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DRIFTING SUN

Neo-Prog • Multi-National


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Drifting Sun picture
Drifting Sun biography
Founded in Chesham, UK circa 1994 - Hiatus between 1999-2013 - Reformed in 2014

DRIFTING SUN were formed sometime during early-90's (originally named Drama), after French natives Pat Sanders (keyboards) and Manu Sibona (bass) left their homecountry and landed in the UK. There they met American singer Rafe Pomeroy and four pieces were recorded in a London-based studio, then sent to Musea for evaluation. The French label decided to sign the band on their branch-label Brennus and in 1996 the self-titled debut of the band sees the light with Karl Groom participating on one track.

Drifting Sun decided to move on as an independent group, the line-up was expanded with the addition of Tobin Bryant and Bryant's friend, guitarist John Spearman, while Pomerey was replaced by another American vocalist, Chris Martini.By the end of the year 1998 the band had launched the sophomore effort "On the Rebound".

What followed was a very long break, but recently Sanders gave his band another chance, gathering a new line-up with singer Peter Falconer, drummer Will Jones and bassist/guitarist Dan Storey. The third work of DRIFTING SUN "Trip the Life Fantastic" was released in early 2015, a digital album, available via several online digital stores.

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DRIFTING SUN discography


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

2.90 | 33 ratings
Drifting Sun
1996
3.93 | 58 ratings
On the Rebound
1999
3.86 | 158 ratings
Trip the Life Fantastic
2015
3.86 | 155 ratings
Safe Asylum
2016
3.91 | 123 ratings
Twilight
2017
3.83 | 122 ratings
Planet Junkie
2019
4.14 | 155 ratings
Forsaken Innocence
2021

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

DRIFTING SUN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

5.00 | 4 ratings
From the Vault: Demos & Drafts
2015
4.60 | 5 ratings
On the Rebound
2016
4.02 | 9 ratings
Singled Out
2019

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

4.40 | 5 ratings
Piano Works
2015
4.13 | 8 ratings
Lady Night
2015
4.00 | 6 ratings
Alice
2015
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Hidden Truth
2016
4.50 | 4 ratings
A Year in Black
2016
4.04 | 6 ratings
Eternal Cycle
2017
4.50 | 2 ratings
Remedy
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Closure
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cascading Tears
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Life
2018
4.50 | 4 ratings
Missing
2019
4.67 | 3 ratings
Stay with Me
2019
5.00 | 1 ratings
Everlasting Creed
2019

DRIFTING SUN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by babylonstrange

4 stars Scouring the 2021 top 100 list for exciting new prog metal (in vain) I took a chance on this album. I like it a lot and have listened to it 3 times over the last couple of days. Can't say I'm a huge neo-prog fan, but there are a few heavier parts to get the blood pumping. My first reaction was to compare it to the classic Souldoubt album, Dance of Light and Shade, especially the vocals. The album starts off strong with the 11:45 King of the Country, starting prog-folk before rollicking along Wobbleresque. The 2nd track, Insidious, is full-on Neo Prog in all its pomp with a New Wave edge. Lots of emotion - I love it! Credit to the music - the first 20 minutes flies by. Dementium and New Dawn slow the pace down, and ramp up the EMO, without losing the thematic musical concept. Forsaken Innocence Pt. 1 picks up the pace again, more Symphonic than Neo I think, and Pt.2 shows off the band's fine musicianship, and finally lets the guitar loose. If it keeps reminding me of Wobbler that's meant as a compliment. Time to Go feels like a coda but is just a brief interlude before the album wraps up with Hand on Heart, and reprise of the album's concept. Bravo! Give it a spin on Spotify - 945 monthly listeners is a crime for such a good band.
 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by James R Turner

5 stars This new album from Drifting Sun, is, for my money one of the albums of 2021. On this new album Pat Ganger Sanders and co have evolved the traditional Drifting Sun sound, and with some fantastic guest collaborators like Gareth Cole, John Jowitt and Ben Bell, the sound is filled out with the unique contribution each one brings to the album.

The epic 3 part title track, which is the bulk of the album is worth the price of admission alone and is a worthy candidate for track(s) of the year.

The performances are stellar throughout, the songs are the epitome of contemporary progressive rock, and the album flows perfectly.

If you've not heard it yet, then you need this album in your life.

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by chrisjmartini

5 stars Some would say that because I was a former member of Drifting Sun, that I would be biased in my review of Forsaken Innocence, Drifting Sun's seventh studio album. To be honest, I tend to be extra critical of Pat Sanders' efforts as I know the quality and skill with which he writes and performs. I've known him for a long time. Let me tell you that he exhausts much blood, sweat and tears over every Drifting Sun recording. My time recording "On The Rebound" with him in 1999 was a collection of memories I will never forget. Though that album holds a special place in my heart, Drifting Sun have truly evolved despite numerous lineup changes. I have enjoyed various aspects of the albums along the way from the first record (Drifting Sun, 1996) to the most recent album (Planet Junkie, 2019), but Forsaken Innocence is the culmination of that evolution. This is the first Drifting Sun album I could listen to over and over again, day in and day out, but I don't. Why? It is such a special piece of work that I prefer a quality listen on a great pair of headphones over the raw quantity of listening during workouts, driving or working. Forsaken Innocence demands your undivided attention. Excellent production and engineering, a wide soundstage and masterful performances transport you away from wherever you happen to be at the time. Forsaken Innocence is indeed a masterpiece of progressive rock music if there ever was one.

My thoughts on the tracks:

King of the Country - Grand in scale, soaring crescendos permeated by soft interludes. A violin carries the melody throughout. John 'Jargon' Kosmidis' vocals are layered and dramatic. Mathieu Spaeter's guitars are tasteful and rocking without being overly indulgent.

Insidious - Dramatic, brooding, rhythmic, theatrical. Soaring stratospheric vocal harmonies and piano interludes string the melody together through a sound that sometimes evokes a classic prog style.

Dementium - The vocal melody here is truly infectious the way it flows over, through and around the other instruments. The interplay between Pat's keys, John's vocals, Mathieu's guitars, John Jowitt's bass and Jimmy Pallagrosi's drums is tight and cohesive. It's as if if these musicians were born to play together.

New Dawn - If there was a ballad on this album, this would be it. Slow, deliberate and imminently memorable. Jargon's vocals really show versatility and emotion here. A sweet sounding fretless bass line that shines, especially towards the end of the track.

Forsaken Innocence Part I - The flute in the introduction here reminds me a little of early Jethro Tull. Layered strings, keyboards, and a harmonized vocal line that is so well produced and performed that it reaches out and envelops you not only from left and right, but above and behind you. *Chills* Jargon, you're my new favorite singer!

Forsaken Innocence Part II - This instrumental track picks up the pace. A charging, dramatic rhythm. At first, it sounds like it's all over the place. As the song progresses, the thread that ties it all together becomes apparent and you are drawn in with a smooth piano and guitar section that builds to a dramatic climax.

Time to Go - Smooth and flowing, a great way to close the album. Another stunning performance by Jargon and Pat, with Eric Bouillette on acoustic guitar.

Hand on Heart - I have not heard this track, as its a bonus which appears on the physical cd and digital version of the album. I have an early release digital copy. I will update this review when I have heard it.

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by Beatbeast

4 stars I first heard about Drifting Sun a couple of years ago when a friend, Ben Bell, told me he was playing some keyboards on their then new album 'Planet Junkie'. That album turned out to be a very special piece of modern Prog music and I've been looking forward to 'Forsaken Innocence' ever since.

Drifting Sun have actually been about since the early 1990's when founders Pat Sanders (recently relocated from France) met up with American Rafe Pomeroy and started writing together. Since then they have put out a number of albums and EPs and this is their latest.

As with 'Planet Junkie', this is a superb and original Prog album but it has many facets of the classic Prog bands while retaining a very individual sound.

The band's line up has changed over the years and now consists of Pat Sanders on keyboards, Jargon on vocals, Matthew Spaeter on guitars, John Jowitt (bass) and Jimmy Pallagrossi on drums. Ben Bell adds additional keyboards, Gareth Cole, guitars, and Eric Bouillette violin and guitars.

The thing that strikes me about the album is that they are not afraid of producing a palette of sounds that includes elements of folk, classical, rock and even jazz, often including many different forms in the same tracks. There is a strong keyboard bias to the sound but the guitars have plenty of their own place in the music.

Unlike a great number of the current Prog fraternity, Drifting Sun don't descend into metal guitar riffs and so their music has a very complex sound, working up and down the scales and constantly keeping the listener on the edge of their seat. The songs are (mainly) long but they never seem to be long for the sake of it. The title track runs over 25 minutes but runs through many different pieces to keep the listener's focus. The track is huge in scale and fast paced so that by the end the listener feels as though they have been on a journey ? albeit one that you just want to get back to start again and experience that wonderful rush of emotions and intrigues once more.

The playing throughout the album is quite fabulous. Jimmy Pallagrosi's drumming is powerful and impactful, Mathieu Spaeter's guitar playing is a real delight and the mix of electronic and analog keyboards makes the music all the more exciting.

There are a number of very good Prog bands around at the moment but I have to say that Drifting Sun are making music that works on just about every level and of all I've heard this year 'Forsaken Innocence' is definitely the best of them.

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by Larne

4 stars He who comes late is punished by life or picture this, you'd love to write a review for a fantastic new album and all is very well said already by the previous speakers! So let's try to take a look from another side. Feelings with listening to an album. Hand on heart, nowadays, how many times are you sitting down, take an LP, put it to the turntable and listen to it entirely. And right after, you flip the Vinyl and take another ride?! I'd bet not that often?! You should definitely do it with this release by Drifting Sun! I know Pat since a while already and also know all previous DS albums and with this said I have to state that Forsaken Innocence isn't just the best release of Drifting Sun, it definitely plays in another league because the invited (guest) musicians were not only there to have some fun, they all contribute their specialities, their feelings into that album. And that makes it a real spacial one. Or if you need another reason to listen, let's talk about that goosebump moments. I'd come up with 6 to 8; please do your own counts. Any way; Thanks Pat and Drifting Sun for keeping PROG alive!
 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars DRIFTING SUN has been Pat SANDERS for over 25 years! It's their 5th album (7 if we start from the beginning) with John "JARGON" KOSMIDIS frontman of VERBAL DELIRIUM, little bomb from last year; it's Mathieu SPAETER on guitar, Jimmy PALLAGROSI the barrel animal and the great John JOWITT. Just that requires to be listened to religiously given their precedent which left me unsatisfied.

"King of the Country" and a title heralding great music, a little magic violin by Eric BOUILLETTE who shows that what he touches turns into beautiful things, keyboards well in their place, a monolithic but gripping voice , at certain times the LIGHT DAMAGE recognizes itself in it, in short, nothing to throw away. '' Insidious '' starts from an orchestral piano base pouring into a symphonic allure, an ethereal, ethereal break coming from Heaven with its tormented angelic voices and its Choirs; the texture is melodic with intimate forays, the final piano in cascades of crystalline notes brings back to the world. "Dementium" continues on the same line and offers an ersatz, bis repetita too / very pronounced melodic, the notes of the instruments are drowned in this deluge of notes; the more aggressive John's voice and the Hammond solo; at the limit a sweet rhyme / ballad well in the neo-prog tone. "New Dawn" piano entry, syrupy voice reminding me of a song by THAT JOE PAYNE on the classical and symphonic limit and a solo by Gareth COLE all in emotion and spleen.

"Forsaken Innocence (Part 1)" for the song from the album, begins a telefilm series for this 'Vidocq' harpsichord, Eric's violin still intimate and warm at the same time; here the successions of drawers remain neo and not jazzy which is a plus in my opinion with the current trend of fusion which is a little too generalized. The digression is meant to be melodic, the piano remaining the anchor point before relaunching the notes, the ultimate moment of which is the 8 'solo which melts your hair (personal quote I admit). "Forsaken Innocence (Part 2)" is not properly chained by leaving on an orchestral break Ó la IQ, it squirts, it melts (again) everywhere, the J's (John and Jimmy) shoot red balls at you; dithyrambic, supercharged, supercharged, amplified, dreamlike is this title; Mathieu rhymes with melodic ingenuity to follow Pat in his meandering keyboards; it is personally at 9 minutes that the moment becomes emphatic with an umpteenth melodic piano solo leading to wisdom, to rest; the finale picks up on the initial theme by giving the coup de grace and which makes me immediately press 'Replay'. '' Time to Go 'for an intermission at the end of the album with piano / guitar and voice, just to go back down? "Hand on Heart (bonus track)" which could have not been put showing a basic neo prog without much inspiration here in view of the previous titles.

DRIFTING SUN just released their best album to date out of the five I know. A sound on SAVIOR MACHINE, FATES WARNING from the beginning, IQ and of course MARILLION, on a KANSAS on vitaminized with this violin which enhances; a keyboard which shows very beautiful flights and gives energy to this album not to be forgotten.

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by tempest_77

3 stars When I first saw "Forsaken Innocence" on top of the charts for this year, I didn't really think too much of it - Drifting Sun was a band name I had somewhat vaguely heard of and I figured it would be another one of those albums that jumps up at the start and then falls back down as it gets more ratings. I'll be honest, I was fairly surprised to see it maintain its position for so long, so I decided to listen to it.

For a band that I had always imagined was a pretty run-of-the-mill modern neo-prog band, and knowing PA's penchant for overrating recent neo-prog material, I actually found the album fairly enjoyable. It's not without its flaws - the lyrics are a little dull, and a fair amount of the songwriting in the actual song forms (i.e. verse-chorus sections, as opposed to more through-composed middle sections) is pretty basic. That being said, the musicianship is excellent, and most of the aforementioned more composition-heavy sections are very solid, much more so than a lot of the neo-prog that has come out in recent years (e.g. Virtual Human by Orion 2.0, Love Over Fear by Pendragon, S/T by Mark Kelly's Marathon, etc.).

The only major criticism I really have is the choice of organ tone used throughout the album; its very low quality and sticks out as quite a sore thumb, and I would have to say it's a fairly poor choice.

Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised by the album - my highlight tracks would probably be "King of the Country", "Dementium", and "Forsaken Innocence, Pt. 2". I'd say it's probably a 3.5 star album, but I'm gonna bring that down to a 3 as I hardly think it's a top 10 album from this year.

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Drifting Sun keyboardist/composer Pat Sanders has surrounded himself with yet another new lineup--in fact, four new members, including prog veteran John Jowitt, a bassist who gained fame from his work with the bands Jadis, IQ, Arena, Frost*, Ark, Mystery, Blind Ego, Caamora, Clive Nolan, Steve Thorne, and last year's Rain debut release, as well as veteran vocalist John Kosmidis, professionally known as "Jargon", who might be familiar to those listeners acquainted with Greek prog bands like Verbal Delirium, Ciccada, Methexis, and 2020's superb solo venture, The Fading Thought. Then there's drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi, who comes to the project by way of bands like ZIO and KSIZ, as well as stints with Karnataka and Frank Carducci, while guitarist Mathieu Spaeter also comes from KSIZ and Carducci, as well as having worked with Antony Kalugin on several recent Karfagen projects.

1. "King of the Country" (11:36) with an upbeat QUEEN/DISCIPLINE feel and sound, this fast mover finds the new band hitting on all cylinders, however, there is a weird tension between the choice of instrumentation, pace, and that leads me to ask questions like would a Yes-REO Speedwagon merger work? Does Big Big Train's music really work? Will Matthew Parmenter's solo career ever reach the heights of his Discipline output? Is a chunky Rickenbacker bass a requirement for symphonic/Neo Prog bands? The solos are impressive, as is the overall BBT-like construct and sound palette, but is anything new really being done here? Really? It's just all a little too controlled and contrived, not loose and emotion-filled. (17.25/20)

2. "Insidious" (8:08) a cool song that sounds like The Cure and Kajagoogoo teaming up in the 80s. Sadly, the song is really just basically a 4/4 time, three-chord rocker--a nice set of three chords, but still, a little too simple. I mean, come on, guys! This is prog! Still, it's pretty--especially the soft section in the middle in which Jargon sings wordless vocalise. The way he ramps up his vocal intensity over the final three minutes is good, but it just can't save this otherwise almost dull song. Then to end it with electric piano soloing like a classical musician.... (13/15)

3. "Dementium" (9:10) opens with the same classically-shaped computer generated electric piano from the previous song over which Jargon sings in a low tone over several tracks and a more folk-rock-tinged palette joins in. Once Jargon's singing range moves up an octave or two it's very good--not unlike the rich, sophisticated multi-voiced harmonies of peak era Queen--and, later, like David Bowie! Too bad the music can't match Jargon in terms of emotion. A very impressive song, vocally. Nine minutes of that same two-chord piano arpeggio is too much, however. (17.5/20)

4. "New Dawn" (6:48) opens up sounding like something straight off of a THE FLOWER KINGS album, circa 1995- 2001, but then Jargon's multi-faceted vocal performance elevates this song into a whole different echelon of artistry. This is the first song on the album in which I'm hearing what feels like a sensible, pleasing cohesiveness of all of the elements of instrumental choices to the overall sound palette. (I even like John Jowitt's Jonas Reingold-like fretless.) But, the song rather plods along without ever bursting into something special. (13.25/15)

5. "Forsaken Innocence (Part 1)" (10:51) after a rather long and protracted intro, the song establishes itself as another CURE-like bass-line with driving uptempo rhythm section. Some very nice melodies and chord progressions make it very engaging--even memorable--though they are, once again, quite familiar. For once, the band ramps it up for a crescendo of release in the ninth and tenth minutes. Nice! And the violin is a welcome addition. (18/20)

6. "Forsaken Innocence (Part 2)" (14:52) Quite a dynamic entanglement of instrumental mayhem over the opening 3:45--but it kind of works! Then piano and synth winds and acoustic guitars breathing life into a Mike Oldfield-like section (still instrumental!). At 5:22 we return to some more forceful, Trans Siberian Orchestra-like music. Impressive if a little drawn out. The next section in the seventh and eighth minutes is similar before a nice multi- organ bridge takes us back into the opening theme before a slow down at 9:10 for piano play and, later, a weave to include the synth winds and Arp synth. At 10:45 there is another shift, organs, bass, drums driving us down the highway until we slow down for another pretty, slowed-down piano-led passage over which guitars and synths join in. The weave seems to strip itself down to bare bones at the 12:50 mark but then the rest of the instruments gradually rejoin and fill the soundscape with each run through the melody theme until the piano finish. Nice. I'm surprised, though, that the band chose to devote a whole fifteen minutes to an instrumental! Still, this was, musically, the best jaunt they took me on. (27/30)

7. "Time to Go" (2:28) sounds like Roger Waters singing over an Andrew Gold piano piece. (4/5)

8. Hand on Heart (bonus track) (4:48) *

Total Time 68:41

* only on Digital & Vinyl editions

The addition of vocal powerhouse (and Matthew Parmenter sound-alike) Jargon is a definite step forward in the evolution of this Neo Prog band. And, while the compositions have also increased in complexity, there are still too many twists, turns, and hooks that are so very derivative of old prog and classic rock bands (e.g. Queen, Discipline, Alan Parsons Project, Loverboy, The Cure, The Flower Kings) as well as contemporary band Big Big Train. As a matter of fact, if one were to take out the vocals from these two groups, I think you'd find that a lot of their music sounds quite similar (as if they studied under the same masters).

B/four stars; an excellent album for any prog lover to test out for themselves.

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Funny coincidence (as if that childish concept even exists at all) that among my favorite current prog bands, namely Mostly Autumn and Drifting Sun, both decided to raise their craft by introducing topflight recruits to the group. Mostly Autumn hired Henry Rogers, a superlative drum guru who immediately impacted the latest 2021 release Graveyard Star, while my 'bon ami' Pat Sanders cleverly brought in (though I must say I guessed right on my first try, much to Pat's chagrin!) the illustrious John Jowitt, a bass maestro who has played with a horde of top prog groups (Aaah, look it up!). I liken him to the UK's version of Tony Levin, in that not only are they much in demand whilst mastering their instrument but are both a pure joy to watch play, so effusive is their level of passion. Plus, they are both bald as a cue ball.

Having followed avidly DS' progression over the years (dare I say decades), it is abundantly clear that Pat is a most gifted talent (and a damn fine human being) both on the keyboards as well as composing punchy prog ditties, but very few know that he is pretty tepid at selling his house (internal joke) ! (Laughter followed by applause). He is also very astute at choosing lead vocalists (with a little help from a friend) but simply loved Jargon's recent solo album and asked him (very politely) if the Greek microphone man would join his latest project. Obviously, the respect was mutual, as the vocals are off the charts with an almost Peter Murphy-like sheen on "Forsaken Innocence". French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi adds his thunderclap style to the proceedings, in perfect harmony with Jowitt's booming bass lines. Past collaborator Matthieu Spaeter just keeps lighting it up with wicked guitar interventions, but truth must be told that Pat's mastery of the piano and synth are pure heaven for the ears, displaying not only technical wizardry but the emotional /romantic style he displays is way up the ivory tower (if you pardon the pun). The production, sound, contrasts, and pacing are all first rate stellar. He was quite modest when he announced: I think this is the best record we have ever done! YUP!

So let me break down the sonic delights: A delightfully whimsical beginning with the mini-epic nearly a dozen minute long 'King of the Country", where the band wastes little time in getting the juices flowing, at times garnished with gentle medieval inserts with a choir battling the whopping onslaughts of raging organ, pumping piano , gritty guitar splashes, all led by Jowitt's dexterity on the four string mofo (darn, he is so good) with the thunder drums bashing away. oh my! A clever melange of pace and speed, as Jargon sings a mournful tune, with a sad violin playing on the heartstrings. But the genius rests in Pat's dipping synth lines, a rekindling of his devout Manfred Mann Moog fixation (clear as a South African sky on all his recordings). A smattering of guitar and there goes Jowitt on a rambunctious cavalcade on his bass (I believe he actually complained to Pat of having made him sweat profusely). Jargon then talks his way towards the finale, ending with the most ornate piano ever.

The creepy "Insidious" is shepherded by the grooving bass once again, with Jargon sounding remarkably like the former Bauhaus man, as Pat slides his curving synths in and out the back door of the arrangement, pinging guitar flicks, plaintive vocalizing give this all an ethereal feel, until the spell is broken by bulldozer riffs, cannonading drum fills as the main chorus revisits the stage. Compelling music of the finest vintage.

That same charming piano segues on "Dementium", another chunky track loaded to the gills with power, precision, and sheer musical insanity. Obviously, the forced bunker lifestyle made many of us, artists included, dwell on the loneliness, the feeling of restless disorientation and at times, fearful trepidation of what comes next. These sentiments are evoked with Jargon's pained delivery, at times angry on the verge of growling in fury, the echoing choir work bouncing off the rubber walls of the routine, the bass pummelling forward, emulated by the choppiest keyboards ever played, courtesy of Ben Bell's rambling organ. By the end of this paranoia inducing track, I was exhausted! I noticed spiders too when cooped up in my darkened, candle-lit room, seeing silhouettes everywhere, unsure if it was a web or perhaps something malevolent. Forsaking Innocence, indeed. Bloody marvelous track, merde alors!

"New Dawn" serves as a respite after all that confusion, featuring a full-blown bass guitar excursion from the basso profundo, gorgeous guitar licks from Gareth Cole all caressed by hushed yet achingly sorrowful vocals, adorning beautiful melodies heightened by some more piano genius, this is a masterful moment in the Drifting Sun catalog. I was brought to tears, again.

Okay, no more pussyfooting around (as once stated by Fripp, or was it Eno?), let's get serious here! The two-part "Forsaken Innocence" suite takes over to raise the bar way beyond the sluggish Neo-Prog title thoughtlessly handed by the Prog Conoscenti. This is no soppy melodic prog, I beg to differ! The sheer musical complexity is astonishing, again with John's obese bass (or is it obass bese?) plowing ahead, letting Pat make his synth whistle like a gentle breeze, his extended showcase solo is elevated by a Spaeter burst full of tortuous agony and lightning- fast dexterity, a sweet violin outro closes part 1. Breather? Mais non! Part 2 explodes out the gates like a F1 race car, with burning bass tires, cam toms booming, screeching synths, all taking laps at a frenetic pace, as the organ power steering hugs the road ahead. Suddenly, as the fury temporarily dies down and cruise control sets in, a sublime melody rises, grandiose and serene, overtly symphonic in style and romantic in nature. Just plain spectacular modern prog music, intensely played, full of bravado and overt confidence. The piano main melody is crushingly charming, repeated for effect, as well as chaperoned by electric guitar and bass sustenance. Magnificence incarnate, this suite is Everest!

The crystalline reverie "Time to Go" is up next: first reaction? Where? Now I remember what this reminds me of David Minasian's 2020 and superb album "The Sound Dreams", a piano, acoustic guitar and voice triumvirate that really hits the spot. Short, sweet and delightfully bucolic, crowned with a melody that emotes.

Drifting Sun offers up a Bonus Track "Hand on Heart "to finish in overdrive, a 5-minute outburst that sums up nicely all the attributes this group can muster. Energy, beauty, drive, gusto and sizzle. It now becomes clear that Pat pays immense attention to melody and the hooks that can reel in the listener. He also understands atmosphere, technique and creativity. At no time does this record sound even slightly "filled" or "stuffy", it is constantly flowing, pushing inexorably forward. Together with this current line-up, I am sure this will wind up at the very top of 2021's lists for most, if not all, prog aficionados out there. It is THAT good! Keep on driftin' , son!

5 desolate naivetÚs

 Forsaken Innocence by DRIFTING SUN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.14 | 155 ratings

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Forsaken Innocence
Drifting Sun Neo-Prog

Review by Squonk19

5 stars Every now and then you come across a band that somehow have passed you by over the years, and then you hear an album by them which frankly stops you dead in your tracks and overwhelms you with its musical brilliance. I have no hesitation in confessing that the latest release by Drifting Sun; Forsaken Innocence, is such an album. It is pure neo-prog heaven that seems to have distilled the essence of the likes of Arena, Pendragon, IQ, Marillion, Threshold and Dream Theater, amongst others, into a heady and warming concoction, with moments of might and power perfectly balanced with passages of delicacy and complexity.

Keyboardist Pat Sanders has been the driving force behind Drifting Sun since the mid-90s. The UK-based progressive rock studio project released two albums, Drifting Sun (1996) and On the Rebound (1999) before an extended hiatus. Pat eventually decided to give the project another go with new musicians. The result was a series of albums, beginning with Trip the Life Fantastic in 2015, followed by Safe Asylum (2016), Twilight (2017) and most recently, Planet Junkie in 2019, which saw the band's following steadily growing. Their mix of melodic neo-prog often had a dramatic edge to it as well as slices of prog metal and symphonic prog on occasions - although the feel and spirit of each album was also influenced by the multi-national spectrum of musicians employed at the time.

For Forsaken Innocence, Pat has maintained the collaboration of guitarist Mathieu Spaeter (formally of the Franck Carducci Band) from the last two albums. However, he has called upon an array of talented musicians to complete the line-up. John Jowitt (currently of Rain, but alumnus of numerous UK neo-prog bands) is on bass guitar. The drummer is Jimmy Pallagrosi (formally of Karnataka and currently driving his ZIO solo project) and this time round the vocals (and occasional keyboards) come from Jargon (of Greek band, Verbal Delirium). Guest appearances by Eric Bouillette (of Nine Skies and The Room), Ben Bell (of Gandalf's Fist) and Gareth Cole (of Fractal Mirror) also add seasoning to many tracks. It is not always the case that such a stellar line up of consummate musicians will necessarily produce a work of true quality ? but on this occasion the synergy is wonderful.

Over 7 tracks (8, if you include the digital/vinyl bonus track), including several of epic proportions, the band produce music of depth, diversity and quality that comfortably flows around and through you for well over an hour. Add the rich, dark, and mysterious lyrical content expressing the struggle between good and evil and the search for the lost innocence within us, and you have a truly potent listening experience.

Pat elaborates further: "In a nutshell, the theme of the album is about the struggles we face when we try to get that innocence back that was buried within us from our childhood, and how we have to 'fish out' stuff that we'd rather not have remembered, along the way in our quest for finding that 'goodness' back within ourselves."

Opening track King of the Country encapsulates the whole sound of the album in one song and emphasises all the elements the musicians bring to the party. Dreamy, ethereal light and nightmarish shade, power and then delicacy, numerous changes in tempo and an everchanging palette of instruments, create a swirling soundscape. Mathieu plays a minstrel-like acoustic guitar passage one minute, forceful riffing the next, but then delivers an invigorating electric guitar solo to make the music soar. Pat's piano both drives the track and then presents subtle musical nuances, between satisfying slices of retro keyboards. John's bass runs and Jimmy's drumming provide a dense and solid foundation, but then add individual, virtuosic passages of intricacy. Throughout it all, Jargon gives almost a theatrical and unsettling edge to the dark, enigmatic lyrics. The chorus, "I'm the King of the Country. Young, yet feeling wintry. No longer flattered by the bow" is both accessible and yet off-kilter. From midway, Eric's melodic violin ties together the many disparate themes, along with the keyboards and guitar, and the music ebbs and flows to its understated piano-led conclusion.

Insiduous begins at a more stately pace, with the plaintive vocals sung over a wash of keyboard chords before the piano takes centre stage. The ominous feeling of evil and dread from the lyrics builds up steadily. "I close my eyes. Under this skin. There's another dark side of me." Lavish keyboard passages before ghostly wordless vocals and then some powerful ensemble instrumentation. The shadowy refrain: "Just close your eyes. I close my eyes" is in bleak contrast with Pat's classical-style piano playing by the end.

Dementium continues our dark, labyrinthine journey into paranoia and deceit, with Ben providing some lovely slabs of Hammond organ to the dancing musical melee. Jargon's idiosyncratic and expressive vocals are now as integral to the music as the dynamic instrumentation, and the intensity rises and falls superbly. "And the spider is spinning her web of deceit. Forsaken innocence."

New Dawn provides a refreshing, gentler, change of pace. Pat's piano and John's haunting bass join Jargon's despairing vocals of loss and yet defiant hope. Gareth provides some impressive guest acoustic and electric guitar flourishes over Jimmy's intricate and restrained drum patterns, with the soothing, integrated keyboards holding it all together.

I have no intention of describing the myriad twists and turns of the epic title track, Forsaken Innocence. Split into two parts (the second which is instrumental), it runs to over 25 minutes and is a melting pot of all the classic, neo- progressive rock ingredients from the 80s, but all set within a contemporary assemblage. Accessible and rhythmic, yet complex and multi-faceted. Lashings of vibrant keyboards, soaring guitar and strings over an everchanging and dynamic foundation. As dense and powerful as the prog metal of Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment at times, and yet as melodic and sprawling as a Transatlantic epic; the track will take your breath away.

The short closing track Time to Go, calms it all down perfectly and allowing us to catch our breath, once more. The lyrics reflect on personal loss, as Pat explains. "It is about accepting the loss of a loved one, and how we sometimes use things as a crutch to cope with our grief, which aren't really helping us, but we cling on to them anyway." Once again, the delicate piano and acoustic guitar and delicate vocals provide a lovely counterpoint to the message and the album concept as a whole.

Hand on Heart is the digital and vinyl bonus track, but could easily have fitted into the album's narrative. Energetic and very approachable, with catchy vocals, keyboards and vibrant drumming, the band show they can deliver accessible quality and variety in under 5 minutes, without diluting their spirit.

If that heavy, neo-prog rock vibe is for you, you'll find Forsaken Innocence by Drifting Sun a wonderfully immersive album. Melody, complexity and musicianship of the highest order - it is definitely one of my albums of the year. For me, the overall effect is comparable to imagining myself as a child getting locked overnight in the local sweet shop and being overwhelmed by the choice of goodies on offer. Pat Sanders has really hit on a winning formula this time around. Highly recommended! Just put on the headphones, turn off the lights and press play!

(from THE PROGRESSIVE ASPECT)

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

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