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IAMTHEMORNING

Crossover Prog • Russia


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iamthemorning biography
Russian based outfit IAMTHEMORNING was formed in 2010 and describe themselves as ... a neo-classical vocal indie band... that ...combine non-typical but easily perceived vocal parts of progressive rock with a distinctly classical musical approach... They made their full album debut with ~ in 2012. iamthemorning have been an active live unit since they started, performing as a full 8 member band or in less numerous and stripped down versions. All band members have a higher education in classical music and are still studying this craft as of 2012.

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BelightedBelighted
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$9.48
$8.62 (used)
~ by Iamthemorning [Music CD]~ by Iamthemorning [Music CD]
Beste! Unterhaltung
Audio CD$66.44
I Am The Morning by Beste! Unterhaltung (Broken Silence)I Am The Morning by Beste! Unterhaltung (Broken Silence)
Beste! Unterhaltung (Broken Silence)
Audio CD$59.31
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IAMTHEMORNING discography


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

4.22 | 430 ratings
~
2012
3.95 | 274 ratings
Belighted
2014
4.00 | 2 ratings
Lighthouse
2016

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

4.83 | 12 ratings
From The House Of Arts
2015

IAMTHEMORNING Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

4.23 | 46 ratings
Miscellany
2014

IAMTHEMORNING Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Russian band iamthemorning, which revolves around the creative partnership of keyboardist Gleb Kolyadin and vocalist Marjana Semkina, quickly rose to prominence following the release of their debut album "~" back in 2012. Since it's release they have released an EP, and in 2015 they also released a live album documenting their efforts on stage. "Belighted" is their second studio production, and was released in the fall of 2014 on prestigious UK label KScope.

I belong to those people who thought it was a brilliant idea for KScope to snap up this fine, talented band. I really enjoyed their debut album, and found the music they explored there to be one that would fit quite nicely in to the KScope roster of bands due to the emphasis on moods and atmospheres, and was of course interested to hear how this band had developed since that event took place.

iamthemorning continues to explore their particular brand of what one might call atmospheric laden progressive rock in a fine manner. We're treated to interludes with a firm nod in the direction of classical music, Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" did come to mind on a couple of occasions for those, mainly due to Kolyadin's piano motifs I guess, as Mussorgsky's piece originally was one made for that instrument, and did feature interludes between the main parts of the composition. Marjana's vocals are more sparingly applied in those sections when present, naturally enough I guess, as these atmospheric interludes for me first and foremost comes across as ones that highlight the talents of Kolyadin.

As for the rest of the songs, they are by and large of the same general orientation as the ones on the band's debut album. Marjana's vocals combines fine with orchestral backing, piano and careful use of rock instrumentation. Drummer Harrison makes his presence heard obviously, but by and large the instrument aspects of the compositions are mainly mellow, although a recurring element is how these compositions builds up to the occasional layered, majestic and dramatic crescendo prior to subsiding again. In that context this band has something of a post-rock spirit to it, and it is very much appropriate when some of the tracks also features careful use of delicate guitar textures of a post-rock orientation.

There's a lot of positives to this album, and second to last track Reprise of Light / No Light, with it's careful build up to a sound, mood and arrangement more than a bit like Kate Bush' massive hit Cloudbusting, is perhaps the main positive for me, alongside Marjana's expanded vocal repertoire: At least to my ears she appears to use a few more approaches and variations to her singing now than on the band's debut album, indicating a vocalist still intent on development.

The downside for me is that the album as a whole feels, in lack of other words, safe. There are few edges to the material, other than the blazing guitar riffs that book-end second track The Howler, and I get the impression that Marjana's vocals are somewhat restrained too. Partially due to mix and production I guess, but she also appears to stay within the scope of the careful and dream-laden vocal delivery a bit too much. Memory is rarely trustworthy, but my recollection is that there were at least a few more emotionally laden, powerful vocal details at play on the band's debut album, even if subtly rather than dramatically so, but this aspect isn't much of a feature this time around. The combination of these two for me results in an album that lacks those moments of pure magic and brilliance I treasured when I encountered the band initially. I should add that these are minor points though, and rather subjective at that.

In many cases, especially in the past, there were comments about the dreaded second album, when an artist had created a good debut but then ran out of steam the second time around. Thankfully this isn't the case with iamthemorning, who have made a quality effort with their second CD "Belighted". Perhaps a little bit on the safe side musically, but the compositions continue to be compelling and to blend inspirations from classical music, rock and post-rock in a generally appealing and interesting manner. A band with a potentially broad reach too, I wouldn't be all that surprised if they develop into a unit that makes an impact also in the mainstream music market if they manage to keep at it.

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 From The House Of Arts by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Live, 2015
4.83 | 12 ratings

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From The House Of Arts
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by ole-the-first

5 stars 'From the House of Arts', the debut live album by Russian chamber prog act iamthemorning, showcases this beautiful band in its prime. Although the release seems to be quite consise (just nine tracks lasting for slightly over 40 minutes with no famous intermissions between songs), don't be misguided by its compressedness as it's no way a small memorabilia. Vice versa, it's one of those few live albums I might call truly essential.

Recorded during a full-band show in Moscow, 'From the House of Arts' gives us a precious look on how iamthemorning sound being a full-blown rock band, and this album rocks. In a special way, of course, yet still it rocks as you won't ever expect.

Most of the tracks presented here are from 'belighted', and the first thought came into my mind during listening was 'Wow, how dense the sound is comparing to the studio recording!' Indeed, this live version is way more solid than its studio counterpart. Sometimes it might lack some of the thoroughly masterful and rich arrangements you can enjoy much on 'belighted', but mostly it adds an unbelievable energy and plainly excellent sound.

The highlight of this live production is possibly a superior version of K.O.S. which was richened by a very special sound palette you won't notice on album version. A criss-cross between loud piano, heavy guitars and thunderous drums leads iamthemorning to some unlikely heavy and menacing sound. You will never say this band are wallflowers after this kind of experience, I tell you!

'Twas nice to see audience involved into 5/4, clapping to the rhythm, and my personal faves Gerda & Reprise of Light/No Light are incredubly beautiful here. A couple of songs from '~' appearing on this album are worth mention as well, especially 'scotland' which gained some special flavour in its middle heavy section.

Overall, it's an excellent live release you have to hear, whether you're a fan of iamthemorning or just wondering about the phenomenon of this fabulous group.

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 ~ by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.22 | 430 ratings

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~
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by ebil0505

5 stars Here is an album that I had seen on PA several times and had been interested in getting it for some time. When I finally did, I was so amazed by everything. Right off the bat the first song is one of the most beautiful vocal/piano melodies I have heard in a long time. As I listened to the rest of the album I found it consistent in its sound and yet endlessly creative. My favorite song would have to be the oddly named I.b.too because it just gets so epic, honestly.

Also I feel it is important for anyone thinking of getting this album to get the two extra tracks after said song. While I.b.too does a grand finality to it, I believe the seventh intermission and Afis have a more beautiful finality which ties the whole album together much better. It's more sentimental if you will. Hearing the lovely Marjana sing the word "complete" like she does in Afis and the returning of the ocean waves brings the great album full circle, and emphasizes the beautiful cover art.

I would recommend this album to anyone because it is honestly super accessible. The classically driven melodies last just long enough to hold the attention of people who don't normally listen to classical music, or prog for that matter. This is something I've seen first hand when I've introduced some of my friends to this album. In all seriousness, if anybody out there is reading this and you haven't heard this album by now, just go do it already. It will be worth it, especially if you're on a beach somewhere.

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 From The House Of Arts by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Live, 2015
4.83 | 12 ratings

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From The House Of Arts
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Originally written for theprogmind.com

Back when I used to be immersed in the progarchives.com culture, I randomly came across a band named Iamthemorning, a Russian duet that stunned me with the pure and innocent beauty of their music, but also with the emotional and sometimes dark side of their lyrics. It seems that their collaboration is the intersection of neoclassical music and alternative/progressive rock, so to speak. So, I've been following them for a few years now, reviewing their first album "~" and then their follow-up "Belighted". Marjana Semkina (vocals) and Gleb Kolyadin (keys) have gone from unknown indie band to being signed with Kscope and hanging with Gavin Harrison and other well-known proggers. But, as is so often the problem, progressive music just doesn't pay the bills.

These hyper talented musicians are getting ready for album #3, and they need our help. In order to get the funds they need, they have launched a Kickstarter involving a new live album called "From the House of Arts". Now, your first inclination might be away from a live album. I assure you that this live album is not a hastily produced item at all. In fact, it is most certainly one of the best live albums I have ever heard, and I'm usually highly critical of live albums.

"From the House of Arts" is a nine track live album featuring a selection of songs from Iamthemorning's first two albums. But it is so much more than a smaller band miming their albums on stage. No, this is an all-out stage production, featuring additional musicians. Now, I won't go into all the many progressions of this band, but suffice it to say that their second album took their music from mostly vocals and piano all the way to a full sound with guitars, drums, and the whole gamut. Now, imagine that progression in a live format. Iamthemorning, for all intents and purposes, have created their best album yet in "From the House of Arts". Every song sounds very different, almost unrecognizable (in a good way). Not that the melodies have changed or that the lyrics are different; no, the band has simply fleshed out their music.

The album starts with an intro that leads into "The Howler" off their second album. Honestly, this song sounds much the same as the studio version?which is still awesome. However, the live experience begins to take hold soon. We are taken through "Circles" and "Simple Story" and "Scotland" (one of their best songs) and more, and we begin to hear additional flourishes, new melodies, and so on. You see, when you play songs live that are usually played with only one instrument, you literally have to write the parts for the additional instruments. That is exactly what Iamthemorning has done here. Throughout the album, we are treated to exceptionally tight drumming, voluminous guitar lines, cello, beautiful violin, and gorgeous interplay between all of them. Of course, Gleb's piano skills are literally second to none, and he goes off on some of his own mad scientist rabbit trails, adding flourishes and fills that give me goosebumps (my USA is showing). Lastly, Marjana herself provides the vocals and emotion. Her voice creates atmosphere unlike most other vocalists out there. Without a doubt, she sounds better live!

And all of this is made possible by the exceptional sound engineering of both the concert and the mixing studio. Violins and especially piano sound like rushing torrents, guitars fill but do not overcome, and Marjana rises above it all. You really do feel like you are there watching them perform, minus the flowers. And you know what? You won't want it to end. When it did end the first time, I just wanted to listen to it all over again immediately.

So, whether it be the more playful version of "5/4" that features additional guitar lines, the incredible goosebumps of "Scotland", or even the vocally-driven "Reprise" with it ominous loud and soft dynamics, "From the House of Arts" is a riveting and thrilling experience that will get your pulse-pounding due to the purity and organic nature of the music. Each and every song on this live album represents the definitive, best version of that song, respectively.

By this point, I hope you are dying to get your hands on this album. Good. Head on over to their Kickstarter page and send a few dollars, euros, pounds, or whatever you have their way. You will not be disappointed, and they have some very unique rewards, too. As of this writing, they have reached their goal! But there is still time to get on board.

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 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars "iamthemorning" is a Russian band which has gained some attention among prog people since their debut record "~" in the year 2012. I haven't heard that record so I could not give you any points about development and so on but I have carefully overheard their second, 2014 year record "Belighted". The cover is very delightful with a nice house in the middle of a road in a powerful nature. The main musicians are Gleb Kolyadin(grand piano and keyboard) and Marjana Semkina(vocals) and also a lot of other talanted musicians you can read about on the record information.

If you are looking for true progressive rock you can directly put this record away. Iamthemorning is clsoe to prog rock sometimes but mostly the music isn't so much rock. Though is the music alternative or progressive and there are similarities with Kate Bush's expressions here and there also other prog influences. Marjana Semkina has integrity and a very artistic and high feeling way of doing her singing. On "5/4" you hear Gentle Giant ideas in this happy song(7/10). The intermissions(three) on the record are also very pleasant, especially "Intermission X"(8/10) which feels very progressive. The album's best track is "Os Lunatum" which is mystical, very melodic and powerful(9/10). Some other songs are worth mentioning as more than just good: "The Howler", "Intermission XI", "Gerda" and "Reprise of light no light"(7/10) and the other songs are also good, except a couple of less interesting things in the beginning: "Intermisson IX" and "To Human Misery".

Iamthemorning is an interesting piece of music. Harmonic and poetic songs with talanted instrumentals and a great vocalist with her own expression. I lack sometimes more challanging music here so three stars is an honest rating from me(3.23).

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 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Kjarks

5 stars This young russian ensemble takes us to an enchanting promenade amid very original musical landscapes, sometimes soft and quiet, sometimes tormented and even furious. Marjana's sensitive and sensual voice is a perfect guide to follow and it is made more moving again by Gleb's omnipresent, subtile and skilled keyboards play.

In my opinion, "Delighted" is more mature, more accomplished than their very promising debut album. The combination of classical instruments and rock elements is not an innovation in itself, of course. But, here, it's not only an addition (like it has been so often since rock bands want to prove they can create elaborate music !) ; it is a total fusion. We can not conceive this music in another way. And that is very innovative.

Moreover, icing on the cake : the packaging is splendid and that can not be neglected.

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 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by FXM

2 stars This is a big disappointment !!!!

I bought "Belighted" on the basic of the excellent reviews it has received on Progarchives. To date 35% of reviewers have given it 5 star rating. Usually when a new band without a big biased fan base gets that many 5 star reviews it indicates that they have produced something exceptional. But this is no masterpiece of progressive rock in my book.

I have listened to the disc a number of times now and again as I am writing this review in case I was missing something. One word sums it up: Boring.

Mostly fairly monotonous female vocals backed by keyboards. Sure there is some nice keyboard playing but it mind boggling how this could be considered a masterpiece, I just dont comprehend why.

It is off to a bad start with the spoke words on the first track. That is just annoying. I hoped for an improvement after that but to me the album is just repetitive. The best track is track 13 K.O.S. which is a bit more of a band effort with some real drumming, its also the longest at 6:06 minutes so no prog epics here !!!

I could only give this two stars.

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 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Iamthemorning's debut record is my favourite debut album of all time. By a fair amount too. The amount of compositional maturity and uniqueness this obscure Russian duo showed on their very first outing was beyond impressive. Melancholic chamber pop melodies adorned with strings and intricate drumming, all working around the wonderful fingers of classically trained pianist Gleb Kolyadin, who also has a place as my favourite pianist (which is also my favourite instrument, so he could even be my favourite instrumentalist, ever). It's a record I recommend to absolutely everyone, have played over 25 times, and own three (yes, three) copies of. Are we starting to see the expectation that I put on Belighted?

Belighted is still a good album. I think it's impossible for it not to be - the very essence of Iamthemorning's music is something I am a huge fan of - Marjana's sweet and delightful vocals, Gleb's virtuosic and intense piano playing, and the way their compositions flow from melodious chamber pop to some dark and almost heavy art rock sections are all things that I adore in music, and add to what made ~ such a great album. And since all of those things are still here on Belighted, I can't really say that this is any less than a good album.

But. Belighted is not the album it could have been. I'm a bit split on my opinion about this, and how Iamthemorning should have gone about writing a follow up to ~. On the one hand, this is a distinctly different album - it's not just completely rehashing the same ideas as before, it's looking for change and shifting their sound, which is something I respect a lot in music and is always a good sign when trying to avoid the sophomore slump. But, on the other hand, I am not a fan of any of the new elements that they have added to their sound. At all. An attempt to freshen and shift the Iamthemorning sound has, to me, resulted in some awkward and unnecessary elements being thrown on top of otherwise good songs. And thus you see the dilemma, and why so many bands suffer under the pressure of the follow-up, especially when the debut is near-perfect. Drop the new parts and this is just a weaker version of ~ with no change, but keep them and it changes the defining sound of the band in ways that doesn't really work.

But I'm going to stop being negative for a while and talk about what I like about this record, because isolated, and ignoring all comparisons to the debut, there is still more good than bad here.

The second half of this album is when it really starts to come to life, although that's not to say the first is without its merits. From the album standout "Gerda" to the closing of the album we have a string of songs that really start to show the same compositional consistency they had on the debut, albeit to a slightly lower level. "Gerda" is Marjana's best track on this album, containing her best melodies and vocal performances by a bit of a margin. I love the way this track builds in an almost linear way, slowly adding in instruments as it raises in intensity, and the whole way Marjana's voice and Gleb's piano stay strong and in focus. I especially love how lush and strong the strings are in this track, and its a great relief after the sore overuse of bad guitar on this album (which I'll get to in a minute).

This is followed by "Os Lunatum", and if "Gerda" was Marjana's strongest track on this album, this one is the strongest for the string players, especially during the second half with cellos and hard struck violins (and even a fretless bass guitar) all coming in under the atmosphere of Marjana's reverbed vocals. And then we have "K. O. S", which demonstrates the other major player in Iamthemorning's repertoire - Gleb's piano, and despite playing in an awkward (and totally unnecessary) 9/4 time signature, really gets some brilliant lines in, and is the only real time on the album when the piano gets to the level of moments like the bridge of "Inside" off the debut album. This song also feels like the logical climax of the album, in a similar way to how "I B Too" was for the debut, but in a lesser manner. The final crescendo brings in Gavin Harrison's heavy drums for the first time, as well as some guitar that doesn't actually suck that much (for once), but Marjana's vocals don't hit the intensity that they did on "I B Too" and despite some awesome melodies in the first half, it doesn't have a full punch. The album's final track (technically), "Reprise of Light/No Light" is another good one, and completes the run of quality material in the second half as another building, rising track featuring great strings again and a really nice drum part from Gavin.

And the first half? Well, it's not bad, but aside from maybe "The Simple Story" and to a lesser extent "Romance" none of the tracks here are up to the quality of their second half counterparts. "The Howler" has a nice jazzy piano/vocal part for its verse, and "To Human Misery" has a great chorus hook, but both that and "The Simple Story" had better versions released earlier this year on the Miscellany EP.

But all of these good parts and segments get shrunk down when put into context with the debut. Only "Gerda" and perhaps "Reprise of Light/No Light" can even get near the seven or eight incredible songs from the debut. While this album has good songs and some nice moments, getting completely blown away is a rare feat here with comparison to its predecessor. And even moreso when you thrown in the parts that I'm not really a fan of.

For those who don't know the rather impressive story of Iamthemorning's rise to fame, it happened in a rather odd way, through a rather odd group of fans - namely the internet's progressive rock community. Anyone who heard the debut blank would struggle to hear much progressive influence, but it is there in tiny parts during the louder tracks. But for some reason the prog world took them on and branded them as their own, despite the fact that their prog influence was fleeting. The number one album on ProgArchives, multiple features in Prog Magazine, and eventually signing to a (slightly) prog label with Kscope, this in combination with the fact that vocalist Marjana is a bit of a proghead herself, meant that many of us were anticipating a bit of a shift towards true progressive rock. And despite the fact that modern progressive rock is pretty much my favourite genre, I can't quite say that this shift has done their music any good. At all.

The most notable difference is the massive inclusion of guitar on this album - from a couple of distant guest appearances on the debut to a prominent part in pretty much every track here, coming right in with a wall of distorted power chords in "The Howler". And I mean no disrespect to the guitarist himself - the parts are played proficiently and he is no means a bad guitarist, but it does not fit with the music in any conceivable way. Iamthemorning's music is quaint and delicate, and when the dark moments come in they are characterised by the cello and double bass, not the sound of a poorly mixed electric guitar. Honestly, remove the guitar from this album completely and replace its parts with a cello or violin, and I would love this a whole lot more. My distaste for the tones and mixing of the guitar go so far that I actually switched out the album versions of "The Simple Story" and "To Human Misery" with the versions that were on the Miscellany EP. Especially during "To Human Misery", we have the awkward hard-panned guitar fluttering around in the corner during the chorus, and even worse for the hook after the verse when it follows Marjana's vocal line in the distant background.

But it's not just the fact that the guitars sound poor and are mixed very strangely, it's the fact that it doesn't fit their sound. During the aforementioned "The Howler", the entire song feels like Iamthemorning pandering to their newfound rock audience, complete with some irrelevant and annoying samples. But it really becomes evident when you hear how weak Marjana's voice is when she is forced to sing these kinds of songs. Her voice is of subtlety and frail beauty, and the only time it really feels good in the loud sections is with layers and layers of phone-box distortion. During "The Howler" and "To Human Misery" she sounds dwarfed by the loud guitars and drums, like she doesn't belong there at all.

But it's not just the focus on rock and guitars that is a negative on this album, some poor progressive influence starts to seem into their compositions, too. "Crowded Corridors" clocks in at four minutes longer than anything on the first album, but instead of playing a longer, more developing song, they play a pretty regular length track and then just end it half way through. And then go straight into a three-minute piano solo. Now, me two years ago would have got so excited at the prospect of a three-minute Gleb Kolyadin piano solo, but honestly this isn't pleasant at all. Shifting from his usual Beethoven and Bach-inspired parts, Gleb goes full Mozart- meets-Keith Emerson in this solo, and yes it is as atonal as that implies, with unnecessary time changes stacking up and even a feature from a rather gross-sounding organ underneath. And the worst thing about this is that the first four minutes and fifty seconds of the song are absolutely glorious. Not only is it one of the best songs on the album, if they did indeed choose to increase this first half out to eight minutes, in the style of something like "Comforting Sounds" from Frengers, it could possibly even be the best song of their career (funnily enough, the following track, "Gerda", is really a shorter version of the style this song should have followed). It's a beautiful piece, slowly building up in intensity and using layers of Marjana's vocals to create a serene and brooding atmosphere. And then for some reason they choose to end it before it hits any form of intensity, then do a bit of a dance and walk off.

The biggest problem with this album, in the end, is how forgettable it is. There are good moments here and there and overall there isn't really a bad song on it, but whenever I hear it I can't help but think to myself "well, this would be a lot better if the guitar wasn't here and if the compositions were more concise", and then 10 seconds later I say "wait a second, the debut is exactly that." There is no real reason for me to return to this record when ~ still exists. And even moreso, as their label debut, many new fans will listen to this as their first introduction to the band, and this honestly is nowhere near as captivating or exciting as its predecessor and might fail to grab them as that one would. Again, I'm becoming too negative about it simply because of its context. This is a good album. Would I recommend it? Not wholly, but if you're craving some more of the debut's glory then the second half has some great moments. But otherwise, just go listen to that.

7.7

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by chuckyfunk

5 stars This album is indeed an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. BUT! It is an essential listen for anyone who appreciates a greatly crafted piece of art.

I fell in love with iamthemorning's music by listening to their first album. They were my companions in one of my trips this year. Walking around Times Square and Central Park while listening to Marjana's voice is quite a beautiful experience. I have to be grateful to this amazing page for publishing artists like these.

Now, their second album. This time iamthemorning sounds more like a prog band. I got the first hint even before listening to the record just by realising that they are now part of the Kscope label. I quite enjoyed the intermissions on the first album, they give the whole "concept piece" (if I may) a very classical touch. This time, the intermissions sound more experimental, which, for me is not a bad thing at all because it shows an sonic evolution for the band.

The songs are just, plainly, amazing. The opener "The Howler" gives you the idea that this band now wants to rock by now using more prominently an electric guitar and a more rocking drum beat. A very different approach to what the previous album showed. Then, starting the second song "To Human Misery" we get that "iamthemorning" harmony with a lot of experimentation, I believe that a lot of it has to do with the inclusion of master Harrison on drums. Me as a drummer immediately identified his chops which give the whole album an excellent touch. There are far more prog elements on this album than the predecessor, like I said, mainly thanks to the drummer's input but also we hear now longer compositions like the beautiful "Crowded Corridors" and now more complex time signatures like the 9/4 on "K.O.S."

This band had set their bar extremely high with their first record and, with this second album they just blew past that bar and created one of the best prog albums from this decade. I don't feel like that's an overstatement because prog is about finding new sounds, creating original, and artistic musical expression, which this album does in one of the most beautiful ways. I really hope we get to hear more from them and that I get the chance to see them live!

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 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 274 ratings

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Belighted
iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by LakeGlade12

5 stars 4.5 stars. A big step up from their debut.

iamthemorning made some big waves with their debut "~". Even though the Prog content was not very high the combination of Marjana's beautiful voice, the well thought out Chamber music, the incredibly lush melodies and Prog inspired rock music created something really unique and captivating. For this reason ~ was one of the top Prog albums of 2012 and 2 years later it stills competes for the No 1 spot.

Now 2 years later they have released their second album "Belighted" which has backing from the significant Prog label KScope. Its fair to say there was a lot of pressure on the band with this album. Their debut was so new and interesting that its only natural that the second album has a harder time due to it not being original anymore. I gave ~ 5 stars for its originality and beauty and in order to get another 5 stars from me Belighted had to be significantly better than their debut.

Well its a great joy to say that this album is a clear step up from their last album. The overall sound and structure of this album is very similar to the debut, but in every area possible the band have clearly worked their socks of trying to make it more complex, melodic, professional, Proggy and varied than their last work. Its just a better version of their debut with some newer ideas to keep things interesting.

These new ideas were possible due to the bigger budget which lets them incorporate other instruments into their sound. Another big addition was Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree fame who played the drums for all of their songs and therefore added another layer of quality to the music. The band also took some risks on the album, for example they use a recorded conversation on " The Howler" in the middle of the high energy instrumental section, which is something that again PT are very well known for doing but is new ground for the band.

With their being 15 songs I am only going to cover the noteworthy ones. "5/4" is probably their most quirky song, it goes though multiple changes however does not lose its catchiness at any point. "Crowded Corridors" is the band's first attempt at writing a long song and is very successful. The first section is incredibly beautiful and gentle. It progresses into a piece of pure classical music which is centred on the piano and then into a brief ELP sounding section. The song naturally reprises to the beginning section and they add electric guitar to give the song more energy and drama. Its a very good song.

"Os Lunatum" also goes though multiple phases while remaining coherent and infectious, it also makes for a good summary song for the whole album. Then there are other simpler but still very beautiful and well written tracks such as "Gerda" and "Reprise Of Light / No Light"

In terms of weakness's I am still not fully convinced on all these "Intermission" tracks which are either pure classical or ambient music. Some work well while others don't and like with their debut its a hit and miss affair. I would personally have fewer of them and those that are included should function as proper mini songs instead of half baked ideas. You may have noticed that all of my favourite songs are found from the middle to the end of the album. Its not like the first half of the album is bad but its not at the same level as the other half.

Rating this album has been tricky, its definitely better than their debut but the question is if its worth 5 stars when its no longer original? I thought to myself what could they have done to make Belighted better and I could not think of a solid answer beside removing some of the intermissions which is a very subjective viewpoint. Especially as all of these mini songs do fit well enough into the flow of the album. That combined with the fact that the band really have worked hard to better themselves on this album and succeeded (when the bar was already high) is enough in my opinion to justify the 5 stars.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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