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US - A Sorrow In Our Hearts CD (album) cover





3.76 | 25 ratings

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4 stars Continuing the tradition of some very good Neo Progressive rock bands from Holland,US' history dates back in 1975,intially starting as a trio covering songs of many rock bands of the time,before renaming themselves to Saga,concentrating on composing original material.Saga released the rare collectors' Symphonic Rock item ''To whom it concerns'' in 1979 and disbanded a few years later.However,after years of silence,the three founding members joined each other along with guitarist Peter de Frankrijker to reform US and produce their comeback/debut ''A sorrow in our hearts'' in 2002.

STYLE: The album contains not even a trace of sorrow!This is atmosheric,pleasant and greatly arranged modern Symphonic Rock.The majority of the compositions clocks at over 9 minutes,blending beautifully acoustic passages with energetic yet melodic musicianship full of synthesizer flights,heavy organ runs and catchy guitars.I would dare to say that US sound more than British than the British!The album is dominated by a haunting symphonicism, despite the production,distorted guitars and vocals makes it sounds a bit neo.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: The whole spectrum of late-70's/early 80's symphonic movement of U.K. with compatriots EGDON HEATH being the closiest comparison along with mid-70's GENESIS,IQ and PALLAS.

PLUS: So many plus for this overlooked band,like the excellent,clear and sweet vocals,the absolutely satisfying melodies coming out of Frankrijker's guitars (Hackett influence is obvious),the amazing bass playing of Jos Wernars,the professional and grandiose keyboard passages of his brother Ernest and the romantic acoustic parts of the album. Compositionally the bands stands easily next to the big names of the prog league,with something going on all the time without never forgetting the melodic approach.Tempos and atmospheres alternate constantly.Great production as well.

MINUS: Too British sounding,making originality an unknown word for US.Parts of the album could be tracks in a late-70's GENESIS album or of any band of the new wave of British prog movement.

WILL APPEAL TO: Both neo and sympho-maniacs,as well as to listeners of melodic prog.The album covers influences from both the vintage and contemporary symphonic age.

CONCLUSION/RATING: Excellent debut,which surprised me from the first moment.US are way better than many bands of the Neo/Symph movement,who have been much more promoted.Give them a chance,possibilities of regreting it tend to zero!4 solid stars.

apps79 | 4/5 |


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