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Single Celled Organism - Event Horizon CD (album) cover


Single Celled Organism


Crossover Prog

4.16 | 30 ratings

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4 stars Berlin-based proggers who've been around since 2015 are back with their third studio album.

1. "Memories in a Box" (9:05) perfectly formed prog rock from very proficient musicians, the song however falters (until that beautiful female vocal at the end) by being too much "prog-by-the numbers."(17.5/20)

2. "Changes Are Coming (The Companion)" (5:15) two minutes of painstakingly emotional singing (à la SYLVAN's Marco Glühmann) over simple, sparse musical support. Drums and bass join in for the second verse before a very emotional (and effective) guitar solo dominates the fourth minute. I also like the more delicate guitar solo that takes us to the song's end. (8.75/10)

3. "Thoughts" (7:42) excellent, well-developed, creatively fresh prog even if it is a little close to a RUSH-PORCUPINE TREE merger. (13.75/15)

4. "The Encounter" (7:13) strummed guitars and delicate cymbal play provide the backdrop for male and female vocal duet--constructed as a kind of conversation. Unfortunately, the sound palette used is based in a lot of now-outdated sound and engineering choices (what I often refer to as "cheap 90s keyboards" and "early DIY production tools"). The result is, unfortunately, a NeoProg sound of the type that imitates the music of 1980s form of the band GENESIS (or, more accurately, the imitators of said band's sound--like Marillion, IQ, Pallas, Pendragon, Aragon, Galadriel, etc.) At 2:30 begins the display of underwhelming drum fills on the toms. I'm cringing--actually embarrassed for the band! Still, the keyboard player is doing a great job of holding things together with bass pedals and lots of Mellotron-like synth "strings" washes. The presence of the guitar arpeggi and 12-string guitar are also quite warm and welcome.Even the interplay between electric guitar chord strums and bass in the sixth minute are okay--it's just those toms! Then we get the real star of this band: the lead electric guitar. I don't know if t's Johnny Beck or Ingo Salzmann but the player has some real talent--not only skill but that intangible sense of timing and melody that makes a great lead soloist. (13.25/15)

5. "Shifted" (4:58) another softer, slower, more delicate songscape (with recorder!) set up to host the female vocalist, Isgaard. The song--and Isgaard's style and performance--remind me very much of Emila Derkowska (Nazaruk) of the Polish band QUIDAM--especially of those from their 1996 self-titled debut album--even down to Emila's Clare Torrey vocalise in the final third. (8.875/10)

6. "Inhale What's Forbidden" (8:35) back to the male-female conversation format--again over a fairly tame (but respectable) prog weave. The lushly "orchestrated" keyboards tend to drown out the rest of the soundscape during the choruses. Nice work from Isgaard and the bass throughout. The drums are up to speed and the guitar work solid. Too bad those keys are dated. After a little pause for some recorded voice samples the band slips easily into an excellent PORCUPINE TREE passage to take us to the end. Nice NeoProg music. (18/20)

7. "Keep My Faith in Humans" (6:28) the song that reveals the Emperor's real clothes: the band's true strengths (melodic sense, heart-felt lyrics and performances) as well as its true weaknesses (poor drumming, poor song "finishing"); herein are contained some of the album's absolute highest points as well as its lowest (which makes it a difficult song to rate). The instrumental passage in the second half of the song is another wonderful merger of PORCUPINE TREE as if from a RUSH perspective. It could've been a 10/10 masterpiece. (9/10)

8. "Distorted Night" (2:56) weird fast-paced song that feels like filler--as if the band had a little section of a studio jam that they were quite proud of and so decided to edit it and include it on the album. It's okay. (4.3333/5 )

9. "Event Horizon" (7:26) an okay song over which are the usual nice displays of guitar talent. (13/15)

Total Time 59:38

After multiple listens to this album, I'm really torn. There's real talent here--and real heart--as well as a very gifted lead guitarist. But the music is a bit too conservative and the musicianship inconsistent (the band members need to keep working on their skills.) The compositional proficiency is also inconsistent as there are glimmers of absolute genius but too often the inventive ideas are either feeling "unfinished" and then the rest of the music is dull, formulaic, generic, "prog-by-numbers." But I am so impressed by those moments of genius that I will be an avid follower of this band's work in their future--a future, by the way, that I think is super bright.

B/four stars; a very nice addition to any prog lover's music collection--one that has flaws but that is also inspired with some awesome, magical highs.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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