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Chalcedony - Chapter II CD (album) cover

CHAPTER II

Chalcedony

 

Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 19 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Some weeks ago CHALCEDONY was suggested to our team as Symphonic artists, when I saw his photo looked like a blend between DAVID BOWIE, GARY NUMAN and MARYLIN MANSON, so I expected something between early Glam, Electronic and Hard Rock rather than Symphonic, but then I heard some samples and was blown out, but the impression was better after exchanging a couple e-mails, because he's a very nice young guy with great musical knowledge but most important, an artist who takes music seriously as a main element in his life.

To start let's say that following the tracks of musicians as MIKE OLDFIELD, CHALCEDONY plays all the instruments except the guitars which are in hand of the talented Chris Wilson, but this could be a problem, being that most multi-instrumentalists fall in the temptation of using the horrendous drum machines, but this guy is an awesome drummer, so the album has a great sound in all aspects . After listening the whole record my Peruvian history classes came to my memory, The Nazca culture (pre- Inca settlement) vessels are characterized for what the archeologists call in Spanish 'Horror al vac'o' (Horror of vacuum), because they cover each and every millimeter of their ceramics with drawings, well the same happens with Chapter II, CHACEDONY adds a note or at least a sound in every nanosecond of the album, so when I later found that the album concept was based in agoraphobia, it was obvious that the young musician was successful in transmitting the message even without words, something very few artists can achieve.

Chapter II is opened with the impressive Truth be Told, a powerful song that has everything a Prog listener asks for, lush keyboards, great drumming, radical changes and excellent vocals. It's hard to describe and compare with any other band because it's ever changing, but to be honest, reminds me a bit of the dark mysterious sound of GENESIS with the complexity of KING CRIMSON plus a good dose of drama, brilliant opener.

Regyne starts as a soft sentimental ballad, but around the mark of the 4:30 minutes, things start to change, the intensity of the music goes 'in crescendo' leaded by the dark and enigmatic vocals with a versatility that minds me of the way PETER GABRIEL (Only stylistically not range) plays with different voices as a dialogue of one man. Less frenetic than the previous but again as intriguing and elaborate, another high point, pay special attention to Chris dramatic guitar solo.

India is a very unusual track, the percussive intro continues all along the track, but as it advances more instruments join, structurally is very reminiscent to the closing section of Tubular Bells by MIKE OLDFIELD, only that in this case it's more explosive due to it's shorter length.

Blood from Stones starts as a straightforward Rock song, but as it advances keeps getting more and more elaborate, somehow reminds me of QUEEN, even in the vocals which for the first time have a Freddie Mercury similarity. Not the most Progressive track, but as good as the previous ones, especially for the weird flute and aggressive guitars. Special mention to the amazing percussion and choirs.

Now is the turn for my favorite song of Chapter II called The Angel, which starts a soft but incredibly dramatic intro with subtle and haunting choir, but then you can expect anything, this is the kind of dramatic music that produces me some sort of claustrophobia (Hey, that's good, the same happens with Into the Cage by GENESIS) because it's so elaborate that seems there's no escape back to reality, a wonderful song that has everything a Prog fan loves.

Pandora's Box also mazes me because the organ has a captivating Baroque feeling, but when the powerful drums are added is simply breathtaking, again no place to run, because the music falls over the audience as a thick mist that doesn't allow the listener to focus in anything else apart from the music.

Wrong Again is simply delightful, being that CHALCEDONY shows his skills as pianist and as a singer, the music is soft but dramatic and so the lyrics, of course this doesn't mean that the track lacks of power explosions, because we can find lots of this with again excellent guitar work. Just as a note, still can't define if he uses Mellotron or only real choirs, but what the heck, the effect is wonderful.

After the bizarre intro Pulse morphs into a full Prog track with Mellotron and tremendous drumming that works as a short interlude before Mechanical Wind, short epic barely above the 10 minutes where the tormented vocals create a dramatic atmosphere which explodes into a heavy section with a multi-instrumentalist showing us that is possible to play many instruments with similar skills. For the first time in Chapter II the keys remind me of TONY BANKS, even if the style is completely different.

The album is closed Final Love an 18 minutes ambitious song that words can't describe, being that the delicious dissonances, different styles, genres and atmospheres dance before us one after the other and always unexpectedly, so it's better to listen the song personally than running the effect with plain words.

After several long listening sessions (The album is almost 77 minutes long), I still continue finding surprises in Chapter II and I'm sure it will be the same for some time, being that there's a lot to be discovered. So now comes the part I hate'..The rating (A cold number doesn't express our impressions and feelings on music).

The album doesn't have a weak moment, the musicians are incredibly skilled, the music is original and imaginative, so the minimum that it can receive is 4 solid stars, but I will take the risk and go with the maximum rating, because I haven't heard something as challenging in many years.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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