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Nurkostam - III Of Dreamers CD (album) cover





3.08 | 16 ratings

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4 stars The third of the releases by this Finnish outfit to be made available to us reviewers, and the first full CD length release, III Of Dreamers is a 2009 release, and represents a nice leap in progress from its two predecessors.

As with the first two releases, there is so much going on here that to label the band is very difficult. Eclectic is the word which probably comes closest to describing their influences and output.

The opener, Overture (Ulrich), is a fantastic instrumental piece featuring swirling keys, a lovely bassline, and interesting guitar. Most clearly Crimsonesque, reminding me strongly of that band's Wetton era output without ever being wholly derivative. A very nice start.

The Camel Song features a lovely mellow start, with flute, and downbeat lyrics set against a lovely mellow melody. It is the prime evidence of a band who have taken a massive leap forward in terms of songwriting and delivery, and I especially love the powerful bass riffs. There is all sorts here - traces of Floyd, Crimson, early symphonic prog, in fact too much to really classify.

Ocean is a very nice ambient track featuring a dreamy guitar lick and simple percussion. Very effective track.

This mood continues with The Dreamer, which pulls off that very difficult task of telling a story without speaking a word. The orchestration, simple piano chords, bass, and effects create a peaceful atmosphere, one in which you can visualise the subject dreaming. Fantastic.

As for Almost Famous, the start reminds me strongly of much Of Anthony Phillips' acoustic output, before the vocals enter and the mellotron begins to cast its spell, whereupon the track takes on a far more ambient, almost folk prog, feel. The vocals let this down a bit, in that the male lead is a little bit too "down" to represent the uplifting feel of the track, and the band would have been better, in my opinion, by allowing the female backing vocalist (I do not know her name) to take a far stronger lead, because she has a lovely, lilting voice far more in place with the soaring music that accompanies the track.

Dike returns us to far darker territory, and the booming bass makes a triumphant return accompanied by a very strong mellotron in parts. Throughout, a whole host of instruments and effects (again, quite Floydian) make their presence known, and on first listen it is all quite overwhelming, and easy to state that it somehow "lacks direction". It is not until you hear it a few times that you really begin to appreciate what is a very good, dark, and accomplished piece of music very well performed.

There is another complete change of mood on Motherside, which hits you like a train coming at full pelt. Very heavy (again, I love the basslines) and also very psychedelic, this is not a track which you can say that you will relax to of an evening with a glass of wine, but it is certainly an interesting journey.

Things come to a supreme conclusion on the closer, Anon, which is again a very clear reprise of the band's strong early to mid Crimson influences, taken together with a satisfying feel for the symphonic. The buildup to the climax is electrifying and extremely well performed. They really have come on leaps and bounds in terms of their performance, because this is a track which has you utterly engrossed. It is the perfect close to this album, because it is, clearly, the whole of the parts of which preceded it.

In my reviews of the first two EPs, I stated that this band showed promise, and that promise is very clearly realised on this album, and I hope, and believe, that they will go from strength to strength. Others have mentioned the "poor" production on this album, but I can definitely state that listening to it in the Flac download format I have makes for pleasant, and good quality, listening.

When you look at the neo prog label the band have been assigned, some of you who associate that with the likes of Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Arena & etc (all of whom I love) might be put off. Don't be. If you like your prog eclectic, spacey, and, in parts, downright unpredictable, then you really should give this album a fair punt. Certainly, fans of Crimson, earlier Floyd, ambient prog, and music that is more than initially presents itself will enjoy this album.

Four stars for this, an excellent album which I will return to over the years to come. I have a feeling that this band will become a whole lot better known in the prog community over the next few years, and I wish them well. I would also acknowledge my gratitude to them for making their music available to me to review.

lazland | 4/5 |


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