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GREYLEVEL

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Canada


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Greylevel biography
GREYLEVEL is a fresh progressive modern band from West Coast Canada, mixing influences and an eclectic pulse of music and rock into something, of course, which to be as unique and elaborate as possible. Since they composed their big and complex debut and signed it with the pretentious progressive rock label ProgRecords, in 2006, they are receiving terrific reviews, pointing out a music adaptable to artistic sensations and modern temptations.

The band was originally a one-man project, when Derek Barber (vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist) , starting 2001, was independently writing and recording his first solo scraps of music. By an immense passion towards progressive music, this project continued obscurely until 2005, when guitarist and bassist Richard Shukin and vocalist Esther Barber (Derek's wife) joined and strengthened the band towards a new and better perspective. Immediately followed the recording and producing of their debut, Opus One, which launched them into the entire progressive world and musical quick atmosphere.

The band generally finds a bright way of artistic interpretation. Derek Barber is mainly the songwriter, but also compels through the keyboard or guitar works, Richard Shukin is occasionally credited for some lyrics and composition, but mostly perfects the incisive bass works and the sound development or complements the guitar surround already managed by Derek. Esther Barber plays graceful, non-complex or unusual vocals.

The band's music, thanks to the vigorous first release, is mostly credited as a song-written, dark-surrounding, mellow-infused or technical appealing progressive sound, close to accessible PORCUPINE TREE, PINNEAPLE THIEF or NO-MAN eschewing samples (less objectively and certifiably, other mentioned idols include neo-prog or modern symphonic artists; the band itself likes to mention various prog musicians and band, as a dependent influence). By style, it is both a psychedelic modern contemplation and an Art Rock sensible eclectic spur. If there are no conceptual signs, there is nevertheless a dark or profound craft of rock and songwriting, while some of the ideas are directed towards psychological or love themes. Mellow or aggressive, technical or emotional, artistic or purely compositional, GREYLEVEL's progressiveness is reflecting the vigor and the desirable modern movement, along some independent signs, which are enjoyable as well.



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Buy GREYLEVEL Music


Hypostatic UnionHypostatic Union
PROGROCK RECORDS 2011
Audio CD$8.97
$6.29 (used)
Opus OneOpus One
PROGROCK 2001
Audio CD$9.80
$6.55 (used)
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GREYLEVEL discography


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

3.17 | 9 ratings
Opus One
2006
3.59 | 57 ratings
Hypostatic Union
2011

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

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GREYLEVEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hypostatic Union by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.59 | 57 ratings

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Hypostatic Union
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Greylevel from Canada manage to capture my attention with their second release from 2011 named Hypostatic Union. The band was formed since 2001 nad they release so far only 2 albums, both quite good recived both by fans and critics. Lenghty album, clocking over an hour with spacey prog passages melted with some more modern aproach to prog not far from Pinneaple Thief offerings or No-Man music or with early Porcupine Tree albums. lenght pieces, 5 out of 8 are over 8 min, with nice musicianship, dark atmosphere here and there, accesible in many parts but yet quite complicated in arrangements, also is technical but yet emotional. Pieces like Memory Remains or Pale blue dot are definetly winners, showing that Greylevel have potential to penetrate moder prog scene and going shoulder to shoulder with big names of the genre. For me definetly a good album, not quite fantastic but more then ok , desearves for sure attention for fans of aformentioned bands. 3 stars maybe 3.5 in places.

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 Hypostatic Union by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.59 | 57 ratings

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Hypostatic Union
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Between 2001 and 2005, Derek Barber (vocals, keys, rhythm guitars) was writing songs and recording them in a home studio, distributing them to family and friends. Then in 2005 he was joined by singer Esther Barber and guitarist Richard Shukin and together theyr worked on the material and released 'Opus One'. That gained them interest from ProgRock Records who signed them up and the group then expanded with the addition of bassist Davis Friesen and drummer Tyler Friesen, and it was the five of them that worked on the songs of the follow-up 'Hypostatic Union'. These guys made be Canadian, but they have much more in common with British prog than anything from their how country.

Imagine early Porcupine Tree mixing with Menel-era IQ and Pionk Floyd and you may just get some idea of what this band sounds like. There is often a wall of sound, both vocals and music, which yet although it is like a wave crashing over the listener all of the individual instruments and parts are still full of clarity and substance. The only thing that I found jarring is the use of Eighties style keyboard sounds which just didn't work for me, apart from making me think that I ought to play more music from thirty years ago. There is a melancholia throughout the album, yet there is a feeling also that there isn't as much depth as there needs to be, so overall it doesn't seem quite right.

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 Hypostatic Union by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.59 | 57 ratings

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Hypostatic Union
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Canadian band GREYLEVEL started out 10 years ago, initially as the solo vehicle of composer and multi-instrumentalist Derek Barber, but over time this project developed into a full-fledged band unit. "Hypostatic Union" is their second production, following five years after their debut album "Opus One", both of which have been issued by the US label Progrock Records.

"Hypostatic Union" is a production that contains subtly bleak and emotionally distanced music, taking its cues from 90's indie and alternative rock and aspiring to blend it with the majestic sounds of late 70's Pink Floyd or vice versa: well-constructed, -performed and -recorded, with a good quality mix and production to match. The band and album alike will most likely have their main appeal amongst fans of a band like Porcupine Tree, and I'd recommend those who enjoy that type of music to lend an ear to what Greylevel has to offer.

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 Hypostatic Union by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.59 | 57 ratings

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Hypostatic Union
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Hypostatic Union' - Greylevel (8/10)

Sometimes, there's a mood once upon a dreary night that only a band like Greylevel can properly provide the soundtrack for. To call this music 'depressing' would be a fairly accurate statement; this is a Canadian act that specializes in tugging on the listener's heartstrings through use of atmosphere and melody. Coming from a fairly rainy part of North America- my part, in fact- I can see what may have inspired Greylevel to make this sort of music; and it does show through in the music. 'Hypostatic Union' is an exercise in all things melancholic, and it has ultimately become one of the most moving albums of its style I've heard this year.

I guess the best way to describe the music of Greylevel would not be so much as 'space rock' as some would call them, but rather giving the label of 'depressive rock'; the sort of emotive, atmosphere driven music that Katatonia and even Porcupine Tree dives into. On the note of Porcupine Tree, the sound and style of Greylevel is somewhat similar, an easy comparison to Steven Wilson's work when he is at his most melancholic. 'Hypostatic Union' has a fairly unchanging style throughout, relying mostly on an aquatic wall of sound with moving, somewhat loose songwriting. There are occasional acoustics here, but much of this album is aimed towards giving the listener a very lucid state. Even if the songwriting here was subpar, the atmosphere that backs up the music itself would have been enough to warrant at least checking out. Thankfuly though, that's only where the goodness of this album begins.

It could be said that a little more variety to what Greylevel do would have helped the album leave a bigger impression, but as it stands, I find myself very attracted to what the band is already doing. This is a melancholic, saddening collection of songs, each doing quite well to hit the listener with a dose of angst. This songwriting is brought forth through a fairly spacey format, with plenty of reverb in the guitars, and brooding vocals that suit perfectly the style that the band is going for. 'Hypostatic Union' gives me the feeling of gliding over an ocean while a light rain is pattering overhead. It is dreary- yes- but there is a sense of vastness and hope about it that makes it all the more moving. An excellent album.

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 Hypostatic Union by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.59 | 57 ratings

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Hypostatic Union
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you're the sort of person who just can't get enough of spacey progressive rock, Greylevel's latest outing is bound to leave you amazed. Hypostatic Union is the second album from this Canadian quintet, and its dreamy blend of modern progressive rock and psychedelic textures have left me impressed since my first listen. As one of the few albums that manages to be both initially pleasing and increasingly enjoyable over the course of each successive listen, Hypostatic Union's lengthy and haunting compositions are inescapably memorable and intriguing, and every new listen opens up a whole new door of exploration into the wonderful sounds that Greylevel have packaged together. Greylevel may be occasionally labeled as a Porcupine Tree clone, but when the quality of the music is this high, there's little for me to complain about.

I will say from the get-go that even though Greylevel clearly have a strong influence from Porcupine Tree's early output, they don't come across as a clone on Hypostatic Union. The spacey Pink Floyd-influenced atmospheres and pitch-perfect production bring a Steven Wilson project to mind, but Greylevel do have a unique sense of direction and originality with this effort. Regardless of whether or not Greylevel can be labeled as a "clone", the music is so good that this shouldn't be a hindrance to any listener. Greylevel knows how to write damn good progressive rock, and all of the eight songs here are equally impressive. Even though its duration is nearly seventy minutes long, it doesn't lose any steam by the end of the record. My personal favorite track is highly emotional "Terminal" - the flow on this track is simply unbelievable, and the mood changes always keep the listener on their toes. The dreamy keyboard atmospheres and melancholic vocals throughout the entire album immediately grab my attention, and the depth contained within the songwriting allows my enjoyment to consistently increase with every new spin.

Hypostatic Union isn't an album that will put you in "cheery" mood, so to speak, but fans of melancholic and bleak progressive rock should have a blast with this one. If you like the spacey atmospheres of Pink Floyd, the melancholic songwriting of Hogarth-era Marillion, and the progressive compositions of Porcupine Tree, it's difficult to go wrong with this fantastic effort. Greylevel has successfully proven that they're a band to watch out for, and I'll be keeping a close eye on this Canadian act in the coming years. A big 4 star rating is fully deserved.

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 Opus One by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.17 | 9 ratings

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Opus One
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This band from western Canada play a spacey, dreamy brand of psychedelic music. The band consists of Derek and Esther Barber (married) and Richard Shukin on lead guitars. I'll get the negatives out of the way first. The male vocals are rather weak but are ok for the most part, although on the first song he is off key at times.The drums aren't real, they're programmed. What I do like about this recording is the fact that the acoustic guitar often leads the way and of course i'm a sucker for lush, spacey soundscapes. The band I thought of the most was PINEAPPLE THIEF although I much prefer the music of that band.

"Sojourn" opens with what sounds like a jet taking off then we get some fabulous acoustic guitar that is intricate and sounds great. Vocals arrive 1 1/2 minutes in,with an electric guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in. Then it starts to get dreamy. The song ends with spacey keys. "Taken" opens with keys, cymbal sounds and fragile vocals. This is very atmospheric. 3 minutes in it changes with normal vocals, drums and acoustic guitar. It has a spacey ending as well. "Blue Waves" is almost 17 minutes long. It opens with reserved vocals, acoustic guitar and drums. A spacey soundscape follows with piano coming in at 4 minutes. Some good guitar before 7 minutes. We get a beat 13 1/2 minutes in as synths and guitar join in. Female vocals come in for the first time, and piano ends it.

"Your Light" features acoustic guitar and soft vocals. This has a really nice sound and piano follows. "Possessing Nothing" is a good mid-paced tune. Quite spacey after 5 minutes with lots of atmosphere and no real melody. The melody does return 7 minutes in and some raw, electric guitar 10 minutes in. The female vocals make an appearance late as we get a beautiful passage of music. "Rest" seems kind of like new age music, with the spoken words and the soundscape that makes you think this is heaven.

Despite it's faults I think this deserves 3 stars, there is a lot here that I like and if they can improve on a few things I could really get into this band.

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 Opus One by GREYLEVEL album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.17 | 9 ratings

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Opus One
Greylevel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Canadian band Greylevel are something else in the world of progressive music today.

In a time when progressive metal is the all popular style, when big and majestic soundscapes are easily made due to the technology available, Greylevel goes solidly against the norm.

They excel in creating mellow and lush soundscapes, where movement and tempo is slow, where every tone is explored to it's full extent.

The main problem with Greylevel is that the music becomes rather too lush at times though. Even new age veterans like Gandalf and Kitaro have some nerve and tension in their music - or at least some elements that manages to captivate you.

Greylevel are more based in rock than new age, but even so that captivating element seems to be missing from too many parts of these otherwise interesting melodic explorations. Still, it is a promising release, and these guys aren't that far away from making a truly good album here.

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