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Protos - The Noble Pauper's Grave CD (album) cover





2.22 | 4 ratings

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2 stars A few years ago Rory Ridley-Duff started posting in several prog and music forums about his band Protos re-releasing its 1982 album One Day A New Horizon. Later came the announcement that a new album will be released called The Noble Pauper''s Grave. As I''ve only heard a few samples from their previous album, One Day A New Horizon and liked the little I heard, I was intrigued to hear this new release. I am not sure how this compares to that album but I hope that the previous album is better than this one.

This album (like several other prog bands) takes its sound from both the old and new. There are vintage sounding keyboards along with more powerful, modern sounding guitars (and overall production), making it a hybrid of past and present. This is instrumental, with several narrative parts giving a background to the idea behind the music and all of it is a part of the bigger concept this album deals with. Here is what the press release says about the album: "The Noble Pauper''s Grave (released 18th October 2007) tells the story of a man born to privilege who rejects his upbringing. Drawn to the plight of the poor, he helps to organise and rally support for their cause whilst finding love amongst them. A tale of humility, tragedy, courage and affection conveyed through ambient narratives and rock music"

The first track is dynamic and exciting, but then I find it weakens somewhat to duller, less inspired (or rather less inspiring to me) tracks. It has this slow, ponderous and even romantic feel in some of the tracks, but I''m not taken away by those and they mostly pass me by. Even a track like "Rally", an 11 minute long composition which is more energetic than the previous ones, just strikes me a superficial, trying to make impression with bombastic arrangements than actual melody writing and composition. It has a nice shell to it, but there''s no content. It sounds like a superficial and bland rendering of Mike Oldfield and ELP at times (especially the musical chorus). The keyboard solo part is lost on me, but the guitar does manage to bring this track back to life while it plays and then it all recedes back to the quite boring and pompous aspect of the track (again to me, I am sure others will like, especially after reading glaring reviews of the album).

While it is a well done and melodic album, one that is nice to listen to, there are no hooks or any special memorable pieces or parts to it that make me think about it afterward and say "ah, yes that was a memorable experience, one that I want to come back to later". Plus, there are too many places in the album I just lose interest. It''s not a bad experience; but it isn''t one that particularly strikes me as being special or worthy of any special attention in the plethora of progressive rock albums coming out in these times. However, I think that many listeners will find many good qualities in this album to make it worth their time, so the above mentioned criticism is obviously my own view and should not deter any symphonic prog fans and any sophisticated, mostly instrumental rock listeners. It is a melodic, mostly melancholic and beautiful record. Only that to me, as one who loves all styles of music, I find nothing too special and I will not give this future listens probably (maybe one or two more times at most). I am not in the business of trashing musicians efforts and composition, so I don''t want to give the impression this is bad music; quite the contrary. It is well written and executed. This is a matter of taste, and this doesn''t appeal to me that much. There isn''t much in terms of excitement in the music, no ear candy, no musical click. As I like this sort of prog rock among the many other styles I like, I prefer to give my attention to other records which I find to be much better, more attractive and more exciting.

I honestly can''t recommend this to others, but to make up your own mind about it, you can listen to samples on the band's myspace and website and you can read more views there as well.

avestin | 2/5 |


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