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Adventure - Beacon of Light CD (album) cover

BEACON OF LIGHT

Adventure

 

Symphonic Prog

3.40 | 27 ratings

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debrewguy
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having originally written a 10 paragraph review, I thought it a good idea to try to follow the advice that I give to Adventure - edit, review, tighten up the loose ends, excise the fat and cut out the needless repetition.

SO here goes the summarized version. Obvious influences are there - Flower Kings, Uriah Heep, some of today's heavier Neo. And there are many occurrences of "prog by the numbers". Unlike the Flower Kings, Adventure are not at a point where multi-part suites extending for 15-20 minutes work. They are decent instrumentalists, but not dazzling soloists.

Something to Believe In is hampered by a few things - 1) Moen's vocals are a distraction to the music, and sounding as if it was taken from a musical or operetta. Please, next album, if you have one, use Henning Mj°en . His voice really adds to the Uriah Heep vibe that comes up from time to time; 2) this is the first place where Adventure could have used a sharp pair of outside ears to trim this suite down. There are good melodies, good playing, but mostly in PT I & PT III. In these two sections, I hear the Flower Kings, and these are two pieces that show the promise that the group may have. Unfortunately, PT II quickly descends into a Spinal Tap version of Symphonic prog. It almost seems the group was unable to decide what & where they wanted to go with this song and just jammed it out and recorded it; 3) as English is not their mother tongue, I would suggest some help with the lyrics as they are trite enough in some places to once more merit Bhikku's comment about being formulaic.

Beacon of Light PT I & IV are excellent mellow melodic songs that would not be out of place on many of today's top Symphonic prog albums, and serve well as intro & outro for this suite. PT II slowly & beautifully builds in intensity & morphs into a fine Uriah Heep mid period prog rocker at about the 5 minute mark, and then slows down to a Return to Fantasy like melody. So far, so good ... this is the potential fulfilled that I have heard here & there in the first few songs on this album. But they go on to play uninspired & meandering music from the 9 minute mark onward , and then the whole of PT III. It's not that these 10 minutes are complete crap, just that the group could well have cut this section down to a few minutes by using the best of it, sharpening the lyrics and bring the album to a close that equals the music in PT IV.

Tracks 5 & 6 - A Crack in the Ice PT I & II bring to mind something like Pallas's debut. Arrive Alive , but not quite. Here I find if the main melodic idea from the first part had been kept, and the first half of PT II omitted that the group would have a very good mid album song that would provide a lead in to the finale.

Emilie's place & Joybringer are this albums acoustic numbers and work fine as filler or as interludes. Anthony Philips & Tull do these well, and Adventure pull them off O.K.

The other two songs - The Swan & Fragile Frame are decent filler. Both are afflicted with Adventure's weakness - a seeming reluctance to edit out the mediocre. So instead of coming out with two good 4-5 minute songs, they turn out two interminable 7 plus minute songs. Indeed, Fragile Frame brings back the early Uriah Heep sound ... acoustic guitar and David Byron like vocals from Henning Mj°en. The lyrics are decent. The choruses that are heavy with the guitars and organ seguing back in to the calm of the acoustic verse. This song, of all the compositions herein, is one that would have needed the least work in tightening it up. Shorten the outro, and work on improving the chorus' hook.

So how do I feel about the album as a whole ? The good stuff is good. Once upon a time, the music buff in me would have been open to checking out their next album. But to a music fan that knows that there is more great music out there than is possible to listen to, ... well ... I would be very hesitant, unless I knew that they aimed for a consistent 45 minutes of music instead of a roller coaster ride between enjoyable & unbearable listening experiences, no matter how epic it may sound to them.

And the best remedy might be that independant pair of ears. Barely a three, and kindly so on the high points I've mentioned. Before buying, best to sample. The two MP3s available here represent the negative, and I would have chosen other samples than those on their site . Maybe they can be persuaded to authorize some of the songs I've enjoyed ...

debrewguy | 3/5 |

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