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Storm at Sunrise - Garden Of Forgotten Ideals CD (album) cover


Storm at Sunrise


Heavy Prog

3.97 | 10 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Storm at Sunrise showed sheer, full power in their debut album "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals"! And don't be afraid that band's leader - Dave Gryder - started career as drummer/vocalist in trash metal bands like Heaven's Force & Rotting Corpse. It was long time ago and he didn't waste these years, but he learned how to handle keyboard instruments and even recorded one solo album (under moniker "Covenant") full of '70s inspired instrumental symphonic prog. We can't also forget about guitarist Ernie Myers who started career path in the late seventies in art rock band "Hands" (where he came back after Storm at Sunrise was disbanded by the way).

However this album (and the 2nd one as well) isn't similar to anything Gryder recorded in the past. Compared with "Covenant" music is less complicated, more lively, enthusiastic & ..."groovy". We can still listen to a wide range of vintage keyboards, but this time they are played more in heavy prog/hard rock fashion with only few symphonic tendencies (mostly presented by occasional mellotron out-bursts) and in general Hammond B3 keeps dominant role throughout the album. Compared with Gryder's past in Christian (?!) trash metal group "Heaven's Force", his voice sounds better...but still can be too "controversial" for lovers of more sophisticated kind of prog. In fact his voice seems to be more suitable for stoner rock band, ...but who cares?! You'll find enough organ/guitar mean riffs, endless soloing and interplays that would make happy any prog & hard rock freak!

Let's check the songs one by one:

1. "Intro" - record starts very unusual with very soft mellotron waves which imitate flute sounds, simple acoustic guitar licks and background birds' voices. Welcome in the Garden Of Forgotten Ideals!

2. "Jaded" - Boom! Real beginning of the album. Myers and Gryder hit us in the head with powerful guitar/organ interplays. After a while vocals come in and...we have to start become accustom to Dave's voice which is - as I previously said - a bit "controversial", very harsh, sometimes out-of-key and bar-like, but after a while you will really like it, besides it doesn't sound completely out of place here. Anyway song is a fast-rocker with thunderous organ & guitar soloing. I also love when before 5th minute keyboard player changes the mood by atmospheric mellotron waves on which based are tasteful electric guitar solos.

3. "Ageless" - another fast rocker with restless Hammond and guitar attacks. I really like this short moment in the middle where music suddenly stops and after a second massive organ solo fade-in from the background. Near the end of the track we can also admire - for the first time on this album - Dave's Moog synthesizer's skills. His solo is really great, and doesn't let us forget that it's something more than only 70' oriented hard rock band, that Storm at Sunrise member have real ambitions towards progressive rock territory. Good old pal Rick Wakeman would be proud of this Moog solo spot I suppose.

4. "Moonrock" - song begin with cathedral-like organ waves, but after half a minute guys kick in again with mean hard rock tune. Unfortunately we can already realize the biggest problem of "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals", songs are too similar to each other. Seems to be created on the same pattern: fast tempo, loud organ chops, supportive electric guitar & bass rhythms followed by extended organ/guitar interplays. But man, they do it really good! You can feel spirit of golden era of prog and hard rock in their compositions. And the most important: most of the tracks hide some surprises and unexpected signature changes, which don't let us become bored at all. For example I love middle part of "Moonrock" with jazzy percussion and beautiful Fender Rhodes piano. Sounds like taken straight from "Riders on Storm"! Also closing Hammond solos are breathtaking. The only complaint is the bassist who plays the same line over and over again during Dave's aforementioned show-off in the second part of the song.

5. "Heavy Rock Revival" - another mid/fast tempo rock'n'roll with - something I started to call - calm screaming (a bit like vocalist try to scream in high register...but he's completely incapable of...). Style of the song is similar to the previous ones. It sounds like Jon Lord or Ken Hensley would become a member of Texas hard rock/southern rock band, but in the same time decided that he will be the leader and throw-in many elements of more ambitious music. I like it...but why bassist has to play the same line all over again 90% of time is beyond me...

6. "No Good For One" - this one is a bit different. It's more mid-tempo track with interesting, "broken" rhythms. I really like when in middle part of the song Gryder starts to play clavinet which fanatically support his organ excesses.

7. "Hellspawn" - this song is another fast rocker which wants to crash your skull with mean Hammond chops and killing guitar riffs. However the most enjoyable is last minute of "Hellspawn", when Dave & Co create truly horror-like atmosphere with Gothic organ, sparkling acoustic piano and - the most important - loud mellotron waves which can bring real shivers.

8. "Top Heavy" - the shortest & simplest song. Typical hard rock in the vain of Deep Purple Mark II. But Dave Gryder isn't Ian Gillan... Song finishes with short moaning of some woman...

9. "Morning Sun" - one of the longest songs in this album brings another portion of dirty organ chops, gritty electric guitar squeaks & furious drum beats. I like very much second part of the song with more atmospheric Hammond soloing with nice piano in the background. A bit Procol Harum alike.

10. "Pussy Cat" - another decent rock'n'roll piece with thundering drums. Organ/guitar interludes will blast your brain for sure.

11. "I Just Want to Celebrate" - my favorite song of this band! In fact I wasn't so surprised when I later found out...that's old '70 song originally performed by American psych/soul band "Rare Earth". It only support my theory that guys from Storm at Sunrise are much better musicians than song writers. Anyway "I Just Want to Celebrate" has ultimately catchy rhythm & melody (bouncy?), and if you didn't tap your foot along with the music so far, you'll surely do it now. Even Dave's voice seems to be the best here and bass player shows that he can provide truly suitable lines.

12. "From Cradle to Grave" - and here comes "the epic" of the album. Only 8:34 minutes but it's truly the Magnum Opus of "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals". It starts as a typical (proggy) hard/stoner rock, but from 4th minutes real fan begin! At first mad organ solo, next comes Led Zeppelin influenced guitar solo followed by my favorite fragment: great melodic mellotron waves which can easily remind early King Crimson staff. After that short, chaotic drum solo and another electric guitar attack. Bu it's not the end 'cos Dave prepared "cosmic" Moog synthesizer solo which is followed by another mellotron entrance. Whole album finishes with beautiful waves of this fantastic instrument.

To sum of everything: Storm at Sunrise on their debut album provides us satisfactory amount of non-stopping gritty Hammond organ blasting (absolutely every song on this record include organ solo!), electric guitar riffing and decent drum work. It's a true gem for all fans of '70 hard rock & heavy prog (Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Birth Control, Led Zeppelin, Atomic Rooster, Black Sabbath, Bloodrock, Frumpy), and young stoner metal lovers will also find something to enjoy here.

If you like this music, you should also check 2nd album of this formation - "The Suffering" - which include "more of the same". Another must have for you is band called "Blood of The Sun" which features the same organist (but he doesn't sing and play drums there). Other new bands with similar retro heavy-prog style: BigElf, Wicked Minds, Black Bonzo, Cosmic Nomads, Standarte, The Divine Baze Orchestra, The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, Darediablo, Spiritual Beggars, Hammers of Misfortune, Archangel, Mikromidas, Siena Root and many others.

For me easily 4,5 stars, 'cos I really enjoyed this album.

ozzy_tom | 4/5 |


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