listen to again when it's done. Surprisingly, it didn't take as many listens to absorb it as August In The Urals did; perhaps because I knew what to expect and could follow more easily the structure of the different pieces. This album is a great joy to listen to. Highly recommended for both fans of the band (and Dan Britton's other projects) and folks new to the band as well.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#211726) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 19, 2009

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Once again, Deluge Grander have shown themselves to be one of the most daring of all symphonic prog bands. Their second album, THE FORM OF THE GOOD, is so intense I can only describe it as visionary. And yet I wonder if it is going to find the band any new admirers. Personally, I didn't find the album a particularly pleasant listening experience. It sounds incredibly hectic. Its major opus, "Aggrandizement", sounds as if the craziest bits from "The Gates of Delirium" and THE STORY OF I (without those Brazilian influences!) have been pasted together, speeded up and extended across nineteen minutes. I must admire Dan Britton's courage, but perhaps I'm getting a little too old for this sort of thing. (I'll be hitting fifty in 2010.)

Previous reviewers have praised THE FORM OF THE GOOD's production values, and it must be said that David Berggren's highly inventive guitar playing now comes across more clearly than on AUGUST IN THE URALS, but on the whole the music sounds very shrill. Over-produced, even. Why have one instrument perform a solo at full speed when you can have two doing the same job with equal conviction - one in the left and one in the right channel? (This trick, too, seems to have been borrowed from THE STORY OF I.) On track after track, tension is built up relentlessly, until the listener finds himself begging for release, but there are no lead vocals this time, no soaring melodies in the spirit of THE FOUNTAIN OF SALMACIS. It's only in the final track that Deluge Grander achieve something totally wonderful and unexpected. The tune opens gloomily, it seems that an overwhelmingly dark album will be dragged to a glum conclusion, but then there's a sudden key change, and the piece ends with the most triumphant instrumental prog I've heard since the finale of "To Be Over".

More than ever, Deluge Grander are a band to watch out for. (If they came to my neighbourhood, I'd definitely go and watch them play.) They may not yet have come up with their definitive masterpiece, but they must be admired for their originality. In sheer audacity they far surpass any of their symphonic prog contemporaries. I've got the feeling THE FORM OF THE GOOD is going to take a lot of time to truly digest. I'll let you know if I feel differently about it in a year (or more).

Addendum: On 7 February 2010, almost a year after posting my review, I've decided the album has indeed grown on me. In spite of its predominant shrillness, I've learnt to appreciate its tunes and many more of its climaxes. I've therefore decided to increase my initial rating from three to four stars.

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Send comments to fuxi (BETA) | Report this review (#214853) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 11, 2009

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Excellent album, this sophomore effort by US act Deluge Grander.

This mostly instrumental affair should be a revelation for those who like to immerse themselves in vintage-sounding symphonic progressive rock. The production, unless I'm much mistaken, seems to deliberatly try to recreate the analogue sound we had in yesteryear - no obvious digital enhancements to the sound; and with a warm, "soft" touch to the audio in general. Thankfully the instruments aren't drowning in fuzzy soundcapes though; as with most modern productions the instruments come across as clear and distinct. And with the number of instruments active in these ventures that is a very good thing indeed.

A minor army of musicians playing archetypical classical music instruments are added to these excursions, with massive, ever evolving and rather challenging compositions as a result. This is an album for those with a desire for complex and advanced symphonic progressive rock - with dissonances and disharmonies subtly but extensively utilized as effects; and where the rich, multi-layered sonic tapestry is the rule rather than the opposite.

Highly recommended, of course.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#228778) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Very interesting instrumental american band. The Form Of the Good was my first taste of their sound and I found it quite impressive, although not altogether very pleasant. The musicians are obviously very skilled and brain master Dan Brixton is a creative writer. The orchestral arrangements are very strong and climatic, the band is obviously very influenced by King Crimson (from In The Court Of The Crimson King to Larks Tongues In Aspic, they cover them all), but they lack the sense of melody of that band and its balance between the simple and the avant guard. Some Yes and, to a much lesser extent, Genesis bits are also present.

The band often seems a little overshadowed by the arrangements, there are few solos from the band members other than Brixton keyboards, of course. The best track is the last one, The Form Of The Good, in which the musical build up actually goes somewhere and offers a hint that maybe better things may lie ahead for us. Production could be quite better too. As it is I found this record to be a good one, but more promising than anything else. I don´t know any other Brixton work so I´m judging this album by itself only. My final rating: something between 2,5 to 3 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#228960) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 2.5 stars

I liked DG's debut, but this one is seems to be much more jazz-rock/fusion-oriented, somewhat avantish at times. I have the same problem with DG as with NEMO and some other contemporary Symph/Retro-Prog bands: melodies, folks. Where have they all gone? What has happend to the good old art of Making Prog Enjoyable To Human Ears? Or had all the good melodies already been played in 70s? Or is it just my weird taste? Anyways, I hear some good stuff here, complex, well-played, but these soundbricks will barely make the whole wall for me: I mean, I can't feel that was composed, not constructed. Good, but too uneven.

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#229820) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 03, 2009

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After the excellent venture undertaken as leader of Birds and Buildings, provider of "Bentham to Behemoth", one of the best 2008's prog rock items, Dan Britton reiterates his role as progressive masterpiece crafter by retaking the Deluge grander project and al together recording this gem entitled "The Form of the Good". This Platonic entity that encapsulated the source of unity and ordainment for both material things and essences works in this album as an indicator of a complex yet fluid framework for some series of musical motifs. If the previous effort "August in the Urals" was a fairly impressive mechanism of eclectic prog where each and every resource of density was patent and ostentatious, "The Form of the Good" takes a healthy step back at this and sets a more ethereal scheme for this equally ambitious set of compositions. Yes, indeed, the musical sophistication is alive and kicking, shining like a brand new sun. Now, as far as reviews on this album go, Britton himself has published a detailed one on the band's website, and I really find it hard for me to dissociate from his statements while writing my own for PA. But? here I go? The opener 'Before the Common Era' delivers an eerie ambience, providing a reflective aura that states a constrained dynamics for the overall instrumentation. The cosmic nuances remind me a bit of that sort of fogginess that Todd Rundgren used to bring in his prog and prog-related albums back in the 70s.: this mood is augmented by the string ensemble and sampled chanting. If track no. 1 is like the soft twilight sparkles at dawn, then track no. 2, 'The Tree Factory', symbolizes the journey from the first morning glory's moments all the way toward the magnificent rush of noon. This one brings a very dense entry for starters, almost Gothic, with that unmistakable Scandinavian vibe that bands such as Anglagard, Sinkadus and White Willow (first 3 albums) have patented for the prog revival era. All of a sudden, the piece shifts to a more agile motif, constructed on a jazz-funky pace, in this way creating a solid element of sonic joy. However, despite this joy, there is a powerful sense of density hanging in there, provided by the consistent use of dissonances at all levels: basic chords progressions, leads, ornaments. Eventually, the framework will soften a bit, giving way to a more candid sonority fed by beautiful guitar and violin solos. Other transitions lead to other vibrant passages: one may sound like a creative mixture of Camel and BMS, another one may go for some sort of "Canterburish ELP", then, the last one goes for a Supertramp-meets- Kayak sort of thing. 'Common Era Caveman' displays an exercise on groovy jazz-instilled prog on the basis of a simple chord progresión, with all musicians showing their polished skills, particularly the drummer, whose constant rolls and beat flourishes manage to keep things fresh and exciting. The recurrent 4/4 tempo goes to a 6/8 after a while, and finally the track evolves into an electrifying climax. The longest piece in the album is the 19+ minute long 'Aggrandizement', which typically encapsulates lots of motifs, moods and nuances. The track's overall mood incarnates, once more, that sort of ethereal grandiosity that Britton & co. has decidedly made their own. There are moments in which the ensemble indulges in chaotic passages that convey exquisite neurosis, while there are others deeply rooted in reflective moods, and others signaled by a carefully crafted architecture. The band exrocises its fear of the void quite effectively, creating a type of dense prog rock that never gets dull or tiring. This track includes some surprising flirtations with the chamber-rock standard (a-la Far Corner). The closing climax states some creepy walls of sound that may remind us of the majestic moments in KC's old suite 'Lizard'. The namesake track occupies the album's final 8 ¾ minutes, starting with a mood somewhat similar to that of the opener, the going for a clever mixture of symphonic, chamber-rock and spacey psychedelia, captured in a bombastic languidness and fuelled by a subtle dynamics. So, how to sum up the value of Deluge Grander's "The Form of the Good"? - a definitive 2009 Top 10 this is, period.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#229982) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars OK, when I first heard this album, I knew it will be good one. But this is probably fifth time in a row I re-winded this album and was trying to write a review.

It's hard to write something when only thing I know for sure is that I like it. There are, well, let's call it, sounds. It's sounds quite a eclectic to me. Symphonic maybe, but a lot of other influences here are clear to see. It's good (oh how I hate this hesitancy, it locks me and I circle around in bunch of few words over and over again). But I think that it has something to do with just this album. I haven't problem reviewing other tens of albums, but this one is unique.

Maybe this style is undefinable. Yeah, this seems like good excuse. A lot of mellotron (which is sometimes the loudest instrument). What can I give, I enjoy this, yet I can't give it some strong attributes. Five stars wouldn't work, so 4 stars is ideal.

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Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Just like Wobbler's second album, the trouble with Deluge Grander's sophomore work is that it tries too hard to be progressive rock. The band does a great job incorporating all those symphonic elements I love, but does so at the expense of two paramount things I look for in almost all music: Melody and direction. There's plenty here to relish, including a few stellar passages, but none of it will be remembered after the final note is played. A pity- it could have been something grander.

"Before the Common Era" Distant, almost Gregorian vocals and beautiful strings form the elegant beginning. The piece maintains that sophistication throughout, but does so without really going anywhere, like the statue of a beautiful woman.

"The Tree Factory" As a side note, I think the title of this piece is quite creative- it lends something of dystopian air. The instrumentation, however, is (perhaps deliberately) weak. For example, the tones of the synthesizers are almost juvenile, yet somehow it seems to work anyway. After two minutes, a funk-oriented groove sets in, setting off a string of different rhythms, often linked together abruptly and with hardly anything one could call a transition. Effectively, this piece represents the exhibition of a very sophisticated jam band, but isn't exactly what I would call a true progressive piece. The whole affair is disjointed, messy, and lacks any direction whatsoever.

"Common Era Caveman" Lush synthetic sounds create a calm opening atmosphere. It bursts into what I can only describe as heavy Gentle Giant. It's a very busy piece and demonstrates the bands individual capabilities, but again, a coherent collectiveness is lacking.

"Aggrandizement" This leviathan of an instrumental shows promise, but repeated listens do it no justice. It is one of those works that is long for the sake of being long, not because there are compelling melodies or a gripping motif that is worked inside and out. And some of it, frankly, is terrible- the area around the ten minute mark is barely tolerable. That said, I will highlight what deserves to be highlighted. Approximately five minutes in, there's a really intriguing piano interlude. Some of the music is very similar to Kansas due to the violin work, and the keyboard business is interesting (although still ridiculously not memorable and sporadic). The solid bass playing is a constant.

"The Form of the Good" The title and final track opens with a galactic introduction, full of spacey synthesizer and dark tones. The first half is psychedelic electronic music, which doesn't get going until the second half, in which more inspiring symphonic rock assumes command. Here one hears some of the best music on the entire album, due in no small part to the fabulous, consistent guitar playing.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#244549) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Complex symphonic, challenging, great!

Deluge Grander is well known as the brainchild Dan Britton (formerly of Cerebus Effect), joined here by drummer Patrick Gaffney (formerly of Chaos Code, an underappreciated little band who is on ProgArchives), guitarist Dave Berggren, and bassist Brett d'Anon. I first got this album a long time ago but needed much time and many plays to get a real "feel" for this album. Here we are, at least 6 months later, and I'm still somewhat intimidated by the beast that is "The Form of the Good." I never get to play it as regularly as I'd like with all the RPI stuff coming at me but I've heard it enough now to attempt some rambling thoughts---the first of which is that my favorites are easily the two longest tracks "The Tree Factory" and "Aggrandizement". Killer stuff.

This is truly "active-listening music" as it requires the kind of attention you would give a film: shut everything else out, sit or lay down, don't talk to people, just listen. If I approach the album that way it is an awesome experience to behold. If I'm thinking about other things while listening, this music drives me crazy. But since one should pay attention to music, that's a positive. Now, I'm going to use some popular bands briefly as references, so bear with me Dan. [In his PA interview Dan lamented the use of popular groups in reviews suggesting it points to a reviewer's limited musical knowledge---I can assure Dan I have a wealth of obscure references at my mental disposal, but if I mention bands 5 people have heard of, it doesn't exactly help other readers. Further, in the same interview he talks about influences like Tony Banks and Magma, so I guess he does understand this!] Anyway, this is some of the busiest, most dense, some could charge cluttered music you have heard since the more frenetic segments of Topographic Oceans and Relayer (and not that there's anything wrong with that.) To further mess with Dan I'm going to use another popular band to describe DG: to me this band sounds like what an updated, fresh, younger Gentle Giant could sound like if they began in 2009 and tried an instrumental project. Mix that with the saucy attitude of a Semiramis or Rocky's Filj (to get just a bit obscure.) Fans of Arachnoid, Atoll, Shylock, and Anekdoten should all approve---I do sense an influence of French and Italian bands to "Form" but that's only speculation on my part. Murky keys abound, tense violins, aggressive (and awesome) guitars and a smokin' rhythm section. A small team of musicians join on brass, woodwinds, and strings adding another delightful layer of sound throughout the album. A bastard child of symphonic and fusion, the sound and pace are mostly relentless, fiery, disorienting like a first psychedelic experience, off-putting but fascinating. Yet while the pace is mostly driving there are moments of pause and gentle beauty here and there, a light keyboard texture or perhaps a flute solo. "The Form" serves up an energetic mixture of differing approaches that serve progressive fans well. Some of the criticisms of this album have some validity: it can seem like constant tension-building with no release. It doesn't exactly bathe you in accessible melodies you will be humming after the first listen. Then again, if I want catchy I'll throw on Rubber Soul. The sound quality at times could be clearer although there are advantages to a more homegrown approach. The bottom line is that the good, and its form, far outweighs the bad on this one.

The album's five pieces seem very mindfully and successfully ordered. After a lush and enticing introduction the next two parts are exploratory and aggressive, with some just plain hair-raising, roller-coaster jamming in "The Tree Factory" and "Common Era Caveman." I love the expansive and uncompromising musical philosophy here, blending spacious keys, nimble guitars, fluent bass lines, and strings. At the very moment your mind is most stimulated the sky opens up and down comes "Aggrandizement," the 20-minute centerpiece. There is just so much happening in this piece you let yourself go and try to follow the little musical paths going this way and that---breathtaking, exhausting, and rewarding. Dark, somewhat oppressive symphonic with heavy themes and claustrophobic mood in the latter half especially. Closing is the title track which attempts to bring you back to Earth although it is certainly no lullaby. While my descriptions of the sound may not always sound complimentary, my final assessment certainly is. "The Form and the Good" is one of those albums, like Topographic Oceans, that should be digested over years rather than days. You simply cannot properly assess music like this after 3 spins. I expect to keep mining the layers of this beast for a long time, as I can still uncover something new when I hear Topographic even decades later. This album is a slam dunk recommendation for patient listeners, for the kind of prog fans who open up "Book of Mazes" and go straight for the hardest one on the last page. You'll spin your wheels for a bit but you'll love the drive. While not perfect and while DG could top this, it is a solid 4 stars. And one of 2009's finest releases.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#256524) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Mentally, I want this album to be a 5 star album. When I think of what the music has in it, I can't help but think to myself, "this is why I like prog". The densely layered, challenging music, the contrast, the instruments used, the song lengths, heck, even the sound of it. Heck, even the aesthetics of the album appeal to me - I love the cover art and the track names.

Musically, it is a bit more uneven than I would like though. This was true of August in the Urals as well, but when August in the Urals was right, it grabbed you right away. The melodies and lovely parts in The Form of the Good don't quite grab you with the same force. I didn't expect them to; from all of the samples I had heard, this was an album to listen to many times, to pay close attention to so that it's secrets would be revealed to you as you listened to it. And it has grown on me, and I have found a lot in it to enjoy. There are just parts that, after even as many dedicated listening sessions as I have given this album, I just can't seem to penetrate. No full songs - just parts of songs that don't flow as well as the rest of the album.

Comparing to August in the Urals, this is a more mature work that I must admit I find myself wanting to listen to more often, even though it doesn't have any songs that grab me as much as "A Squirrel" or "The Solitude of Miranda" or "Inaugural Bash" off of the previous disc. In fact, if I had to list the songs that grab me off of The Form..., it'd just be the title track (although, what a track!). The rest of the album is made up out of moments for me - the upbeat section in The Tree Factory, the quiet opening of "Before the Common Era", multiple sections in "Aggrandizement". And perhaps, with a few more listens, this will continue to reveal itself to me even more - I know I will keep listening to it. But so far, the chunks of the album I have been unable to penetrate stop me from calling it a masterpiece, as much as my brain wants to say that it is.

Three stars for now, for the juicy bits that sound so right; and because I sense that, with a few more listens (20 just isn't enough), I will uncover even more.

A warning for those expecting more Spock's Beard, Genesis, or Transatlantic style Symphonic Prog: This, really, is a whole separate beast. One that requires even more patience and careful attention than the previously mentioned bands.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#267634) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review by m2thek
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Form Of The Good is a 2009 release from the band Deluge Grander. While this is classified as Symphonic Prog on our website, don't come in expecting light, easy listening. This is a dense, dense album, that can be intimidating for the first few listens, but becomes very rewarding with patience and concentration.

The music of The Form of the Good is primarily comprised of the standard 4 instruments of prog: guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums. The keyboard leads the grand majority of the compositions, with some cool synth sounds, and excellent Mellotron at every turn. The guitar is sparse, but it is a nice compliment to the keyboards. Is has a harder edge to it, that really sets it apart from the rest of the sounds. The bass is not as prevalent, usually being hidden by the keyboards, but there are a few really interesting moments in the back of songs provided by it. The drums are frantic, but also often pushed to the background. In addition to these, a good amount of classical instruments are used, ranging from multiple woodwinds, to a trombone, and a violin. With the exception of some low chants in the first song, the album is completely instrumental.

The composition. Oh boy, the composition. To say that this music is complex is a grand understatement. The amount of layering going on in these songs is ridiculous, and it's common for nearly all of the instruments listed above to be going at once. This is definitely music that you have to listen to and do nothing else in order to fully appreciate. After giving my full attention to it, I was literally exhausted from trying to keep track of all the instrumentation. But man, how much fun it is to try. The band is clearly experienced at this, as everything fits in place perfectly; nothing clashes with each other, and they always manage to smoothly add another layer or transition to a new part of a song.

There are some interesting things going on with the composition that I've never heard before. The first effect used is the pairing of the classical instruments with a synth, while they play the same melody. This creates a nice contrast between the natural and artificial sounds the two produce. It's subtle, but it's nice, and unique. Secondly, normally in music this layered, one of the instruments emerges with a higher pitch, and becomes the dominant layer, pushing the other instruments into the lower register. However, it's common in this album for 3 or 4 instruments to be playing on the top layer, in the same pitch range. The music then allows the listener to choose which to focus on, or try to comprehend the combination of all. This added even more fun to my listens, trying to find moments like these.

The structure of the album pales in comparison to the structure of the songs. There's a story going on here somewhere; you can tell by the cover and the titles of songs, but with the absence of lyrics and recurring themes, the songs appear separate. You're also not given much breathing room between the chaos, with the least challenging songs being the first and last. The end of the final song does have a similar feel to the introduction, however, giving the album a bookended feel. The more complex songs, and specifically the epic tend to be tremendous fun to listen to at the time, but forgettable once their over. You're bombarded with so much music at once, and with the near absence of repetition, it's hard for a lot of it to stick. None of the faults are particularly major, but they do hold the album back a little.

The Form of the Good is a lot to digest. This isn't for casual prog listeners. This is an album that really takes some patience and dedication. If you're willing to give it that though, there's tons to enjoy about it, and will last you a long time as you uncover all of its secrets.

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Send comments to m2thek (BETA) | Report this review (#285943) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 11, 2010

Latest members reviews

5 stars Dan Briton does it again. Deluge Grander's second effort "Form of the good" is a brilliant and unique symphonic prog album. I would consider it slightly better than "August In the Urals." The songs seem to vary more with myriads of interesting subtle moments that prog fans love. The style ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#947319) | Posted by pfloyd | Sunday, April 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Deluge Grander is a relatively young American band led by keyboard wizard Dan Britton. The band was formed in Baltimore in 2005 and in September the following year they already released their debut effort, entitled ?August in the Urals?, to much critical acclaim. Less than three years after the d ... (read more)

Report this review (#217731) | Posted by maribor1 | Saturday, May 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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