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Echolyn Suffocating the Bloom album cover
4.18 | 357 ratings | 34 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 21 (5:48)
2. Winterthru (3:45)
3. Memoirs from Between (8:00)
4. Reaping the Harvest (1:41)
5. In Every Garden (4:39)
6. A Little Nonsense (3:37)
7. The Sentimental Chain (1:40)
8. One Voice (5:20)
9. Here I Am (5:21)
10. Cactapus (2:53)
- A Suite for the Everyman (28:13) :
11. Only Twelve (1:08)
12. A Cautious Repose (2:37)
13. Bearing Down (3:50)
14. Cash Flow Shuffle (0:39)
15. Oxy Moron (3:23)
16. Twelve's Enough (2:21)
17. I Am the Tide (1:15)
18. Cannoning in B Major (1:19)
19. Picture Perfect (0:53)
20. Those That I Want to Buy (6:49)
21. Suffocating the Bloom (3:59)

Total Time 70:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Raymond Weston / lead vocals
- Brett Kull / guitars, lead & backing vocals
- Christopher Buzby / keyboards, backing vocals
- Thomas Hyatt / bass, MIDI pedals
- Paul Ramsey / drums & percussion, backing vocals

- Katharine Shenk / violin
- Richard Casimir / violin
- Jeffrey E. Meyers / violin
- Elizabeth C. Detweiler / viola
- Kimberly Shenk / cello
- Laura Anthony / flute
- Heather Groll / flute
- Dainis Roman / alto saxophone
- Jim Dwyer / marching snares
- Tom Kelly / marching snares

Releases information

Artwork: Greg Kull

CD Bridge Records ‎- 2112 (1992, US)
CD Velveteen Records ‎- VR2007-2 (2000, US) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ECHOLYN Suffocating the Bloom ratings distribution

(357 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ECHOLYN Suffocating the Bloom reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the finest Echolyn record. It has a strong Jethro Tull influence (it's no wonder if they appear on a Magna Carta tribute to JT). Great vocals and dynamic music with strings at times make for a very enjoyable symphonic prog effort. The epic track (28 mn plus) is outstanding with its acoustic finale that remains one of the most emotional song this band ever wrote. Very good stuff to recommend to all folk and symphonic prog fans.
Review by loserboy
5 stars For those who do not know ECHOLYN's music let me try to entice you by reviewing one of my favourites "Suffocating The Bloom". Blend the complex song structures of GENTLE GIANT with HAPPY THE MAN's syncopation and you are not far off of ECHOLYN. This cd is full of surprises and hidden magical musical passages that will surely please all prog heads. "Suffocating..." delivers classic ECHOLYN with major tempo and mood swings offering a variety of short and long tracks throughout. Songs mostly tie together encapsulating another mind twisting concept album. There is not a moment wasted here as the listener is forced into active listening being challenged by the solid musical workout (better than Jane Fonda!!!). This music will hold your attention and probably require many listens before it is totally internalized and interpreted by your brain. This is an essential prog recording to adorn your collection. This is a highly treasured recording by ECHOLYN heads and is considered by many to be their best release.
Review by lor68
5 stars A MASTERPIECE FROM THE NINETIES!! Here you find such splendid interplays, a wonderful polyphony as well as excellent vocal harmonizations, GENTLE GIANT and YES-like; but moreover you find also a personal and stunning style, regarding a fusion progressive album, enriched with incredible odd time signatures and wonderful variations!! A MUST HAVE!!
Review by Menswear
3 stars Get your coffee ready, because this is all-nighter job. Echolyn was a part-time job for 5 guys. Echolyn is also a secret garden, only knew by few. Never have I heard such volontary complexity. Willing to make such fast time-changes, frenzy bass tabs and embracing vocals ON PURPOSE, is very impressive. Why giving yourself so much trouble at making music? Why making it so complex and deep? Because when you're THAT good, it's a waste of talent to go under. Folks, these guys have my vote for Nominee at Best Performance In General. It's the closest I've witness to a perfect band. Not all of their ideas are sock-blowing, but it's hard to ignore such talent vocally and a tremendous amount of perfectionism. This must have been a nightmare to compose and arrange. But what a complete meal this is!

Remember this: it's a good sign when the major influence in a band is Gentle Giant. It's almost a seal of quality because you're not afraid of hard work and tweaking a lot your songs. And like GG, they write rich and easy to understand lyrics that plunge you into a nice nostalgia about your teenage years. They speak of the heart, and you'll love the lyrics as much as the music.

"Do you still love with a passion, can you feel it burning and alive? It's a positive force so embrace's a kid we all have inside!" -21

"What I want is a longer weekend, a case of beer by swimming pool, quit my job without a reason, a Kerouac romantic fool." -Memoirs from between

....positive and meaningfull prose.

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars American quintet Echolyn's 1992 sophomore release, SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM, is a work of musical daring and maturity from a band rapidly come to full flower. As with the other excellent Echolyn album I've reviewed (see AS THE WORLD), the most obvious influence that comes to mind when attempting to give a sense of the group's overall sound is Gentle Giant. Echolyn draw upon a similar bag of tricks to that employed so brilliantly by their British forebears, yet they manage to steer well clear of mere imitation, and convincingly stake out their own turf in the field of aggressively progressive rock. You reap what you sow, and compositional complexity, rapidly altering time signatures, accomplished musicianship, and alternately majestic and frenetic vocal harmonies -- all embellished with lovely orchestrations -- are the heady stuff by which they fertilize and nurture their muse, and raise the rich bounty found herein.

In the interest of keeping this review to a manageable length, I'll forgo a track-by-track analysis (there is simply too much excellent material here to permit that approach), and only highlight a few of my favourites: "21" opens the album in catchy fashion with dazzlingly syncopated guitar, drums and keys that call up the ebullient spirit of Giant, and show the listener what's in store. If you don't "get" this number (which ably showcases the group's style and complexity), you may as well give up, and try something "safer." Can I interest you in some latter-day Styx or Supertramp, perhaps? C'mon -- it's going cheap....

Still here? Then lend an ear (or two) to "Winterthru," which glides, sleigh bells and all, over frozen ponds of childhood memory, with sweet, but not cloying, nostalgia. Ah, youthful wonder and enthusiasm -- seemingly lost forever now, but still to be found just beneath the surface, if we but look!

"In Every Garden," has some great, fast-paced keyboards and drumming, and pays lyrical tribute to Genesis: "In my garden, I know what I like, and I like what I grow." The introspective words wrestle with the limits of art for art's sake, and whether art can viably exist within a vacuum, independent of audience and outside influence: "I built a wall around my garden, when people started telling me what to grow.. I hate the wall and its selfish display - my garden becoming sterile in its pretentiousness."

"A Little Nonsense" finds this very talented band showing off their jazzier chops, and reminds us that "a little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men." Brett Kull's guitar is particularly good on this one, and again invites favourable comparison to that of Gentle Giant.

"The Sentimental Chain" proffers a pretty little orchestral interlude, and then segues into the lush and moving "One Voice." Beautifully garnished with strings and flute, this piece (in addition to references to Christ) depicts Vincent Van Gogh, whose tortured intensity of feeling, and longing for a higher mode of expression, led to an original, enduring legacy of truth and beauty -- "one voice against the world."

"Here I Am" features amazing bass work from Thomas Hyatt, as well as some fine jazzy sax, courtesy of guest Dainis Roman.

"Catapus" is a fine instrumental in a fusion-esque vein that allows guitarist Kull to show off his virtuosity, while the twenty-eight minute song cycle "A Suite for the Everyman" is the essence of adventuresome progressive rock in its sheer scope and variety. The closing section, "Suffocating the Bloom," deals with artistic integrity (Echolyn have never been ones to compromise artistry for the mere sake of increased commercial success), and asks a question that cuts close to heart of the entire progressive rock genre: "If we sell for the sake of sales and those that want to buy, are we playing for ourselves, or just acting out a lie?"

Echolyn are a brave, challenging and unique band, and SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM is one of the strongest of a superb set of recordings. If you are a Gentle Giant fan, or an adventuresome listener in general, I urge you to purchase this fine disc. Take it home, plant it in your CD player, and enjoy a harvest of pure, unadulterated, multi-faceted prog pleasure!

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Suffocating the Bloom" is one of the most amazing prog masterpieces from the 90s, and most certainly the album that made Echolyn the top prog act from the USA to my eyes - well, ears anyway. This was also the first time when Echolyn made an appropriate statement about their own musical vision, after an excellent but not so well focused debut album: now, the material comprised in "Suffocating the Bloom" is not only high caliber, but also works beautifully as a cohesive whole from beginning to end. Influences range from Yes to Gentle Giant to classic Kansas to Happy the Man to good old Genesis, including some ounces of bluesy rock and American folk, as well as a notable bunch of jazzy colours: yet, Echolyn is not an assembly of compilers, but a band full of enough talent and capability to make something new and refreshing out of the confluence of all the aforementioned influences. Each individual member does a fantastic job, with Buzby and Kull exposing an impressive showcase of versatility and inventiveness in their keyboard and guitar duties, respectively; Weston and Kull using their alternating lead and backing vocal skills with total perfection and great taste; Ramsey and Hyatt creating a rhythm section that not only serves a precise anchor for the band's complex material, but also playing a determining part in the melodic side of things. The first two tracks are high-spirited enough to keep the listener's attention stuck tight to the headphones: the 'Jingle Bells' portion at the end of 'Winterthru'' sounds funny. But immediately after, fun gives way to solemnity: the sensitive ballad '. Memoirs from Between' is one of the most beautiful compositions in Echolyn history - it's incredible how the diverse twists that take place throughout the instrumental interlude flow seamlessly, without unnecessary bombast. But, yes, there's full bombast here, too: of course, I'm referring to the 28 minute opus 'A Suite for the Everyman'. No less than eleven sections are comprised in this suite, ordained in a fluid succession ornamented with orchestral arrangements, and some brief interludes that add a bigger variety in this ambitious sonic landscape. The final section, which is titled as the album itself, is a mid-tempo ballad that leaves an aura of reflection in the air: the listener who has been genuinely engaged to the listening from the very beginning will surely feel compelled by it. Of all the remaining stuff in between, I will mention some selected examples. 'A Little Nonsense' is an attractive homage to GG with a slight R'n'B flavour; the 'Sentimental Chain'/'One Voice' sequence is yet another example of Echolyn's exquisite use of beautiful melodies and eerie textures; 'Cactapus' is a brief, delicate jazz instrumental that works as a momentary relaxing moment before the epic expansion delivered by 'A Suite for the Everyman'. "Suffocating the Bloom" is, IMHO, one of the best prog recordings of the 90s, and, generally speaking, one of the best prog recordings ever - period. Since this is a masterpiece, it deserves the perfect rating.
Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars With infectious energy and dynamic compositions, "Suffocating" is an excellent example that smart, creative, and complex music can also be very approachable and exciting.

This album is chock full of outstanding songs; meaningful vocals attesting the need for individuality and playing which absolutely sizzles with dexterity. The group's playing twists and turns with constant rhythmic shifts and complex melodies.

However, the album's length and timbre of the lead singer's voices do begin to work against it half-way through, and I found many of the songs sounding very similar before too long. Additionally, Buzby is very limited in his variety of keys, sticking to a very cheesy synthizized sound through most of the album (along with equally cheesy synth-strings).

These minor complaints aside, "Suffocating"'s complex, yet approachable sound will appeal to prog veterans and neopytes alike-- one of the greats of its time!

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

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In early-90's Echolyn were not only discouraged by the faint image of Progressive Rock music but they also were chasing a good contract with a major record label, thus they moved on with the recordings of an even more ambitious-sounding album in 1992.This unusual five-piece American line-up with the two bassists released the sophomore work ''Suffocating the bloom'' again on Bridge Records with the hope to approach a decent contract.

Talking about ambition, Echolyn offer in this album 10 short tracks along with a monster 28-min. epic composition entitled ''A Suite for the Everyman'', divided into 11 parts.Musically the band did not change the complicated style of their debut at all.The music remains an extreme amalgam of sweet vocal harmonies and bombastic, adventurous musicianship with plenty of symphonic elements and even a touch of bucolic Folk here and there, based on elegant acoustic parts and light string sections.What really impresses the listener is the tons of shifting changes even in the shortest track and the ability of the band to blend so well harmony and complexity.The well-crafted vocal arrangements, a trademark of the band, are excellent and have strong GENTLE GIANT references.The music is based also on GENTLE GIANT's highly sophisticated style.Delicate string parts meet Heavy Rock guitar workouts and various keyboards exercises like synths, organ and piano in furious and tight arrangements.The more Classic Prog passages contain also strong YES vibes, especially in the STEVE HOWE-like guitar movements.What applies for the 10 opening tracks appears also in the long ambitious epic of the album.Impressive, complex, harmonic and intricate Progressive Rock, somewhere between GENTLE GIANT and YES, with beautiful melodic themes but also challenging and complicated instrumental soundscapes of high quality with a heavy dose of some of the best vocal harmonies you can meet.

Great follow-up to the very nice self-titled debut.Already from their second release Echolyn seem like a mature group of musicians ready to conquer the Prog world.Highly recommended to all fans of balanced and highly sophisticated Progressive music.

Review by MovingPictures07
4 stars Unique, very complex, yet with a bombastic rock edge and chock full of extremely enjoyable moments! Wonderfully crafted melodies, genius harmonies, and a new twist on the progressive rock sound of the 1970s while still sounding modern. All of this describes Echolyn quite well, particularly their album Suffocating the Bloom.

On my version of this album there are over 20 tracks (because the epic is split up), so I'll just go over some highlights. The epic (A Suite for the Everyman) is the epitome of modern Symphonic progressive rock in typical Echolyn style, full of fantastic musicianship, catchy melodies, and entangled song structures. I also really love "21" and "Winterthru" (which is great to hear in the winter!), and there is NO weak song on here. "A Little Nonsense" is absolute genius! Expanding on a quote that is feature in the classic film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Echolyn show really well that a little nonsense now and then fits perfectly combined with tasty prog!

It lacks the cohesiveness As the World or The End Is Beautiful for me to give it full-blown masterpiece status, but your collection would be MUCH better with this album. This barely misses the mark of perfection, but it's certainly an action-filled ride!

Highly recommended.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Really, the first couple of times I heard this album, I didn't like it at all, but I was stuck comparing it to later Echolyn releases, which are by far more symphonic in nature and generally easier to follow. Despite the brevity of its compositions, the music is awfully complex, and I hated that "A Suite for Everyman" didn't exactly flow (but why should it? It's a suite!). For the most part, the music jaunty, happy-go-lucky, and requires a bit of an investment. The bottom line is that it took multiple listens to properly appreciate this generally upbeat and crazy album, but the reward was worth it. Certain songs are far more enjoyable to me than others, most notably the first three, "One Voice," and particular aspects of the suite.

"21" This opening song has a frantic pace and some great guitar over a wonderful chord progression. Initially weird and difficult to follow, that doesn't make it worth the investment of a careful ear and some patience. As usual the lyrics ring true with human experience, describe the period of both youth and full legal adulthood. The soft bridge builds with light acoustic guitar and comes back around to the beginning again.

"Winterthru" This second one begins with the sound of children having a fun time, then picks up with rapid acoustic guitar, frosty synthesizer, galloping bass, and quick drumming. The gentle and nostalgic chorus is simply beautiful. Here is a song about the simple joys of Christmas and childhood in general; there's even some jingle bells to help the listener get into the holiday spirit!

"Memoirs from Between" Things slow down for a song about simple wants. The gorgeous counterpoint vocals are powerful, not just in what they express, but how. Some giddy piano picks things up and introduces a harder rocking section.

"Reaping the Harvest" Thoughtful strings make up this concise but handsome interlude.

"In Every Garden" Expertly-performed vocal harmonies introduce this rapid and highly metaphoric song. It is heavily organ-based, and contains some powerful drum fills.

"A Little Nonsense" Aptly named, this goofy and unrestrained song seems to go in every direction at once. The chorus is sung a capella, only accompanied by handclaps. The Willy Wonka-inspired lyrics are certainly whimsical and give the disorderly song a fanciful air.

"The Sentimental Chain" A second interlude of sorts, this features tender flute, violin, and acoustic guitar.

"One voice" The previous instrumental bleeds into this gentle exhortation. The melody is remarkably memorable, and the lyrics are heartfelt and beautiful.

"Here I Am" Undoubtedly, the star of this track is Thomas Hyatt, who runs all over the neck of his bass guitar. The dramatic section in the middle section can be grossly unsettling, with screaming and a old clip of someone speaking (somehow reminiscent of The Wall from Pink Floyd).

"Cactapus" With such a creative title, I was not sure what to expect, but the music consists of light, shimmering guitar and airy keyboards. The lead guitar is especially pleasing throughout the composition.

"A Suite for Everyman: Only Twelve" An overture to this disjointed suite, this terse track has strings, lead guitar, and dramatic drumming. It is a positively proper introduction.

"A Suite for Everyman: A Cautious Repose" Palm-muted clean guitar introduces soft but generous vocals. While some may not hear it, I hear a real ELO vibe to this song, particularly in the vocals and the vocal melody.

"A Suite for Everyman: Bearing Down" An exciting transition from the previous section, this contains jazzier drumming, harsher vocals, and a solid organ backing. It's almost impossible to follow the syncopation with the brass bit that brings the listener to yet another excellent vocal section.

"A Suite for Everyman: Cash Flow Shuffle" This is a short, rocking, and almost Caribbean-sounding transition.

"A Suite for Everyman: Mr. Oxy-Moron" The lyrics theatrically deliver what the title suggests, a series of oxymoronic phrases tied together with quite a fun narrative. A synthesizer lead carries the listener to a Gentle Giant-like performance, full of multiple melodies and complex structures. The end of this section enjoys soft vocals over organ.

"A Suite for Everyman: Twelve's Enough" The shimmering guitar is back, this time accompanied by a synthesizer solo, all of which gives way to more tumultuous music.

"A Suite for Everyman: I am the Tide" Light and spacious, this brief segment has a short lyrics interval.

"A Suite for Everyman: Cannoning in B Major" A guest musician provides the marching snare to this seemingly pointless interruption, throughout which different musicians join in and a crowd cheers.

"A Suite for Everyman: Picture Perfect" Yet another pithy interlude, this has excellent bass, piano, and guitar involved, but things suddenly become harsh and with a pinch of attitude thanks to the introduction of a guitar fed through a wah pedal.

"A Suite for Everyman: Those That Want to Buy" After a stellar lead guitar introduction, Hyatt kicks in with a great bass groove. It situates tasteful acoustic passages alongside more vitriolic sections. The piece ends with a bass and drum finale, but the suite isn't over yet.

"A Suite for Everyman: Suffocating the Bloom" The suite ends with a mild acoustic song, laced with elegant piano, strings, bass, and percussion, and starts with a great opening lyric: "I feel that I'm always sawing through the branch that I'm sitting on." I feel that way sometimes. Maybe this is a suite for everyman.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Original it is say I should have. Although in 21, I probably like both parts, first one (calmer) more suits my needs and desires. Second one is fine also, but not as much. Anyway, it still stands still and firm. This album is pleasant surprise. I avoided this group for some time, because of their name (have not so good sound in my language).

There's one particular thing I like here a lot, vocal harmonies of (two) more people at once, dueling pretty nicely, usually followed by climax (demonstrated in the middle of Memoirs for example). Because this is a poetry, it's a story told in form of music, but it's a strange story. You maybe know this reviewing pattern, "all good pieces are in, present here, but when mixed together, it simply doesn't work". Not, this is opposite case, there are elements that wouldn't make sense to me normally (not my cup of tea), but somehow, it works. And I'm enjoying it then, making somewhat of peace agreement. Yeah, I almost forgot. I didn't want to "get into" this group, but by my friend's suggestion, I've started and I don't regret.

4(+), for starters.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars The band has matured since their debut album released a year prior to this one.

The music played is quite complex and belongs more to the eclectic genre, IMHHO. The GG filiation is very obvious and it is combined with some powerful and rhythmic parts like during the excellent "Winterthru".

What pleases me in their music is that they still have a personality of their own: their influences are obvious, but they are much more than a copycat. A genuine modern progressive act. Not very accessible (therefore the link with eclectic genre I have pointed out) but still very pleasant for those who like a more symphonic approach (like myself).

The best example to depict this is obviously "Memoirs from Between" which holds a lot from some band you might have heard of while they were four?at least during the first half which is quite and leads to a fantastic and bombastic finale. One of my fave here for sure.

Even if "In every Garden" sounds simple, it features vibrant vocals which are quite moving. The whole band shows a powerful edge and demonstrates a perfect maestria. Another very pleasant track to say the least.

"Echolyn" also displays some jazzy angles in this "Suffocating The Bloom". You might know by now that it isn't my cup of tea ("A Little Nonsense"). GG type of vocals can be heard as well.

Some enjoyable string arrangements are also peppering this work. They are spread all over the album but are more in evidence during some songs like during the poignant "One Voice". The short instrumental "Cactapus" closes the first part of this album on a rather positive and joyful mode.

The "pièce de résistance" of this album is of course the epic "Suite For The Everyman". Almost half an hour of complex music which combines pleasant vocal harmonies, off-beat rhythm ("Bearing Down") but alas too short instrumental passages.

The whole flows nicely from one short part to the other but to be honest, it falls shy of the greatest epic we all praised (needless to tell you which one, I guess). There are too many very short sections in here; this affects some developments which would have been welcome. This remark justifies the four star rating for this very good album and not the maximum rating. In all, this is a very personal album that combines some jazzy, eclectic and symphonic (but less) elements. A very well balanced album (even if a bit too long) that should please any proghead who loves a more intricate music than average. As such, it needs a couple of listening to be fully appreciated.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars ECHOLYN's second album is where I probably should have started with them instead of "As The World" which I couldn't get into. No orchestral sections here like on "As The World" and it's a shorter album than that one too. I don't know but this one hits the spot and that's all that matters isn't it ? This is powerful with a GENTLE GIANT flavour, and the clever lyrics are like the cherry on top if you know what I mean.

"21" kicks in quickly and the guitar is prominant. Vocals before 2 minues. It settles 4 minutes in before kicking in again. "Winterthru" opens with samples. The lyrics and therefore lyrics are the focus here and both are excellent. I really like the dreamy chorus too. "Memoirs From Between" is another amazing song. So touching. Piano and reserved vocals to start. Acoustic guitar and synths follow. I like the vocal arrangements 4 minutes in then it kicks into gear. Great sound. The tempo continues to shift. Love the repeated words "Set a course up ahead straight into heaven". The next track is the short "Reaping The Harvest" where strings lead the way. "In Every Garden" opens with multi-vocals then the music kicks in. The bass,drums and keyboards are killer. Vocals are back. Powerful sound before 4 minutes as he shouts "Suffocating the bloom !"

"A Little Nonsense" sounds so good instrumentally to start then the vocals take the spotlight. Both shine in this one. "The Sentimental Chain" features flute, acoustic guitar and violin as it blends into "One Voice" where reserved vocals join in. Strings follow. Guitar and drums after 3 minutes then it settles again until later. "Here I Am" has this powerful intro then vocal melodies before a minute. Nice chunky bass follows then vocals. Great song. "Cactapus" is a laid back instrumental. It's a beautiful tune. Some tasteful guitar after a minute too. Next up is the over 28 minute "A Suite For The Everyman" which deals with the "loss of innocence and idealism". It's broken down into 11 tracks and many are very short pieces. "Only Twelve" opens with mournful strings then it builds. "A Cautious Repose" is a pleasant, feel good track. It's fuller before 2 minutes. "Bearing Down" has such a good sound to it with the drums, vocals and chunky bass. "Cash Flow Shuffle" is less than a minute of fantastic instrumental music. "Mr.Oxy Moron" has some attitude early. It settles after a minute and sounds even better. It kicks back in late. Killer track ! "Twelve's Enough" is simply gorgeous then synths and drums join in. Guitar leads late. "I Am The Tide" has these pulsating sounds as reserved vocals join in. "Cannoning In B Major" features marching style drums and cheering. "Picture Perfect" opens with guitar, bass and drums that get aggressive. "Those That Want To Buy" puts the focus on the vocals although the bass is fat. Some GENESIS-like synths before 3 minutes. "Suffocating The Bloom" ends the suite in a beautiful way. Acoustic guitar and vocals lead. Some piano and strings too later on.

This is just too good to give anything less than 4 stars. I'm impressed.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I love this album. But at the same time, I often find it one of the most difficult albums to listen to all the way through. This is some of the most truly progressive music recorded since the seventies. And that's part of the problem. The music is constantly in motion. The band never seems to sit in a groove for mor than a bar or two. Look away for a second, and you will lose your place. But that's also the main charm of the album as well. The complexity, coming at a time when most music was completely predictable, was intoxicating.

My favorite songs on this album are A Little Nonsense, Here I Am, and the entire A Suite For Everyman.

This album isn't as strong as the Echolyn albums to follow, but it is still a valuable gem.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's a beautifully crafted album - a masterpiece!

This second album by Echolyn is really an excellent one in any deifintion of prog music you might consider. I can see the style of Gentle Giant throughout the music offered by this album and less symphonic that I can feel. Therefore this album should be labelled under eclectic prog instead of symphonic. Yes, of course there are parts that remind me with symphonic prog but not that much. Under whatever subgenre you might consider I bet you would appreciate how excellent the music this album produces. I enjoy it right from the start to the end of the album. As I consider the music quality is top notch I think there are shortcomings as well. First is the production quality of the album which does not sound quite good as the bass is less. The second one is probably not a shortcoming but it's more as suggestion. The album spans two sets of music: 1. The collection of ten songs (track 1 - 10) plus one epic that comprises 11 movements (parts). I think it should be better if the epic "Suite for the Everyman" is not cut into digital pieces in every part because it looks funny. It should be something like Yes' "Close to The Edge" or Genesis' "Supper's Ready" where the epic is basically only one digital song comprising many parts.

The music of this album is quite unique and it forms a class of its own. From the opening track right through the epic at the end of the album I always enjoy every single bit of the musical segment. Yes there is a lot of Gentle Giant style but I do not hear any segment that is very close to any song of Gentle Giant. Take example of the energetic style of opening track that is so stimulating inquiring the mind as it has a really unique style performed in dynamic mood. Even in the mellow track like "In Every Garden" you can find beautiful insertion of musical dynamics indicated by its energetic drum-work. "A Little Nonsense" is really a beautifully crafted song with great composition combining energy as well as musical virtuosity - the music moves in unpredicted way but it ties together nicely from one segment to another. The choir section, drum-work as well as bass and piano are all great!"The Sentimintal Chain" demonstrates great string section of acoustic guitar, flute (oboe?) and violin.

The eleven part "A Suite for the Everyman" (28:13) is really a masterpiece combining different styles of music in an unpredicted direction that you might be able to anticipate. I was quite surprise the first time I enjoyed it because I did not expect the music moved so abruptly but they still could maintain smooth transition from one segment to another, from one song to another. All of them are beautifully crafted. Oh I could not believe I was enjoying such unique and top notch musical composition like this. It's totally PROG to the bone! Take a look on the third part "Bearing Down" that definitely reminds you to gentle Giant but in relatively much faster tempo and unexpected musical movements. It's so dynamic and it's so energetic, I can tell you! All of sudden you are then brought forward to next part "Mr Oxy Moron" which moves in unnoticed way. It's wonderful, really! You will also be surprised with the part titled as "Cannoning in B Major" where it suddenly changes the style of music into marching style which might associate you with Genesis' "The Battle of Epping Forest" kind of music. It moves nicely to "Those That want To Buy". Oh man I love this part, really. The album concludes beautifully with album title track in mellow fashion combining vocal, acoustic guitar, string section and percussion. It's really a nice closing.


Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Warthur
4 stars Echolyn are often compared to Gentle Giant, and much like Gentle Giant's best albums their work takes a little while to puzzle out. I wasn't too impressed at first by this album - and to be fair I still think some of the synthesiser sounds on the first few tracks are a little dated - but bit by bit the band's command of Gentle Giant-esque harmonies and complex songwriting won me over. Combining this influence with a gentler, acoustic side which was by and large absent in Gentle Giant's classic albums but which at points reminds me of the softer side of early Genesis, echolyn come up with a winning combination which does a great job of producing modern, forward-looking symphonic prog which isn't mired in nostalgia. I'll be wanting to hear more from these guys.
Review by progrules
4 stars I think we may conclude that this highly acclaimed release by Echolyn has caused me quite some headaches mainly because Echolyn has never been and never will be 100% my band. And this is especially caused by their Gentle Giant-like approach of making music. This supposed masterpiece however certainly breathes class and quality and on top of that it's created in an era prog wasn't really back on their feet yet, resurrecting indeed but not quite there leaving aside the huge masterpieces by Anglagard and Dream Theater.

But I just noticed this one was no.3 over 1992 according to our sites ratings so that can't be a coincidence and it deserves respect. So far I only owned one of Echolyns successing albums (When the sweet turns sour) and that one was a complete disappointment, not only considered so by me. And I have to admit that every time I hear this magnum opus by the band I simply can't deny the speciality it obviously is. Suffocating is a mix of accessibility and inaccessibility, a mix of hard to grasp complexity (the 28 minute suite for instance) and sheer beauty (The Sentimental Chain, The Voice). Or in other words: this is prog as prog is supposed to be.

The headache it gives me is mainly caused by the ultimate rating I will have to give it. My gut feeling tells me to give it three because it doesn't meet my personal taste completely. But there is a big resistance within me to do so. As if I will do this piece of art great injustice. After all, this output can hardly be called non-essential, can it ? It can't, and that's why I'm forced to give four, not just forced by the general opinion but also by myself. Highly recommended to those who seek the true prog gems. A bit of warning though if you just expect beautiful harmonic music since after all this is placed in the symphonic subgenre. It might just as well have been in the eclectic department due to the high Gentle Giant grade within the musical sound. But all things considered we're dealing with a (near) masterpiece here. Four stars from me (3,75).

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Splendid opera from one of America's finest exponents of challenging rock music, Suffocating the Bloom gives meaning to the phrase 'magnum opus' and showed everyone what ambition really is. Unaccountably, someone at Sony recognized the same thing and Echolyn was given a major deal. The rest is history but it reminds of how times have changed. Had it been 1977, the band surely would've attained the mythic proportions of the superbands of that era. Or perhaps they have. Either way, we have the music, and for that we're grateful.

Frequently loquacious and not always pitch-perfect, Suffocating is not without flaw. But that's exactly what a thing like prog rock needs from time to time, something to work against the technical demands and penchant for precision, to lightly aggravate with a pinch of sand the oiled wheels of such a high-performing unit as Echolyn. It is a comforting indication that these are still just five guys from Pennsylvania. There is a longing here, a passion for their music and what they know is possible, and that's nice to have on record. '21' wastes no time presenting the motif, imagination on high as reflected in the thoughtful lyrics and Ray Weston's heady, Michael Sadler-like vocals. Sprightly and nostalgic 'Winterthru' follows where more distinct Saga colorations begin to peak out that will resurface throughout, and workingman's daydream 'Memoirs from Between' is full of great little changes and surprises.

A bit of pastoral Genesis for 'In Every Garden', a magnificent centerpiece with subtle ecologic statements and emotional chord progressions, and the Becker & Fagen influence is heard in 'A Little Nonsense' (not to mention a Willie Wonka reference sure to please boomers who know there's only one Wonka). 'One Voice' carries a mild Gentle Giant flavor but frankly the comparisons to that band are exaggerated; Some nice dynamics and vocal chorales for 'Here I Am', a terrific cut easily missed; And the disc finishes big with twenty-eight minute 'Suite for the Everyman', a distractingly impressive epic far too involved to describe here. Let's just say it's worth catching. In fact Suffocating the Bloom is, it must be said, a must-have for anyone who appreciates the creative struggle, that seemingly endless climb not to the top of the charts, but to the center of your self. I approve.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 really

Echolyn's second offer from 1992 named Suffocating the bloom is one of the most important and loved albums from the '90s, that' for sure, with this release the band reach a new level in prog music with intricate complex music perfect for prog rock listners. I know previous this album, 2 more albums of theirs, Mei and As the world and find it very enjoyble and tight. This album is no less perfect then those two albums, but , there is a but sometimes the music has no direction and is little over the top. Anyway a lenghty album with lot to offer and with memorable parts, specially the first side of the album. The second side is dominated by A Suite for the Everyman, an epic clocking around 29 min. The interplay between musicians are excellent and has some great guitar parts and fine druming. Lots of complicated moves here, with intricate powerful passages. I like this album , but I prefer Mei, as their best Echolyn album in my opinion, still Suffocating the bloom is a legendary album in prog rock zone that any serious fan of the genre must listen at least once, they will have some nice surprises there. 3.5 stars, good towards great but not excellent.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars With my discovery of this album, a band who's music has seemed to always escape my grasp and/or appreciation may finally have found a way into my heart and favor.

1. "21" (5:49) dynamic, technical skilled music with power vocal about being 21 years old. The vocal seems very influenced by PETER HAMMILL even when they're amplified or harmonized by other assisting vocalists. At times the song drifts onto the stages and concert halls of Broadway and other Manhattan establishments--which is to say that the complexity and competency of the constructs and hooks are quite polished and concise. There is also a certain kinship with some of QUEEN's best music. (9/10)

2. "Winterthru" (3:45) blending SAGA-like prog with the BEACH BOYS, very tight motifs with incredible precision and cohesion. A very impressive composition and even more impressive rendering. Though not a big fan of the band's melodic choices, I am truly won over by these tight performances. (9.5/10)

3. "Memoirs From Between" (8:01) piano practice arpeggi with bass, glockespiel, and folk guitar, this music supports a JOE JACKSON-like vocal--at least for the first three minutes. Great team harmony vocals. I think I get why this band has such a loyal following. This feels like the American equivalent to GENTLE GIANT. And let me repeat how clear and well-captured are the sounds of each contributing instrument and voice. The song is weakend a little by the over-extended final motif the "Santa Claus, up ahead, ?" thingy. (13.5/15)

4. "Reaping the Harvest" (1:41) a fugue-ish exercise in orchestral keyboards? Unfortunately, the keyboard sounds used are now quite dated (and quite inferior to the real thing). (4/5)

5. "In Every Garden" (4:39) now their trying too hard to do GENTLE GIANT; it hurts to hear this kind of blatant pandering. Even the softer BEACH BOYS passages seem to be fawning to KERRY MINNEAR and GARY GREEN. The more potent Michael STADLER SAGA outbursts are much more pleasing (and, perhaps, balancing to the GG stuff). (Also: Too bad they decided to use the gated drum effect.) (8.75/10)

6. "A Little Nonsense" (4:20) opening with a little splice of Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka, the music then proceeds to enter the realm of some of Gentle Giant's, XTC's, and the Cardiac's most angular motifs and styles. (8.5/10)

7. "The Sentimental Chain" (1:40) a beautiful duet of folk guitar and flute is joined by poorly recorded versions of strings and a second flute. Pretty. (4.5/5)

8. "One Voice" (5:20) instrumentally, this one continues the palette of the previous song, but now supports a plaintive vocal performance. The emotion conveyed by the vocalist feel a bit overdone. At 2:20 the vocalist states, "For we are only human," and the the rock band bursts into full bloom before coming back to the chamber classical motif for a bit. But then the electric motif takes over again before giving the stage back to the original instrumentalists and vocalist. When the electric instruments join in, the vocalists chooses to shift his voice into a kind of suppressed operatic mode. Weird. Then it ends with an "our Father" quote. (8.75/10)

9. "Here I Am" (5:21) rockin' Echolyn--harkening back to a jazzy MOODY BLUES sound and style. The acoustic rock and jazz blend is kind of cool. A few QUEEN/SAGA-like twists and turns try to lose me--they're moving so fast!--but then they come back into a new VDGG-like center. Later, a NEKTAR "Return to the Future" guitar arpeggio backs a group of television/film samples to the end. (8.75/10)

10. "Cactapus" (2:51) early career PAT METHENY guitar sound choice--very cool--for a delicate, mood-exploring jazz sound. Jazz bass lends to this feel as well. Drums and keyboard choices don't exactly jibe, but it's a cool attempt. (4.25/5)

- "A Suite for The Everyman" (28:13) one of the greatest prog epics of the 1990s. (58/60): 11. Only Twelve (1:17) 12. A Cautious Repose (4:55) 13. Bearing Down (3:49) 14. Cash Flow Shuffle (0:39) 15. Mr. Oxy Moron (3:23) 16. Twelve's Enough (2:21) 17. I Am the Tide (1:15) 18. Cannoning in B Major (1:19) 19. Picture Perfect (0:55) 20. Those That Want to Buy (6:45) 21. Suffocating the Bloom (4:03)

Total Time: 63:39

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of intricately composed and performed eclectic progressive rock music; an excellent and nearly essential addition to any prog lover's music collection. Unfortunately, as far as I've been able to fathom, this may have been Echolyn's apogee, their shining moment in prog history.

Latest members reviews

5 stars 'Suffocating the Bloom' is the second full-length studio album by Echolyn. I never fully understood the Gentle Giant comparisons that Echolyn received, though there are a few songs in there discography that do indicate an influence of Gentle Giant, and those few songs are found on 'Suffocating the B ... (read more)

Report this review (#2964560) | Posted by Magog2112 | Thursday, October 26, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I remember hearing Echolyn quite often on a progressive rock radio "" in the 00's and was never impressed by the music of this band as I found it pretty standard and non-spectacular. Then I finally got round to listening their entire album with high ratings on progarchives - "Suffocating ... (read more)

Report this review (#2897062) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, March 6, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The 70s but it's the 90s: 9/10 After being disappointed by ECHOLYN's 2011 eponymous album, but still enamored with Raymond Weston's remarkable vocal power, I decided to still give the band another chance and check their more renowned album SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM, acclaimed for being oh so good jus ... (read more)

Report this review (#1947200) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Monday, July 9, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Here's where things get really interesting. Let's make on thing clear: Echolyn is truly great. They have a vital creativity on par with the greats of the 70s. Their influences aren't just Genesis, Yes, and Marillion. You can hear Stravinsky, Pat Metheny, and the Raspberries on this album if ... (read more)

Report this review (#1450942) | Posted by bigjohnwayne | Sunday, August 9, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After what I would generously call a downtime in the world of prog in the form of the 80's, new life is given to the genre in part by echolyn's sophomore album, Suffocating the Bloom. These guys are strongly influenced by 70's prog, yet their own quirky style and modern twist make their sound ... (read more)

Report this review (#1124530) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Thursday, January 30, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I love they way that people at ProgArchives are so hesitant to give an album the full 5 star rating, the site itself even gives a type of warning when one wants to give the 5 star rating, could they be any more pretentious? I say this because of all of the 4 star ratings that this masterpiec ... (read more)

Report this review (#745716) | Posted by RJN | Saturday, April 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In a different way, that it had happened when I heard ECHOLYN "Echolyn", in this second disk I could notice a very larger influence of GENTLE GIANT, besides those that it had identified previously ( see my review in P A) and in spite of my "fervorous" adimiration to G G, that didn't make ... (read more)

Report this review (#306862) | Posted by maryes | Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album takes a few listens before you really start to get into it. 'A Little Nonsense' sounds like an excerpt from a Gentle Giant album. 'One Voice' sounds to me like a Fish era Marillion song (vocally at least). But the primary instruments in the background on that song are flute and aco ... (read more)

Report this review (#171414) | Posted by digdug | Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is practically overflowing with youthful enthusiasm. These guys are roughly the same age as me (I was playing in a prog band, doing my originals, at this exact same time, only half a state away in Pennsylvania) and this album brings back feelings and emotions that I was experiencing a ... (read more)

Report this review (#121626) | Posted by infandous | Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is pretty cool, album is created in 21 peaces and name of the first song is 21. Coincidence? I think not! Suffocating The Bloom is constructed like a concept album. Pretty good one too! And when the listener has a 21 it is just a perfect merge!!!! Music of this five piece band is full of va ... (read more)

Report this review (#116974) | Posted by Komodo dragon | Saturday, March 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my favourite albums from the nineties. I must have a soft spot for bands being influenced by gentle giant although I am not overly crazy about GG themselves. Odd.... This is Echolyn's second album and also the band's masterpiece along with the next one "as the world". Musically they are ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#110544) | Posted by theBox | Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I believe this to be the definitive musical statement by echolyn, even to this day. Despite being released only a year after their debut, the band shows remarkable development. As others have eluded to, there is more of an apparent Gentle Giant influence here than in the debut, but having li ... (read more)

Report this review (#87355) | Posted by JP312 | Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This Albem is just a real masterpeice and a real peice of art that could be hung in an art gallery. I got into echolyn no more than 6 months ago, first starting with their downloads off the site and spending so far over $100 (give or take) on their CDs (Keep in mind that i'm only 15) This is mayb ... (read more)

Report this review (#73983) | Posted by cowbell1 | Monday, April 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I got into Echolyn just recently, and am beginning to apreciate it more and more. I acquired some downloads from their website, and from this site aswel before taking the leap into purchasing their records. And I must say I like what I hear (understatement). The ever present accoustic guitar ... (read more)

Report this review (#1820) | Posted by tuxon | Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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