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ANTON ROOLAART

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Anton Roolaart biography
In the past days we've been talking in the Forum about how contradictory is Symphonic Prog in the 21st Century, while most new bands and artists bring a heavy baggage of sounds and influence that have broadened the parameters of the sub-genre, other musicians want to live in the 70's forever and keep a pure form of early Prog.

When you find an artist like ANTON ROOLAART who combines both approaches, we are before a musician who deserves to be supported because has the courage to respect and keep alive the early spirit of Symphonic but also the vision to accept that times change and something new has to be added to what is already available.

ANTON was born in Netherlands but being very young, he moved with his family to United States, he grew listening Classical music that his father loved so much and shared with him, at the age of 13 decides to study Classical guitar before exploring the secrets of the instrument by his own.

As a teenager he was exposed to the Classic Prog acts like Yes Genesis and Pink Floyd which made him develop a passion for the challenging genre what made him start to write some songs and perform his material in numerous clubs on the Charlotte NC area while studying electrical and multi-track sound engineering in College.

In the next years and being obsessive about the evolution and development of Progressive Rock he decided to expand his studies to Jazz guitar, Piano and Drums, which have been very important for the release of his debut album "Dreamer"

Following his career in music he created ProgRockRadio.com to contribute to the knowledge of the genre and performed as vocalist in the Spanish based band JESDAT on their debut "City Lights" and with who he's working for their next project.

Around the year 2003 ANTON decides it's time to release his first solo effort and starts to work on it, after years of careful work and absolute dedication mostly in his home studio and today, April 24, 2007, "Dreamer" is officially releasesd

But we're not talking only about ANTON ROOLAART, he counts with the participation of such musicians as the talented keyboardist "Rave Tesar" (RENAISSANCE - ANNIE HASSLAM); "Rich Berends" (MASTERMIND) and "Charles DesCarfino", both on drums plus "Vincent Puryear" on Bass.

This excellent album combines the spirit of British Symphonic, Flemish roots and modern technologies and it's an excellent addition for any Progressive Rock Collection.

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ANTON ROOLAART top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 30 ratings
Dreamer
2007
3.91 | 66 ratings
The Plight of Lady Oona
2014

ANTON ROOLAART Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ANTON ROOLAART Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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ANTON ROOLAART Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Gravity
2011

ANTON ROOLAART Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Born to Dutch father and Belgian mother on Persian ground in 1969, life of Anton Roolaart was destined to be adventurous from his first second on Earth.Spending time in Holland and Spain, he finally settled down in the USA, where he studied at University of North Carolina in Charlotte, taking a deegree in electronic engineering.Developing into a multi-instrumentalist and influenced by 70's Prog Rock, Anton became a member of cover bands, before taking things seriously in the 90's and starting composing hiw own music.The attempts on a solo album begin in 2004 and were finished two and a half years later.Inbetween he established the ProgRockRadio.com station and even participated in the Spanish band Jesdat's ''City lights'' effort.''Dreamer'' was released in 2007 on the British label Umbrello with Rave Tesar on keyboards, Vincent Puryear on bass, Rich Berends-Charles Descarfino on drums, a few guests mainly on vocals and Roolart responsible for guitars, programming, keyboards and singing lines.

Roolart's first album is a good introduction in the world of melodic Progressive Rock with symphonic tendencies and some obvious leanings towards the 70's, drawing influences from acts such as CAMEL, PINK FLOYD, GENESIS and early KING CRIMSON.The album has no signs of fillers or overstretched ideas with Roolart insisting on creating mid-length, compact pieces with a balanced guitar/keyboards sound and some great moments of grandieur, performed on Hammond B3, Mellotron and piano by himself and Rave Tesar .But the bulk of the album features some well-executed multi-layered synths with an orchestral, atmospheric aura, which combine nicely with the deep sense of melody created by the guitar chords of Roolart, either coming from his electric or his acoustic side.He has a style somewhere between ANDY LATIMER, GARY MOORE and STEVE HOWE with some notable jazzy touches among his melodic, emotional moves.In addition some sampled flutes and vibraphone show how deep this work is.The arrangements are lush, elaborate and symphonic with a slight Neo Prog edge at moments due to the constant use of synths with Roolart focusing on sensitive plays and atmospheric textures with dreamy acoustics, although some impressive, dramatic and rich passages are still in the menu.

Another fine addition in the endless list of modern bands/artists, influenced by the unforgettable masters of the 70's.Very nice music, great production and decent vocals, relying on the more melodic side of Symphonic Rock, so ''Dreamer'' comes warmly recommended.

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 The Plight of Lady Oona by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 66 ratings

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The Plight of Lady Oona
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars Seven years ago I had the chance to make the first official review of ANTON ROOLAART'S debut album "Dreamer" the same day it was officially released and was a pleasant surprise. Since then, a friendship grew between us, but I was worried to never see a second album, because the debut one was really outstanding

The only problem I found then relied in the vocals (Not bad but more appropriate for Prog Metal), so I was a bit worried when I read that Anton was singing again, but for my surprise, the vocals in The Plight of Lady Oona" are impressive, instead of his previous aggressive style, ANTON ROOLAART, decided to use his voice in the style of Roger Waters, adding more texture to the dramatic atmosphere.

The visual impression of The Plight of Lady Oona" is very positive, because of the delicate cover painted by Anton himself and the carefully crafted booklet, but even when the art is very nice, we have to focus in the music, so let's pass to what matters....The music:

The record is opened by Gravity, a beautiful Prog power ballad where the vocals blend perfectly with the orchestral arrangements (played by Rave Tesar, and by Anton on synths and Mellotron) and the electric guitar with a "Gilmour" touch, creating a heavy atmosphere that falls over the listener as thick mist that covers us with a powerful blend of sounds and different moods. Asked Anton about the female voice on the song and he told me it was a sample called "Persian Diva", that he managed to adapt perfectly to the song.

In Stars Fall Down, Anton manages to maintain the oneiric atmosphere, but this time, the music is really dramatic, again the violin solos played on the Mellotron are simply breathtaking and the vocals heartbreaking, this album keeps getting better with each track..

The Plight Of Lady Oona is the central piece of the album, a fantastic 14 minutes epic that has everything a Symphonic fan loves, starting with Annie Haslam as guest vocalist, impressive keyboard solos, mandolin, acoustic guitar reminiscent of Steve Howe (Reminded me a bit of Turn of the Century, a killer rhythm section with Vinnie Puryear in the bass and Michael Frasche in the drums. Don't expect radical changes instead enjoy one of the most cohesive musical pieces of the decade.

In Standing in the Rain Anton maintains the dreamy and mysterious sound of the album, seems calmed, but the underlying aggressiveness provided by the almost claustrophobic atmosphere captivated me all along the song, the persistent drumming seem to announce a strong explosion that never occurs, but that's where the suspense really captured me

Memoires and the closer The Revealing Light complement perfectly, the first one almost as an acoustic guitar intro and the other as an emotional explosion where Anton retakes the sound of his debut...Great way to end a great album.

Now comes the hard part of the rating: Being that ANTON ROOLART is a good friend, people could believe that this relation influenced my review, but as I told Anton, I would never give the CD a star that I don´t believe the album deserves.

Seven years ago I rated Dreamer with 4 solid stars, but now Anton's music is more mature and offers us an almost flawless release that deserves no less than 5 solid stars...Hope we don't have to wait another seven years for the third record.

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 The Plight of Lady Oona by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 66 ratings

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The Plight of Lady Oona
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is Anton's second full album release , the first being Dreamer some 7 years ago. This falls into that very melodic symphonic prog bracket occupied by the likes of David Minasian and Nick Magnus. Do not expect dark edgy music when you enter here but rather lush orchestral style arrangements adding guitars and synths with a measured calm approach. I've seen the term 'Dad Prog' banded about when describing this sort of thing but there is nothing wrong in my book with relaxing music. More the point is whether its actually any good? Americans would say ''Hell YES!!''.

The opening track Gravity features what seems like an orchestra (not a real orchestra but its hard to tell that) and is very mellow and slow. Quite a nice start. The second track 'The Stars Falls Down' doesn't exactly pick up the pace but does include a bit more guitar and piano. More substantial instrumentally and a very good track. So far so good but nothing especially earth shattering. Some might even find this all a bit 'sugary' but I think it manages to avoid this just about.

The centre piece of the album is undoubtedly the title track The Plight Of Lady Oona. This is the only 10 minute plus track and its very obvious that a lot has gone into this as a composition. You hear the mandolins for the first time as well as synths that could have come from some long lost PFM album. This is just utterly gorgeous dreamy melodic symph prog of the very highest order. Anton demonstrates an almost Steve Howe like quality with his use of electric and acoustic guitars. Must also make a special mention for the excellent bass work of Vinnie Puryear and quality laid back drums of Michael Frasche (only appearing on this track). There is a section that could be inspired by Turn Of The Century and although its never a copy I think this is the vibe that Anton is going for. The whole thing is topped off by a guest appearance by Annie Haslam. Her voice still holds up remarkably well and this is the cherry top the icing top the cake. An absolute gem of a track.

The next two tracks are under five minutes long but Anton never veers away from the dreamy mood of the whole thing. I wonder whether he was tempted to throw in an 'up tempo' track to break things up? I guess not! That lovely piano and bass work is still well evident plus the orchestral feel once again. There are hints of some heavier guitar coming in but its kept well in check. The drums get a little busy on Standing In The Rain reminding me of a brilliant Al Stewart track from the 80's called Where Are They Now. Good stuff.

Memoires is a stunning piece opening with acoustic guitar that quite honestly Steve Hackett would be proud of. Actually without being told otherwise if someone played this to me I would just assume it was Hackett. It is that good.

The final track is 8 minutes long and is freak out heavy metal extravaganza full of screaming vocals and fast drumming. Sorry just joking! Of course Anton maintains the mood that he is so obviously focused on. A children's voice and birds twittering and someone gentling tapping. A bit of flute comes into the equation as well. I haven't mentioned the vocals at this point and that is perhaps remiss of me. Anton has a very pleasant voice with a reasonable range and does a good job imparting a good deal of emotion. This last track is maybe the best track vocally and even threatens to get 'heavy' at a certain point. It even goes a little bit dark although nothing too 'scary' unless unicorns and teddy bears give you the willies.

In summation this is one big comfortable sofa of an album. Big cushions and relaxing , ideal listening if you have just been shredded by a Riverside or Mars Volta album.

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Getting this album was a labor of sorts, been on my wish list based on a number of imponderables such as past reviews, hunches, gut feeling etc... This is nothing new really for the average prog hunter who is constantly in search of a new buzz thrill and falls victim to random choices based on god knows what spirit. As is often the case, the first few spins were lightly appreciated, having left little mark beyond the pleasant and interesting. Truth is our progressive genre has such a wide palette of sounds and styles that we often need an "adjust" button in our minds, trying to find the connectors that eventually lead to recognition and perhaps delight. Such is the case here, as Dreamer has screwed itself nicely into my psyche mostly due to its precious innocence and genuine expression. I am happy to report that there are numerous accolades to be espoused as long as readers accept that this will not be "prog at first sight, ?blinded by the light". Anton explains the premise behind his creation as a deeply personal adventure and that is precisely what you get, a symphonic prog album that has multiple similarities to acts as diverse as Phideaux , the first Ric Ocasek (ex-The Cars) solo album Beatitude (a sensational non-prog disc BTW) , some winks at the sadly deceased Shaun Guerin and even a smidgen of Bill Nelson ! His guitar playing is first rate, his vocals not that much but frankly more appealing that the 3 Steves (Hackett, Hillage and Howe), the songs are slow intoxications that will require multiple visits to get hooked. But once you are, the thrill is there. There are typical winners such as 'On the Afterglow' and 'The Spider' (the above mentioned influences will wink at you) but the title track 'Dreamer' and 'Color of Your World' are equally entrancing. The artwork, production and musicianship are all first rate, the presence of Mastermind's Rich Berends on drums, and the gifted ex-Haslam , ex- Renaissance keyboardist Rave Tesar are both further brilliance to the overall sheen (No, not Charlie!). 'Near or Far' is a seductive opener, setting the personal tone quite nicely, 'Scary Monsters' has that Nelson/Ocasek feel I mentioned earlier and both the spacey 'Manon' and the quirky 'Midsummer's Day' evoke a certain charm that is entirely pleasurable (the lead guitar on all tracks are particularly stellar) . This is a surprising addition to my collection and will get numerous future spins. 4 Flemish flame motifs

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars It's easy, I feel that this record has anything I expect from good music. And I also hear a lot of prog elements. Fellow reviewers, why I'm the only one to give five stars ? Because this is probably fifth listen of this record in row, it's late night, maybe early morning and this music is the only thing that keeps me alive. It's very good to listening. I'm not gonna do track-to- track review as to my other reviews (well, some of them), because it''s pointless here. Just listen to it, or be advised with these words, or words of collaborators who gave it average of 4 stars. But there's one bad thing that is worrying me. I don't remember almost anything from this music. But I guess I will forgive it this, because I know one thing. It's good prog. Even I can't remember it.

EDIT: Well, this is some kind of failure (of my brain), because now I see it on 4(+)

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by Ginfress

4 stars I got this album thanks to Melo from Melo's prog bazaar. Anton gave permission that for some copies of this album the sale went to the "Hugh Hopper Fund" After a few listens you can recognize some influence by Genesis (Peter Gabriel era), Pink Floyd and a small touch of Pendragon and The Reasoning. For some reason i am good in picking up albums which aren't easy listening since that's really going for this album.

It's another album which you have to sit down with and listen and do that more then once because to me (and other people which reviews i have read on the net) it is a growing album. To be honest the first time i heard it i thought not that good about it and i tossed it on the pile "need another few tries" and to be really honest full credit goes to my wife for putting this album on many times since and slowly the album grew on me and now these days i like to hear it.

But still for some reason i miss something in the music. I still can't put my finger on what i mean with that. Maybe it's just that i miss an up-tempo tune in between these 8 tracks but truth be told that's a bit of nitpicking since those tracks that are on the album sound fresh, at times catchy and well produced.

Best tracks on the album to me are "On the afterglow" and "The spider".

On the afterglow gives us an acoustic opening with clear vocals, a strong Genesis resemblence, a wonderful guitar solo, at times a jazzy sounding keyboard and soprano vocals. Still with me after the last sentence? Easy stuff? No but to me this is what prog music is about.

The spider on the other hand has this jazzy piano again (for the Dutch readers it remembered me straight to "De familie Knots" tune where the narator talks about what happens inside the house). Also the track gives us a vocal style which is a Fish style of telling a story instead of really singing it. And again a lovely guitar solo pass by.

One track of album is not really my taste which is "Scary monsters". I don't know, it feels like Genesis, at times very catchy and has a David Gilmour style of guitar playing but nothing happens to me when hearing it.

So.a wonderful debut album with really good stuff on it. I certainly will follow Anton on his musical trip because i am quite enjoying myself when listening to it. Give it a couple of tries, you won't be disappointed.

Band:

Anton Roolaart - Vocals, guitar, keyboards, programming Rave Tesar - Keyboards Vincent Puryear - Bass Rich Berends - Drums on the tracks 1,34 & 7 Charles DesCarfino - Drums on the tracks 2,5,6 & 8

Guests:

Vito Vitale - Slide guitar on track 3 Alana Roolaart - Background vocal on track 2 Stephanie Malewski - Soprano vocals on track 2 Kayla Roolaart - Spoken part on track 8 Alice Hamlet - Cello on track 8 Schoolyard children sample used on track 8 by Cognito Perseptu

Tracks:

1. Near or far 2. On the afterglow 3. Dreamer 4. Scary monsters 5. Color of your world 6. Mid summer's day 7. Manon 8. The spider

Score 80/100

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Nice debut album from this US-based Dutch born composer and musician.

The name of the game for this album is symphonic rock; and in a manner highly similar to some of the great bands of the 70's - most often I'd describe the songs as a mix of classic Genesis and Camel; with some detours into Gentle Giant territories.

Floating synths are a key feature, often in multiple layers, as well as melodies, melodic fragments and sounds from keyboards and synthesizers. The guitar is used to provide atmospheric solos, a couple of instances of more regular guitar solos in a more blues-influenced vein, while acoustic guitars, undistorted electric guitar and mostly slick riffs add textures to the main melody.

Fans of 70's symphonic rock should appreciate this one; not a future classic but it's a good, steady release nonetheless.

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I always have a strong passion to expand my listening horizons in prog music especially with group or artist that I have never heard before or the kind of music that I have not been familiar with - like those of Magma, Universe Zero, Isildurs Bane, Thinking Plague etc. As you know by now, I was trained more on symphonic prog rock kind of music stemming from Yes, Genesis, ELP etc. But when prog was about to die because it was almost swept by the new wave and punk era in early 80s, there was Marillion which brought in the new type of the symphonic prog genre - a neo progressive music. Basically, there is no major different between classic symphonic prog and neo prog except that the latter is a bit simpler in structure and musical arrangements. Under the banner of neo prog, you would hardly find any song with a level of complexity like ELP's "Karn Evil 9" or Toccatta or Yes' "The Ancient" or Genesis' "The Battle of Epping Forest" for example.

Why do I need to give you a bit of background above? It's simply due to the fact that relates to Anton Roolart's debut album which the music is I think much closer to neo progressive music than a symphonic prog. Well, I am really happy to know that Anton is a new comer in prog arena and this is a good news because he might have been a prog lover (as listener only not a recording musician). The way I see him through the introductory notes in the CD sleeve is that he has a strong passion in prog music especially that he also established a ProgRockRadio.com despite as being a musician. I salute him for this, in this respect. This is motivating me as well, because who knows in the future there will be a prog album by Gatot Widayanto? I must have been dreaming!

This is a good debut album by Anton Roolaart abacked with talented musicians. The reason I put a neo progressive proximity is that looking at the style and the tempo he presents his music through this album. In terms of tempo, most of them are in relatively slow / mellow style with interludes that offer guitar solo or keyboard. The opening track "Near or Far" starts with symphonic style textured by dynamic bass lines which then bring to the bridge which lets the vocal (by Anton himself) to enter the music. The guitar work at the background of his singing is quite interesting. There are some piano works during transition pieces and they help enriching the music texture. The organ solo work is also nice followed intertwiningly with guitar solo. The next track "On To The Afterglow" is really excellent in terms of melody and musical arrangements. It starts wonderfully with an ambient nuance led by acoustic guitar fills. The keyboard augments the music well so that it helps maintain the flow. I know that this is nothing to do with Symphonic Slam, but I find the similarity in music nuance. The keyboard solo is really excellent. There are sounds of mellotron (or at least mellotron-like) at the background that lifts up the symphonic atmosphere. The guitar demonstrates its solo work followed beautifully with keyboard. I really enjoy the part with acoustic guitar solo in the middle of the track augmented with soft keyboard sound at background. Wow! It's really an excellent track - at least for me personally.

The opening part of "Dreamer" confirms the fact that this is a neo progressive music. It starts with long sustain keyboard work followed beautifully with guitar solo combined with soft riffs. There is, again, excellent pulsating keyboard solo during interlude part combined beautifully with touchy piano work. "Scary Monsters" flows in similar tempo with previous track demonstrating guitar and keyboard work, combined with piano. "Color of Your World" opens with ambient music featuring keyboard and guitar. It flows in slow tempo through vocal and rhythm section in symphonic style. Again, Anton puts the keyboard solo nicely towards the end of the track. Unfortunately the drum work is so empty in this track and also all tracks in this album, so it causes a low density of the music. The drum should actually fill in transition pieces nicely as to avoid the song is becoming a bit boring.

The opening part of "Mid Summer's Day" is quite complex and reminds me to the complex nature of Yes music or any avant-garde arrangement especially with the guitar portion. The song also features long sustain keyboard work during transition piece as well as background. This song is quite tight in terms of composition. The opening part of "Manon" reminds me to Marillion's Fish era music even though it's not close at all, with a bit of Steve Hackett howling guitar nature. The concluding track "The Spider" opening part reminds me to the style of Supertramp music especially through the piano work.

Overall, this is a very good debut album by Anton Roolaart. The strengths of this album are on its composition where Anton has successfully blended the touchy melody with symphonic music arrangements and the overall flow of the music. Some segments of the music on some tracks seem like being forced into the composition so that they do not fit naturally - but overall is still good. Drum is the weakest point of this album because it serves just as beat keeper. Am not saying the drummer is lousy but more on the composition that may not give sufficient room for drums to take acrobatic beats. On vocal, I do not mind with Anton's vocal quality because the most important thing is how he can fit his vocal with the music. Remember Steve Hackett? His vocal quality is much worse than Anton but he still can deliver great "Dark Town" or "Mechanical Bride". On the next album, I expect Anton will write music with varied styles, adding more energy and drive into the music because this album does not offer sufficiat drive like Marillion's "He Knows You Know" (for example) or Pallas' "Beat The Drum". Overall, it's a good work, Anton! Keep going and ..keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by Soul Dreamer

4 stars This album is a nice surprise! A debut progressive symphonic album by a new artist that is a pleasure to listen to.

The album is thematically "more or less" a concept album, all tracks are related to the overall theme of dreaming. More or less, since the theme is not obvious to me in all tracks.

The cover of the album is excellent. The cover painting depicts very well the theme of the album (beautiful artwork by Michael Phipps), and even after inspecting all the details for a few minutes you discover new things, which are related to the theme of the album, and the individual songs.

The music is full of references to Yes (especially the acoustic guitar parts are very reminiscent of Steve Howe's acoustic playing), and the music generally holds a middle between Yes and Genesis' styles in the '70. There are snippets which can be referenced to other great bands like Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd, and I even think I hear some Styx influence in one or two places (but I can be wrong.). The overall impression of the music is that of a well composed and thought out '70 symphonic rock album, very ambient, with very little "modern" metal influences (which penetrate too much music these days, I think). This is no clone, though! It's very original, with a distinctive own sound. Anton is a great guitar player, acoustic classical and Spanish guitar and electric guitar are all played with a lot of skill and feeling. Opposite to the music, the voice of Anton is quite distinctive and heavy. You would expect this kind of voice more in hard rock/metal than the symphonic music here presented. However, the more I listen, the better the combination works. It does take some time to get used to, though!

On to the tracks:

1- Near or Far: The album opens with a beautiful, extremely symphonic theme, which settles in a very nice acoustic guitar/piano with bird sounds, after which the first vocals enter. Here I get my first Styx "experience", especially in the "to be together" part. After the vocals the song changes again, and about the 5 minute mark the song ends in a great Hammond organ/guitar duet. Rating: 9/10

2- On to the Afterglow: This is my favorite of this album! The song reminds me strongly of Genesis "A Trick of the Tail" album, not so much an individual track, but it would have fitted on that album very well, mainly because of the mood and style. Between 3:40 and 4:40 in the song I get my second "Styx" moment. The vocals are more "soft" here than on the rest of the album, probably also because of the excellent accompanying female vocals. Did I say it's a great track? Rating: 10/10

3- Dreamer: Very strongly Pink Floyd influenced track. Not my favorite of this album. Rating 7/10

4- Scary Monsters: This track starts quite weak, and only between 2:30 and 3:25 I like the song. One of the weaker tracks, Rating: 6/10

5- Color of Your World: This is a typical '60 song! The end is Rick Wakeman though! And I like it. Rating 8/10

6- Mid Summer's Day: Here we have an almost 100% Yes song, at least for the start, but with some "strange" influences. Very progressive track. Also some Gentle Giant transitions. Very good track: Rating: 9/10

7- Manon: Good song, not much to say about except I especially like the guitar solo from 2:15-3:00. The last minute is quite nice also. Rating: 7/10

8- The Spider: A theatrical song, which reminds me of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nice conclusion of the album, which stresses the concept (the waking up in this case). Rating: 7/10

Overall this is a very good album, although for me the strength lies in the first two tracks. After listening to 4/5 tracks I'm loosing it a bit. Luckily the sixth track puts me on course again. What I miss here is the epic feel of symphonic rock, so I'd like Anton to make tracks longer than the average 5-7 minute time scale. The best song is the longest track! Overall rating 8/10. Anton Roolaart created a great album, but with room for improvement.This is an excellent addition to any prog (symphonic) collection.

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 Dreamer by ROOLAART, ANTON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.58 | 30 ratings

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Dreamer
Anton Roolaart Symphonic Prog

Review by bhikkhu
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars Anton Roolaart is a PA member, and a nice guy (sorry we didn't get the chance to meet at NEARfest buddy). Since he is a nice guy, he sent me a copy of "Dreamer." So you could imagine how I felt when I first put it on, and I didn't really like it. My first thought was that I couldn't review it. How could I trash something a friend created? Thankfully, it grew on me with repeated playing.

Dreamer is classic style prog for modern times. Anton's guitar work is dynamic, and soulful. There is a bit of a David Gilmour quality to it, but it is not limited to just that. The piano parts are absolutely gorgeous at times. His compositional skills are also very strong. These pieces are very well constructed, and have plenty of range. Don't expect to hear anything particularly groundbreaking, but the strength is in the execution. The backing musicians also do some splendid work.

Dreamer takes you through varying moods and thoughts. Most of the lyrics seem to be of a reflective nature. It reminds me of how I look back at certain moments in my own life. The music is always right in sync with the mood of the verse. Each piece moves along with grace, and always keeps your interest. There is definitely a feeling of precision here. It's as if every nuance was planned out in advance. All of this attention to detail definitely pays off.

I guess what turned me off at first (and what still bothers me) was the singing. Anton does not have the strongest voice. With a different type of music it might work just fine. However, music of this magnitude needs the right vocal out front. You may say what about Peter Hammill? That's true, but it is also a different style of music. This is some powerful, and beautiful symphonic rock. It should have a powerful and beautiful voice to match (sorry Anton).

By no means avoid this album. The music is very good. You may just have to look past the vocals a bit. Perhaps next time out Anton could find another singer, or maybe do an instrumental. Because of this, I can only award "Dreamer" three stars.

H.T. Riekels

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