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Red Sand - The Sound of the Seventh Bell CD (album) cover

THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL

Red Sand

 

Neo-Prog

4.04 | 46 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars While neo-prog may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one things of prog from Quebec, RED SAND has proven for almost two decades now that you can follow your musical dreams no matter where you were born. This creation of guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Simon Caron continues to nurture his love of blues and space rock guitarists ranging from Davide Gilmour, Andy Latimer, Steven Rothery, BB King and Albert Collins. The lineup of RED SAND has changed drastically since the band's 2004 debut "Mirror Of Insantiy" and on the the tenth album THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL, Caron tackles most of the duties on board by playing electric and acoustic guitars, bass and keyboards. Longtime drummer Perry Angelino returns along with vocalist Steff. For touring André Godbout has been recruited for bass duties and JB Lemire on keyboards.

RED SAND is one of those neo-prog bands that loves to craft those scrumptious mixes of old school bands like early Marillion, IQ and Arena and mix in heavy doses of Pink Floydian inspired space rock, sensual layers of keyboards and a mix of slower, mid-range and faster tempos. THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is a concept album that is based on the seven deadly sins and following RED SAND's track record features lengthy sprawling prog behemoths that include the 14 1/2 "Insatiable" and the 21-minute "Cracked Road." Despite this band emerging from Quebec City, Canada, the hub of French speakers in all of North America, RED SAND continues to sound more like a number of bands from the British scene. Certain parts remind of Pendragon, others IQ, some Arena, early Marillion, Anubis etc.

Soundwise THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is very much in the traditional neo-prog camp with bucolic ballads in the form of "Breathing" and intros to the soaring guitar solo led works of the Floydian inspired title track which is split into three segments but spaced apart in various track placings. Lots of arpeggiated acoustic guitar riffs reminiscent of Pendragon's most recent "Love Over Fear" and haunting atmospheric synthesizers building crescendoes and the proper mood enhancing spaciness. In accord with neo-prog characteristics, the pop hooks are poignant and prominent and Steff's vocals fit in perfect with the moody and emotive style that narrates the overarching concept of the seven deadly sins.

The most satisfying track is without a doubt the 21-minute "Cracked Road" which allows the various movements to unfold gradually with more twists and turns than the shorter tracks although all of the aforementioned elements are the fundamental basis for the compositional flow. There's even a nice section in the middle that reminds you of Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Overall, RED SAND will not win any points for originality as the various sounds involved have been staples of various neo-prog artists since the 1980s and the same can be said for the Floydian space rock sounds. When it comes right down to it, THE SOUND OF THE SEVENTH BELL is business as usual for a neo-prog band that has sort of found a tiny niche that exists between the cracks of other artists but in the end they entire album is quite impeccable crafted with a pleasing production and doesn't disappoint in entertainment value. While other 2021 neo-prog albums by Drifting Sun are much more exciting, this one is nonetheless quite satisfying.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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