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Azureth - The Promethean Syndrome CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.81 | 27 ratings

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4 stars Every once in a while, a nice surprise comes along.

Through the dark, hidden paths of ProgArchives, I was provided with a promotional copy of this album. Azureth - a band not known to me before - turned out to be one of these surprises that you run into every once in a while. The band claims to be influenced by bands like Yes, Kansas and Genesis, but have managed to make it into something of themselves. I have to admit that on occassion Vince Font's voice reminds me of Marillion's Steve Hogarth - another influence that's not mentioned? The sound is definitely 70's like, but at the same time quite modern - not surprising given the instruments used, like a 1975 Fender Custom Telecaster, in combination 21st century compositions and modern recording and production techniques.

The instrumental title track The Promethean Syndrome is the introduction to, as the band calls it, 'a conceptual Prog-Rock Opera about a man who tries to fights against an egalitarian society where intellect is discouraged in favour of uniformity'. A dark keyboard melody guides us into his world, shortly accompanied by the rest of the band for a close to 4 minute prog fan catching introduction. After this, the piano opening of Being Alive changes the atmosphere and creates the path for the first vocals of Vince Font on this album. And what a vocalist he is. The first time the album was in my CD player, I got distracted by something else, until he started singing. My attention was caught and I really wondered whether I was listening to a young Peter Gabriel, or to Steve Hogarth in good shape. The singer on Azureth's debut album Yesterday's Future Tomorrow's Past, Kenneth Aspeslåen, was far from bad, but Vince Font is more than just a replacement. Breakaway is another instrumental, with a quick fingered guitar and keyboards taking turns - but without showing off. There's a synth organ in here that I wouldn't mind replacing for a Hammond... The organ returns in Chains that Bind, a song that in a way reminds me of Aragon's Solstice (on their 1988 debut Don't Bring the Rain). Beyond the Boundaries is a great, atmospheric track of just over 10 minutes - for which old Genesis, Kansas, Camel or early Marillion would not have been ashamed - recommended to those who are investigating Azureth for the first time. Here, Azureth's own sound signature shows through. It's not just keyboards and technical guitar work, sometimes a guitar needs to be played as a rhythm instrument to make this really rock - and it does here. After this long track, we're back to an instrumental journey - this time joining in on the four minute Flight of Prometheus. A great piece of rock, with loads of guitar, bass and keyboard solos and improvisations. Recommended to be listen on head phones at night - in bed and with the lights out. This applies also to the following Shadow of a Man II - which has a laid back acoustic intro, followed by great organ work. There's a bit of drums and bass guitar behind the organ that is just sufficient to complete the sound and not disturb it. Via Into the Nowhere, another piece that shows how Azureth can create an emotional atmosphere, we end up in the Garden of Ignosense. A varying track, with a multi-vocal piece as well, and a nice prologue to closing epic A New World, which lasts almost 16 minutes. Contains some pulsing keyboard and great bass work in the rockier pieces, again as a background for great vocals.

The Promethean Syndrome has a very clear and crisp production - which is not too common among private releases. All instruments can be heard clearly, a fitting reward for the musicians that play them. The only possible improvement in that area according to my ears would be put the drums a bit more forward in the mix. Details on the concept, it's sources in literature, as well as the lyrics can be downloaded from the web site, after entering a code that comes with the CD. This band deserves to be up the charts along with other hidden - yet different - treasures like Bacamarte and Circa. Highly recommended to anyone looking for, as Erik Neuteboom calls them, 'lesser-known prog bands' - and to fans of classic and symphonic prog in general. Now what was the definition of a cult band again?

Angelo | 4/5 |


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