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Marc Carlton - For Truth CD (album) cover


Marc Carlton


Crossover Prog

4.63 | 6 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars As other reviewers have mentioned, this is an album of many layers and much to demand of the listener. Although at first glance the set of sounds present makes it superficially similar to the previous couple of albums, in terms of density 'For Truth' is a very different beast, sharing more with Carlton's early work. There is so much going on in this album that it's taken me a long time to fully feel at ease with it. Despite this, the investment is well worth it- with moments here standing among Carlton's finest and most mature.

The title track introduces the album slowly, synths gradually building a reflective atmosphere which the lead guitar decisively cuts through at 3:40 and by the 5 minute mark has an energetic and fresh sound which reminds me somehow of the first track on 'Reflex Arc'. Guitar dances deftly around piano on this track in a scene-setting or laying out of principles for the album to come. At 9:25 particularly, a burst of distorted guitar adds passion and drive to the previously cerebral piano, which could showcase the relevance and intertwining of Carlton's liner note philosophy snippets into everyday life.

'One Possible Dream', a feat of primarily acoustic genius at nearly 12 minutes, starts at pace and sounds quite busy with close layers of different guitars. Rising and falling, in full flow and then suddenly hesitant, this is an exquisitely crafted piece that effortlessly sweeps you along in its story throughout. There's lots here that is reminiscent of Carlton's earlier album 'An Ageless Sense' and a favourite moment for me are the high notes in the first half of the seventh minute - the epitome of bittersweet.

In contrast, the opening strings of 'Ghosts Where Once We Hid' lie thick and heavy on the soul before the atmosphere brightens to make room for sparse guitar to tell its story from 2:15. Another exercise in bittersweet reflection, but one that seems to somehow resolve itself after 5:20, with the remainder of the track very different. It reminds me vaguely of a child's music box being reheard and remembered fondly as an adult- a nostalgia of sorts, but not a regretful one.

'Intersection Minor' is an obvious pair to the later 'Intersection Major'- both of which successfully help to break up an album otherwise made up of lengthy tracks. Unlike the latter, here the guitar is pensive and incredibly sad, at points seeming to sink into a hopeless and ruminating despair. Continuing this theme, 'Caught in the Fourth Wall' has a fantastic Silent Hill feeling to it, atmospheric and full of odd percussive elements; it is like being frozen in the dread and horror of absurdity, feeling half in and half out of touch with the world. The tension here is broken when its grumblings of discontent and alienation are given voice, made explicit by the entrance of the lead guitar at 4:38. Quite an unusual sounding track, and a personal favourite.

The following track, 'Mindfire', is a tricky one and can seem ass-backwards at first: almost as if it starts with a conclusion; a confident guitar exhausting and replenishing itself before dealing with breakdown and murmuring doubt in the middle section, resolving itself with a burble of building guitars before bursting out and surprising you with a reiteration of its main theme. One of the hardest tracks to get my head around but one which in turn I still feel has more to reveal to me yet after two years of listening.

'Return from Fading Landscapes', a turbulent and beautiful piece, starts with a plaintive buzzing like a siren call to memory. It's a track of contrasts as sparse and weighty keyboard work is interrupted abruptly by the guitar and percussion at 3:30, warming and brightening the whole thing. Full of fragility and gravity throughout, the strings at 5:13 add intensity before a breakdown at 6:04 which leaves keyboards echoing into nothingness. The piercing re-entry of the guitar at 6:50 is a peak of poignancy leaving the rest of the track pondering and consolidating its resolution.

The warm acoustic notes of 'Intersection Major' are welcome to the ear at this point, a pastoral and folksy piece with a more traditional structure that is executed with confidence. The following 'Reason or Die' concludes the album with a flourish, the brooding momentum of its percussion and strains of electric guitar reaching a crescendo in its 6th minute before leaving dreamy, pondering synths to end the album as they began it.

A few reviewers of Carlton's previous albums have labelled them 'relaxation' music, a judgement I have always felt to be short-sighted, but I particularly defy the reader to listen to this offering and say the same thing. If you believe that then you are simply not listening. This is extremely cerebral music absolutely packed full of stuff to ponder. If you want relaxation have a cup of tea and listen to whale song or something. If, however, what you want is brain food from a skilled and dedicated solo artist, you can't go far wrong with this.

simbelmyne | 5/5 |


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