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Ezra Winston - Ancient Afternoons CD (album) cover


Ezra Winston


Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 64 ratings

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3 stars Named for a Latin American comic-book character whose sidekick had a fancy for travelling back in time, Ezra Winston (the band) seems to share that penchant for looking to the past. They are one of only a small handful of Italian bands classified as Symphonic Prog in the PA database and as other reviewers have already noted there is something of an inclination to 'Trespass' on this album. While it's not a mere doppelganger, it's not difficult to imagine Ezra Winston centring their attention on the talismanic Genesis album and they even included some 'White Mountain' fragments in the flute melody of 'Glares'.

For sure, this is an epic work and involves what seems like a retinue of thousands of musicians. The album is meticulously presented with a lavish booklet that includes all English language lyrics and explanations of the songs. The opening track 'The Painter And The King' is a fine example of telling a story through music, with brass fanfares for the painter's arrival at court and the death rattle of percussion during his execution. 'Verge Of Suicide' also manages to convey its different moods effectively although the singer's Gabriel imitation isn't, for me, a patch on the broad-chested vocals of so many of his countrymen.

'Ancient Afternoon Of An Unknown Town' is the album's magnum opus, the big cheese, the full bhuna, the big kahuna. It's an enormous, sprawling piece that concerns the further sombre myths of the Chrysavides. It begins with the lovely Baroque-inspired 'Prelude' and this clearly transmits a feeling of grandeur, but the shiny stuff quickly wears off and I'm less convinced by what's left. It's all too fragmented and it fails to really take shape. Rather than having the impression of reading an epic story, the feeling of going on a long and fitful journey spreads through me and I'm glad when I reach the end.

'Ancient Afternoons' is good without being particularly exciting; I don't condemn it to the stake but I can't exactly sing its praises either.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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