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Deluge Grander - August in the Urals CD (album) cover


Deluge Grander


Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 173 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars OK, i have to admit that my mind is in the gutter because every time i read this title it translates as "August In The Urinals" which makes me think of unthinkable stinkiness on the streets of San Francisco freshly excreted by the burgeoning homeless population. But wait! I digress before i even get started! Thankfully when Dan Britton left Cerebrus Effect, he didn't waste any time taking his passion for progressive oriented rock and taking it to the moon and back and this album in reality is the exact antithesis of that misconstrued mistranslation. The debut album by DELUGE GRANDER is a triumph in the one, two punch that the 90s provided in the prog revival scene with bands such as Anglagard and Dream Theater leading the way. The correct title of the album, ah hem, is AUGUST IN THE URALS and debuted in 2006 but despite its release well into the 21st century, this band was in love with not only the usual suspects of the past but also the lesser known prog acts such as Cathedral, Kenso, Maneige, Miriodor, Semiramis, Asia Minor, Kotebel and Crucis. This rich palette of influences gives this music a true classic feel although the complexity meter is turned up to 11 and counting.

Britton explains that the DELUGE GRANDER debut album was a work of passion that lasted 8 months right after he finished grad school and before he found full employment. Inspiration occurred in the sleepless cycles where he would labor away in 26 to 30 hour cycles and catch a nap whenever time would permit. This frame of mind in this period of his life explains the labor of love which resulted in a staggeringly complex behemoth of prog that nearly hits the 71 minute mark. While this was the period of time when Britton admits he didn't have a lot of musical equipment and even incorporated on this album an old analog Univox synthesizer that he found lying outside his apartment complex all covered in snow. While the money and equipment may have been in short supply, the passion and inspiration were clearly not lacking. This is the type of album where every single stroke of the key and pluck of the string is cleverly crafted and adroitly animated in a serious never-ending stream into the prog universe.

The album begins with the monstrosity near 27 minute long "Inaugural Bash" which slowly begins with a simple keyboard and guitar riff that ratchet their way into a complex web of sonic subtleties and compositional prowess that ebbs and flows like a never-ending stream wending its way through a lush verdant vale in some bucolic setting. This piece is mostly instrumental with only scant few vocals poking out of the moody mist of layered synthesizers and irregular time signature workouts with bass and drum marching along like a jazz-addicted clown on Bourbon Street in New Orleans after a few drinky-poos circulating in the old blood stream. While the grooves and melodies are all over the place, there are some that recur for an anchoring effect but mostly, this one drifts off in a musical march that takes you on a ride that you never want to disembark. The title track is only about half as long but still at a near 16 minute time run is another prog behemoth that continues the symphonic bombast with tender and heart-felt melodies fluttering into your ears and directly into your center of prog sensibilities. This one has a lot of interesting guitar workouts performed by Dave Berggren that are sort of flamenco-esque yet very unique and frenetically displaying a rotisserie of complex time signature workouts. While musically this is another beauty of a prog standard on steroids, one of the weakness of the band occurs with Britton's vocals much like the same style of vocal tracks on his debut Birds and Buildings album. While not unlistenable in the vocal department, the style seems to be substandard for the type of vocals that such dynamic music seems to be calling for. Nevertheless, the title track is another winner of proggy yumminess guaranteed to win a high place in the prog museum on that far away world that only exists in a Roger Dean album cover.

The third track "Abandoned Mansion Afternoon" is yet another behemoth track that slightly exceeds the 12 minute mark and ushers in yet more moody symphonic laden prog rock workouts that shuffle time sigs, dynamics and tempos into a mystifying blender of spits them out in incremental deliveries. This is another vocal track that sounds most like the title track with Britton's baritone and detached sounding vocals that cruise along in a rather monotonous manner residing on a lower octave. The quirky bass lines and guitar riffs meander and wander aimlessly at times into completely new pastures but always result in extremely precise and bizarre instrumental interplay. The final two tracks "A Squirrel" and "The Solitude Of Miranda" are all instrumental and show more varied tempos with emphasis on some of the more energetic passages on the album. Without the vocals keeping them on the leash, the individual instruments are allowed to run free range and conjure up whatever mojo they can muster up and with keyboard riffs run amok, bass slaps and guitars whizzing up and down the scales, we get a satisfying ending of prog workouts to end the album.

AUGUST IN THE URALS is a contumacious display of unbridled prog that knows no limitations and provides the utmost efficacious pomp and awe that many a modern act is incapable of dishing out in such lofty doses. This is one of those albums that is just so grand in scope that its intransigent serpentine flow of ambitiousness will surely leave even the most hardened progger having to gasp for air. While the melodies and grooves are rather airy and light-hearted, there are just so many twists and turns that it's almost impossible to grasp upon first listen. This is one truly for those who love it dense and complex as possible and in that regard DELUGE GRANDER deliver the goods in an unapologetic procedure of symphonic prog overload. This is exactly the type of music that floats my boat the most. This is a brilliant album slightly bogged down only by the vocal parts that don't do the music justice but even on those parts, AUGUST IN THE URALS is a splendidly well constructed album that displays all the passion and devotion that went into it. Excellent debut!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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