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Navigator - Phantom Ships CD (album) cover





3.91 | 76 ratings

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5 stars NAVIGATOR have been absent from the scene for eight years. But now, to celebrate their return, Marcangelo Perricelli, Rob Thurman, Michael Soro - all together with new fellow, Rick Catanese - united for the group's third wayfaring. The material on CD 'Phantom Ships' displays explicit sympho prog characteristics, and extended almost 66 minutes. The album kicks off with a 17+ minute epic 'Life', embracing the varying time signatures and complex arrangements. Beside ambitious blocks of power, there is a plenty of soft interludes. As pipe organs combine with guitar licks, pulsating bass and solid drums keep everything to move along. Tremendous musicianship is accompanied by the vocals. Utilizing his soulful voice, Marcangelo Perricelli creates a special aura. The second track, 'Open Air', sounds completely different than the rest of the bunch. It's a sort of enjoyable British neo-progressive style. This composition wouldn't have been out of place on any Jadis release. Rob Thurman provides the lead singing here. Next up, 'Burned', which appears to pay some homage to rather aggressive intensity. Halfway through the song, heavy parts change places with a gentle intermission. Then, we have a nifty instrumental 'Beautiful River', where Michael Soro leans towards Joe Satriani ('Not Of This Earth' period). To keep a mellow pace, Navigator segues into graceful signature of 'Now That You're Gone'. This pearl starts with a gentle sequence to get into balladic mode full of sincerity and passion. Most closely, it resembles classic Genesis, whilst floaty traces of Pink Floyd can be heard in purposeful soloing. Another instalment is finely crafted 'Snow Angel', a feel going back to Kansas. The band follows this up with a title track, 'Phantom Ships', incorporating a blend of drifting bliss and grating feedback. The versatility is brimming with a bevy of twists and turns, dynamics and rich melodies, topped by Marco Perricelli who gives a meaning to the lyrical content. The atmospheric magnitude gradually changes to become proggy in nature, bringing to my mind the 70's Genesis, Rush, Spock's Beard and Transatlantic. The CD ends on a short instrumental, 'Rinascimento', clocking in only 2 minutes. It's a real showcase for Michael Soro's approach. The delicate guitar lines fit nicely in between Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. Just a wise decision to wind up the excellent album, feeling at ease... Welcome back, Navigator!!!
PH | 5/5 |


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