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THE INNER ROAD

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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The Inner Road biography
The Inner Road are a symphonic prog instrumental band, formed in 2011, from the UK progressive music band Coalition. The band members are Steve Gresswell on keyboards and Phil Braithwaite on guitar, who write and perform the symphonic music themselves. The style they emply was unsuited to Coalition so the members embarked on their new project, The Inner Road, that has already gained a worldwide fan-base.

The main focus of the band is the vision of Steve and Phil, but they bring in other professional musicians to assist where required with recording and live performances. Steve Gresswell began his professional career at the age of 15 in Justin Canns, and was involved with bands Gyppo, Scorpio, Scorpio II, Guardian Angel, The SG Band and currently Coalition and The Inner Road. Steve was also a keyboardist for After Dark. Phil Braithwaite has received accolades for his dextrous guitar playing and is an active session musician. Phil has had the opportunity to play at some of the biggest and best venues in the UK with a great deal of professional artists.

The music of The Inner Road will appeal to those who enjoy the orchestral symphonic arrangements of The Enid or other instrumental symphonic prog.

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VisionsVisions
CD Baby 2011
Audio CD$13.37
$11.99 (used)
AscensionAscension
CD Baby 2013
Audio CD$15.99
$13.98 (used)
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THE INNER ROAD discography


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THE INNER ROAD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 30 ratings
Visions
2011
3.76 | 124 ratings
Ascension
2013

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THE INNER ROAD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Visions by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 30 ratings

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Visions
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars While writing material for the first work of Coalition, their leader and keyboardist Steve Gresswell entered quite often more symphonic territories.At the end he felt that these recordings were not really suitable to the style of Coalition and thus The Inner Road came to life in 2011 in Reading, UK, featuring also Coalition's guitarist Phil Braithwaite.The debut album ''Visions'' was apparently a composing collaboration between Gresswell and Braithwaite and found its way into the market in October 2011, released under the management of Gresswell's Orbital Productions.

The good and the bad appear both in this album, but fortunately the positive elements are more than the negative ones.Gresswell's succesfully marked this project as a Symphonic Prog one, even if the occasional Neo Prog flourishes dominate the album at moments.12 tracks in here and all of them sound tasteful, well-composed and enjoyable with strong symphonic textures in a modern style, led by Gresswell's impressive keyboard twists and the good guitar plays of his collaborator Phil Braithwaite.Shadows of early IQ, STEVE HACKETT, Dutch veterans TRION and FLAMBOROUGH HEAD and even instrumental ARENA are evident throughout an album, which also contains lots of sampled orchestral moves, programmed flutes and maybe some Mellotron echoes as well as a strong sense of melody.Most of this material is bombastic, atmospheric and pompous with Gresswell providing a great instrumental richness with his keyboards, ranging from cinematic soundscapes to full-blown instrumental Progressive Rock, powered by his flashy synthesizers.On the other hand the computer drumming, even if it comes as flawless, sounds quite mechanical, almost robotic, while some of the programmed orchestrations are pretty thin and pale.The majority of these pieces follow the same formula, at the end sounding a bit similar to each other, making their own identity a questionable matter.However the music is played with inspiration, passion and nostalgia, offering eventually interesting, instrumental material along the lines of the Neo and Symphonic Prog genres.

You will hardly find any elements in this album, which will distinguish The Inner Road from the mass of second-wave Symphonic Prog bands.What you will find though is some well-crafted and melodic instrumental music of fine quality.Recommended.

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars With a band name like The Inner Road, an album title of `Ascension', and an instrument credit on the back mentioning a sitar, I don't think it was unreasonable to expect a thoughtful album, full of drifting, meditative and dreamy passages! Instead, this instrumental disc is overloaded with the most excessive of electric guitar-playing, essentially 8 tracks dominated with endless guitar solos climaxing over and over again. It's perhaps the adult film equivalent of prog rock! Oh sure, there's brief bits of other instruments in between, but pretty quickly it's back to business, just what you paid for. All joking aside, The Inner Road have a very similar sound to Italian instrumentalists Il Giardino Onirico, although this has a more constantly heavy riffing backing, and of course is dominated by that electric guitar showboating mentioned above. It's not to say the album is poor, not in any way, it's just that it sells itself a bit short by focusing too much on one sound.

This two piece band are comprised of Jay Paramar on guitar and sitar, with multi-instrumentalist Steve Gresswell working with keyboards, bass, drums and arranging the orchestration. Despite opening with gentle flute over synth orchestration and choir, almost instantly chugging riffs enter just after the minute mark, followed soon after by the first rising electric guitar solo that will set the template for the rest of the disc, a busy John Petrucci-like technicality. `The Steel Sky' has some nice dirty chugging riffs over gleefully malevolent imperial synths and pounding intimidating drums, quite an addictive and relentless track, only let down by a baffling and sudden fade-out! Despite being constantly obliterated by histrionic guitar mangling, the grandly symphonic `Two Words...' has lovely cooking Hammond, slinky bass, sweeping Mellotron wisps and Rick Wakeman-esque Minimoog pomp. `Altered Reality' has lush synths and violins, truly a lovely and regal classic sophistication in addition to romantic Pendragon-like grand soloing throughout, but very quickly falls into the same pattern by dissolving into frantic, up-tempo shredding. Joe Satriani, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater fans will like those bits in this one, but it's frustrating to hear the other elements overpowered constantly.

`Troubled Memories' is another 7 minute guitar solo disguised as a proper track, so instead listen for the occasional nice Mellotron washes, murmuring bass and lovely crying female choir that wordlessly floats around the piece in an ethereal manner. `A Fleeting Dream' teases you with the opening promise of a pleasant respite of acoustic guitar around scratchy Hammond before mule-kicking you with more punchy guitar wailing for six minutes. `The Awakening' is bluesy dark grooving guitar soloing over a triumphant orchestral backing. `Flight Through Eternity' makes for a suitable climax by incorporating soothing female sighed harmonies, droning sitar strains and uplifting, joyful triumphant soloing on both synths and keyboards.

The biggest problem with `Ascension' is that that all the gorgeous synth playing and lush orchestrations are only given the briefest amount of time to be heard before being drowned out constantly throughout the entire disc. Most of these passages serve as little 30 second breathers before the guitars kick in over and over again. I don't like to come across like I'm criticising the album too much, as there's not a badly played note on the entire disc, and the arrangements all have sophisticated passages. It's just that I personally find it too much of the same thing, each track mostly following the same pattern, and I find my mind starts to wander constantly while listening to it. Honestly, despite what an exceptionally talented musician Jay Paramar is, this sort of guitar p*rnography is utterly bewildering and exhausting to me.

However, guitar aficionados will be in heaven with `Ascension' and would be well advised to look into this disc right away. Others who like a bit more variety and something more subtle should probably look elsewhere for instrumental thrills, and 2013 had simply so many other outstanding examples to choose from. But if you are curious, and possibly a fan of the bombastic approach to guitars and synths by projects like Ayreon, Dream Theater and Satriani/Vai, this might be just your thing.

Three stars for me, but guitar freaks should add a whole other star.

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 Visions by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 30 ratings

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Visions
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

2 stars I find a little bit impossible to enjoy the debut album of the English duo The Inner Road. First and foremost, I don't really mind instrumental music, I kinda enjoy it from time to time. I just don't understand what's the point of albums like Visions (2011).

Usually, instrumental music has a way of using instruments as voices, so they speak. And no, I'm not talking about virtuosity and display of great technics. The problem with Visions (2011) is that each and every song on the album have all the blank space that usually a singer would fill in. And that's EXACTLY the problem. What's the point in making instrumental music where ever song is build as if you have a vocalist???

Steve Gresswell and Phil Braithwaite are good musicians, here their compositions are not that good, too simple and too predictable. The guitars sound great throughout the CD, keyboards are ok, basses are ok, drums (programmed ones) are just boring playing the same patter over and over.

If you like instrumental Prog that doesn't dare to go deep into music and doesn't mind with programmed drums, this one's for you. For me... it doesn't work.

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Inner Road second album released this year 2013 named Ascension is a good one, but to me is less intresting then their previous work. Besides head of the band the multi instrumentalist Steve Gresswell, here we have a new memeber Jay paramar responsable for guitar duties.

Well, exactly this new entry in bands sounds make me say that this Ascension is less intresting then first album. While Phil Braithwaite had a smooth elegant manner of playing with many memorable parts, this Jay Paramar while is of course a good guitarist little fail to impress me here, I mean almost every solos and guitar parts sounds the same on every piece and he has a more Steve Vai orientation then previous guitarist who had a more Camel, Genesis direction in his playing.

Ascension has a clear Steve Vai/Satriani kind of aproach sounds like a guitarist album, is progressive in sound but less symphonic then Visions and has less keyboards arrangements, and aswell the passages are not so complicated anymore, no more lots of twists and turns. I can't extract a piece to be the best, all has same level. Overall good album, but not fantastic as Visions. 3 stars for me, nothing more nothing less.

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by Roland W. Craig

5 stars I first heard of The Inner Road on Friday Night Progressive, a weekly internet radio show that has earned a reputation of playing only the best of the finest. Seconds into the first tune, I knew that I wanted to hear more. So, of course, I ordered and downloaded the entire Ascension CD. What Steve Gresswell (master keyboardist) and Jay Parmar (renowned guitarist) put together did not disappoint.

I easily settled in to the first song "Ascension" which rocked me gently in a cradle of tenderness. Then, as momentum built, my ears were carried in swaddling tones from one side of consciousness to the other. The ride was on.

A little bit of flexing muscle stretched out to the road ahead, which led to divergent planes. As the ocean lashed against the dark shoreline of one world, the warmth of the sun rose on another. Focus now became an altered reality, as breathing guitar notes cascaded like waterfalls over the substantial floating mists of well layered keys.

Amid ever changing time signatures, I caught a splash of symphonic breeze, "choraled" by a shimmering frame just before it burst forth again with rapid fury, beaming a spotlight on fascinating visions and sounds rising from both still and troubled waters.

"A Fleeting Dream" features energetic yet full and dreamy guitar licks that flicker, on a flitty little romp to the heightened awareness area of the brain, settling down into all the nooks and crannies before climbing again. "The Awakening" comes on as a billowing blend of beats and phrases, like twin cubs tumbling in each other's grasp, chasing and running from each other.

What starts as a very intriguing ride ends as a mystically inspiring flight as the final wow song {Flight Through Eternity) my favorite, completes the transfer of power from the physical to a spiritual state.

That is my "Ascension" experience. You should buy this CD and listen as your own story comes to life. You will be glad you did!

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK project THE INNER ROAD is the creative vehicle of Steve Gresswell for music not suited to his band Coalition. Collaborating with Phil Braithwaite the first album released as The Inner Road saw the light of day in 2011. Come 2013 and Gresswell has now linked up with Jay Parmar for the second disc "Ascension".

Instrumental symphonic progressive rock was the description best suited to the first album by The Inner Road, and it's one that with some reservations can be applied to the second one as well. The reservations in question are due to the somewhat expanded musical canvas employed on "Ascension", one that may not suit everyone with an interest in the symphonic branch of the progressive rock universe. The fact of the matter is that this disc might just as well be marketed towards a very different audience, namely those with an interest and fascination for instrumental guitar dominated music. "Ascension" is an album where both of these rather different descriptions can be applied, and both of them just as right or wrong as the other.

The guitar is the dominating instrument in this case however. Rarely as a standalone, dominant instrument mind you, but more often than not the most dominant in the arrangements. More or less alternating between a few fixed types of delivery for soloing purposes: Technical and intense in a manner that reminds me ever so slightly of Tony MacAlpine, melodic and elegant in a manner that invites associations towards the likes of Joe Satriani, dream-laden and atmospheric in a way that fans of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd will recognize. The rhythm guitar part of this setup is mostly riff based with dark contrasting tones at that, with a few acoustic guitar tidbits appearing now and then.

The symphonic rock aspect of this creation tends to stick to a fairly pompous and majestic one. Richly layered, with room for both organ and Mellotron, the latter a likely suspect for some neat voice effects applied here and there. Occasional dramatic surges appear, but also movements for a gentler, fragile nature appear on occasion as suitably placed contrasting elements that also expands the amount of variation. Unless I'm much mistaken, the symphonic arrangements on this disc are just as much directly inspired by classical symphonic music as by symphonic progressive rock as such, at least it's that kind of grandiose associations these arrangements inspire when I try to analyze them from my very distinctly layman point of view.

The compositions alternates between different arrangements, pace and intensity the main variations applied and often with room for an insert or two of a gentler nature as previously described. The majority of movements are guitar dominated, with the symphonic constructions as a subtle or insistent backdrop. These alternate with somewhat less elongated runs sporting symphonic oriented keyboard constellations with or without a dominant keyboard sol, a few times with a guitar solo as a supplemental, harmonizing texture of a subservient nature. Which makes for an album of positive moods and atmospheres, with a majestic pompous overall atmosphere many who enjoy symphonic progressive rock will enjoy immensely.

As far as recommending a plausible key audience for this latest production by The Inner Road, a taste for guitar dominated productions and symphonic progressive rock both is needed, and a certain affection for classical symphonic music wouldn't be amiss either I guess. Those who recognize themselves in such a description should find this album to be a fairly safe investment.

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by SuperDave

5 stars It's very rare do you run across an Album of this quality and genre of music. This is an Instrumental masterpiece beautiful tasteful keyboards and smooth flowing guitar riffs make THE INNER ROAD "Ascension" a must have for anyone's collection. It takes me back to the days of Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon and some of the early influences of "YES" this is a rare musical gem masterfully crafted and engineered to Musical perfection, It may not be for everyone's taste but any musician would agree this is musical instrumental poetry that we don't here in today's music world. I absolutely love it and you will too.

David Moritz Teazer

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by rpr

4 stars Occasionally I need an album or bit of music just to sit back, headphones on and chill too.

Ascension is such an album. Now don't get me wrong, this is no mere background noise. Far from it. This is a fine body of work from accomplished musicians who delve deep into the music, bringing out an emotional feel to the album in a way other bands could only wish.

Steve Gresswell, the writer & man behind The Inner Road is someone who only recently was brought to my attention. And I'm very grateful that he was.

Tracks like 'The Awakening' just flow with some extraordinarily technical guitar work by Jay Parmar & layers of keyboards from Steve.

The whole album just flows in such a way you don't really notice where one track ends & another begins, if that makes sense?

This album will certainly be added to my 'relaxing' playlist and I shall be watching with real interest what The Inner Road will be doing in the years to come.

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by brotherraven

5 stars The Inner Road's latest cd entitled Ascension is a breath of fresh air for the world of Prog and Rock in general...Each track is a stand alone masterpiece, I have had the unique pleasure of playing tracks form the album on my Progressive Rock radio show and it has become a staple of the show...There is not a week that will go by without a song from this cd on the show ever. The compositions are tight, the craftsmanship of Steve Gresswell and jay Parmar are fantastic and you can just tell that there is a true passion for each note played and the desire to make wonderful songs ad the promise of a bright future of more phenomenal cd's by these two gifted men. This is a must have for anyone who loves Prog and rock.

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 Ascension by INNER ROAD, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 124 ratings

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Ascension
The Inner Road Symphonic Prog

Review by tbstars1

2 stars Sorry to rain on Tszirmay's parade, but the only words to describe "Ascension" are "remorseless" and "relentless". That the musicianship is exceptional is beyond doubt, but hearing precisely the same driving, soaring sounds for eight (instrumental-only) tracks running just became tedious. In the end, most unusually for me, I simply became bored. I couldn't distinguish one track from another. I found no light or shade or colouring, no subtlety, no nuances...the guitar just explodes at you. All the time. And then repeats itself. And then repeats itself again. No, this one's not for me, I'm afraid. But, as I say, the technical prowess on show is top-notch.

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