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THE EMERALD DAWN

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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The Emerald Dawn picture
The Emerald Dawn biography
Founded in St. Ives, UK in 2014 (?)

The Emerald Dawn is a British band, located in West Cornwall, UK. The band was originally formed in Edinburgh by the multi-instrumentalist duo of Tree Stewart (keyboards, piano, flute, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals) and Ally Carter (electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synthesizer, tenor and soprano saxophones, keyboards, vocals). Upon moving south to England, they added drummer Tom Jackson to the line-up and the trio recorded the debut ''Searching for the Lost Key''. The album was pressed in a number of CD copies and was released in October 2014, while the beautiful artwork was made by Tree Stewart herself. Engaging and very epic music with a certain appeal to fans of PINK FLOYD and STEVE HACKETT, keeping up high the flag of modern bands influenced by Classic British Prog Rock.

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Worlds End Records 2019
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THE EMERALD DAWN discography


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THE EMERALD DAWN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 22 ratings
Searching For The Lost Key
2014
3.60 | 22 ratings
Visions
2017
3.98 | 5 ratings
Nocturne
2019

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THE EMERALD DAWN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nocturne by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.98 | 5 ratings

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Nocturne
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars THE EMERALD DAWN was formed in 2011 as a trio in St. Ives which is located in the Cornwall region of southwest England and began as a trio that consisted of Tree Stewart (keyboards, vocals), Ally Carter (guitars, tenor sax, keyboards) and Tom Jackson (drums.) While there was no bass player on their 2014 debut "Searching For The Lost Key," for their 2017 sophomore release "Visions," Jayjay Quick, became the band's official bassist but also brought along the extra talents of electric violin and cello. Quick would quickly disband after one album and for the band's latest release NOCTURNE, David Greenaway picks up the bass duties.

While generally classified as neo-prog, THE EMERALD DAWN develops a more eclectic sort of prog that not only takes cues from the bigwigs King Crimson and Pink Floyd but also adds some aspects of classic Moody Blues and even McDonald & Giles. Add to that a complex mix of classical music inspired by the great works of third stream artist Jan Garbarek, Dmitri Shostakovich, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Jean Sibelius as well as the jazz world heard especially in Tom Jackson's stellar drumming style and the occasional squawk of the sax.

NOCTURNE is a vague concept album that as the title insinuates deals with all things that come out at night but i'm not talking about barn owls and zombies, i speak more of an emotional manner and the overall gist of the album is how things appear different than what they actually are with the nighttime as the main focal point such as when your imagination plays tricks on you in the darkness of the moonlit nocturnal hours. All of this is expressed in the four lengthy tracks (the opener is just a quick thirty second narrated intro.) While the tracks the first three lengthy tracks range from eight and a half minutes to nearly eleven with the grand finale "The Child Within" clocking in close to the 21 minute mark.

For the most part NOCTURNE is an instrumental ride into the sunless hours that creep into the early morning but occasional vocals find their way into the mix offering a break from the mostly keyboard driven melodic developments that create haunting atmospheres and complex and unusual harmonic structures that depict images about this musical journey taking the listener from nightfall until the first rays of the sun usher in a whole new day. Despite the brilliant mix of free flowing rhythms, David Gilmour inspired guitar wails and classical motifs that offer interesting compositional fortitude, NOCTURNE never flaunts the complexities intertwined within and retains an easily accessible beauty that drifts by chiefly in mid-tempo but occasional bursts into heavier sections.

NOCTURNE is a major step up from the band's previous works as it incorporates more varying time signatures and musical styles that are spotlighted throughout as well as the entire band sharing the songwriting duties this time around which give the album a more democratically inspired infusion of ideas which implement unusual musical scales and even less common juxtapositions of classical, jazz and rock elements. Just like the cover art depicts, NOCTURNE is a sonic journey through the darkened woodlands where while navigating through, stimulates a fertile imagination of all the possibilities of what lurks behind ever corner as the journey progresses.

After the brief "Prologue" narrates in a regal English poetic prose, "As Darkness Falls" begins the mind trip of runaway concepts with heavy rock guitar riffs, sweltering atmospheric keyboard counterpoints and Jackson's percussive drive. Greenaway also dishes out some stellar fretless bass lines, a winning feature of NOCTURNE. "As Darkness Falls" provides an interesting building up of tension that allows "Moonlight" to scale back the intensity and evokes more of a mythological representation of the night. "In The Dead Of The Night" is the first track to contain vocals which includes both Stewart and Carter finding roles in the vocal accoutrements. The addition of a jazzy lounge beat and soulful sax squawks create a completely different sounding track than the previous two.

A significant portion of the album is decided to the near 21 minute closer "The Child Within," which is a psychological exploration of the darkened night of the inner soul and how a brief moment of realization can release the subconscious from a lifetime of fear and pent up trauma. This one features Tree Stewart on vocals and thick atmospheric density that finds bluesy guitar solos erupting from the brume. The track builds up the intensity as the tempo slowly ratchets up and Stewart's ethereal wordless vocals evoke heavier layers of synthesized ambience and guitar heft. This by far is the spookiest track on the album and one that warrants its lengthy playing time as it shape shifts into varying segments that segue effortlessly from one dark keyboard soaked passage to the next.

THE EMERALD DAWN has diversified the stylistic approach quite broadly with a brilliant mix of the aforementioned influences and musical elements. The mythological connotations of the darkened NOCTURNE nights narrated throughout sound utterly brilliant and the compositions are brilliantly unique in the neo-prog world with the infusion of various classical composers influences as well as the jazzy touches which put the band in a world of their own. NOCTURNE is a must for all lovers of keyboard fueled atmospheric prog that exists in the dark and offers stellar rock guitar, bass and drum performances with jazzy extra touches within classically structured motifs that breeze along like a zephyr at the witching hour with satisfying rock orient crescendoes.

 Nocturne by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.98 | 5 ratings

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Nocturne
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by M27Barney

4 stars This band was only introduced to me this week, so I listened to this release with open ears and an open mind. I think that it's a very accomplished effort - some very nice keys work especially. As everybody knows I am not a fan of the Saxophone (The Flower Kings and The Tangent are the only exceptions to this as they seem to have sax solos that appeal to my ears) - so the sax solo leaves me a bit cold - and would be better served by a Hammond organ solo or whatever. What genre is this? Neo Prog? - Never been a fan of that label - I sort of hear influences from many of the classic bands - I even hear a bit of "The Enid" in one track! However - I will be buying this CD and probably the two earlier efforts (If I can source them) - It's solid prog - and I like the Epic in particular (all long songs float my boat usually) - I think "Heavy Symphonic" would be a better label - with a nod to the guitar at the metal end of the style. I like to support English prog - and this definitely reminds me of some of the bands in the early eighties like "As Above, So below" who produced sublime prog - I'm hoping that somebody will pick up the vibe and produce the bombastic prog that was performed (By Pallas (amongst others) - but then was ruined by commercial pressure) - So this is a 4 star release for me - I think that possibly the best is yet to come?
 Nocturne by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.98 | 5 ratings

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Nocturne
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars This is the third album of the band with a new bass player in the name of David Greenway who replaced Jayjay Quick in the Spring of 2018. The first track is instrumental with a dark atmosphere, the keys setting this mood nicely before the guitar kicks in. "Moonlight" is another instrumental track united by a duel between the piano and the guitar with again some haunting atmosphere in the middle of the song that brings everything in another level."In the Dead of the Night" is not the UK cover! This time the vocals make their first appearance with saxophone, the song keeps the dark atmosphere of the album. And finally the epic final song "The Child Within" has that Gilmour style of guitar, some beautiful keyboards melodies with the fretless bass sound in the back. If you enjoy melodic, dark prog rock music and are not afraid of going out in the night, this is something for you...
 Visions by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.60 | 22 ratings

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Visions
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars The Emerald Dawn was originally formed in Edinburgh, Scotland by Tree Stewart (keyboards, piano, flute, acoustic guitar, percussion, and vocals) and Ally Carter (electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synthesizer, tenor and soprano saxophones, keyboards, and vocals), before moving to South West England, where they were joined by jazz drummer Tom Jackson and then by bassist Jayjay Quick (fretless and fretted bass guitars, electric upright bass, electric violin, and cello). The Emerald Dawn's first album, entitled 'Searching for the Lost Key', was released in 2014 and they are now returning with the follow-up, 'Visions'.

As is often the case, I was contacted directly by the band to see if I would be able to review the album, to which I of course agreed as I am always looking for "new" (at least to me) bands to be able to write about. I was intrigued before I even started listening to it, as there are only four songs, and the first of these is twenty minutes long! For most of the time their style of prog is reflective, and long instrumental passages are interspersed with some good vocals, and wonderfully warm fretless bass, and sometimes it makes me think of an incredibly laid-back Legend. However, my impression is that this was self-recorded, and I do think that an outside influence would have allowed the band to have made some better composition and arrangement decision.

For example, that Ally is a powerful and striking electric guitarist is never in doubt, yet this isn't used nearly enough, although it is always dynamic and refreshing when it makes an appearance. Another example is that there are some keyboard sounds being used as a fanfare within the opening "Musique Noire" and in my opinion they just don't work, and repeating them doesn't make it any better. What this meant was just a few minutes into the album and I was already distracted, feeling that this wasn't going to be the sort of album I expected it to be. There is also a level of simplicity in some passages that detracts from the overall effect, while the use of saxophone isn't always what I expected it to be.

That the guys can play is never in doubt, and I understand that this is always going to be down to personal taste. A friend of mine, whose reviews I always enjoy reading, has just given this the maximum 5 *'s on ProgArchives, so we are obviously hearing this album very differently indeed, but this isn't something to which I will soon be returning. Why not go over to Bandcamp and give them a listen yourself, and see if you agree or not

 Visions by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.60 | 22 ratings

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Visions
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I was thoroughly enchanted with The Emerald Dawn's debut offering, a fabulous under-produced, yet enigmatic and stark slice of music, peppered with long tracks that seep deep into the mind. Sizzling and moaning guitar leads, sweeping orchestral keyboards, occasional sax blasts and a driving beat are the highlights as well as Tree Stewart's aching voice, a truly original sound that is laden with mystery and echo.

Their sophomore album is both a continuation and a progression of their sound, a lush and suave carpet of mellotron and organ that hearkens back at Floydian realms (sax not withstanding) on which a deliberate melancholia is layered in heavenly coats, fusing into a whole that enchants and exhilarates. The add-on of bassist Jayjay Quick only further mollifies any resistance to the infusion of mood and direction, as Alan Carter's saxophone and wild guitar rants like there is no tomorrow , while Tree orchestrates with her ivories and emotes with her lungs. Drummer Jackson keeps the beat on the road and propels thoughtfully. The opening salvo is a mammoth epic a 20 minute eruption, aptly titled 'Musique Noire', a confident statement right from the get go and aimed at the melodic jugular, sublimely cinematographic, sensual and evocative. Carter's effect-drenched guitar tone is deliciously muffled, which only adds to his stylistic charm, the seduction complete with heartfelt echoed vocals and a light percussive movement. The 'waiting' section is outright celestial, pining for some unreasonable sense of longing and desire, the main melody simple yet still mesmerizing. Romantic shades of palpable emotion, everything clicks here as the perfectly placed wailing sax straight out of the classic Dick Parry mould, creates an enveloping sense of musical torpor that carves deep into the soul with intense beatitude. Insistent and relentless, truly grandiose.

A suddenly unexpected piano leads the delicate 'A Vision Left Unseen', which also has the audacity to provide a vocal duet of interesting proportions, with Carter showing off his low male voice. The 7 minute piece dashes off into the sunset, escorted by slippery guitar leads and a deliberate pulse. There is a definite Gothic gloom that only enhances the mysterious haze, as Tree Stewart peels off a wild synth solo that dazes and dares. This combination of dark and murky with romantic effervescence is quite startling, once you get it under your skin. Bassist Quick has lots of fun bending his bass into a variety of contortions. The ebb and flow keeps things percolating. Lovely is the finale, with its sad melodic outro.

Gushing along in 'Waves', another window opens up into the Emerald Dawn sound craft, one that is surely influenced by the band's geographic location, somewhere in West Cornwall. A progressive 'berceuse', gently lulled by the delicate melodies and the intense instrumental play. Tree's voice soars above the slashing crests and sails forward into the blue- green horizon. Utterly beautiful song, with a superb effect on the mind, as Tree wails like a siren on the sea. Drummer Jackson has a delicate touch that really impresses.

A foreboding thrill sweeps into 'Stranger in a Strange Land', languorous licks and tingling tremors evoke travel and exploration, sprinkled with a touch of anxiety. Yummy! The mood blooms into a grating guitar riff that highlights the trepidation, then tumbles deeply into some more experimental throes, a flute fluttering in the wind, only heightening the panic. The main melody kicks in with a cello-synth foundation on which Ally rips his guitar to shreds with a sizzling effect of passionate adventure. Wow!

As with their debut , Emerald Dawn has carved quite a niche within the prog world, a tight and evocative group of musicians who have a knack for stunning melodies within a clearly psychedelic/melancholic setting. Taking influences from stalwarts like Floyd but never cloning their sound in any way, they also possess a rare charm that is very hard to describe, a sense of originality that highlights their love for music and all done their way.

5 panoramas

 Searching For The Lost Key by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.50 | 22 ratings

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Searching For The Lost Key
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Nice psychedelic jam-style prog music from Devon. Kind of 1970s STEVE HILLAGE-like. A bit unpolished and under-engineered but left raw is kind of good. Vocals and lyrics are nice but sometimes feel out of place. The dated keyboard and guitar sounds used are sometimes grating for the fact that you know that there are better sounds available--and better recording engineering possible--but the overall framework for the free-for-all guitar jams is good. I find myself tuned in by the foundational keyboard parts and then enjoying the play of the talented and energetic guitarist. It is, unfortunately, the rather rudimentary keyboard sounds and recording techniques detract from the overall effect of the songs.

1. "Beyond the Wall" (12:05) feels quite a bit like listening to early CURE (with EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL's Tracey Thorn singing) drawn out in HAWKWIND/ELOY fashion. (8/10)

2. "Buridan's Lament" (10:50) has trouble getting started and throws one off a bit once the Goth-sounding vocals of the male lead come in. By the third minute guitar, backbeat, and chord sequence have finally established themselves--but are barely interesting or engaging enough to draw the listener in. The Hackett/Hillage-like lead guitar play is the most interesting part of the music--before the piano arpeggio establishes a new key and the sax enters and takes over. Nice Dick Parry sound. Then simple 'church organ' takes over--with nice effect. Previous sections are repeated. It feels a bit overdrawn. (8/10)

3. "Shadow in Light" (10:14) an instrumental guitar jam, is my favorite song on the album despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that the entire song sounds so much like COLLAGE's 1995 classic, "Living in the Moonlight." (9/10)

4. "In Search of the Lost Key" (11:06) is just testing my tolerance for the same guitar lead played over slightly varied rhythms and chord progressions. The presence of murky female vocalist and organ does little to bring this song up to higher status. (7/10)

A band with A LOT of potential and a lot of growing/maturing, practicing, experimenting to do. I hope they stick with it cuz I do like their sound.

 Searching For The Lost Key by EMERALD DAWN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.50 | 22 ratings

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Searching For The Lost Key
The Emerald Dawn Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Four long 10 minute + epics make up the Emerald Dawn's sublime debut, entitled 'In Search of the Lost Key' , another prog-rock take on HP Lovecraft's symbolic book, 'The Silver Key' and what better gift can any progfan hope for than that! The Emerald Dawn are a trio from West Cornwall UK that features the amazing Ally Carter on green guitar and saxophones, Tree Stewart on green keyboards and not so green vocals as well as Tom Jackson on green drums. The album artwork is green as well, but joking aside, there is nothing green about these endowed musicians. While their style is difficult to pigeon hole, the sound is definitely neo-prog or symphonic, or eclectic or crossover or space or'well you get it! They cannot seem to find a specific home within PA which I must declare to be a winning proposition, as they do not seem to clone anyone. That makes them original, something the band now has proof of in terms of patience in finding a nest.

On 'Beyond the Wall', there is a fabulous echo in the production, as if seaborne mists have muffled the sound with salty desperation, cloaked in a spectral sheen that can evoke gothic tendencies, almost medieval in imagery. Dense carpets of lush keyboards, propelled by a classic one-two punch beat, adorned by some psychedelic guitar frills that instantly seek to charm the gruff listener into submission. 'Take a walk into the forest of your mind' provokes such liberation and immediately pervades the space between, the prog mechanism alive and kicking. Tree possesses a lovely hushed voice, inspired by some of the 80s synth bands such as Bel Canto, Opus 3, The Eurythmics, Yazoo, Propaganda and its ilk. The mood quickly acquires a hypnotic feel, closely drawing in the unsuspecting sailors, like some bewitching siren off St-Ives Bay.

Things get even spookier on the amazing 'Buridan's Lament', a lush symphonic evocation of Jean Buridan, a French priest and medieval scientist in 1300 who ushered in the concept of 'impetus' and the Copernican revolution. The atmosphere is again lathered in an almost monastery-like echo, a feature I find utterly fascinating. The vocals are deeply urgent, almost manic, as subsequently expressed by a saxophone solo that would make a repentant Nik Turner swallow his pride. Ally Carter then picks up his green guitar and flicks another series of simple but repetitive licks that blossom into a whopping solo that howls into the blustery winds.

But the killer track here is the scintillating 'Shadow in Light', a masterpiece of symphonic splendor that buries very deep into the soul, coached by a puerile drum beat and lathered by washes of celestial synths and a beseeching electric guitar rant that oozes emotion, sufferance and pain. Brooding, vaporous and mystifying like some fog-drenched moor, the meandering axe pleads, begs and cries with abject rage. Suddenly when least expected, a pool of delicate electric piano surfaces to better highlight the gloom, traversed by sizzling synthesizer slashes that verge on the histrionic. The moaning electric guitar sobs mightily, a strong emotional undercurrent rips through the speakers. Bloody fabulous!

The final piece is the title track and it hardly disappoints, giving the impression of witnessing a continuous work, even though there are some evident differences between tracks, such as the furry organ that rules over the arrangement, with Tree's haunting vocal firmly in command. There is a more ambient groove feel here, as if beckoning a new chapter to come, some new adventure or quest, now that the key has been found. Carter peels off a series of low-end blasts, very electric like old school Jeff Beck, and the sizzle fizzles into the warm Penzance night.

Similar to the unheralded Polish band Beam-Light, the music of the Emerald Dawn is a hybrid original , nothing overtly polished or over-produced, just fine music played with obvious passion and creativity. In some strange way, had this work been taken over by some high fallutin' wiz producer like Steve Wilson, the result may have been devoid of its natural charm. This kind of dedicated and honest artist is the paragon of our genre, why we need to encourage them further and beyond 'the lost key'. Love it!

4.5 Jade Mornings

Thanks to apps79 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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