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Outer Limits - Stromatolite CD (album) cover

STROMATOLITE

Outer Limits

 

Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 61 ratings

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memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The best 2007 album in my book!!!

It is not easy to find an album that causes an overexciting experience, when you know enough bands and music, it is not easy to be surprised by some old band, there are thousands of awesome albums that you love and listen frequently to, but actually it's hard to find one of those that you really can get obsesed due to it's beauty.

That happened to me in the mid-2007, when i listened to a Japanese band called Outer Limits whose only previous album i knew at the moment was The Scene of Pale Blue, which is a very good album, but that enters just in the album average, it didn't cause me anything extraordinary, then i saw that Outer Limits cameback after almost 20 years!, so that caugh my attention and i decided to get the album just in order to hear what sound would the band offer after so many years.

And god....i was blown away since the first time i listened to it, so i reapeated it again and again and so far i cannot get enough of it, it was a superb comeback from one of the most representative symphonic Japanese Bands, you know that Japanese music is exciting in each form and sound, here they won't let you down. I fell in love with it fastly, that after a few listens i said this would be my no.1 album of 2007, and yes despite there were several great choices, even from bands or artists that i like more and use to listen much more, i kept my love for Stromatolite and gave it my top 2007 album vote.

So enough about personal experience, now the review. Outer Limits released their comeback album in 2007 and named it Stromatolite, it contains 10 songs and more than 50 minutes of fantastic, outstanding symphonic prog.

The album opens with Cosmic Velocity and i think they couldn't have composed a better song for opening their comeback album, since the very first moment where the violin appears, i said...man this is something great let's see the rest, the song actually starts with some nature sounds, like the sea waving and then it turns into a fantastic piece of music, true symphonic prog at it's best, the keyboards are indispensable for the track, but the addition of the violin makes it even better, then there are moments where it just flows perfectly, some kind of give and take between guitars and violin, and the last part is pure bliss, there are some time changes and disctinct structures but at the end all finishes perfect, you will have no option after this, stay here and listen to the whole album

Next track is Consensus and it's the first one with vocals, it brings you a different feeling, after that powerful and beautiful opening, here the direction is different, it has some sense of intrigue and mystery in the song, the first part is in some way repetitive but the second part is again awesome, i am sure that the role of the violin here is the main, because nowadays not all the symph bands use the violin as a primordial ipart of their music, the games and interaction between the violin itself and the other instruments is excellent. by the way the lyrics are in english.

Lullaby follows and well you can imagine by the title what is this song about, the power and exciting moments of the first songs are left back, and here we will listen to a pure and beautiful song, the vocals are not something particularly awesome, but anyway it gives a nice colour to the song, keyboards and guitars in a very soft way are played here, a moment of peace here just before....

....comeback to the furious and exciting sound, with Algo Rhytm C the album returns to it's best style in my opinion, you will listen to great musical structures, and little different passages within the same song, while the powerful led by violin sound is running, suddenly it fades into some melodic passages, but just in order to return to that exciting violin-keyboard oriented song, this track has no vocals, so its a great mix of songs with and without lyrics.

Caprice (violin solo), well if i am talking about the violin a lot, it's because it's role is really important in this album, at the point that the band decided to make a short track which is like the intermission, just for the violin alone, notice the clean way of playing violin and you will understand why is it that important.

Spiral Motion continues immediately after the violin fade out of caprice, this is another instrumental song that will put an smile in your face, despite this is not that powerful as some others, it's mysterious mood creates some questions on yourself, i dont really know if you undestand what i mean, but i create a lot of images and even stories while listening to music, this is perfect for doing that, there are some moments where the guitar let us know that a band like King Crimson was an inspiration, some other moments where the keyboards appear just in the right place and of course the magnificent violin that also may give to the song an avant-gardish style.

Dahlia is another excellent track, the potential beginning compiled with some sudden stops after a minute changes with some softer variations, giving in a certaing way a ballad mood, but then at the half of the song we will hear an splendid guitar solo followed by some lush keyboard sound, all accompanied by an excellent drumming and bass background, then the song returns to the same phase as in the first minute, with the same components. Pretty good for the listener, and to finish the song we will hear some dissonant passage created by all the instruments.

Pangea this song shows a particular style, the symphonic music predominates of course and you will always listen a constan keyboard sound, but this time the mood is a bit happier and with a sensation of being in a challenge, where you are aiming for something and the music develops your faith into it. Is a great instrumental song that in a brief moment has some kind of violin improved sound but it is just minimum.

Organ Small Works No. 4(Pipe organ solo), is the other track dedicated to an instrument, first we had Caprice which was the violin solo moment, now as the title say we have the organ and the keyboard player in particular, it begins with a kind of horror movie theme, then it becomes softer but the obscure mood prevails, at the end we know that for the release of this album, the band itself considers both the violin and the keyboards as the primary components of it.

Sadly, everything has a final, now with Constellation we have reach the end of this great album, being this the longer song and after the previous works, what we can only expect is a very good song, and said and done. The song does have a feeling like the end, i dont know how to describe it, i just feel it, the musical composition is absolutely brilliant, and the vocals have an extra enthusiasm, though they are not outstanding, they give a particular touch to the album, despite the first half which is in some way slow, in the second one we will listen to some solos, violin / guitar / keyboards, which are the instruments that predominates throughout the album, though i should say that there is always a constant and solid playing by the bass man and drummer. The last half of a minute is a bombastic ending.

Now i have finished, i am sure this is one (if not the longest) of the longest reviews i have written for PA, things like this are possible just when you are inspired by the music itself or any other thing. A brilliant album, absolutely recommendable for any prog fan, specially for those symphomaniacs!

My grade, 5 stars! Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 5/5 |

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