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ADVENT

Eclectic Prog • United States


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ADVENT is a modern rock band from New Jersey that proves how imagination, a couple of influences and a good delivery can lead to beautiful music and a very strong rock style. The group excels at combining contemporary themes (with a contemporary sound, of course), showing a genuine and fresh passion for prog. While they always strive to play with eclecticism, keeping in mind their various influences, their music isn't overly complex but achieves powerful and beautiful melodies and rhythms.



The band was born inn 1989, long before the release of their first album. Guitarist Alan Benjamin and keyboardist Henry Ptak first joined forces as a progressive duo, then Henry's brother Mark was invited over for a deeper sound and stronger compositions; the band took its definitive form in 1996 with the release of a self-titled debut album. If Alan Benjamin proves the most gifted multi-instrumentalist, being well versed in both jazz and classic rock music, the Ptak brothers on keyboards easily work their way through a classical-humoristic style and the electronic genre; they also supply some percussion. Almost 9 years after the release of this first album, drummer Drew Siciliano was hired - a strong creative force - as well as guitarist Greg Kantona whose influences are as eclectic as A. Benjamin's, ranging from modern rock to classical to avant-garde. Lastly, bassist Benjamin Rose joined in as the band eventually readied for live concerts.

Stylistically, ADVENT rely on their own vision as well as on various influences: English and Italian Renaissance music come to mind, with vocal counterpoints being a strong facet of their art. Their progressiveness relies on Western-influenced melodies, good lyrical compositions and strong (if minimal) instrumental experiments.


Most of ADVENT's music has the contemporary sound of the 90's and new millennium prog, although other sounds sometimes show up in their music such as retro, movie soundtrack and other unusual styles. They combine catchy folk, pop or avant-garde, nothing too obvious but definitely present in their sound. Prog fans will be happy to know that the band has composed covers for GENTLE GIANT and PROCOL HARUM, pieces which appear on well known tribute albums. Their brand of prog is mostly similar to GENTLE GIANT and PROCOL HARUM, with a few hints of YES, GENESIS and Anthony PHILLIPS.

ADVENT is a fine, if unknown, progressive rock band. What is important is that their output ...
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Naked & ColdNaked & Cold
Solid State Records 2009
Audio CD$6.80
$2.42 (used)
Remove the EarthRemove the Earth
Tooth & Nail Records 2008
Audio CD$1.99
$1.00 (used)
Cantus FirmusCantus Firmus
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$7.13
$5.98 (used)
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ADVENT discography


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

3.03 | 18 ratings
Advent
1997
3.44 | 47 ratings
Cantus Firmus
2006

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ADVENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Advent, this eclectic prog band from USA, deliver with their second album a pleasent , adventurous music but yet quite melacholic and with two much mellow parts. Cantus firmus is the nam of the release from 2006 and is for me as for many listners a mixed bag of good and inventive arrangements with almost boring parts. Considered the Gentle Giant of moder prog, Advent , never hide their influences and is showed big time here how Gentle Giant they sound from the first note to the last. While I do like this album, pieces like Awaiting the Call... and the longest and most intresting tune of the album an almost epic sided pieces Ramblin' Sailor clocking around 19 min, definetly needs attention, but the rest is quite ordinary yet not bad. I'm bothered by the two much mellow parts, to much vocal oriented passages. Well, what to say, some fans think that this is a very solid album, some that is almost mediocre, I'm in the middle, is ok most of the time with beautiful complicated parts but is far from a masterpiece or something alike. Aformentioned pieces are the best and the most complicated Advent ever done, from symphonic parts to more eclectic ones they did in the end a fairly decent album. 3 stars, very good cover art, shows perfectly what is inside the album, medieval prog rock.

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars ADVENT "Cantus Firmus" is a very good example which you can make a very good work using old models and conceptions. Take a great portion of GENTLE GIANT and mix with smallest portions of GRYPHON and THE ENID music and you find the ADVENT style of progressive music. Vocal counterpoints -mainly in theTrack 1 " GK Contramundum" , the "bucolic flavor" from madrigals like in the Track 3 "Parenting Parents" and theTrack 4 "Utter Once Her Name" (remembering GG vocals ), the Track 2 "Awaiting the Call..." (with a symphonic-prog flavor like in The Enid style of music), the initial theme and other moments of the Track'6 "Ramblin' Sailor" (with a strong Gryphon influence ). Only for mention some tracks. Beside this the musicians are excellent and the arrangements shows very fine taste. My rate is 4 stars with excitement !!!

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars The gift Advent bring to modern prog is the appreciation and value of space and discipline in music. While I feel the band has a lot of growth ahead, I definitely want to encourage them to keep at it: I love this kind of music; IMO, it is too rare in modern prog.

1. GK Contramundum (2:00)
(7/10) opens the album in a GENTLE GIANT/MOON SAFARI way with this acappella song. (Had Moon Safari heard this album before it wrote and recorded Blomljud?). Unfortunately, the message is lost to me cuz I don't 'hear/process' lyrics. I hear the music, the melodies and harmonies. In this respect, the final 15 seconds are the best.

2. Awaiting the Call. (5:10)
(7/10) is an example of how similar much of the instrumental music on this album is to MIKE RUTHERFORD (and ANTHONY PHILLIPS)'s Smallcreep's Day or STEVE HACKETT's Please Don't Touch-through-Spectral Mornings era music. The second section of picked strings is sublime. (1:53 to 3:03: "All in a Mouse's Night" anyone?)

3. Parenting Parents (6:45) (8/10) starts with vocal, organ and synths, to which is added acoustic guitar. Beautiful, angelic voice. Medieval sound and lyric & vocal style. As with the previous two songs, one can grasp and aprreciate the complex intricacies of this song-- subtle though they are--however, they lack any kind of melodic or emotional "hook" to draw/suck in the listener--i.e. those magical moments that cause the listener to forget about time and the existenxe of any external world. 


4. Utter Once Her Name (5:30)
(9/10) is a brilliantly constructed and executed song--again in the Smallcreep's vein. The vocals of this song must be quite difficult to perform live (though I'd love to see it!) because of its numerous unaccompanied rests and odd time signatures and frequent key shifts.

5. Remembering When (4:00)
(8/10) has an awesome start--NEAL MORSE-like guitar hooks you in right from the start. Fretless bass and electric guitar are woven together most exquisitely. A second--and, later, third--electric guitar adds just more beauty and interest to the weave. However, the song is just not developed enough. It's more like an interlude song.

6. Ramblin' Sailor (18:14) (8/10) is the albums epic. It sounds a lot like a JETHRO TULL/GENTLE GIANT mix à la RITUAL's 2007 album, The Hemulic Voluntary Band. A bit drawn out and slow to develop.

7. Your Healing Hand (8:18)
((8/10) sounds a bit like THE TALLIS SCHOLARS being accompanied by STEVE HACKETT's electric live band. Beautifully constructed and arranged--and very technical--but, again, lacking development and the magical "hook." These songs must look awesome on paper--i.e. in musical notation--but the don't transmit that cerebral mathematical genius well to the listern. Space and subtlety reign supreme . . . to the neglect of 'danceability;' great to observe; difficult to participate in.

8. Firmus Finale (4:40)
(7/10) sounds so much like BABYLON's "Dreamfish" or GENESIS' "Watcher of the Skies. The 4:00 shift to Hackett-like pedal work is nice but the synth horns don't work for me.

9. Rear View Mirror (Bonus Track) (3:34)
(7/10) is so familiar in a Smallcreep's/MOON SAFARI way. The vocal even sounds like it's NOEL MCCALLA!

10. Alison Waits (A Ghost Story) (Bonus Track) (10:40) (8/10) is again very familiar in a Smallcreep's Day/ANTHONTY PHILLIPS Wise After The Event kind of way. I like the drumming on this one. Interesting "A Trip to the Fair" kind of circus eeriness to it. There is a great ANT-like buildup in the middle before returning to the eery theme.

The similarities to the Swedish band MOON SAFARI are numerous. (Are they mutual admirers?) Both bands obviously value greatly vocal tradition?as do I. A often forgotten or under-developed side of music, IMHO. While I commend Advent for its 'classical' efforts and tremendous musical discipline, there is something missing, overall, in the music's (and, therefore, band's) ability to lure me in and keep me there. The album's music seems to lack necessary emotional tension and intrigue. Oddly, I found the two bonus tracks--both written (and recorded?) several years before Cantus Firmus--much more engaging than most of the 2006-released material.

Keep on trying, Advent! I love this kind of music! I will be an enthusiastic supporter and follower of this band from here on!

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by usa prog music

5 stars Track 1 "GK Contramundum" is a very brave start to any CD, 2 minutes of pure vocal, this makes you sit up and think "wow" this band is different! Track 2 "Awaiting the Call" starts a bit jazz rock then envelopes into a lovely English 60's folk piece then back into the band sound. Lots of twists and turns in the music keep you on the edge of your seat, but the fade out was a bit premature for me. Track 3 "Parenting Parents" again has a lovely folk feel with a wonderful vocal and some fantastic chord progressions. This band really knows about sound and texture and although the production is very modern it still manages to retain a lot of spirit, which a lot of other bands seem to lose in the mix. Track 4 "Utter Once Her Name" is the most explorative track so far with touches of The Enid meets early Caravan. It's very complicated but there is enough going on to hold your interest. I would have opted for a more uptempo song at this point. Track 5 "Remembering When" is a lovely acoustic guitar piece with a very sensitive lead guitar and bass joining in later. Touches of early Mike Oldfield here but beautifully executed with multi-layered lead parts interweaving with the chords in a brilliant way. Track 6 "Ramblin' Sailor" is probably the most complicated and involved sea shanty ever written. That said this 18 minute track flows beautifully from one piece to the next with some incredible playing and music construction. Again modern production doesn't get in the way of setting the scene and really taking you on a nautical journey across the seven seas, even if the character in the song seems to be heading to his local bar for some wine, women and song. Track 7 "Your Healing Hand" is a haunting vocal driven piece with some complex but beautiful harmonies backed up with some superb production. This track has a wonderful choral feel and would sound fantastic in a big Gothic church played through a large system. Track 8 "Firmus Finale" reverts to the band sound which is a good thing because the CD was getting a bit like "too much of a good thing" with the vocal songs. This is prog at its best with some wonderful tricky time changes and spectacular melodic progressions. There are two bonus tracks, originally recorded in 1992 which give listeners an insight into this band's past, both are exceptionally good but should be treated as seperate items from the rest of this CD. I would like to hear this wonderful album a few more times before I could really comment on it fully, purely due to the complex nature of the music, but I'm sure it will grow on me and the first listening was a wholly enjoyable experience.

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 Advent by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.03 | 18 ratings

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Advent
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Well, the debut album from Advent is a bit of a split personality.

From the obvious Saga and The Human League references in songs like Maginot Line and the ghastly Trompe L'Oeil to more epic, pastorial songs in the likes of Alison Waits. I prefer the latter one. Thankfully, they went down the epic pastorial route on the follow up album Cantus Firmus. An album which also include Alison Waits as a bonus track. But enough of the future; back to this album, their debut album.

Their debut album has a split personality. So much that it is more or less two or more albums put into one. I honestly do not know what Advent wanted to do with their music. But thankfully; the follow up album gave that answer and everything on their debut album is forgiven. That includes a couple of ghastly songs where it seems like Advent want to become a 1980s revival synth pop band like The Human League. Just like Saga did some years ago, btw. The good songs here are really superb so I will give this album three stars.

3 stars

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

5 stars Finally, an album which hits the right tangents.

Once in a blue moon, I get a bit of a blue period where everything is a struggle. Not that I am complaining. My life is excellent. But I am struggling in all aspects of life at the moment and I am also starting to feel my age. Accumulations of life experiences is also a factor and I am starting to look back on mistakes, on relatives recently passed away, on personal conflicts and on chances I once had but did not take up.

Advent has by accident delivered the perfect soundtrack for my struggles with this album. An album that hits my heart strings and the right tangents.

Talking about tangents, I am surprised that nobody have mentioned the The Tangent in their reviews. The similarities are pretty many, music wise. Yes, Advent sounds like both Gentle Giant and the Cathedral who delivered Stained Glass Stories back in the 1970s. This album has rekindled my interest for Gentle Giant and that's a very good thing. But as in the album title, which I guess is latin, Cantus Firmus also points at the RPI scene. PFM is a good reference. But there is also plenty of references to the likes of Strawbs and Manning here. Not to mention the old gregorian music which was once heard in all cathedrals and churches around Europe. All this is solid pluses in my book.

The sound of this album is pointing both backwards and forwards. Backwards to the baroque and folk music scene. Forwards to what I guess is going to become a pretty good Eclectic scene where all bands and inspirations above is going to get fused into one sound. This album is therefore a pretty modern sounding album. The sound is excellent.

The songs on Cantus Firmus is both long and excellent. The opening minute is cheesy, but the album soon gets into a more familiar territory. The music is keyboards, guitars and flute and mandolin driven. The vocals is excellent. The music is very symphonic and complex. It is not the easiest album to penetrate and it will take the listener some time to understand it. This is by no means easy-listening and I am sure even Yes fans will like the complexity of this album. The best song is Ramblin' Sailor by a small margin. This song is an excellent fusion of Gentle Giant, Manning and The Tangent.

So why not four stars instead of full pot, the magic five ? Advent has induced something into their music most other bands does not in a scene full of geeks and over-intellectual people: Soul. Some will say Cantus Firmus is overly sentimental. And that is why I think this is a love/hate album. You either embrace the gregorian chant grandeur and soul in this album or you regard it as a piece of over-sentimental hyperbole. But for me; this album plays on my heartstrings and hits the right tangents. Besides of that; the music on Cantus Firmus is absolute excellent in it's own right. For me, this is one of the rare five stars I am giving out. I doubt I will give out many other five stars here in PA. But this one deserves it. Cantus Firmus is an orgy of excellent music and a big pointer towards the future of progressive rock. Maybe because Cantus Firmus is an own kind of music, according to online music resources. But I am not that clever so I do not know. I only know that I really love this album and it is the soundtrack of my life at the moment........... and probably for the next forty years.

A masterpiece, no less.

5 stars

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by pfdfcc

2 stars This is one of those releases that you come across and based on the album cover artwork, you dive in expecting to be taken on a journey through time. Having recently delved into the Renaissance/Medieval new age genre, I was hoping on a contemporary twist being given to some traditional music, if not the artists taking flights of fancy and conjuring up images of knights and fair maidens cavorting in a castle courtyard. What I got seems to be a little of both. While I am not in love with everything this release has to offer, there are a couple of tracks which I found interesting. The opener was not one of them. The novelty of this 1st tune failed to bear up to the test of time but fortunately it was only 2 minutes long. "Awaiting The Call..." gets things going with an infectious bass & drum driven melody that cruises along nicely then chills out with a brief acoustic mandolin (??) segment then back into the main groove. Not overly complex.........just some ear candy and the first illustration as we listen along to this CD that when settling in to just play, these guys really seem to enjoy their craft. The next 3 tunes are steeped in old world charm but are a little too placid for my tastes. Then along comes "Ramblin' Sailor" and while certainly oozing with seafaring imagery, it also lets the musicians display all their enthusiasm and they really sound like their enjoying themselves. Finally, there's Firmus Fanale. "Majestic" is a word that comes to mind..........it's got a little bit of a early Genesis feel to it. Anyway, does the good outweigh the mediocre..........it's about even. you've got to be looking for some medieval-inspired prog for this to attract your attention. This occupies a very remote corner of the prog genre but for a true enthusiast, it's worth a listen.

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by Anteater

5 stars I honestly don't understand how every derivative neo-prog album here can have a bunch of so-called qualified Contributors handing out 5-stars like crack on the street, and yet an insanely talented band like Advent, who actually TRY to sound a bit different from the rest of the rabble, gets the boot from every moron with an internet connection and an account. Hypocrisy anyone??

Don't let anyone tell you folks different; this album is ridiculously amazing. Sure there's a Gentle Giant influence vocally (though you could also just say they're trying to give a more medieval/romantic feel to their approach), but there's also some wonderfully classical, yet unhinged playing here. The elements, once taken together as a whole, will certainly surprise prospective listeners and make you wish there were more modern prog. bands out there who try to be a cut above the usual crap.

Take the time to track this album down online or buy it. Its worth every second and every penny you could possibly possess.

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 Cantus Firmus by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.44 | 47 ratings

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Cantus Firmus
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Attempting to tackle the wondrously complex legacy of Gentle Giant is a lofty ideal that few have endeavored successfully because it requires capturing not just a bygone spirit but also the polyrhythmic techniques that make it so unique. These New Jersey amateur musicians remain highly qualified after an initial debut album that had many amazing ideas but was marred by a tinny production that did not really do full justice to their talents. "Cantus Primus" is their sophomore release and adequately irons out the previous creases, while encased in a gorgeous Michael Phipps cover artwork that enlightens their medieval rock leanings. After a brief multi-part counterpoint vocal hors d'oeuvre, the improved mood comes straight to the forefront on the splendid "Awaiting the Call", a sweeping dual keyboard instrumental adventure that has an immediate highly symphonic appeal, intricate guitar weavings that recall jazzier pastures not too far removed from early Stealy Dan and a dreamy climate that is ear candy of the highest order. "Parenting Parents" has the first "normal" vocal (à la Minnear) within a gentle preamble, a slowly flourishing semi-pastoral piece that exudes a delicate charm within its nearly 7 minutes, with serene mellotron wisps that mystify and enchant. "Utter Once her Name" is another slow bloomer, very close in style to the previous track, but it frankly somehow fails to grab me as it remains highly ambient and fragile. "Remembering When" is another instrumental story, an Alan Benjamin acoustic guitar piece that incorporates some suave lead guitar, slippery Stick musings and a placid overall atmosphere. "Ramblin' Sailor" as the title implies is a more robust affair , clocking in at a whopping 18 minutes + with a mellifluous recorder leading the charge, a welcome addition that adds a little welcome melody to the complex vocal niceties that immediately recall the Giant. The epic colorations are at times exuberant, baffling and astute, a labyrinth of sound and composition that will certainly require many spin throughs before being completely assimilated. There are broad contrasting sections that keep things interesting, mostly led by a jovial electric guitar and some splashy drumming from new member Drew Siciliano, occasionally fleeting and then suddenly upbeat (generally the recorder is the prime motivator). The 8 minute "Your Healing Hand" gives a Gregorian echo to the proceedings, a soothing ode to fatherhood that has intense lyrics and dissonant/ambient leanings that are truly stimulating, with splendidly emotive chanting vocals, certainly one of the hallmark pieces here. "Firmus Finale" is another instrumental that closes out the recording, paving the way for 2 bonus tracks which are the equal of the prior tracks. It is a fanfarish number that has great merit and an ideal initial closer. The Ptak brothers on keys really give a stellar performance. The 2 bonus tracks are 1987 compositions that combine nicely with the mood with the short and dreamy "Rear View Mirror", a playful ditty that jingles nicely along, while "Alison Awaits (a Ghost Story)" is another epic piece clocking in over 10 minutes. A church organ "entrée en matière" blends well with some classic vocal work, brooding guitar jangles and elaborate drum patterns from Ken Serio. This is a fine selection that was lovingly reworked from their original (and faulty) demo cassette and displays all the inspiring Gentle Giant/Symphonic influences that fuel the band's muse. While I enjoyed their debut a lot despite the crappy programmed drums, "Cantus Firmus" is a valued second step in their evolution. In no way a necessity to a collection, I still deeply admire unpretentious music lovers who record only for the "Thrill of it All". 4 Turnpike Panurges

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 Advent by ADVENT album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.03 | 18 ratings

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Advent
Advent Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars If there ever was a case for the defense and edification of prog, then this debut from New Jersey amateur musicians certainly would be a fine cause célèbre! All lovingly put together with joyous celebration and what have they chosen as influence and inspiration? The poly harmonic troubadours, Gentle Giant! Ambitious, you bet your freeway! The medieval cover drollery is enough to get the charm flowing, and from the opening bars of the splendid "the Maginot Line", one is thrown into the maelstrom of undulating rhythms, surging choruses and swelling themes. One has to nevertheless forgive the rather muddy production as this was an entirely homemade product. The drums are another sore point, heavily rigid and sounding often like electronic programming, even though a drummer (Mike Carroll) is credited. "Alison Waits" is a nearly 10 minute affair that glides along on Alan Benjamin, Henry and Mark Ptak's dense keyboard interplay, where organ (mostly the church-organ patches), piano and synths combine to weave some serious sonic tapestries with occasional burst from the electric guitar. "Rear View Mirror" is a short, mostly vocal arrangement that evolves into a pastoral Anthony Phillips-like reverie. "Trompe L'Oeil" is another viable piece that oozes class, even though it may sound a tad dated today (what doesn't?), what with the buzzing bass and the wheezy synths, almost funky chorus displaying a playful unpretentiousness that breathes a little freshness, until the Holdsworthian lead creeps through the door. The next two tracks, while still maintaining the attention, are not as strong as the preceding material, breezing along with a bit of complacency, still highly polyrhythmic but way less complex than the "Mild Colossus". A brisk fret solo does highlight "Nowhere Else to Go" in an otherwise unproblematic romp. "In the Tree" really shines on the vocal level, obviously "acquiring the taste of the three friends" but not enough to peel the paint right off from 10 miles away. Strangely, this is not a harsh criticism but rather an august observation, as there are very few professional bands anywhere who are capable of emulating Giant's ridiculously multipart craft. "Marche to the Fighte" is a welcome instrumental dive into a more medieval/classical style with broad romantic frills and the companion segment "The Retreat" signals a more cinematographic element to the whole, giving the recording some much needed breath. In fact, the very brief "Caminando" sounds almost Gryphon-ish in its playfulness. Of course, the Jersey boys lovingly toss in their cover of Giant's "Boys in the Band" and do a fantastic job(mind you, it takes 3 guys to play Minnear parts!), sticking initially close to the original and then veering off into a ELP-like swirl mid-section that has "We enjoy this" all over it. When the vocal harmonies kick in, you know exactly which regal raconteur/troubadour they are kneeling to. You can only encourage such devotion. Oh, yeah, love the artwork, one of my favorite covers . Because there is lots of legitimate amusement in the air and the boys really display their emotions vividly, I frankly give this recording easily 3.5 Panurges

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