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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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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Last year was a rough one for Steve Gresswell. Without going into details, let's just say that one of society's less desireables left Steve in the hospital, and further health issues may have been caused by the initial problems. Thankfully, Steve recovered well enough to get back into the studio and continue his work on the Inner Road album he had already cooking. The result is here, "The Majestic Garden".

For those unfamiliar with Steve Gresswell, he has a long career as a professional musician that extends way back to the seventies. The Inner Road and Coalition have been his regular outlets for his musical creativity since the nineties, with Coalition often including vocals and The Inner Road being instrumental. Steve is essentially a keyboard player but with The Inner Road he handles all instruments except for guitar. Of course, modern software allows for him to create powerful orchestral music or add some trumpet or violin as a lead instrument when they are deemed necessary.

I have a couple of Inner Road CDs and also a couple of Coalition albums, and one thing that I've noticed is that Steve likes to write very upbeat, feel-good music. This is true for "The Majestic Garden", too. Right from the get go, there's a chorus of men with an "ooh! wooh!" like they're going to do the Haka, and then the music kicks in with some great melodic lead guitar playing by Carl Anthony Wright. The tracks moves through different musical motifs, adding female vocals and showcasing Carl's lead guitar work. You'll soon notice Steve's method to compose is to have a few different melodies that continue to resurface as the track progresses. This means that those spiritually uplifting melodies keep coming back to elevate your mood. But you'll also notice how the vocal parts are actually the same recordings snugly fitted in each time they are required. I get the impression that the track is composed in complete parts that are then arranged in a reiterating sequence. This later seems true for many of the compositions.

The album continues on throughout with each track distinct from the others and yet similar in that the main melody is always powerful and uplifting. Even now, the trumpet-lead main melody of "Fire of Life" is playing away with grandeur and gusto in my head. Carl's guitar shifts from complementary lead melodies to lively lead breaks. Steve uses vocals and occasionally some mysterious or more mood-setting music to introduce a track, such as the chanting intro to "Lost Land" or operatic vocals at the start of "Wind from the Reeds".

The music is essentially symphonic rock with drums, bass, keyboards, and guitar hauling the way. But there's never a track that doesn't feature additional sounds such as a variety of keyboards and piano or orchestral instruments or vocals. It's these special features that add an extra dimension to the symphonic rock band sound. However, make no mistake that no matter how a track begins, you can expect beautiful and soul-shining, positive music to comprise most of each track. It is a bit predictable but on the other hand, if you just want to crank a lively and rocking instrumental album and feel your spirit charged with musical sunshine, then this is a great album for that.

I take it to mean that in spite of the challenges Steve faced in 2018, he still has a fiery radiance in his compositions, which emphasis optimism and positive vibrations.

"The Majestic Garden" is available as a download only, so I'm a bit disappointed that I can't add another CD to my Inner Road collection. Nevertheless, it can stay on in my phone's iTunes library ready for play for the next many weeks too come.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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