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Roswell Six - Terra Incognita: Beyond The Horizon CD (album) cover


Roswell Six


Progressive Metal

3.36 | 33 ratings

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4 stars My goodness, the supreme PA prog "softie" is doing a heavy symphonic review! OMG! What has the world come to? Topsy-turvy, I guess! So I need a little raunch occasionally, does not make me a metal head! To quote the PA bio "ROSWELL SIX is a US based project organized by Shawn Gordon from Progrock Records, combining the creative skills of writer Kevin J. Anderson and composer/keyboardist Erik Norlander to create a novel approach to the art of concept albums: To base a concept album on the book of an acclaimed author and to let same author actively contribute in the production of the music based on his novel. Rounding up the core members of the project is Anderson's wife Rebecca Moesta, contributing her writing skills as an acclaimed author; Norlander's wife Lana Lane and excellent bassist Kurt Barabas (Amaran's Plight)", yet most impressive was the barrage of fantastic vocalists chosen here to show their wares: DT's Labrie (ok, so I am not a fan but...), the intense Michael Sadler of Saga fame, Asia's John Payne and the lovely Lana Lane. Ravaging guitars are expressed by Chris Brown of Ghost Circus and Shadow Gallery's Gary Wehrkamp. Drummer Chris Quirarte of Prymary, violinist David Ragsdale (ex-Kansas) and Martin Orford (ex-IQ, Jadis) who adds some flute, round out the elite crew. Erik Norlander's whooping keyboards and symphonic synths infuse considerable fanfare and pomp to the sci-fi proceedings and the whole opus just rocks! Yes, its epic, bombastic, even heavily Wagnerian at times, interspersed with chunky ballads, the tender Ragsdale violin seducing on "Letters in a Bottle" while Sadler evokes an awesome, a powerful yet emotion-drenched vocal that will leave you stunned. Beautiful music with meaningful vocals gets even better on "Halfway" with the sultry Lana Lane on the mike, wallowing in sympathy "to the family members of military personnel serving overseas". When the going gets tough (mostly with Labrie's vocals) on tracks such as "I am the Point" or "Anchored", the guitars bite with venomous disregard. The highlight tracks here are without a doubt "Here Be Monsters", a colossal metallic slab a la Ayreon, full of lush symphonic bliss that has a little "Kashmir" feel (Erik , you little thief!) , harsh guitar crunching obliviously and impassioned vocals from Payne, Lane and Sadler triumvirate. (No wonder that I got hooked by this PA stream. Marketing slut, go figure!). Right behind this jewel is "The Sinking of the Luminara", a positively devastating instrumental adventure that showcases some elegant piano, twirling violin and the emergence of a rumbling Barabas bass solo that will shake your booties! Who is this guy? WOW! I mean nothing gets me more delirious than a subtly pounding bass frolicking within a mellotron vortex, my goodness! A sibilant synth solo only compounds my sonic orgasm. This is a thoroughly enjoyable masterpiece that I intend to indulge in, again and again. The highly cinematographic "The Winds of War" has Lana bellowing forcefully, a powerfully fluid voice that expresses convincingly (I find many male heavy metal singers insanely hilarious, a parody of sorts...Long story...). The contrast- laden "Swept Away" has fittingly raging rhythmic barrages, chopping away at the Lane melody with liquid guitar flurries, Sadler keeping his own with a melodic control that is truly inspiring. Their vocal duet is simply enticing and highly applause worthy, while Norlander tosses in some sweeping synthesized gale winds. "Beyond the Horizon" , the title track completes the revelation as Sadler once again grabs the microphone stand and delivers a performance that easily rivals his acclaimed Saga work. Every word is clearly understood and deeply felt (ain't that what a lead singer is supposed to provide the audience?), a well- placed acoustic guitar intervention infuses even more bravado to the simple "quenching the sorrow" emotions. "Merciful Tides" reprises the magnificent "Letters in a Bottle", giving Lana the final merciful word, replaying the enchantment and the utter pleasure derived in listening to this song and by extension this delightful album. Wehrkamp pulls off a mystically enticing solo to augment the passion. Norlander pulls on the instrumental velvet curtain with the über-symphonic "The Edge of The World", a fitting and polished farewell to an exciting musical journey, great story, amazing music, fabulous performances and gorgeous artwork. Nice indeed! An inch away from masterpiece anointment. I am very surpised by Sadler, wow! 4.5 uncharted lands
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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