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Symphonic Prog • United States

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Stencil Forest biography
Stencil Forest was formed in 1980, with a strong melodic structure and clearly influenced by English progressive rock. After many years together performing live gigs, the band embarked on an ambitious new project in 2005. This project was The Abyss, an innovative album released in 2006 to some acclaim. Some of the tracks were rather lengthy in true prog rock style, the opening track 'Lifeline Suite' with a running time of 11 minutes, and the epic closing track 'The Abyss' clocking a mammoth 24 minutes. This closing piece weaves many of the musical ideas peppered throughout the album and works as a type of multi movement suite as heard in traditional classical music.

The current lineup of Stencil Forest is Doug Andresen - Vocals; Frank Cassella - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals; Jim Cassella - Drums; Rick Cassella - Keyboards; Ron Perron - Bass; Frank writes the music, and Ron records. Frank Cassella, Doug Andresen, and Ron Perron are recording new material in continuation of their musical direction.

The band's influences are Yes, Kansas, Ambrosia, Genesis, Moody Blues, Beatles, PFM, Happy the Man. Likely to appeal to fans of Ambrosia, Yes, Kansas and ELP.

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STENCIL FOREST discography

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

3.18 | 10 ratings
Opening Act
3.71 | 14 ratings
The Abyss

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

STENCIL FOREST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Opening Act by STENCIL FOREST album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.18 | 10 ratings

Opening Act
Stencil Forest Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars Although cannot be treated like a masterpiece ( in fact the disk are far from some new approach for symphonic-prog and the musicians are so distant of the virtuosity), but, if you are a admirer ( like me) for symphonic/hard/pop style of bands like STYX, AMBROSIA, ASIA etc... "Openning Act" from STENCIL FOREST is an album which probably you will go like to hear. Even taking in account my initial considerations, the disk in itself are full of pleasurable moments. The best of them is in the track 4 "Crossroads" with the keyboards overture and the graceful acoustic guitar accompaniment to the voice in a very close timbre from Barry Palmer (The New Triunvirat ) and the return from the initial keyboards theme ( about 1 min and 52 sec until 3 min ) and almost "crying" guitar solo. Another high point is the track 6 "The Pandemonium Shadow Show" with a great overture and a sequence with elaborated vocals in the best STYX's style a very pleasant track. Other detachable tracks are 2 "Celestial Voices" and 8 " Five Studded Poker Player". My rate is 3 stars !!!
 Opening Act by STENCIL FOREST album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.18 | 10 ratings

Opening Act
Stencil Forest Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hailing from Indiana, USA, Stencil Forest was formed in 1980 and led by brothers Frank (guitars, vocals) and Rick Cassella (keyboards).Other members of the early days were Rob Nilson on guitars, Stan Swaim on drums, Doug Andresen on lead vocals and Scott Noyes on bass.Influenced by both British and US prog acts Stencil Forest managed to release the album ''Opening act'' in 1983 on Realtime Records, recorded between November 81' and October 82' at Neon Cornfield Studios in Indianapolis.

Of course these were the hard years for producing quality Progressive Rock music and Stencil Forest had to add some commercial touches among the more progressive tunes to become more acceptable.These touches though did not prevent the band from falling into obscurity, however their debut is an interesting mix of Pomp Rock, AOR, Classic 70's Prog and Symphonic Rock as played today by acts like GLASS HAMMER or AJALON.The more obvious influences seem to be STYX, YES, AMBROSIA and KANSAS, although there are plenty of great multi-vocal harmonies in the vein of GENTLE GIANT.The musicianship is very decent regarding the time of its release and offers easy-going organ/guitar grooves blended with Classical-inspired breaks, atmospheric synths and sensitive vocals.The tracks have rather simple structures, yet the musicianship remains always at a good Art-Rock level, while there is also a vast dose of fast piano paces to be met throughout along with some fine guitar solos.

In 2004 the album was reissued in CD format featuring two bonus tracks.''Five by five'' comes from a 1991 studio performance of a slightly different line-up and this one is a Melodic Rock tune, really catchy and memorable but from the prog past of the band.''Just a Fantasy'' is featured also in an all acoustic version from 2004, played only by Doug Anderson on vocals and Frank Cassella on classical guitar, giving the track a more emotional dimension.

While ''Opening act'' is not a great album even from the 80's prog period, it contains material of high-level musicianship and, if you do not turn your back every time you listen to the word ''Pomp Rock'', this album is sure to offer many moments of pure delight.Recommended.

Thanks to atomiccrimsonrush for the artist addition.

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