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DeeExpus - Half Way Home CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.15 | 117 ratings

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5 stars 2009 has seen some fantastic releases so far and this debut from DeeExpus is no exception. The quality of the music, playing and production belies the fact that this is indeed the first release from Andy Ditchfield. One gets a sense of love, care and attention that has been put into every aspect of making this record. There's fantastic use of sequencers and percussive vibes, underpinned by (Steve Wilson style) heavy guitar riffing, none more so than on the Porcupine Tree tribute track 'PTtee' - 12 minutes of bliss, which would sit very comfortably on any of at least the last 3 Porcupine Tree albums! The Glockenspiel at the end of the track isso simple yet works perfectly.

'Greed' - the opener - again reminds one of Porcupine Tree, but the end section contains a more neo-progressive rock keyboard lead lines, which harken back to the likes of Grey Lady Down. 'Pointless Child' is more heavy neo-prog, the keys take a lot of lead lines here but the heavy guitar riffs are never far away and a vocal harmony section towards the end reminded me of the eponymous track off Mark Shreeve's Nocturne album!

'One Eight' has some fantastic lead guitar lines and paradoxical as it might sound, the percussive and melodic vibes of the glockenspiel in the background really underpins this track well. 'One Day' is a short acoustic interlude before the penultimate track 'Seven Nights', which is a very melodic track with great vocals and keys taking the lead lines. This reminded me of Blackfield. And then three minutes in, there's a change of tempo when Mr D takes us on a journey which takes in Shadowland and earlyish Pendragon for a couple of minutes before a chorus coda fades out the track.

And finallty to the epic album closer and title track 'Half Way Home'. There's a statement of intent right from the word go, with heavy guitar chords, rich organ and strong percussives taking us two minutes in. Then the music is stripped back to a more gentle sound and the vocals are introduced. It takes on a verse-chrous feel for a few minutes; indeed, this portion could be lifted out of the track and would work as a seperate track by litself. However, it blends in seamlessly and just after the 6 minute mark there's a PT style instrumental passage for a minute before a blast of good old fashioned heavy metal take us into an ambient spoken vocal (think PT circa Voyage 34) before a lovely piano / vocal part leads into some GLORIOUS mellotron! There is the inevitable grand finale when the track is wrapped up with more heavy guitar fanfares and lovely vocal harmonies; all in all, a fine track and one of the best of 2009 so far.

I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more from Andy Ditchfield and co, following this extremely promising debut.

Baggiesfaninuk | 5/5 |


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