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Iamthemorning picture
Iamthemorning biography
Formed in St Petersburg, Russia in 2010

Russian based outfit IAMTHEMORNING 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.

See also: Gleb KOLYADIN

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I Am The MorningI Am The Morning
Beste! Unterhaltung (Broken Silence) 2013
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IAMTHEMORNING top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 531 ratings
3.84 | 341 ratings
4.01 | 327 ratings

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

4.49 | 27 ratings
From The House Of Arts

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

4.00 | 10 ratings
Ocean Sounds

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

4.20 | 54 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Of late, I have been listening to the Scottish band Frontierer. It's mathcore and mathcore so heavy that even us metalheads joke that this is pretty much straight up noise, ha! It's tons of fun...if it's your kind of thing. But as non mainstream music in general heads in the direction of louder and weirder, I have wondered whether new bands would continue to experiment in settings drenched in conventional melody. I don't insist that all music should be beautiful in the conventional sense of the word but at least some of it should be, if I may say so. And it's no good if the only melodic music that remains is that which nostalgically imitates the old with no original voice of its own.

Fortunately, Iamthemorning's music seems tailor-made to address all such misgivings and misplaced apprehensions. You couldn't get too many outfits this square, this antiquated if you scourged every nook and cranny of the planet. Driven primarily by soft mezzo female vocals and piano with an assortment of string and wind instruments. Guitar, drums and bass (indeed the rhythm team of Porcupine Tree itself) exist only to carefully inject occasional doses of power, not to dominate the proceedings as they usually do in rock.

Perhaps, though, there is something bold about this antiquity. What kind of band boldly steps forth to release music made with such a vintage ensemble in the 2010s? The answer: obviously a band that bloody well know what they are doing. Specifically the pianist Gleb Kolyadin. His touch on the instrument is absolutely silken and together with the ultra thin voiced Marjana Semkina he proceeds to explore shades of soft, softer and softest. You had better crank up the music a little. You have to reach out and get to the music a bit rather than it coming to you loud and clear as modern music tends to. Another defiant note of antiquity, preferring to make a soft and (ultra) dynamic album rather than a loud and compressed one. A shout out to the mighty Gavin Harrison. How, just how, does he go from the muscular prog metallish expeditions of Porcupine Tree to this?

Take a listen to their debut album, though, and you realise it isn't really about Harrison or the plethora of musicians they have assembled for this project. And this is not to say that the musicians haven't, to a man, done a fabulous job here. But the debut is pretty much equally enchanting, equally beautiful. So this singer-keyboardist duo have hit upon a niche that they could milk for another half a dozen albums without boring their fans to death. As long as Kolyadin is able to come up with chord progressions that you could swear you have heard before and yet sound uncanny and fresh (that's songwriting magic right there for you), he can go on writing these songs that are neither ambitious enough to be full fledged prog epics but are still mostly a bit too complex to be straight up pop.

And once in a while, he can decide to flex his muscles and reveal those chops that he chooses to use very sparingly. Check out Chalk and Coal, the piano break at around 3:40 in said track where in 20 seconds of calculated frenzy he sweeps you off the floor. Certainly my favourite track of the album but the title track, Too Many Years, Harmony are all well worth your time. The whole album, really. Not one false note on this amazingly consistent, cohesive compilation of tracks.

I am not quite as dazzled by Marjana Semkina's vocals but she is pleasant, more than capable and most importantly emotes aptly for the mood of these songs. Coming to the mood, this is decidedly less sunny than the debut. More Iamtheevening than Iamthemorning. But that's alright; variety is the spice of life. If anything, it shows the band has deceptive range, adapting to these sometimes gothic moods as easily as say the bright sounds of Weather Changing off the debut.

There isn't much to add except to say that I love this album to pieces and look forward to plenty more music from this band.

 Belighted by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.84 | 341 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The key iamthemorning duo of Marjana Semkina and Gleb Kolyadin were able to step into a professional studio environment for this followup to surprise hit "~", thanks in part to the contributions of Kickstarter backers. The end result was presumably an important learning experience for them, given that they were able to keep their recording career going afterwards and follow it up with the masterpiece Lighthouse, but I find that Belighted itself is a bit less interesting either than what preceded it or what followed. It's all very pretty, but there's a certain irony to a song here being called "The Simple Story", since it does feel like they are playing it safe and keeping things simple here rather than really stretching.

It's probably worth a listen for anyone who likes their particular chamber folk style of art rock, but at the same time I wouldn't put it on the level of either of their other two studio albums.

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Continuing their weaving between chamber folk with prog stylings and progressive rock with a chamber folk approach, iamthemorning's Lighthouse finds them navigating the choppy waters between those two styles successfully to produce another strong album. It didn't blow me out of my socks immediately like the debut did, but it's got these delicious hidden depths where Marjana Semkina's vocals, Gleb Kolyadin's keyboards, and their extensive supply of supporting musicians can lull you into thinking that you've got the number of a composition before they change it up on you in a way which makes you reassess not just the section you are listening to, but the entire song.

In short, then, the duo are staying the course with remarkable tenacity and continuing to push the boundaries of their personal, esoteric mashup of styles. Long may they sail.

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars In Lighthouse, Iamthemorning bet on emotion and get a tremendous return on investment.

The duo excels in building a technically mature, yet heartfelt album that displays unequivocal emotional intelligence. The almost fragile vocals of Marjana Semkina paint each song with angelic, ethereal melodies that seem able to seduce even the most predisposed listener. Her ability to switch from light-hearted jazzy moods to dark folk lullabies captures the imagination. Gleb Kolyadin delivers classical music piano sessions filtered through jazz, folk and progressive rock with fluctuations between cinematic and musical landscapes. Think of a combination of Lebowksi's 'Cinematic' album, prog-lite versions of Gryphon's 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' and Anglagard's 'Hybris' with vocals by Kate Bush, Tori Amos and (a female version of) Peter Hammill.

And there is more to it: grand pianos and chants would make tracks like ''Sleeping Pills'' perfect for film scores and dark-cabaret moments in ''Libretto Horror'' may bring memories of Devil Doll. The rhythm section of Colin Edwin and Gavin Harrison provides enough boost to 'progify' ''Too Many Years'' and ''Harmony'' (pleasant Marillion/Riverside influence on the guitars) and Mariusz Duda accompanies Marjana in bringing a haunting melody to the title track. The band quite comfortably escape the chamber prog idiom with a range of moods, instruments and ideas.

Even the French-cinema-soundtrack-like ''Chalk and Coal'' has its moments (unfortunate pick for a single in my opinion) in an album where weak moments are hard to find. I personally enjoy better the more lyrical themes (e.g. ''Belighted'', ''I Came Before the Water'') on the album but also embrace its diversity. Last but not least, the beautiful lyrics tie perfectly with the artwork and the storytelling throughout.

4+ stars

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I am not a big fan of this " Folkish" styling, for starters, yet being a Colin Edwin avid follower, I acquired this IAMTHEMORNING, 2016, "Lighthouse", in which he (among Gavin Harrison), is featured.

Anyway, I am quiet realistic about the whole thing. I am not expecting something beyond IAMTHEMORNING's natural means of music song writing expression (as their previous 2 releases), but some extraordinary performances in those morning lands.

Well as expected these "high level" performances do happen and quiet frequently as to expand the music composition itself to other depths.

The Folk/Rock style covers most of its general musical atmospheres. The sweet female voice introduces every tale like composition and from there each story develops both in direction and environment, yet the acoustic instruments are almost ever present including a story telling piano counterpointing the sweet voice's lyrics.

If music comparissons allowed, it all feels like a less experimental Judy Dyble and more than once overly sweet for its not that high epic like momentums. But as I mentioned I am no big fan of this styling.

Rating it in the same tenor is unfair, in fact I hate those reviews where they start the same, boasting how they do not enjoy or completely ignore the artist or style they are reviewing and rate the whole thing from their own personal guts. Well I would not fall in those pits!

Excellent performances that construct very solid and intelligent musical structures that somehow always find their way home to simplier and more earthly flavors, which are unique in their FOLK/JAZZ/ROCK musical idiom. As also offering a more than a fair share of stylistic detours and stop overs to keep its predictability to the minimum. And of course the sound engineering is superb.

Up to know my favorite "iamthemorning" release and a perfect addition to my collection.

****4 PA stars.

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Roane

4 stars I hadn't been fully convinced by the 2 first albums, good but not more, where I thought that the particular very high voice of Marjana Semkina didn't suit with instrumental proposal (or vice versa), almost trending to be unpleasant. Here, no issue anymore: vocals are perfectly combined with instrumental support and whole music is great. wonderful parts of piano, alone at the beginning, then joined by a strong rhythm support bass guitar/drums. All songs are very good, often not easy to achieve, and this especially makes that it is a great album. One of my most favorite in 2016, sure in the Top3! So 4.5 for me, unfortunately limited to 4 in the end...
 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars In describing Iamthemorning's latest offering, my esteemed PA colleague and fellow reviewer Windhawk (love that name!) was, as per his usual self, bang on once again, certainly in terms of prog-rock analysis and its lover, prog appreciation! His thoroughly novel descriptive of where prog could go, a future yield in unchartered territories and remaining fresh and vibrant, would be by incorporating rock into classical music and not vice versa where many a times it has occasionally succeeded (the Beatles, the Moody Blues, Procol Harum) and yet many failed (Ekseption, Deep Purple, ELP) , his final quote of ' rock music making its way into more of a classical music oriented context to be interesting' makes utter sense . A clear moment of un-silent lucidity.

Iamthemorning did not hit me until now, a strange thing for me who loves woman vocals but I was not convinced yet to push the send button. Another PA comrade, BrufordFreak made true on his moniker and pounded a freaked out positive review that really blew my Calvin Klein socks off. And, upon his moment of lucidity, I took the plunge. A prog universe where piano and voice reign supreme needs to be real damn good to pass the grade, clear melodies, stunning technique and voice modulation as well as some serious passion is what is needed and delivered effortlessly, in spades! Both angelic vocalist Marjana Semenka and the genial pianist Gleb Kolyadin simply sparkle in their respective realm, and then consider (another clincher for me) the presence of Mariusz Duda, Colin Edwin and Gavin Harrison to bolster terrific melodies and impeccable classical-prog with lush orchestrations that would make the La Scala di Milano tremble. There are plenty of dense moments that can and will enthrall and transport the listener to some faraway perspective, both exploratory as well as comfortable.

The waters splash lustily, crashing on the jetty that guards the lighthouse, the beacon of hope and salvation for all the errant ships in the night. Through the opaque mist, the billowing emotion rolls forth like a sonic fog of impenetrable allure, gently propelled by glittering piano runs and guided celestially by a voice that both appeases and bewilders. At times, the arrangements are haunting to the point of soporific ('Sleeping Pills'), occasionally cleverly experimental ('Too Many Years') and even outright enigmatic ('Clear Clearer'), always showcasing Edwin's discreet rumble and Harrison's deft stick work, amid the eclectic keyboard-driven sprawl that navigates seemingly without any effort.

The title track 'Lighthouse' is a case in point, armed with a classical melody festooned with gilded beauty, Marjana's poignant voice spread between piano keys, all extremely restrained and unrushed, slowly building catharsis , forcing attention onto the melancholic lyrics. When the languorous voice of Riverside's Mariusz Duda holds hands with Marjana's, an aching sense of cleaning purification takes root, weaving into each other with swan-like grace. On the instrumental 'Harmony', a true highpoint is reached, a savvy and detailed work of pastoral beauty, where a flute and a marimba-like sound roost, morphing into a strong grand piano lead that shows off Gleb's considerable classic training. Gavin does his jazzy stick work quite well for a 'rock' drummer (lol) , as guest guitarist Vlad Avy shoots off an electric guitar salvo that is brief but to the point. On the terrific 'Matches', you kind of imagine Kate Bush with a piano player, in a jazzier environment that to my utter surprise, invites an electric piano to take the reins briefly, only for the grand to reappear and reinforce the initial fire. Simple and beautiful.

Even more celestial is the track 'Belighted',(interestingly enough: the title of their previous opus), a sweet fluffy cloud of orchestral passion that anesthetizes the soul into a sense of rapture and epiphany. Almost medieval at first with harp and glockenspiel carrying the speckled voice to uplifting pinnacles, then the sweeping orchestral adornments add the necessary 'grandeur' to the entire experience. Yes, this should have been longer and more developed but who cares, it's gorgeous on its own! Its companion piece (or so it seems), 'Chalk & Coal' has almost a torch singer quality, with whispered voices and a forlorn trumpet blaring its painful lament, a soundtrack to some theater play in some faraway time and place, oblivious to today. Jangly piano and screeching lead guitar season the dish with peppery passion, but the sad trumpet shrieks on, unrelenting as Gleb adds some jazzy piano fills. Oh yeah and Gavin does his jazz thingy again (I bet he was smiling just like Colin always does). Truly sensational.

A reprise of the short overture comes in the form of 'I Came before the Water 'part2', Marjana's voice impossibly high and yet precise, gussied up with massive orchestral decorations, while 'Post-Scriptum' is exactly that, a fitting and flattering finale to a masterpiece of modern prog music, what with Colin Edwin's rubbery bass guiding the road ahead like a lighthouse (hmmm), slick drumming, slicker piano and total bravura.

The artwork is stunning, the production flawless, the playing beyond class. Something clicked and my prog vessel will not crash on the rocky grove, as I have seen the bright light through the fog. Thank you , my dearPA colleagues for being my guiding light.

4.5 beacons

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by Dejavu69

5 stars Much has already been written about this album, so soon after its release. Previous reviewers' strong, concise overviews of the style, tracks, and overall nature of the recording led me to obtain the album, although at first listen (previews only), I was not immediately overly-impressed. The tracks sounded "good", but I didn't really think that this fit my "style" of progressive rock. Now, I have completed my fifth run-through (twice with headphones), and I am thoroughly overwhelmed at the quality, execution, and emotions put forth by this band and the story told within the album. That these wonderful musicians are talented goes without saying; their training and abilities are exhibited in every bar of every track. But what really grabs me here is the manner in which they use their tremendous talent to emotionally expose the heart and soul of a very sad, yet all too frequent, human story. I don't consider myself to be excessively emotional, but each track, both musically and in the story told, brings out all of the feelings that I, as a human being living in a very confusing, troubling, but yet somehow hopeful world experience each day of my life. To me, that is the true "greatness" of this recording.

I admit that, due to the musical "style" of IAMTHEMORNING, I passed on earlier releases by this band; I just didn't take the time to listen thoroughly to their music. Now, with this latest release, I have been converted. While this may not exactly be everyone's "cup of tea", the album is, in my opinion, something that should be "listened to", not just "heard" by everyone who appreciates the depth, warmth, and creativity of truly talented musicians performing truly progressive music. I believe this wonderful recording will stand the test of time and will be a true classic of modern progressive rock, and I look forward to many more listens in the weeks, and years, ahead.

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The young duo of classically trained musicians from St. Petersburg, Russia, Gleb KOLYADIN and Marjana SEMKINA, are back again with their third album (not including an EP and live recording) since 2012, this one enlisting the capable help of seasoned veterans Gavin HARRISON on drums, Colin EDWIN (PORCUPINE TREE) on bass, and Canadian Vlad Avy on guitar. They even got RIVERSIDE's Mariuz DUDA to contribute a vocal to one song! The most striking difference in the feel and sound of this album comes in a shift back toward the classical music sounds and structures that made their debut album such a striking and refreshing surprise to the music world. I am not sure if this shift back is due to fan response to their more rock-oriented second album, Belighted, or their own gut feelings, but surely the choice of hiring the engineering talents of Tori AMOS-experienced Marcel Van LIMBEEK and Neil PICKLES for the mixing and mastering helped. The KSCOPE connection is great, and the studio recording and production is amazing, but I like this 'new' return to their original sound much better, and I'm sure the production has something to do with that. Gleb's classically-influenced piano playing is prominent throughout the album--which is a strength--especially if you've seen some of the videos of their live performances: iamthemorning music is very powerful when it is broken down into the acoustic versions in which they were composed.

1. "I Came Before the Water, Part I" (1:41) opens with rippling stream water sounds before Marjana's angelic voice enters in her upper registers, announcing her folk-mythic presence while being accompanied only by orchestral strings and quiet electronic keyboard. Awesome start! I am excited! This sounds like a very mature, very composed, very centered iamthemorning. (9/10)

2. "Too Many Years" (5:10) is a piano and orchestra supported song which is notable for Marjana's layering of multiple vocal tracks of her own voice in several parts for some harmony support to her lead--to amazing effect. I can't remember hearing her do this with such great outcome before! How she has grown and matured! The contributions of bass, drums and strings are wonderfully enriching to the mood and the late arrival of the double-reed French bombard is awesome. Great song. (9/10)

3. "Clear Clearer" (4:35) opens with eery background noises, electric bass, woodwinds and electric keyboard establishing a mysterious musical foundation. At 0:45 Marjana joins in with a more powerful (but not dominating) version of her voice. After another 45 seconds hand drums, piano, and other metallic percussives bring up the decibels level a bit. This is the first occasion on the album in which I am reminded of the waltzy song construction style that was so joyfully present on the iamthemorning debut album, ~. Soloing electric guitar takes front and center in the final stretch over Marjana's whispering vocalizions panning right and left in the background, though all instruments eventual fade and drop out to allow for a charming little woodwind finale. Brilliant song! Great, memorable melodies! (10/10)

4. "Sleeping Pills" (3:44) opens with Marjana's angelic voice holding these amazing notes, singing like an angel straight into one's soul, with some simple piano chords arpeggiating beneath. Background vocals--(Marjana's)--join in as singular classical instruments also make their presences known as the chorus begins. Then, with the second verse we are treated to a JOHN TOUT-like piano solo and haunting background violin solo just before the Perezvony Choir enters to perform its chant-like magic. Stunning! Hand drums, piano, fretless bass, and drum kit join and gradually build in intensity to the song's (IMO, premature) end. Gorgeous! And so refreshingly ingenious. (10/10)

5. "Liberetto Horror" (2:14) has a kind of cabaret-burlesque feel to it--frolicking piano, sexy vocals--only the background vocals and flutes and, later, strings, shift us away from this stage-like tease extravaganza. But it's too late: Marjana and Gleb have long ago seduced me. Fun song! (9/10) 6. "Lighthouse" (6:19) opens with a kind of SATIE/CLAUDE BOLLING-like jazzified classical piano speeding up and down the keyboard before Marjana's whispery voice enters front and center (singing right into my ear! So intimate it makes me blush! Only KATE BUSH has been able to effectively do this before. As a matter of fact, the KATE BUSH comparisons should consider as the piano and voice combination is strikingly similar to a few of Kate's bare bones piano and voice song styles). At 3:55 the duet format ends as strummed guitars, strings, harp, drums, bass and background vocals join in- -eventually giving center stage to a beautiful if less-forward-than-we're-all-used-to vocal by RIVERSIDE's Mariuz DUDA. When you know his voice is coming, you expect some heavy, dramatic shift, but instead the vocal and song play out very smoothly, almost soporifically. The amazing first half makes this song a timeless classic, a master class in classical folk duet; aside from the wonderful wisps of background vocal work (by multiple tracks of Marjana and some Mariuz), the second half is a little too mellow and monotonous. I feel the anticipation (and expectation) for something more emotional, even bombastic. It could've been better but it's still amazing. (Is that possible?) (9/10)

7. "Harmony" (5:19) is an instrumental that has a wonderfully symphonic feel that is quite strongly reminiscent of John TOUT-era RENAISSANCE. John HACKETT-like flute solos, tuned percussion, and, eventually, full rock band and solo electric guitar grace this gorgeous song. (No offense, Marjana, but Gleb has the potential for a solo album/career.) (As do you!) (10/10)

8. "Matches" (4:18) is the first song on the album which opens with a very familiar feel and style--fast-moving piano fingering with Marjana's delightfully acrobatic voice dancing a bit too far back in the mix (I've always wished her voice to be a little more front and center, a little more over the piano in the mix). Switch to electric piano is interesting, but then back to grand piano as the drums and fretless bass of Gavin HARRISON and Colin EDWIN, respectively, take prominence (though only for less than a minute before the song fades out). (8/10)

9. "Belighted" (3:20) opens with Marjana's delicate voice singing with the accompaniment of only a harp for the first verse. Glockenspiel (electronic keyboard?) and background voices join in for the second verse. Then full strings orchestra makes their entry for the chorus and successive verses. Enter bass, hand drums, and woodwinds and what a magical weave of dreaminess we have just before Gleb's piano and electric guitar take the fore ground in some nice counter-melody play. Wow! I don't want it to end. This band, these songwriters are at the very top of their game!!! (10/10)

10. "Chalk and Coal" (4:57) is a dramatic, almost Broadway show tune-like composition that contains a strain of spoken vocals that are treated to sound like whispered or muted radio samples throughout the background of the song. It's brilliant!--as are the trumpet soli in the second and fourth minutes. Electric guitar I also love the decision to have a long fadeout with Gleb's jazzy piano riffs repeated over and over while only being accompanied by a flanged percussion hit as time keeper: Simple, bold and powerful. Incredible! (9/10)

11. "I Came Before the Water, II" (2:56) is an incredibly emotional near-a cappella performance by Marjana-- the only instrumental support coming from a very slow build of orchestral strings that begins in the second minute--just as Marjana shifts her singing into a very high octave (she opened the first verse of this reiteration of the album's opening song & lyric in a mid-range voice). The song closes with the same water sounds from the opening song. Stunning! Utterly gut-wrenching! And haunting! (in a good way) (10/10)

12. "Post Scriptum" (2:44) is the album's finale in which Marjana's voice is used to wordlessly sing the song's Russian folk melody in tandem with strings and woodwind while Gleb tickles the ivories and Colin and hold their steady beat behind. Haunting. (10/10)

In my humble opinion, Gleb and Marjana have come out of their shell, into their own state as mature butterflies, to fulfill the amazing and unique potential they exploded onto the scene with back in 2012. The return to piano- and "classical folk"-based sound styles is much welcomed but more, the display of ingenious musical ideas is made felt throughout each and every song--so many choices in structure, sound and restraint that only masters of their craft can ever achieve. And yet, they are still so young! With their confidence and creative beasts released; I can see a long string of masterpieces in iamthemorning (or Gelb Kolyadin and Marjana Semkina)'s long and illustrious career(s).

Without hesitation, this is a five star masterpiece of progressive rock music, essential for any prog lover's music collection. Marjana and Gleb are focusing their energies on giving attention to the under-attended ills of those suffering from psychological illness, so, for those of you with a friend or loved one with some mental illness, this album might just be a perfect balm ... or tonic. Compassionately conceived and intended, Beautifully rendered, this is music for healing and wholeness.

 Lighthouse by IAMTHEMORNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.01 | 327 ratings

Iamthemorning Crossover Prog

Review by LakeGlade12

5 stars 4.8 Stars. Their best album by miles!

Its pretty rare that I write reviews of albums which I have only heard a few times, but I could tell from the first listen they had made a huge leap in quality and consistency from their last two albums, and by the second listen I fully understood just how strong this album is. When I first heard their pre-order track "Chalk and Coal" I was immediately very impressed but also very surprised by how dark and jazzy it was. It did make me wonder if this album would be a big departure from their signature sound, but it turns out this song was the exception and most of Lighthouse follows the successful formula that they created in their debut album.

Now often these days when you hear of a band sticking mostly to their safe territory it is given as a criticism. However with Lighthouse the band have managed to perfect their sound and songwriting to the point that there are virtually no flaws to be found. The hit-or-miss Intermission tracks have been ditched, with each song sounding complete and all directing the listener to the concept of this album, which is about a girl who is fighting mental illness. While there are more jazzy parts to be found here and there, the album for the most part sticks to iamthemorning's greatest strengths, which are Gleb Kolyadin's exceptional piano playing and Marjana Semkina's wonderful singing and vocal control. The songs are short with the longest being only 6 minutes, but they make sure each track has a strong personality and melody.

The album wastes no time getting serious with "I Came Before the Water (Pt.I)" which hits you with intensely emotional vocals and orchestral music to enhance the song. The lyrics make it clear from the start that this album is not going to have a happy ending and to be ready for quite a ride.

"Too Many Years" is quite a grand and dramatic track, with a strong melody that gives way to a quite heavy instrumental towards the end. Much like "The Howler" from their last album Belighted they want to keep the momentum and drama from the opening song going for as long as possible, although it feels far more natural than before. "Clear Clearer" and "Sleeping Pills" are both quieter songs, but still have a lot of subtlety that shows the band's strong songwriting skills. The former song showcases Marjana's hypothesizing vocal arrangements along with clever instrumentation while the latter is the closest thing to classical music on this album.

"Libretto Horror" is the most oddball song on the album and while I completely love it I can see it being a acquired taste for others. Here Marjana shows just how far she can push her vocals with some seriously bizarre and challenging key-changes. These vocals are then played one-top of the other to create some sort of freaky nightmarish atmosphere. Whether you love it or hate it you won't be forgetting about it any time soon!

"Lighthouse" is the longest song on the album and also one of their best songs in general. The first part relies on mostly Gleb and Marjana playing off each other to create a very delicate and beautiful atmosphere. Later on Mariusz Duda joins the band to provide guest vocals that work perfectly with Marjana. While the entire album is fantastic this is part is the biggest highlight and its well worth getting the album for just these few minutes. Perfect.

"Harmony" is the first instrumental on the album and a reminder to people that they are not on Prog Archives for no reason! As this is a instrumental this is where Gleb takes center stage and shows just how great he is as a piano player. His classical training background also clearly comes though here."Matches" maintains the virtuoso piano playing and has Marjana also doing some fast-paced vocal gymnastics. This Prog heavy song also has some quite twisted lyrics to show how the girl's mental state has decline significantly. "Belighted" is a classic iamthemorning song with spiraling vocal arrangements and orchestra like in "Intermission I".

"Chalk and Coal" is as said before quite different to the rest of the album and is the point where the girl's breakdown becomes complete. Its probably the band's darkest song to date and brings back memories of Steven Wilson's Grace For Drowning at its most oppressive and jazzy. "I Came Before the Water (Pt.II)" begins entirely without instruments to put the incredibly bleak lyrics into full effect. The orchestra comes back in as the girl accepts defeat and commits suicide. The band perform the song perfectly, if anything too well as the emotional intensity and bleakness makes the song hard to listen to. The band fortunately decided not to finish the album on such a soul crushing moment and instead use the instrumental "Post Scriptum" to conclude things. This piano driven song reprises the theme of the last song and is very well arranged, being serious but not too dark either.

So to conclude from this long review, Lighthouse is by far their best album and not a great deal off being perfect. Each song is a delight to listen to both individually and as part of the concept album, with the concept itself being very engaging and emotional. They play to their strengths here which is only right as they have found a gap in the music world that nobody else has come close to filling. This for me is THE iamthemorning album and their first 100 % masterpiece. They are also fairly accessible by Prog standards meaning they should have a wide market that will be appealed to this album. Absolutely essential music and the best album I have heard in a good number of years.

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

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