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Outer Limits - Stromatolite CD (album) cover

STROMATOLITE

Outer Limits

 

Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 61 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I knew nothing about this Japanese band unless my prog colleague, Koni, introduced me to this new album by the band (that the name was I thought inspired by IQ song) named as OUTER LIMITS. By instinct, I thought the music must be something like IQ or Pallas, judging from the band name. But I was shocked knowing that the opening track demonstrates a grandiose rock orchestra with tight and excellent composition. I have sensed a flavour of King Crimson and After Crying at first spin of the album. Honestly, it blew me away at first spin and I was willing to re-spin over and over. It's basically pretty simple: I love the combination of classical music or orchestra with rock or progressive music. I remember vividly when I saw a cassette labeled as "Rock Meets Classic" to label the Jon Lord's "Windows" when I was childhood. It was quite hard for me to digest but the more I listened to it, it grew on me steadily.

Having been exposed with the kind of marriage between rock and orchestra, I have found no difficulty at all digesting this album at first experience. The idea is basically quite simple: marrying prog rock with orchestra or string ensemble. This album spells out this clearly through significant use of violin combined with great keyboard work. After the mellow song "Lullaby" the music moves wonderfully to another grandiose composition "Algo Rhythm C" which demonstrates how violin contributes aggressively to the music accompanied by music in the vein of King Crimson and sometimes PFM (Italy). I have to admit that this instrumental track is a masterpiece as it combines a well balanced ups and downs with great maneuvers of violin as well al mellotron which make the song is quite inspiring. I bet those of you who have been liking the early sound of King Crimson and PFM would love to enjoy this song.

"Caprice (Violin solo)"(1:32) reminds me back again to After Crying and it moves wonderfully to "Spiral Motion" (6:04) in medium tempo with full demonstration of violin combined with organ work in vintage style. The soaring organ sounds that appear during breaks accentuate the song really well especially when it is then followed with violin solo which moves steadily from simple solo to complex one augmented by pulsating organ sound. It's so symphonic!

The concluding track "Constellation" (9:54) is probably the best place and time to get musical orgasm due to its tight composition blending colossal orchestration, great violin solo and keyboard solo. The song structure is quite varied in forms as well as textures while each segment of the music delivers excellent textures resulted from musical instruments as well as its sound effects. Well, the melody is actually not that catchy. But that's not the point, because I believe that the band intended to create this song as composition-orientated piece of music instead of melody line.

Overall, I highly recommend this prog rock album with great orchestration to those who can appreciate this kind of music. In fact, I don't see any problem at all for newbie in prog rock to taste this album first, because it's excellent. It deserves a 4.5 star rating. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |

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