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Emperor Norton

Crossover Prog

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Emperor Norton Emperor Norton album cover
3.88 | 6 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Act I: Portents (3:39)
2. Act I: Petrichor (6:23)
3. Act II: Travails (5:00)
4. Act II: Empress (3:58)
5. Act III: Arrow (15:39)

Total Time 34:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Corry / vocals
- Scott Neumann / guitars
- Marc Green / keyboards
- James Kulmer / bass
- Joe Rees-Jones / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Christopher Bennigsen and Scott Neumann (logo)

CD self-released (2018, UK)

FLAC download -

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EMPEROR NORTON Emperor Norton ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

EMPEROR NORTON Emperor Norton reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars YES-like music with tenor vocals more akin to QUEEN or Andrew Lloyd-Weber's The Phantom of The Opera. The music is quite sophisticated and dynamic in a YES-like way, while the album's unusual, risky, and brave twist comes with the incorporation of and song construction around mega-talent tenor, MATTHEW CORRY. If you haven't heard of him yet, you will. He is a force, a young man blessed with a nearly flawless near-operatic voice (a new Sam Smith?) And Matt is not merely a guest on this project, he has been a committed, integral, and creative member of this band from its inception two years ago.

1. "Act I: Portents" (3:39) opens with a very brief little recording of what sounds like an "old" instrumental jam (perhaps earlier incarnations of the band recorded on cheap/impromptu sound equipment), drum sticks clicking together, a laugh, and a pause and then the real music comes in and, surprise! It's very YES-like--especially the Steve Howe-like guitar and keyboard sounds. "Yours Is No Disgrace" comes to mind. At 2:23 the bass and drums begin to thump together to start a new section while the guitar and keys mirror one another. Then, at the three minute mark, the rhythm coalesces and the keys and guitars go their separate ways--the former into a solo, the latter into a rhythm role as support for the bass and drums. Nice intro! Let's us know where they're coming from. (8.5/10)

2. "Act I: Petrichor" (6:23) opens with arpeggiated electric piano chords before we experience the first introductory appearance of angel-voiced tenor Matthew Corry. His singing style reminds me so much of some lead from an Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical--mostly from that of The Phantom--though there's some Sam Smith and Curt Smith (Tears for Fears) in there, too. The fourth octave stuff is wonderful! A little engineering critique here: The more full the soundscape seems to get--like in the middle section--the more it seems to squeeze Matt's vocal track into the background and make it a little thin and tinny. Great guitar work in the solo section--amazingly matching the emotionality of Matt's previous vocal section! I'm so glad these guys chose prog rock as their avenue of expression! BUT I can see them going other directions; they have a LOT of talent and potential (though guitarist Scott Neumann sounds like he could be a protégé of Steve Howe). (9/10)

3. "Act II: Travails" (5:00) in this masterful song I hear a little of KEVIN MOORE/CHROMA KEY, a little of Jem Godfrey's FROST*, and a little but mostly I hear MATTHEW CORRY (though he could be mixed a little more forward with a little more volume in the mix)! What a vocal performance! My favorite song on the album and one of my favorite songs of 2018. (10/10)

4. "Act II: Empress" (3:58) a very theatric, almost churchy song, that reminds me of . My only criticism here is that the vocal and its melody do not always mesh well with the music. (8/10)

5. "Act III: Arrow" (15:39) opens with YES- or KANSAS-like musical stylings and sophistication before the ever- surprising appearance of Matt's dramatic, almost-operatic voice. With the pace slowed down some in the fourth minute, the band sets up a tempestuous, emotional mid-section--starting with Matt's vocal stylings, followed by a very theatric and dynamically fluctuating instrumental section. The section ends with some electric piano supporting Matt's wordlessly lamenting vocalizations. At the seven minute mark we get a full stop and shift into more low end, heavier, emotion-driven section from both the instrumentalists and Mr. Corry--very powerful. This band is showing such unexpected maturity in the compositional department! At the 9:40 mark there is drastic shift as the instruments take us on a wild rush through the forest: all instruments running at top speed until the synth takes the lead at the end of the eleventh minute. Things quiet back down at the 11:20 mark before an increasingly speedy synth oscillation fills the sonic void. Matthew enters with quite an emotional vocal, even hitting some very high, fourth octave notes, just before the rest of the band (including b vox) joins in at 12:43. This section sounds very STYX-like--especially the instrumental sound and stylistic choices. The song (and album) ends very softly with some very quiet voicings with minimal instrumental support. Definitely one of the best prog epics I've heard this year! (9/5/10)

A young band that already shows signs of astonishing maturity and originality. Any fan of good symphonic prog will find this album well-worth their time and investment.

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music (rated down for its brief 35 minute length). Another awesome young band to keep close tabs on for future efforts, but, in the meantime, get this album! You won't be disappointed!

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