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Echolyn - Mei CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 329 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
5 stars Shines like cathedral glass...

A short disclaimer before I review this album: I have a slight affinity for lengthy tracks, which this near 50 minute beast is. The lengthy track by American symphonic prog masters Echolyn, titled Mei, is quite the beast. Made up of numerous different sections compiled into one genius track, the whole album is filled to the brim with incredible melodies, creative instrumentation, and an overall really amazing output. With a cool concept of a road trip and the interesting sightings and adventures of the driver, the track displays an overall fantastic album full of great transitions, passion, and "drive" for success.

The title track is massive, to say the least. Nearly 50 minutes long, it's hard to review the whole song in one sitting. The whole suite is filled to the brim with meticulously thought out movements and sections, with notes generously crafted into a sweeping mastery of music. It opens slowly with a beautiful melodic symphonic piece, with spectacular melodies crafted perfectly to fit the mood of the music. A tender vocal section greets the ears of the listener as a pseudo-overture of the vocal theme of the music. The song transitions effortlessly from gentle themes to rocking modern symphonic masterpieces. With the employment of a near orchestra, the band has constructed a great sound with sweeping string section and humble wind parts all melding perfectly with the main band. The band showcases a beautiful sense of fluidity to the music, with sweeping sections of grandeur contrasted sharply by almost angry sections with driving rhythms and a jazz tinged fury to them. All throughout the track the feel changes from whimsical to mellow to joyous to feral and all over again, throwing in diversity all throughout the song. Fusing accessible melodies with massive prog rock tendencies, the band is able to craft a fantastic prog masterpiece, and one of the better non-"classic" (Yes, Genesis, etc) symphonic albums I've heard.

ALBUM OVERALL: Echolyn's Mei is certainly a modern masterpiece. Although I may be a bit biased due to the fact that the song is a bit lengthy, there is no denying that the song is filled with countless goodies and compositional masteries to make it absolutely sublime. As well as fusing some of the best features of progressive rock, the band throws in accessible and rocking melodies, jazzy twinges, and some really great orchestration with the orchestral instrumentalists they brought in. Overall, the song displays an overwhelming amount of precision and creativity, orchestration and compositional genius, and an overall fantastic display of fantastic modern prog. 5 stars.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |


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