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Shineback - Rise Up Forgotten, Return Destroyed CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.89 | 23 ratings

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4 stars I must admit that I was lured into this album mainly because of the presence of one musician, namely Henry Rogers, a formidable drumming talent that has graced heavy prog bands such as Deeexpus, Final Conflict and Touchstone. He only appears on one track but it's the best one! The cast is furthered enhanced by the leadership of Simon Godfrey who also happens to front prog group Tinyfish. Throw in solo artist/guitarist Matt Stevens, Dec Burke (Frost, Darwin's Radio) and Deeexpus' Andy Ditchfield and you definitely got my attention. The final product is a radical departure from your everyday neo-prog formula, as there is a definite modern electronic sheen that is unmistakable. It's also a tad more experimental that just twisting modular buttons and switches, with a hard edge in some cases that will confound and stun the pigeon-holing prog analyst.

Definitely original while perhaps leaning closer to bands such as Underworld, Ultravox or current Depeche Mode, a track such as 'Is This The Dream?' really shoots for a different sound and one will hear the same harsh feel on 'Bedlam Days' that has a punitive riff and pounding drum beat, amid the voice effects, synth burps and metallic tinged rhythms. The delectable 'Fault Lines' is a ponderous electro ballad that features a sensational vocal from Mr.Godfrey , laced with some delicious electro pings and synthesized pongs that will wink at Thomas Dolby or New Muzik, two rather creative 'proggy' synth-pop bands.

That does not prevent any more bombastic experimentation, such as the synthetic power displayed on the thick 'Here Come the Envoys', all wired up with a fuzzy guitar solo that is more like Ayreon and funky bopping synths that give this a highly accessible but bizarre sheen. It's not quite commercial nor is it a dreamy atmospheric symphony, because the arrangement wanders into strange, almost experimental environments. Its companion piece, 'Fears Aren't Toys' has this heavier feel that is balanced with a more concrete style that is quite audacious, a sudden insane axe solo goes haywire before suddenly veering into minimalist floating that was nowhere to be expected!

'I Called Him in Vain' introduces a hushed and blas' female voice swerving amid swaths of electronica-fueled shimmerings, sounding more like the Canadian techno-pop band Delirium , a fuzzy poem of weirdness that suits the flow of the album , as well the rather psychotic subject matter.

Then you get more zaniness with the quirky 'Passengers', a bastard child of Ozric Tentacles and The Swans, hard-nosed pummeling and yet not quite easy listening (in fact, almost anti-melodic). This is a typical example of how hard it is to easily appreciate the merits of some (if not most) of the tracks here. Like dissonance, it serves the purpose of creating a special aura of unfamiliarity and angst, of discomfort as opposed to soothing. This is best expressed by the flat out dysfunctional 'XO VA VU', odd sounds, weird voices, strange riffs and a nihilistic backdrop of pain and confusion.

The epic title track is, in the end, the nucleus of this release and has all the ingredients of a modern prog-rock classic, a 10 and a half ramble fully propelled by the illustrious Henry Rogers, stunning anthemic vocals from Godfrey and a well-balanced piece of music that has appeal and density, a spattering of mellotron added to the mix for good effect. This is the piece that ultimately decides the merits of this album, a rather enigmatic release for even the most open-minded progfan. I suspect some will not like this much, but you have to give credit to the visionary courage in putting this sucker together.

Another fine ballad adorns this disc, 'One Last Perfect Day', featuring a bright melody that is hijacked by a sizzling guitar and then flung into another time zone, barreling rhythms in a frenzy and then reverting to a placid calm. Challenging and ballsy.

The final bell is rung with 'Myowndreamland', pushed along by another female vocal full of despondence and also a sense of hope. A vocoded male vocal adds a soothing counterpoint and a chainsaw guitar slices ahead, mercilessly. Nothing stays the same for too long, a slippery prog soap bar that requires patience, dedication, fairness and objectivity.

4 gleaming spines

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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