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Presto Ballet

Crossover Prog

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Presto Ballet Peace Among The Ruins album cover
3.48 | 86 ratings | 16 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Peace Among The Ruins (5:47)
2. The Fringes (7:34)
3. Seasons (3:39)
4. Find The Time (7:18)
5. Speed Of Time (5:50)
6. Sunshine (4:51)
7. Slave (6:33)
8. Bringin' It On (6:43)

Total Time: 46:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Scott Albright / lead vocals, acoustic guitar
- Kurdt Vanderhoof / guitar, Mellotron, Chamberlin, Hammond, synth, bass pedals, electric piano
- Brian Cokeley / piano, Hammond, synth, electric piano, lead & backing vocals
- Brian Lake / bass
- Jeff Wade / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Kurdt Vanderhoof

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 210 (2005, Europe)

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy PRESTO BALLET Peace Among The Ruins Music

PRESTO BALLET Peace Among The Ruins ratings distribution

(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PRESTO BALLET Peace Among The Ruins reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This is a five piece USA band including two keyboard players, one of them is Kurdt Vanderhoof (Metal Church).

Their debut-CD starts very bombastic featuring a propulsive rhythm-section and lush organ. The interludes with violin-Mellotron, sparkling piano an flashy synthesizer flights add a very symphonic dimension to the heavy progressive sound. Most of the other seven compositions alternates between mellow with acoustic guitar and violin-Mellotron to heavy and bombastic with fiery electric guitar, swirling organ, majestic Mellotron and quick synthesizer runs. The blend of hardrock and vintage keyboards evokes Angel and Kansas and the vocal harmonies and synthesizer runs reminds me of Styx. Not every track on this album is at the same level ("Seasons" and "Sunshine" sound as polished rock songs) but in general the compositions deliver lots of excitement with powerful vocals, many changing climates, strong breaks and good soli on guitar and keyboards. Highlight is the composition "Sunshine" that starts with twanging acoustic guitar and violin-Mellotron, then acoustic rhythm-guitar and synthesizer flights, followed by a Pandora's Box of strong musical ideas, from a fat bass sound with Mellotron to sparkling piano runs and bombastc organ. I hope that on their next album all compositions wil be on the level of this one!< A PROMISING HEAVY PROGRESSIVE DEBUT CD!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Are you so longing for the kind of music that blends heavy music and symphonic? Make it simpler - the kind of classic rock bands like Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Styx, Kansas? You got it right here! Yeah . simply said the music of Presto Ballet is like a culmination between two groups: Styx meets Kansas with a kind of Crimson-isque mellotron work. The leader Kurdt Vanderhoof was known from his work with thrash/speed metal outfit Metal Church or his Vanderhoof side project. Both, I personally never heard the music or even the name as it's not in my cup of tea. I only knew the name from my younger metal mates who are very familiar with them. Lucky that I knew Presto Ballet first instead of Metal Church because otherwise, knowing the name, I would not try the CD as I might have guessed that the music would be similar. The band (project?) is fronted by vocalist Scott Albright, a veteran of the Vanderhoof project and his powerful voice that reminds me to the singing style of Styx.

This debut album satisfies me from start to finish as all tracks were composed nicely, combining heavy riffs backed with symphonic textures and of course mellotron work. The opening track which also the album title "Peace Among The Ruins" (5:47) gives no chance for me to breathe at all. It's so bombastic in terms of energy and tempo as it surprises me with a blend of heavy sounds combining guitar, bass, pulsating Hammond sounds and dynamic drumming. The music flows in an upbeat mode with high register notes on vocal department where most of the time organ follows at the end of singing part to accentuate the song. Really an excellent opening! I like the sounds of clavinet during the tenure of rhythm section and also the musical break where the music is toned down while the mellotron sounds enter beautifully.

"The Fringes" (7:34) brings more symphonic textures into the music with heavier and melodic keyboard sounds. Scott Albright is an excellent rock vocalist where in here he sings along nicely with Hammond organ plays as rhythm section, injected with a short guitar solo and nice keyboard punch. This track is more accessible than the opening track as this one is softer. The Hammond organ solo is really cool, augmented with soft guitar riffs and keyboard sounds as background .."Changing times..".

"Seasons" (3:39) is not as impressive its predecessors but it's not a bad track at all. It reminds me to the glory days of 70s rock music. "Find The Time" (7:18) starts off in an ambient mode with a long sustain mellotron work. Vocal enters with a nice melody maintaining musical background as the opening part. The music flows nicely with the entrance of acoustic guitar rhythm which reminds me to Uriah Heep's music. It's a very nice acoustically driven composition performed in relatively mellow style with stunning guitar fills. The music is toned up at the last part with piano as transition sounds that bring the music into higher mode with higher vocal line backed with repetitive guitar work and the music fades out.

"Speed Of Time" (5:50) opens beautifully with excellent acoustic guitar work combined with keyboard. Suddenly the music turns up with chunky organ riffs. Oh .. this is it man .! The exploration of organ, keyboard that form musical riffs is really wonderful. This is one of my favorites. The choir section "aaaaa." reminds me again to Uriah Heep sound. In the middle of the track piano (Brian Cokeley) and keyboard give very nice music interlude combined with hard-edge guitar work. Really good!

"Sunshine" (4:51) and "Slave" (6:33) are good tracks too. "Bringin' It On" (6:43) concludes the album with a kind of ballad song with acoustic guitar rhythm and full of keyboard sounds. It flows in mellow style backed with mellotron sounds.

As a debut album this is a very good album and it definitely would favor those who love the American pro grog style. The album has a strong composition, varied structures and powerful songwriting. Overall performance is excellent. Kurdt Vanderhoof explains "Digital recording techniques are annoying! For rock music it's absolutely fatal when you always rely on samples, sequencers and drum machines. It destroys the live feel of the music. With PRESTO BALLET, it was our aim to return to a more 'natural' feel while keeping as melodic and musical as possible." As a matter of my ears I could even differentiate the sonic quality between this record and another digital technology record. Simply said, the analog record he made with this album is not significantly different with normal CD quality. It might be different if it is presented in the form of vinyl LP. Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild (and not among the ruins) - GW

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars When you have two of the band members playing organ, synths and electric piano, as well as there being mellotron on every track you know this has to be good. These guys create such a full and powerful sound in the 70's style. The first two songs remind me of both DEEP PURPLE and URIAH HEEP.

"Peace Among The Ruins" is all about the organs and drums while there are some good guitar riffs and aggressive vocals.This is the song that really stays with me (stuck in my head) and is my least favourite. "The Fringes" features organ again out front with a cool guitar melody.The vocals are good and I like the organ solo, and more great guitar. "Seasons" and the songs that follow are all my favourites, the DEEP PURPLE vibe is gone for the most part, and we get some good variety the rest of the way. On "Seasons" we get harmonies right off the bat reminding me of TEARS FOR FEARS, the vocals and drums are the focus on this one.

"Find The Time" features synths galore on this slower paced tune that picks up the pace about 5 minutes in led by electric piano and synth runs. "Speed Of Time" opens with acoustic guitar and synths, then changes to a heavy sound the rest of the way with bass and drums leading the way.There are some great guitar and mellotron in this one. "Sunshine" opens with guitar and is a dreamy, psychedelic, BEATLES sounding song. Lots of mellotron too. "Slave" is a darker song with intense vocals and incredible drum work.There is an absolutely large mellotron flood and a nice guitar melody. The final song "Bringin' It On" opens with strummed guitar, and is a slow paced but powerful tune, again waves of mellotron that sound sooo good !

I think this is a record most Prog heads will enjoy.

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Excellent addition to MY prog music collection!!!

I thought I'm fool to hear URIAN HEEP and DEEP PURPLE in PB's music. What a luck - I'm not! This album represents wonderful mix of Heavy Prog and 79s Art-Rock.Think of URIAH HEEP playing with Mellotron and Prog-Metal rhythm section!!! Rather short (not longer than 7 minutes) but complex pieces are supplied with awesome melodies, pretty catchy and memorable; musicianship is excellent - one can get a really ROCKY feeling from that PROGGY album! Just imagine QUEENSRYCHE playing HEEP's "Sunrise" or something with background, wait, imagine DEEP PURPLE playing something from DREAM, give it up. Imagine yourself going to a shop to buy PRESTO BALLET's amazing album. Done? Now make your dreams come true!!! Highly recommended!!!

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars According to Presto Ballet's website this CD was suppose to be an "old school" album "Evoking a classic 70's feel, their debut album "Peace Among The Ruins" heralds a return to a time when music was at its most colorful and influential. An album full of tasteful guitar parts, crunching Hammond organ and rich vocals, the band follows a path previously tread by rock pioneers such as Kansas, Yes, Genesis and Deep Purple"

Well sort of. The instruments are from the 70's but I am not sure that this band has any Genesis, Yes or Kansas in it. Very much has a lot of Styx, Deep Purple and Rush though. Think of Styx with no Dennis De Young songs, a harder sounding guitar and a Hammond with James Young on lead vocals. The best of example of that is in the songs The Fringes and Seasons. Find the Time sounds like it was developed along the "Snowblind" formula.

Most of the songs have a metal feel to them and not surprising since the project leader is guitarist Kurt Vanderhoof from Metal Church. Sometimes I get images of early Def Leopard and Led Zeppelin. Do not take that as a criticism it just sounds like all of this music has been done before.

The two best tracks are Sunshine and Bringin' it On. Both add a little acoustic guitar and harmonies. The former sounds like it could have been a late 60's Moody Blues track. The latter sounds very Pink Floyd in the vein of Wish You Hear or Alan Parson's Dream Within a Dream but also some Styx like vocals but even adds some 80's power ballad. Pretty decent tracks and maybe the closest you will get on this CD to what Presto Ballet could have become if they continued this project further. I am going to give this effort three stars but really more like 2.5.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I don't understand the high ratings this album has been receiving.

Sure, the musicians are skilled and they play well-organized, kind of enjoyable music. There are elements of metal here, as well as elements of 70's hard-rock. Yes, there's some originality in this music. Even though one can hear where everything came from, the work of putting it all together and creating a sort of new sound is interesting. DEEP PURPLE has come back from the 70's with a new metallic attitude (and, of course, cleaner, better-produced sound). The band should be a joy to find for fans of 70's hard-rock.

But the music is entirely, completely forgettable. There's no catchiness in the melodies, there are no hooks, there are no memorable melodies. These are songs, just songs. You put them in your stereo or mp3 player, listen to them, even enjoy them, but 5 minutes later you will forget you just had the PRESTO BALLET experience. This is GENERIC prog-hard-rock at its most generic. Well-played, well-recorded, very competent, but ultimately a disc you won't come back to, as you'll probably have dozens or hundreds of albums you will want to listen to more than this one, because you will REMEMBER those, something you won't be able to do with "Peace among the Ruins."

Recommended for fans of 70's hard-rock and of background music. This will not captivate your attention.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice debut album bu this US band which is the ''child'' of METAL CHURCH's guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof.Kurt tries really hard in this work to catch the spirit of 70's prog movement and blend it with the modern sound,technologies and productions of progressive rock...The result is a very good hard progressive album with strong musicianship and beautiful vocals by Scott Albright...

Main influenes come from KANSAS (just listen to ''Speed of time''),RUSH and YES with a harder sound flirting with DREAM THEATER...I really can't tell which song is best as all of them are quite good with nice keyboards,very nice vocals and strong guitar work by Vanderhoof himself...An accesible format of music packaged under progreesive rock influences...This is an album that can't be easily heard also by fans of other music styles...An excellent propose especially for fans of KANSAS,RUSH,ENCHANT or MAGELLAN...3.5 stars!

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Modern 70's prog

Progressive radio can sometimes intrigue your mind and make you look for bands that you have never heard before. Find the Time from PRESTO BALLET was that track that stirred my interest and led me to Peace Among the Ruins. Peace in this album is however disturbed from time to time with heavy prog tunes and hard rockin' guitars, mainly introduced by Kurdt Vanderhoof; I was surprised to see his name in the line-up of this debut, as he is well-known for his heavy/thrash speedy riffs in one of the most cult bands of the 80's heavy/thrash genre, Metal Church. The sound of Presto Ballet generally escapes this attitude, balancing between 70's progressive rock and classic rock.

The extensive use of hammond brings URIAH HEEP to mind, while other classic influences such as DEEP PURPLE and STYX are evident. Overall, the music can be described as modern 70's prog rock borrowing many elements from heavy prog and, at times, prog metal. Recent examples of similar music are, in my humble opinion, SPOCK'S BEARD and PROTO-KAW. The title track is a powerful opening, filled with complex rhythms and flourishing with keyboards. The vocals on The Fringes, though 70's sounding, can be compared to STYX and AYREON's recent efforts, proving once again the variance in influences. Seasons is the least interesting track on the record with obvious NEAL MORSE elements.

The simplicity of Find the Time is the standing point from where this album starts to get more interesting: a slow, melodic track, with acoustic guitars and catchy vocals and keyboards, that evolves in a prog-rock classic towards the end. Speed of Time is an ode to UFO and DEP PURPLE classic rock with a touch of complexity, similar to the title track. On the contrary, more 60's sounds in the vein of THE MOODY BLUES and BEATLES appear in Sunshine which moves away from the approach of the previous tracks. but only for a while as Slave kicks in with heavy, dark tunes from the days of Metal Church, filtered through a more prog rock/metal baseline - clearly an enjoyable straightforward rock track. The album ends with a pleasant 70's American ballad, amongst the weakest moments on this record.

If you are not confused by the number of different influences thus far, I certainly am. There are some excellent ideas on this album, but also some weak moments. Without doubt, the musicianship is at high levels and the style is an interesting 70's retro sound with a few innovative elements from all aspects of prog. I will drain out all of my strictness here as I am expecting more from this group of skilled musicians in the near future.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Presto Ballet is a band formed around the excellent guitar player Kurt Vanderhoof of famous thrash metal band from the '80's glory Metal Church. He also had a hard rock band named simply Vanderhoof. Now, I was was surprised to see a musician who was one of the most influencial in thrash zone 20 years ago to come with a total diffrent aproach with Presto Ballet - progressive rock. The music is totaly diffrent from the two bands mentioned above, Presto Ballet combines very well the heavy prog moments with some fantastic symphonic arrangemets with great harmonies and beautiful vocal lines. The band is something a la Styx, Uriah Heep, Kansas with a lot in sound of late '70's. The first album released in 2005 named Peace among the ruins is a total winner for me, the combination of old and new is brilliantly hre, the moog interludes with the guitar are excellent. The vocal parts are great, Scot Albright is good singer who fits perfect in this kind of music. Ex of greatness are The fringes, vocal parts are great, with bombastic arrangements and great musicianship, Find the time is another worthy one, with great mellotron added to give that special '70's feel. Well, for mee a total winner and another example of greatness in prog music, beautiful, yet complex arrangements combined with superb vocal lines. An album that desearve much more then is seen today. Not a masterpiece for sure, but a very good debute album, their second one is even better.3-3.5 stars.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Peace Among the Ruins" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive rock/metal act Presto Ballet. The album was released through InsideOutMusic in June 2005. Presto Ballet was founded by guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, who wanted to pursue a progressive rock career in addition to his work with traditional heavy metal act Metal Church.

The music on the album is 70s influenced progressive rock with a hard rock singer and some nods toward progressive metal. The use of vintage keyboards (especially mellotron)/organ are dominant features on the album, but Presto Ballet are no one trick pony, and skillfully incorporate heavy guitars and psychadelic pop flavours (reminiscent of late sixties Beatles) to colour their brand of progressive rock. "Peace Among the Ruins" are both exceptionally well played and very well produced, which makes it a very enjoyable listening experience. Itīs the high level songwriting skills that stick out the most though. Intriguing Progressive rock tracks like the title track, "The Fringes" and "Speed of Time" are complimented by more pop oriented tracks like "Seasons" and "Sunshine" but also by a heavier and darker track like "Slave". I think it says a lot about the quality of the material and the musicians involved, that Presto Ballet pull off all music styles they play in a highly convincing manner. These guys are professional to the bone. If I have to make references to other artists I would mention acts like Spockīs Beard and Frost* (and a slight nod towards Kansas).

"Peace Among the Ruins" is the kind of album that blew me back in my seat the first time I listened to it. Further listens have proven the longivity of the album, but it is what I would call an instantly enjoyable and memorable release. They donīt come much more professional than this and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Presto Ballet is a modern pomp rock band that mixes fantasy rock styling, characterised by organs and organ-similar synths, with a lot of hard-rock. They have been compared to a lot of bands, to my ears they sound like they're trying to recapture the sound of 'Styx' but trying to make that sou ... (read more)

Report this review (#282744) | Posted by Brendan | Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I picked up this cd on the basis of the reviews, and I was NOT disappointed. Catchy rock soaked in mellotron and Hammond organ. Not a bad track in sight. Many thanks to the reviewers who have gone before me. ... (read more)

Report this review (#148315) | Posted by dmwilkie | Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like the reviewer before me, I find this CD has a real 70's feel to it. There's hints of Deep Purple, Yes, Camel and Uriah Heep here. The sound is "crunchy", with lots of lead guitar runs, ala Richie Blackmore. There's also lots of synths, organ and Mellotron that invoke a feel of Camel in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#123520) | Posted by beebs | Saturday, May 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like other reviewers, I regard this as an excellent album. I'm old enough to remember the classic years of progressive rock, not the widdlers. This CD has it all - power, melody, musicianship - read the other review before mine - they're right !! One of my favourite CD's in many years ... (read more)

Report this review (#83081) | Posted by | Friday, July 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great stuff here! Musicianship is top notch- keys, drums, guitars, bass- all excellent! The vocals are clean and easy to listen to- the vocals go with the music very well. This is a promising debut- I cant wait to hear more from this band. They fuse a lot of 70's styyle prog into the 2000's to cr ... (read more)

Report this review (#59020) | Posted by | Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of, if not my favorite album in the last 25 years! I have only for brief moments taken this CD out of my player. The last album that I enjoyed this much was Leftoverture. Before that perhaps Led Zeppelin 4... Stunning, absolutely stunning - especially the Keyboards. Brian Lake is simp ... (read more)

Report this review (#51185) | Posted by jaugernaut | Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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