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IO EARTH

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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IO Earth picture
IO Earth biography
Founded in Birmingham, UK in 2007

IOEARTH are a project headed by Dave Cureton and Adam Gough who each master guitars, keys, bass and vocals. They have been good friends since they met in school at the age of 12. Their writing partnership strengthened and by the time they were 15, composing and performing their own music started at small local venues with a band made up of their friends and relatives.

They both enjoy music of all kinds. As for the inspirations Frank Zappa is just one of the earliest. You'll also find examples of contemporary rock, commercial pop, classical, jazz and everything in between and they have always enjoyed juxtaposing these supposedly completely different styles in their own compositions.

Much of their early work was guitar based rock in the same vein as the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. While this element remains in their songs to this day, they have very much moved away from emulating their influences and have created a unique sound of their own. Many band members came and went through the years, each bringing their own styles and influence to the work, but the one constant has been Dave's brother Richard Cureton (drums).

It was in 2004 that Dave Cureton and Adam Gough decided to start working on their first studio album. Some time later they took their ideas to the recording studio where they met Miguel Seco, a very talented musical engineer and producer from Portugal. Finally it took nearly two years to work out their same-titled debut album, holding 20 songs with the help of several competent friends, featuring vocalist Steve Balsamo for example.

Released in 2009 the whole production is a melting pot of different styles and offers a cinematic vibe, like a soundtrack for lovers, full of relaxing, charming melodies - however contrasting with heavy rocking impressions here and there - provided to tell a complete story in (prog) music divided into three movements. IOEARTH are recommended to fans of sophisticated rock music.

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IO EARTH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.89 | 127 ratings
IOEarth
2009
3.94 | 236 ratings
Moments
2012
3.91 | 204 ratings
New World
2015
3.91 | 133 ratings
Solitude
2018
3.88 | 103 ratings
Aura
2020

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

4.19 | 18 ratings
Live in the USA
2013

IO EARTH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

IO EARTH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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

IO EARTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aura by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.88 | 103 ratings

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Aura
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars More laid back, atmospheric Neo Prog from these now-veteran Brit proggers--their fourth album since their self-titled 2009 debut.

1. "Aura" (7:52) very laid back and slow to develop--like a classic PINK FLOYD or UNITOPIA song. It even had a David Gilmour-like guitar solo in near the end. (13.25/15)

2. "Waterfall" (11:24) spacious drums, piano, bass, synth washes, and female choir vocals open this slow-paced song. It's like ENIGMA-treated PURE REASON REVOLUTION. At 2:45 everything falls away while piano continues as sole accompanist to Rosanna Lefevre's lovely vocal. (She sounds a lot like FREQUENCY DRIFT's wonderful 2011 vocalist, Antje Auer.) At 3:30 the full band jumps back in, giving Rosanna a little break, but then she returns to sing her next verse. Rosanna's vocalise in the seventh and eighth minutes is pure delight as she slips in and out of operatic mode. Though flute and violin are purportedly in the mix throughout, I cannot really pick them up in the mix (until the very end). A very nice, solid prog epic. (17.75/20)

3. "Breathe" (8:36) more pretty soundscapes with gentle, etheric vocals (and samples of radio interview) but, once again, the song's development is so slow and incremental that the tendency is for the listener (me) to get bored long before the somewhat-interesting subtleties and idosyncracies arrive. (17/20)

4. "Resonance I (3:05) (8.5/10) 5. "Circles" (6:15) straight out of Giancarlo Erra's NOSOUND playbook, this spacious, atmospheric song starts with spacey atmosphere and almost-spoken male vocals before the band kicks in and Rosanna begins wafting her lilting vocalise around in the mix. An eerie Gothic pregnant spaciousness takes over in the middle before the band kicks back in and Rosanna's vocalise continues winding around while male and female vocalists sing some kind of subdued, chanted lyric together. Effective. (8.75/10)

6. "Shadows" (6:18) piano If the band's video has anything to say about this song, it's about a now-homeless war veteran (Baltic wars of the 1990s? or the Middle East conflicts?) and the memories that haunt him: friends lost in battle, lost daughter (or children as collateral damage), lost homeland. Dave Cureton gives quite an impassioned vocal in the second half. (9/10)

7. "Resonance II (2:23) (4.5/5) 8. "The Rain" (18:02) another song that is only separated from the UNITOPIA catalogue by the talented vocals of Rosanna Lefevre (who is used here as the second/relief vocalist)--and by the distinction that not even Unitopian songs develop this slowly, this simplistically. Don't get me wrong: there are definitely some nice sylistic choices here--and more dynamic shifts than on any of the previous songs--it's just . . . nice background music. The various spoken people samples in the thirteenth and fourteenth minutes try to give it a hopeful perspective but, in the end, it just feels pessimistic. (30/35)

Total Time 63:56

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of atmospheric neo-progressive rock.

 Aura by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.88 | 103 ratings

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Aura
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by bartymj

5 stars Having listened to about a dozen albums from 2020, I'm starting to believe that this is the best year of prog for a while.

I'll be honest, I've not listened to the rest of IO Earth's discography, but if Aura is anything to go by, its brilliant. The composition is atmospheric, calming, and incredibly well put together.

When it's done right, I'm a massive fan of a female/male mixed harmony vocals, and whoever made the decision to bring Rosanna Lefevre on board deserves a christmas bonus. She has an incredible ethereal voice which just adds that extra something to an already brilliant atmospheric album.

Really is something for everyone in 5-star albums in 2020, but if wistful, atmospheric prog is your thing, this is for you

 Aura by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.88 | 103 ratings

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Aura
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars IO EARTH is a British neo prog band discovered by chance in my ears in 2012. There are acoustics, hovering, often soft arrangements that explode in a musical crescendo, there is also a very beautiful voice. feminine in this case Rosanna since "Solitude". IO EARTH sounds very symphonic and can afford to roam heavy lands over time. On their last opus there is a question of a significant change of their compositions with always energetic solos, breaks with classical instruments, contemporary music therefore, more pop songs but therefore less expectation of Dave's devastating solo. Basically a melting pot of prog rock that might surprise you. A bit of symphonic and hypnotic rock too.

"Aura" begins this album with a very planing and symphonic composition in the tradition of a good PINK FLOYD while the vocals remind me a little of a little watered down ALAN PARSONS, it's cool, soporific in the sense that the title flows very slowly with a calm rhythm; Rosanna's voice comes just in chorus to accompany those of the singing musicians. 'Waterfall' follows with an emphatic, majestic title, a sweetness that changes radically with the rather melodic IO EARTH sound; Rosanna's voice is sublime and leaves for the magnificent lands of MOSTLY AUTUMN; the title gives a grandiose idea of ​​what the original prog movement can do; a slight rise, a piano setting the tone; the end finally rises with a solo masterfully played by Dave, an excellent track where the tune is repeated from the piano to the full orchestra. 'Breathe' with a remarkable entry on the trumpet for a slightly spaghetti-like tune, before an ambient start-up with piano and violin for a piece that could claim to be spleen, I would say rather introspective; here the ethereal voices in French seem to sink you into a musical spell, a bit of ENIGMA at this point, before the final burst and deafening percussions. "Resonance I" then arrives with a first musical interlude, a soaring, airy title, a little on the sounds of Eric SERRA until the vocal appearance all in murmur and delicacy; It changes devilishly from previous albums, a little kitsch anyway too.

"Circles" attacks the second part of the album with the continuity of atmosphere at the title level; spleen tune, borderline female soprano voice, spoken male voice and an introspection with occasional sound effects ' la THE GATHERING at the guitar level; soaring and delicate, swirling and relaxing. "Shadows" continues the frame with an intro piano track quickly seconded by the violin, a piece exploring borderline religious sounds, minimalist progression with a deep melody to cry, intimacy, spleen, meditation. The instrumentation becomes solemn here and the repetition of notes follows a slow soothing crescendo despite the sound rise. "Resonance II" arrives as the second interlude and repeats of the same musical framework, giving the impression of drowning us in this maze of notes; a bewitching mantra sound then in the finale 'The Rain' for the river title of 18 minutes! After a little intro the sound goes to ALAN PARSONS somewhere, in a pop version, then Rosanna's voice gives a little oriental air, a little "Ederlezi" voice and we go, a little further; it is the minimal metronomic drums that bring the enchanting flute; then the Gilmourian guitar arrives until the change of atmosphere even more soaring, bewitching halfway; the second part is more disparate with a succession of musical sequences, vocals and association of the two until a drunken end, you will understand.

IO EARTH finally released their 5th album despite the covid-19 crisis; they were innovative in a new way of recording! They wanted a serene, ambient album, they have it; the voices are sparse between the male ones and the female one not present enough in my opinion because the beautiful Rosanna has refined her vocal cords admirably, the length of the pieces is here a plus for the unfolding of the specific atmosphere. Slow prog as described by the two main acolytes Dave and Adam, much more introspective and intimate music that changes from the original sound of IO EARTH, a surprising musical delight.

 Aura by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.88 | 103 ratings

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Aura
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars I am new to IO Earth, so I have only been listening to the first four albums since February. They have remained in my rotation since they are some of the highest quality albums available in modern prog. Aura is very different than the predecessors. It is more atmospheric, contains spoken samples, and has a more mellow vibe. It starts out with more orchestration as the violin is sublime, and ends with more atmosphere in the track The Rain. The Rain ends with what may be described as birds chirping... perhaps the sun has spoken. Rosanna Lefevre sounds amazing as usual, but Aura seems to have more vocal harmonies where she may not always take the lead. The compositions are fantastic, and the musicianship is excellent. Music for me is all about my mood, so there are certain times of the day when I find IO Earth to be just right. Night time is one of those times. Just relax and listen.
 Aura by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.88 | 103 ratings

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Aura
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by Pete Flodden

5 stars I first encountered IO Earth on their second album 'Moments'. From the start I was struck by their creativity, musicianship and of course their music. The key word I would also add at that stage of their journey would be potential. This potential was realised by their progression from 'Moments' to the ambitious double album 'New World' and finally to the superb 'Solitude'. The only slight concern I had about this new release was would it be able to match 'Solitude'? An album preview put my mind at rest by a preview in early March, The snippets in themselves were enough to truly whet the appetite, as was the stated aim of songwriters Dave Cureton and Adam Gough to explore and develop melody even more than before. This sounded like it would be something special. I am writing this amid the coronavirus crisis. Why is this relevant? Well, I would say in dark times it is vital to have something to look forward to, and amid the horror of the implications of the virus, I certainly took some comfort in awaiting delivery of the treasured CD. Further pre-release issues of the songs 'Shadows' and 'Waterfall' followed turning my eager anticipation to out and out longing to hear the complete album. The band members, and their manager Wendy Hagenbeek, kept us well informed with progress even showing the lengths they had gone to keeping everyone safe when signing the copies prior to delivery. Finally, it arrived. Could it live up to expectations? The answer is a resounding yes. I am not going to go into a track by track description, as one of the (many) great things about this album is that successive listens unlock previously unnoticed delights. Each track has its own dynamic, taking you on a journey, where your ears are treated to sonic landscapes filled with melody and emotion. The musicianship is top notch; the aforementioned Dave Cureton plays plenty of excellent guitar. However, although obviously a superb guitarist, rather than flashy showmanship he favours passion and evocation. Dave is ably complemented by the others with contributions of flute, violin, cello and trumpet making each song a mini masterpiece. Dave also provides vocals (busy fellow). Actual spoken lyrics are somewhat minimal, but this allows co vocalist, the delightful Rosie, the opportunity to add significantly to the aural ambience with some truly gorgeous wordless vocals. To top it all, even the production and packaging are top notch. As already stated I am not going to try to much to describe each particular track, but special mention would go to 'Waterfall' (a superb showcase for Rosie), the hauntingly beautiful 'Shadows' (you must check out the poignant video that accompanies it) and the delightful and thought provoking closer 'The Rain'. Reading above, I must admit, makes me look a bit like a one-dimensional fan boy. This impression is a risk I am willing to take. Indeed, it is much preferable to my most beloved's description of me as a grumpy, cynical old man! I have been around for a while (to put it mildly) and have heard a wealth of great music. 'Aura' stands very proudly when matched against most (if not all) of my most treasured musical friends. This simply is a special album. It has already been a great comfort to me during these dark times. And I know that it will continue to be. I strongly advise anyone to do themselves a huge favour and add it to their collection.
 Aura by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.88 | 103 ratings

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Aura
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by markrp

5 stars This album is all that I hoped for after hearing about the new project from IO Earth at their Christmas party gig. It was described by guitarist Dave Cureton as the softer side of IO Earth, and there is certainly plenty of evocative and melodic music on this album. At times, however, the music builds in intensity and is more stirring and up-beat. There is an excellent mix of male and female vocals, and extended instrumental sections, including some lovely piano and guitar playing. All in all, a wonderful follow up to the excellent Solitude and a worthy addition to the IO Earth catalogue.
 Solitude by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.91 | 133 ratings

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Solitude
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by mitarai_panda

5 stars IOEarth is a cross-forward rock band from Birmingham, England, headed by Dave Cureton and Adam Gough. Founded in 2004. Early by Frank Zappa, but they also blend modern pop music and classical music, as well as jazz. As more members join these years, their music is also enriched, such as the integration of world music, and even some soundtrack, as well as adding gorgeous female voice, orchestra, metal music and so on. The new album "Solitude" is such a diverse result, the opening theme song hidden in the popular psychedelic wind heavy metal, and the female voice with the strings complement each other. However, the soul of this band is two original guitar, so in later tracks they devoted intense, mesmerizing solo performance. With the deepening of the album, we can feel that the orchestral music that constantly sounded behind is actually very good for other musical instruments. It is not isolated and plays a leading and sublimated role. Their efforts to combine classicality and modernity deserve Sure, and indeed impressive, coupled with a smart and crazy keyboard and Rosanna Lefevre mature female interpretation, their crossover music can be described as "perfect"! The album's eight songs are basically about ten minutes long, I tried to pick the best of the two, but found that they are almost all good enough to give the perfect score, and no one below the average. This is what a strong band and talent ah, can produce years of first-class album (09,12,15 also made three albums, are 90 minutes long masterpiece, and received a praise!) After listening to this new post, I undoubtedly become a fan of the band, can not wait to listen to their past album. So after listening, I could give a four-and-a-half-half high score (even to five stars, still more to judge, but in short I was conquered), a strong contender for the top ten albums this year and even the top three ! Is a love of avant-garde, including symphony, metal and classical music friends will listen to the masterpiece!
 New World by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 204 ratings

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New World
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is an album that grates as much as it impresses. IOEarth seem like the heirs apparent to bands that heavy prog bands that seem to have peaked about a decade ago--like MAGENTA, IONA, EPICA, WITHIN TEMPTATION, and NIGHTWISH (though all four of the afore-mentioned bands continue to produce high quality albums). What grates me is the frequent use of sudden Jeckyll and Hyde transformations. Sultry, hypnotic melodic passages suddenly become loud, abrasive, over-the-top head-banging sections and then just as quickly fall back to beautiful passages full of interesting nuance and subtlety. The opening song is the perfect illustration of this: wonderful singing by Linda Odinsen and sensitive, delicate sax/reed play by Luke Shingler are offset by power metal shredding and Norse chanting. The Jeckyllish Magenta/Iona comparisons are not far out of line but, then, neither are the Hyde Epica/Within Temptation/Nightwish ones. For me, this is frustrating. I really don't enjoy the pendulous swings back and forth between tender and in-your-face.. Are the compositions good? Are the performances top caliber? Yes, by all means they are. I cannot fault any of the musicians--they are a great band. The compositional style is just not my cup of tea. As with all IOEarth albums I own so far (the first and third--I rated the second "Moments" from its progstreaming appearance), I rarely connect with an entire song. I am more prone to like parts and passages or individual performances in each. Such is still the case with New World.

"Trance" (5:10) (8/10), "New World Suite" (7:16) (8/10), "Body and Soul" (7:04) (8/10), "Morning" (8:38) (8/10), and "New World" (8:59) (8/10) are all strong four star songs. "Fade to Grey" (9:06) (9/10) and "Dreams" are a step above--though, like the song "Smoky Wood" on their debut release, the seductive song, "Dreams" (5:49) (9/10), doesn't even feel like it's the same band.

Another "problem" I have with IOEarth releases is that they are so long! Another two-disc release makes for a long and arduous task to actually hear and get to know all of the music (which is only fair when reviewing an album, right?) I think my brain and butt are conditioned to 45-50 minute listening tolerances.

Four stars for another wildly enigmatic album from IOEarth. Check it out so you can decide for yourself.

 New World by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 204 ratings

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New World
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by omphaloskepsis

5 stars 93/100 Bumble bees, dragonflies, and dark drum thunder. Welsh witch ghost blends in with greenery of the scenery, weighed down by a heavy pecan harvest and a nude descending a staircase canopy, floating down a river past sun spangled Elysian Fields , and I'm not talking about a tiny sleepy east Texas town, although we know that honeysuckled hamlet has contributed it's share of amazing human beings and farm animals to Earth's awesome story, no I speak of sacred Shangri-La bewitching elysian fields.

Complaints? I O Earth doesn't let me up for air. She drowns me. Cloaked and robed, shaved priests cram velvet marmalade into my mummy hole, along with myrrh, hooded snake, hippopotamus ,thyme and sublime odd time signatures. Speckled and bejeweled, I O Earth's- New World is a Maryjane Kay Pink in the cheeks thing. Oooohhh! She spanks like the Dicken's. That interlude in Oliver twists up inside her diamond tiara, mascara, pearl drops and devil dew dripping on her moon shine liquor. Oooo Cleo, wet in the star shine. Yeti, ye...yet,

like ancient Egypt I O Earth's New World suffers from the Moses Syndrome. Similar to the Red Sea fiasco, IO Earth should have split the album. But no! After listening to Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, and an unusually bossy burning bush, Moses hikes up the mountain and comes down a month later, bearing a prog masterpiece, , only to find his people in a drunken orgy dancing in 4/4 time around a golden calf, purchased on Ebay. Any prophet would be pissed, so he threw down the prog masterpiece and it broke in half, and became New World. Next time Moses brought down the Ten Commandments. And oh boy! That brought us all down. Sequels suck!

I O Earth should have recorded a double CD. Too much bliss for a masochist to listen to a once. I had to adapt. 100 minutes of uninterrupted serenity was too much for mortal man to bare New World made me face my fear of pleasure and embrace, a new century prog renaissance masterpiece. At first I couldn't comprehend it. It was as if, I yearned and pined for an exotic teapot. So, I hurriedly drove a hour north up interstate-35 to "Topeka Teapot" -Biggest Teapot Warehouse in the World! Bigger than Topeka Kansas! Jade teapots, porcelain teapots, cubistic tea, ivory tea...My Umpa Lumpa Utopia! Too many choices. I was overwhelmed by the New World. A triple album soaked in surreal aural moonshine! Yet, part of me wanted to pretend I didn't hear it. It would be so much easier to sift thru panned-out rivers for fools gold. I couldn't deny it. The New World is- a shiny masterpiece, golden molten, forged in Super nova fire. If there was a prog sub genre called... World Prog. I O Earth would wear the crown!

5 Crowns Royals for New World

PS. My sweet grandmother taught me...If you can't say anything nice... Don't even open your mouth! So, I mainly review 5 star masterpieces. I rate plenty of *, **, ***. and **** star albums. I rate 'em but I don't review them. Beauty inspires me! Insipid and mediocre... not so much. I don't review albums with over 987 ratings. Enough said, besides Prog Archives warns me to think twice before giving "masterpiece status" to any album. Collaborators are wise musicophiles. I deeply respect the collaborator opinions, as I wait like an eight year old for Christmas, for the Collaborator's annual best of list. Yet, I can't help believe that recent Italian prog renaissance and whatever kind of prog you want to call I O Earth, IQ, Steven Wilson, Barock Project, Leprous, Riverside, 3rDegree, and Anekdoten...Whatever you want to call it...We are NOT in a drought anymore! These are the good old days. Golden days for progressive rock. 2015 marks the cross hairs of a prog rock bulls-eye! So forgive me if I give I-owe-earth five golden stars.

 New World by IO EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 204 ratings

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New World
IO Earth Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars IO Earth has released two celebrated studio albums that made some serious waves within the prog community, supplying a modern curve to the well-travelled neo-prog rock genre by infusing some quite brilliant vocals, such as those by Steve Balsamo, who also participated on the Rob Reed (Magenta) Kompendium project. Strange coincidence (not) because IO Earth sounds like a proggier version of Magenta in more ways than one. Both the debut album and the amazing follow-up "Moments" really took us all by storm, etching in their name into the 'next bright light' prog pioneer category. After a few illness related changes, the lovely and highly talented Linda Odinsen takes over the microphone and does so very convincingly. Back are leaders Dave Curaton (Guitars, keys and vox) and Adam Gough (Keys, guitars and vox), as well as bassist Christian Nokes. New drummer Christian Jerromes adds even more punch than before while Luke Shingler adds stellar sax and flute work and Jez King supplies violin and added guitar to the line-up. They pack quite a wallop, indeed! The mammoth 2 CD "New World" offers up a lavish cover with vivid artwork, sterling production and a tremendous amount of musical flair and bravado. The mood here is decidedly more bombastic, perhaps even heavier than ever before, but maintaining all those IO Earth elements that made the other two albums such complete treasures. Namely, slick modern beats allied with shimmering old school Celtic touches, some delirious Gregorian chanting (I love that choral stuff!) and simply wicked playing by this seasoned and tight crew, the guitar solos are particularly vivacious and the arrangements constantly on the "qui vive", like some alert sentry safeguarding a super-secret site. The music is all over the map, with some heavy rock moments, traditional touches as well as chorale spookiness. But the aural dynamics of serene to thunderous are clearly defined and wholly unexpected.

To kick off a gargantuan opus with a romantic ditty like "Move As One" only serves to showcase their grasp of melody and beauty, cello ablaze and passionate voice up front and center. And follow that with a steamroller progressive rocker such as the zesty "Redemption", a bruising bass torpedo heading out to slam and slam hard, in unison with sweeping string synths, sizzling lead guitar and tectonic drumming, hell, this is my kind of vibrant and nicely bitchy prog!

"Journey to Discovery" has very little disco, as it's another heavy symphonic onslaught of molten riffs that wink at Ayreon and Rocket Scientists but in a way more exciting envelope. Linda sings or rather howls with determined frenzy ("yayaya"), the sense of speed and travel quite obvious and delightful. The swirling romanticism of a suave track like "Trance" is particularly addictive, a typical IO Earth track full of both originality and toughness. These musicians are connoisseurs of the extremes that are well within their expertise, displaying Gregorian choirs ( a perennial trademark) to add to the insanity, choppy modern drum patterns and a definite hypnotic quality that sustains their need to progress beyond the clichéd styles that abound within the more vocal anointed prog genres.

On a lovely piece like "Morning", the mood lightens up a fair bit, evoking folkier slants that perhaps wink at other female-fronted bands such as Magenta, Mostly Autumn and such.Linda Odinsen shows off her pipes, fragrant Crimsonian flutes as a chaperone, then a simply executed electric guitar solo that is all blues and hues before a more exuberant finale that just explodes, out of nowhere. Then immediately fall back on the noxious and volcanic "Collision", a twisting and turning guided heat seeking missile that is in the clouds, invisible one moment (ruminating violin) and suddenly bearing down on your ass the next. Gothic monstrosity like some sonic King Tiger tank gone berserk, crushing, pummeling and relentless, this is perfect modern prog that every fan of any denomination would simply bow to. Both Jerromes and Frank Zappa alumnus Ed Mann add tons of dynamic percussion to the epic conflagration.

"Fade to Grey" is not a remake of the Midge Ure penned Visage track of the 80s but a long excursion into the dark side, though the acoustic guitar intro might throw the listener for a temporary loop, insistent piano and lush voice not far behind. Fascinating stuff, moody and redolent atmosphere cut to ribbons by walls of bombastic symphonics that first startle and then enthrall. Wow! When the sax does its foray into the fray, you just can't help drooling. The slick fret board solo sears the speakers into a fulminating mass of plastic, before a return to the pastoral groove. The colossal and repetitive "fading to grey, paving the way" chorus seals the deal, with Linda sounding like Heart's Ann Wilson (that is one hell of a compliment BTW). The first CD ends with the tenebrous "New World Suite", a clearly symphonic piece that flirts with dense classicism and choral expression, an all-instrumental arrangement with a sweet synth solo finale.

CD2 wastes little time in making you fumble the giant sized popcorn bag, buttering the carpet as the screeching bravado busts through the stereo speakers. "Insomnia" is a nasty piece of work, commencing with sweeping dissonance and a sense of uncontrollable angst, only to detonate mercilessly when Linda clutches the microphone and invites the massed choir to intonate the title. This is a heavyweight sucker, full of surprises with thick and edgy moments, interspersed with a bizarre sax segment that has a definite Barbara Thompson?like feel , only to morph into a shocking double bass drum, heavy metal flurry, complete with a zingy guitar solo that will knock your socks (and your pyjamas) right off . The cinematic outro is a sensational finale.

IO Earth like to weave in some Indian influences on occasion as well (see "Cinta Indah" track on Moments) combining tabla percussion with more modern synthesizer runs as well as a whirling dervish guitar solo from Dave Curaton. So "Red Smoke" has those attributes and so much more, as the theme gets heavier towards the end. Smoking!

The images of 9-11 are reproduced on the instrumental masterpiece "The Rising", understanding clearly the visual impact that incident has had on the entire planet, young and old , all connected to the media on that cloudless sunny day. The insistently sad guitar carves quite a long path, aided by a sweltering saxophone foray, both drenched in historical gloom but resolutely passionate. This is utterly gorgeous, to the point of heartache, Linda wailing a long "hooooooo"!

"Body and Soul" sets out as a melancholic piano and violin duet, until Linda intones a grieving lament, that suddenly explodes into this heavy ballad that sounds like Magenta on steroids, and then back to the sweet pastoral for a moment before another turn into the tempest, a brooding hurricane of sweeping mellotron strings, ballistic bass and demonic drumming, gritty guitars and Linda howling like a werewolf.

Ya want depth charges galore? Ya like boom-boom heavy rock? Two hard ones then for ya! "Colours" is bloody stodgy, concrete and just plain nasty. Sharp rapier-like riffs and binary drum artillery give the band a windswept platform to push the limits far beyond, the mood more like Threshold than anything else. This is continued on the rabid "Follow" with male vocals (Dave Curaton) suggesting a doom-laden crescendo of darkness that is closer to the early Stranglers but armed with a killer guitar solo that sizzles, drizzles and fizzles.

"Dreams" again features a hushed and somnolent male vocal, a stylistic detour that implies a much wider palette than one might think. The brassy trumpet does the lilting mood great justice, I thought it was a long lost the Beloved track, done in a quasi-prog style. Very cool track and utterly ballsy. The 'chaka-chaka' drums are a blast. Okay, this was one hell of a long catalog, with all kinds of styles and challenges, how do they finish up this recording? With the title track, silly you! And just like CD1, the intent is to rekindle the symphonic /cinematographic comfort zone, with a few unexpected twists. This time, Linda carries the tune with some operatic vocals, escorted by thunderous riffs, lightning fast rhythms, blitzing solos and mammoth melodies that serve as a kind of trailer or recap of what this album is all about. Celestial !

This is what progressive rock means to me, a vehicle for deeply melodious adventures, tremendous instrumental interplay and innovative symphonic arrangements that stretch the norms of rock music and finally, a delirious afterglow that yearns for one to return. Melancholic, taciturn, majestic, elegant and overpowering, the music is beyond the pale!

Another masterpiece in the prog pantheon. We all Owe Earth from now on!

5 fresh dominions

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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