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PERFECT BEINGS

Crossover Prog • United States


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Perfect Beings biography
When Chris TRISTRAM wasn't playing bass with SLASH or MARJORIE FAIR, he often thought about going back to his musical roots. On a whim, he filmed himself playing along with 'Roundabout' by YES and posted a video online. Almost 100,000 viewers watched it, including MOTH VELLUM founder Johannes LULEY, who was looking to complete the lineup of his new project PERFECT BEINGS. TRISTRAM's flawless and confident performance instantly convinced LULEY that his search was over.

Half a year earlier, LULEY had approached songwriter Ryan HURTGEN, a fresh transplant from Nashville, about collaborating on a progressive rock project. The two envisioned an album that would honor the style of traditional prog rock, while infusing it with a fresh take on melodic lines and lyrics, and by doing so, catapult the genre into our present time. They loosely based the album on the 2013 sci-fi novel 'Tj and Tosc' by Suhail Rafidi - its themes of transformation, self-identity, technology, and love in a post-apocalyptic world were a perfect fit with the music. Dicki FLISZAR, drummer for BRUCE DICKINSON's band, joined them in the late writing stages.

Once the concept for the album was fully sketched out, the search was on for a keyboard player and a bassist. FLISZAR's former band mate Jesse NASON and the aforementioned TRISTRAM were the undisputed choice. In the spring of 2013 PERFECT BEINGS recorded their debut at LULEY's studio, My Sonic Temple in Los Angeles.

PERFECT BEINGS are all about the interplay of five forces, each bringing their individual styles and talents to the plate, combining them into one big musical feast.

Biography provided by band and used with permission

Perfect Beings official website

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3.95 | 368 ratings
Perfect Beings
2014
3.99 | 118 ratings
II
2015

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PERFECT BEINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pefect Beings is a young prog band conducted by Moth Vellum guitarst Johannes Luley, who also has a solo career for some years now. I was really surprised to see such high ratings on this secobd offer named simply II issued this year 2015. Is quite strange because to my ears is an absolutely fair and decent release with no stunning ideas overall, but good in terms of musicinship. Many considered close to masterpice or even a solid release, to me is not that way. The music is fueled with crossover elements, popy arrangements but all are constructed in progressive rock way, with some more complicated parts and aswell some more simple ones. As I said the interludes between musicians are fairly good, specially Johannes Luley guitar really shines on couple of pieces . Some nice yet keyboards passages added saves this album to me to be a real flat release. I can't really say why I don't like this album so much as other do, but one thing is sure I do really like a far lot more Moth Vellum, is a diffrent beast that had much more to offer thin Perfect Beings do. In the end I can say is ok album, nothing more nothing less, the first half of the album is to me better then the rest. Few spins and that is it. 3 stars.

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Perfect Beings debut album was one of the pleasant surprises of 2014. The performance by all band members was strong, the songwriting and production was excellent, and the album itself is one of the best examples of how to organize tracks to build up to a crescendo at the end, leaving the listener wanting to hear more from the band.

Their second release, coming out just about a year after the first is very similar. As I listen, each band member frequently evokes thoughts of "Damn. That guy's good!". The songwriting, as in the previous album, is impeccable, using influences from both past and present to come up with a truly original "Perfect Beings" style.

The only thing I have issue with on this is the order of the tracks. Where as the debut started out with quirky pop-styled tracks, that evoked (to me) the classic art-rock of bands like 10cc and XTC, and worked its way up to strong symphonic pieces, this one does the opposite. The first track, "Mar del Fuego" begins the album impressively, similar to a Flower Kings style symphonic prog extravaganza.

The next two pieces, "Cryogenia" and "Samsara" have a moody Roger Waters/Pink Floyd sound, with outstanding keyboard sounds, as if Richard wright was resurrected for the sessions. "The Love Inside" is where I might have started the album. The song begins as a light, poppy tune, but builds into grandiose, and sometimes eerie prog.

"Volcanic Streams" begins with beautifil jamming in an Eastern motif, and mellows into a smoother, slightly fusion track. Nice, but the volcano seems to ebb too soon.

The second half of the album is where the prog seems to be, unfortunately, held back. The songs are certainly nice, and somewhat catchy, but to a prog fanatic like myself, bunching them all together after such a strong first half is something of a letdown. Still, these musicians are too good to not throw in an inventive riff or passage here and there.

I would give this a strong 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I was one of the dissenting voices among prog-rock critics who anointed Perfect Beings' debut with buckets of drool and tons of praise, feeling that it was not exactly what I was expecting in view of the immense enjoyment I had with Moth Vellum, guitarist Johannes Luley's previous project that yielded sadly only one masterful album. I certainly approved of the intense Chris Tristram bass guitar rumble, the excellent stick work from Dicki Fliszar and the magnificent keyboard playing of Jesse Nason, which came to be quite surprising. Axeman Luley has been a favourite since his session days with German techno pop band Camouflage, so I had a strong focus on the instrumental quality. Singer Ryan Hurtgen can also sing, to say the least. What bugged me about the debut is the overtly poppy/choppy first tracks which had the misfortune of leading me sideways. The rest of the material was way more palatable but it just did not register that strongly after the initial letdown. Too many cross references to bands like XTC, 10cc, faux-jazz ala Lee Ritenour/Larry Carlton/George Benson and a hodgepodge of other lesser known influences.

So it's with a certain trepidation that I gave this a spin, albeit on progstreaming, and I can report that this time, the band sounds like a modern prog band that is on a mission. A cuckoo greets 'Mar de Fuego' and proceeds to blitz a superb keyboard run, ably held together by an up-front and cocky buzzing bass and a scouring guitar rant, straight out of the classic symphonic sound, tossing in a piano flurry for good effect. Hurtgen has a gentle voice that soothes and appeals easily. Niiiiiiiice! There is that certain Yes influence (trebly bass, soaring lead guitar and shuffling drum work) that is undeniable but that is always a good thing. The follow-up 'Cryogenia' flows well, initially highly minimal, acoustic accompaniment and effect-laden voice leading the icy parade, before melting into a more substantial prog dirge with loads of electronic orchestrations, Luley unleashing a screaming 6 string volley that convinces even the diehard doubter like moi. He throws in those Howe-like squeaks that soar to the heavens. This is a complete departure from the debut 'blue' album.

The criminally under timed 'Samsara' should have been extended, a menacing electro brew that is both ghostly and dramatic, a proper intro for the album first outright jewel, the splendiferous and epic 'The Love Inside', a nearly 9 minute musical exploration that possesses both intrigue and technique, bristling piano at the outset, then both the voice and the bass entering the fray, adding the squeaky guitar fills until it builds up into a harder structure , laden with complex patterns and a slight dissonance. This is terrific progressive rock in the traditional symphonic mode, with stellar mood, impeccable playing and smart rhythmic moves. Even the languid singing impresses.

This majestic piece is followed by another amazing slice of prog, the porcupine quilled 'Volcanic Streams', a bubbly, searing, tectonic rumble full of bravura, gruesome sounds and I find myself almost floored by how much I actually like this music , gone are all the silly and wasteful details that made the debut so frustrating a listen, at least to my ears. After a long sweltering flow, the arrangement suddenly alters into a slick groove, the bass carving a mighty furrow with in a jazzy highway of sound, clanging guitars and shuffling drums, a total surprise that really had me tapping my toes in unison with the rhythm. Mind music that effects the listener is what prog is all about.

'The Yard' reverts to their more playful, lightweight style, something that I feel is not their forte, trying to sound like a clever pop band with cool jazzy intonations, well, err'. No!

For a second, I thought 'Go' was a new Duran Duran song, complete with Tristram doing a passable John Taylor bass pop, while Hurtgen pretending to be Simon the Good, which in a way encapsulates what makes this such a strange experience. (Hey, I actually like DD, 'Come Undone' is a pure genius pop song of the very finest order), it's just that it just barely fits with the previous cocktail of sensational prog pieces they delivered earlier. The resemblance to something off 'Rio' (a great album BTW) is uncanny. I preferred smiling that being angry in any shape, way or form.

The haunting 'Rivermaker' is another far-reaching surprise with Ryan Hurtgen wailing passionately over some complex scales, oozing all kinds of emotion out of his lungs, a thoroughly harrowing experience. It's kind of hard to compare this to anything out there, what with its odd orchestrations and screwball guitar flanges, while the soulful voice aches, pains and throttles over the melody. Pleasantly stunned.

'Cause and Effect' seems to combine all the previous elements into one organic piece of progressive music, a 'balled' ballad as I like to call it, offering a Beatles-like vocal and a bizarre instrumental foray that veers into the absurd and atonal, all players cooking like crazy cooks splashing in some giant musical wok, a sudden whistling synthesizer screech and a summery vocal that made me imagine of some white laundry flapping in the wind. I like the bizarre'..

The finale stuns again, a simple beat, rolling bass and a forlorn, low-ended voice, sleepy and soporific. 'The Thrill Seeker' strives for the ecstasy, of that there is no doubt, more on the groove oriented jazzy scale, armed with a delightful proggy edge and relentless shine.

This is more like it! Way more like it, actually love it. There, Johannes.

4.5 seamless organisms

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars Very pretty crossover prog that is incredibly well produced and very seriously composed from very competent songwriter-musicians, including crossing over into a little of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's sonic world on 1. "Mar del Fuego" (4:22) (9/10), 2. "Crygenia" (3:39) (8/10); the gorgeous little synth interlude, 3. "Samsara" (1:30); 5. "Volcanic Streams" (5:55) (9/10); 7. "Go" (4:50) (8/10), 8. "Rivermaker" (5:08) (8/10); the schizophrenic 9. "Cause and Effect" (5:13) (9/10), and; the highlight of the album for me, Steve Kilbey/The CHURCH-like, 10. "The Thrill Seeker" (4:38) (9/10). I really like the choices MOTH VELLUM founder Johannes Luley has made in his brief but diverse career--I have collected all of his music and find it all enjoyable, it has just not lived up to fulfillment of the Earth-shattering potential that I first saw/heard in the MV debut. But, don't stop! I love all that you are doing!

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by MorpheusMusic1

4 stars STYLE Contemporary progressive rock. II is a highly polished collection of easily accessible songs that might fall into a very different genre if it weren't for the fascinating instrumental work that encases many of the vocal sections. A number of the songs have a lilting, psychedelic pop feel to them, an impression intensified by Ryan Hurtgen's languid vocal style. Musical accompaniment is often subtle, understated and laid back when supporting Hurtgen's voice, but then shifts dramatically as the singing falls away. The playing then is deft and imaginative with clear references to the best traditions of progressive rock - Johannes Luley's guitar work shining especially brightly in this regard. His fingerwork is very varied in approach, distinctive and suitably angular - I could happily listen to much more of his playing. That said, the rest of the band are excellent: keyboards both dynamic and atmospheric, with some especially tasteful piano; a gutsy rhythm section that is capable of some jaw-dropping drive and intricacy when needed such as during the startlingly spiky second half of Cause and Effect. There is a lot to explore here - many partially hidden details and bright compositional gems adorn the memorable hook lines and easy melodies of the main themes. ARTWORK Perfect Beings' second album arrives in a slick black digipack with lustrous orange and blue artwork. A fiery volcanic orb fills the front panel, radiating into blackness; this is echoed on opening the first panel by a heavily-veined, glowing, orange heart. The rear panel provides track titles floating, bright against a solarised portrait photograph. Further pictures of the band in action are found within, juxtaposed, montaged, layered against a beaming pyramid sunset; a burning volcano eruption, licking flame forms. A generous 6-section fold-out can be found in the right-most panel (extricating it reveals hidden artwork in the pocket itself). The insert contains lyrics, credits, thanks and a touching dedication to the late Chris Squire. OVERALL Perfect Beings follow up their 2014 debut with II - a ten track album of tight, progressive-rock oriented songs. Ranging from the one and a half minute Samsara to the impressively dynamic The Love Inside, which falls just short of nine minutes, II oscillates back and forth between gentle, melodic vocal passages and cleverly, inventive virtuoso instrumentation. There are moments when the band heaves in gloriously dramatic retro-prog ingenuity (these are my personal favourite sections of the album) such as the momentarily 'Tales' reminiscent Mar Del Fuego opener. There are intimate and elegant piano passages; cinematic pieces with intense crescendos; near-ambient mood zones and some well-crafted shifts and switches mid-track that hold the attention nicely. I'd be fascinated to see what this band might do with a longer epic - I've a feeling that they could be stunning - but then I'm partial to musical enormity when it comes to progressive rock. Explore the ablum via the band's Bandcamp page or you can find much more of Perfect Beings on the official website.

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band PERFECT BEINGS is a fairly new player on the progressive rock scene, the initial start of what ended up as a new band took place in 2012, recordings for their first album commenced in 2013, and their acclaimed debut album that was the result of those sessions appeared in 2014. Just over one year later they released their second studio production, simply named "II", through My Sonic Temple.

What was a striking feature about the debut album by this band was the manner in which they managed to create accessible songs within a progressive rock context, creating material that had the ingredients needed to spawn interest also beyond a progressive rock interested audience, in essence creating a contemporary version of what one might describe as the art rock bands of the 70's. Just one year later it would appear that Perfect Beings is a band in rapid development in many areas.

Initially this album continues very much in the manner of their first one. The compositions are accessible but sophisticated, with subtle details and arrangements more elaborate than what you initially hear the order of the day, and with the stellar vocals of Ryan Hurtgen arguably adding an even more powerful, emotional drive to the material than what was the case first time around. The songs play out in a melodic and compelling manner, mainly using subtle effects rather than more dramatic ones to maintain tension and interest, always with a focus and aim at crafting and exploring sophisticated yet accessible material that, by and large, can be described within an art rock context just as much as a progressive rock one, for those who consider those as separate expressions.

This album develops however, and for me fifth track Volcanic Streams, which is my personal highlight on this production, strikes me as a transitional cut. The instrumental opening half of this song, revolving around a striking, compelling and achingly familiar sounding piano motif with a liberal amount of psychedelic-tinged details surrounding it as this section develops, is one that showcase a band willing and capable to add more challenging details to their material as well, and combining this first half with a gentler, striking and highly accessible second phase containing the vocal passages afterwards is a stroke of true brilliance in my book. The following track The Yard showcase that this is a band that know their way around some jazz-oriented details as well, including those in a song with a bit more of an art pop focus, while the following piece Go is a creation that opens up as a synth pop tune not too far removed from the likes of Tears For Fears, with a slight topping of Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the more intense parts of the song, and then takes a sudden left turn into rather more challenging and psychedelic-tinged landscapes, before returning to the synth pop oriented parts again.

Descriptions of a similar nature can be given to the remaining songs on this album as well, with compositions that alternates between one or more compelling and arguably broader appealing sequences, and then pairs them off or develops them into material of a somewhat more challenging nature. Radiohead was a band that came to mind in terms of this general approach at times, albeit in terms of approach and not all that much in terms of style and expression I should add.

Personally I regard Perfect Being's second album as a quality creation. Arguably a production that won't have quite as much of a broad appeal as their debut, but also one that showcase a band developing their style. They maintain a focus on and a foundation in accessible and rather broadly appealing songs within a progressive rock context, but on this occasion with a somewhat stronger focus on challenging details and sophisticated elements.

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Perfect Beings II" is as the title suggests the 2nd full-length studio album by US progressive rock Perfect Beings. The album was released through My Sonic Temple in October 2015. Perfect Beings was formed in 2012 and released their debut full-length studio album in February 2014. An album which was generally well received.

Stylistically the music on "Perfect Beings II" pretty much continues the melodic progressive rock style of it's predecessor. I hear influences from contemporary artists like Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and the Norwegians in Gazpacho, but also from artists like mid- to late 70s Genesis and 80s Rush. There's also a predominantly subtle fusion element featured on the album, which occasionally breaks into more busy and loud fusion parts. It's best displayed in the middle section of "Cause and Effect". A track which is otherwise melodic and quite accessible in nature, but which is disrupted (and I mean that in a positive way) by a pretty noisy fusion oriented section with busy drumming and a blistering guitar solo.

Not all tracks feature as radical stylistic changes as "Cause and Effect" does, but all tracks feature clever structures and adventurous ideas in addition to more easily recognisable vers/chorus structures and melodic vocal lines. "Perfect Beings II" is generally a very pleasant sounding and atmospheric album, although it's not completely devoid of edge, which is a great treat that creates a good balance. Lead vocalist Ryan Hurtgen has a soothing pleasant voice. A skilled singer with the right emotional delivery and his choir- and harmony vocal parts are also spot on.

"Perfect Beings II" is packed in a professional and well sounding production too and upon conclusion it's quite a strong sophomore album by Perfect Beings. The way they blend accessible melodies and pop sensibility with the occasional more hard rocking section or progressive part is very successful to my ears (their occasional excursions into symphonic prog territory are for example very charming and don't sound too derivative). It's not a cocktail which works for any artist, but these guys know their songwriting craft better than most, and the outcome is of a very high quality. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have been listening to repeatedly and am offering up this review of an advance soft copy that the band was kind enough to let me have access to. I would have worn this one out regardless. As important as hard copies are to me I'll be going for one of the deluxe editions.The official release date is in a few weeks.

Perfect Beings second album will be enjoyed by those who liked their first one and if you didn't like the first one, I'd be surprised if this one will change your mind, but you never know. With II they are perfecting their originality. I find it harder to pick out the artists that shaped their sound. While I know this can be harder for me in terms of reviewing or recommending to those who aren't acquainted with them yet, they were my first new artist discovery in 2014 and I am really glad to see them putting out a new album in 2015. Hopefully progstreaming, where I tried them thanks to getting the top spot, will feature them again. Damn nearly slipped under my radar screen.

Favorite song is Volcanic Streams. Wonderfully intense opening. Crank it up!

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

BUY
II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Early this year I bought the Perfect Beings debut based solely on the good reviews it was getting. Yes, sometimes I like to live dangerously and buy music without actually hearing it first. I was not disappointed. The album, as I stated in my review, was an impressive and coherent collage of styles from the Beatles to Yes, to Tears for Fears to Pink Floyd and several others. There were great melodies, marvelous instrumental segments and an overall feeling that this was progressive rock that even my wife could like. In short I loved the album.

So now Johannes Luley and co. have prepared the follow up to "Perfect Beings" and the questions that come up are: Will it be as good? Will it sound the same in a good way or will it sound like a rehashing of ideas? Will the band do something new that complements their sound or will they do something really radical that greatly diverges?

The answer to these questions is that Perfect Beings have both continued with the sound and style they established so successfully on their debut while simultaneously taking new strides. One of the great praises I can offer them on this album is that they've developed their own sound better. The first album had a definite Yes influence, or rather Steve Howe influence in the guitar playing, and with a Rickenbacker bass rumbling along, the Chris Squire (RIP, dear bass god) comparisons would have been justified.

On "Perfect Beings II" I feel the Howe/Squire similarities are considerably reduced though when they crop up they certainly stand out. I also feel the Pink Floyd keyboard sound is stronger this time; however, one should consider that "sound" does not mean "style". The music tends to be more upbeat and uplifting than much of Pink Floyd's more atmospheric synthesizer parts.

But really what there is to love here is not how the music resembles some classic works but rather how well the music is written and recorded as a Perfect Beings album. There is still a variety of influences ranging from the seventies through the eighties and into more recent periods but also a cleverly crafted melange of beautiful music and songs. Soothing piano and acoustic guitar, sweet melodies, frantic instrumentals, the odd atmospheric segment all stitched together in a smooth-flowing, ear-pleasing quilt of patterns and colours.

My personal favourite so far is the nearly nine-minute long "The Love Inside" which is an excellent introduction to the sound and style of Perfect Beings. The angular Yes/Relayer styled prog instrumental part in "Cause and Effect" is also wonderful and "Go" also holds my attention with some beautiful music and melody. "Mar del Fuego" also emphasizes the band's instrumental prowess with the Spanish hand clapping part reminding me of a track from Don Airey's solo album "A Light in the Sky". "The Thrill Seeker" is a serene number with some female vocals adding harmony and an almost traditional Chinese sound to the chorus. The undulating keyboards provide the perfect backdrop for a simple piano and guitar solo. "Volcanic Streams" is rather an exciting piece and perhaps the real dark, brooding and intense part of the album. There are some slower tracks with less excitement and drama but nonetheless enjoyable and integral parts of the album for balance.

As with the debut, this is an album that I can enjoy listening to from front to back and, when it's over and track one plays again, I feel like listening to it once more.

Based on my listening experience, Perfect Beings are one of the more interesting modern prog bands who have created a sound for themselves without sounding entirely derivative of their influences. They stand on the shoulders of giants and build their own tower. Honestly I've heard very little music of 2015 but I expect this late arrival will establish itself very high on the PA Top 100 of the year. I feel it certainly deserves it.

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 II by PERFECT BEINGS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.99 | 118 ratings

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II
Perfect Beings Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars After the well acclaimed first release, Perfect Beings had the task to continue on a high note with their follow up. Did they succeed? From the first song, the bass and the guitar are high in the mix, it's kind of heavy in the Cliffhanger style. The second track is very different with some lighter pop melody with piano, female and male voices. "The Love Inside" bring some heavy parts after some piano lines, but there's always that light music moment before a interesting instrumental break with some dynamic guitar and keyboard playing.In the song "Volcanic Streams" we can hear exotic sounds and some fuzzy guitar sound.that has a nice vocal harmonies break in the middle. "Go" start like a 80's style of Pop Rock that is followed with a Crimsonesque experimental moment ending with a impressive crescendo. "Cause and Eeffect" is back to the high bass sound and dark mood in a fast tempo. In conclusion, this is another very good CD form the band, maybe not quiet as strong as the first one, time will tell. If you like nice vocals harmonies, some Prog Pop Rock that flirt with the Yes sound, and that incorporate some more experimental sections, you will enjoy Perfect Beings. 3.6 stars

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Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition.

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