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The Inner Road - The Majestic Garden CD (album) cover


The Inner Road


Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 4 ratings

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3 stars The UK band "The Inner Road" is a symphonic prog band that writes and performs instrumental symphonic music. Founded by members Steve Gresswell (keyboards) and Phil Braitwaite (guitars), they have enlisted other musicians as needed to play on their studio albums and live tours.

"The Majestic Garden", released in March of 2019, is their fourth full length studio album. Steve Gresswell now heads the project alone playing keyboards, drums, bass and orchestration and has recruited Carl Anthony Wright to play the guitars for this album. There are 9 tracks all ranging from between 6 and 10 minutes each for a total run time of well over an hour.

The title track "The Majestic Garden" starts off quite bright with layers of guitars playing an upbeat melody. The breaks go to the synths and an uncredited female vocalist singing wordless vocals. This pattern makes up the first 5 minutes of the track, and then things move to a slower, more blues style as the guitar continues to head the track. The main theme returns on the last minute. "Call of the Spirit" again is mostly led by guitar playing the main theme, though a touch darker this time. At the 3 minute mark, the music suddenly changes to a faster theme and is now headed over by keyboards for a playful section, then later for a slower section which the song alternates between tempos. The second time the slower section comes in, a piano improvises and then we return to the main guitar led theme again with a bit more guitar improvisation this time.

"Wind from the Reeds" uses a moderate tempo, and the guitar takes the main theme again, but the synth comes in earlier with its own theme before the guitar comes back again. Later, the tempo speeds up and as the guitar plays a quick arpeggio, things start to become much more symphonic. More guitar later again on the theme, then in a fast improvised section. Later, things mellow out a bit as processed piano plays, then another return to theme. "Fire of Life" seems to want to follow the same pattern of guitar led theme, but there is a break from the norm when a symphonic section comes in provided by the synths alternating with guitar sections. Finally, after 5 minutes, this pattern breaks up as things suddenly get very dark and ominous with a wordless vocal, but just when you think things might get interesting, it soon goes back to the formulaic pattern of guitar doing the theme with variations and keyboards taking the symphonic sections. This pattern is getting too predictable.

"Lost Land" pretty much follows the same formula, but at least on this track, there is a bit more variety in the alternating sections and the symphonic sections show through a bit more and there are some synth sections. "Changing Sea" goes back to letting the guitar be in charge again, this time the improvised sections get heavier, but overall it's more of the same. Suffice it to say that the rest of the album continues in the same vein with a lot of guitar led themes and improvisation with short sections of keyboards and other things thrown in at random. Analyzing the other tracks would just be repetition of what has already been said.

The music is good enough, but seems to be catered to those that love a lot of guitar in their symphonic rock. There is not a lot of variety here however, and nothing really that challenging. Many times I found myself hoping that something interesting was going to happen in a track, but it wouldn't be long before the music would slip back into its regular formula. The tracks always return to the themes each time making the music repetitive and not really exploratory or inventive. It's just nice music that has no real highlight.

TCat | 3/5 |


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