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Xanadu - The Last Sunrise CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.73 | 56 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "The Last Sunrise" took me by surprise. In fact, I had never heard of Xanadu till I saw "kev rowland's" review a week or two ago. However, what caught my eye was the fact that they are similar to Riverside. Riverside, being my favorite band, is quite unique in many ways, and it is difficult to find anything else that will satisfy my Riverside craving. That is, until now.

Xanadu's "The Last Sunrise" is very much influenced by Riverside. Or, perhaps, both of these bands are influenced by a different source---I cannot be sure. The melancholy, breathy vocals are quite like Maruisz Duda's; and the high-tuned, ambient guitar work often sounds like it is right off of "Second Life Syndrome". The overall sound is quite eerie and moody with an emphasis on strange beats and time signatures. This is not unlike Riverside, but I must assert that the drums on this album are superior to any that Riverside has produced (I consider the drums to be Riverside's greatest weakness). With all of this, they do resemble Riverside---we have to be honest here. In fact, my wife thought that I was listening to Riverside. Honestly, though, this is more of a strength than a weakness. What Xanadu loses in originality---they gain in sheer excellence.

Yet, I do not want to take anything away from these musicians. They may resemble Riverside, but they are in no way a carbon copy. There is plenty of song-writing originality here, and the musicianship itself is on par with, if not better than, Riverside. The dark theme that is employed helps you feel the restlessness, the longing, and the anguish that the songs present: There is still some pure prog rock at the heart of the music, however. This band certainly deserves some head-banging and profound thought---both at the same time.

Track List:

1. "Piece of Mind": This track is a great opening song with some good vocal harmonization and some great riffing as well. The guttural vocals at the end really evoke a mood for the rest of the album. 8/10.

2. "Dark Shadows": This track is really well done. It is dark and brooding, and the instrumental portion in the last half is something I look forward to when I start the album. 10/10.

3. "Miles Away": Again, some awesome vocal harmony that really puts the singer into the music. The longing and raw emotion here are quite stunning. 9/10.

4. "Violent Dream": With a title like this, this band is asking to be compared to Riverside's "Reality Dream". This track is instrumental only, and it is very psychedelic and brooding. I find that the drumming is especially good here, as there are some really strange time signatures therein. 9/10.

5. "One Moment": This track is another favorite of mine on this album. There is plenty of pure prog rock here, and the breathy vocals in the beginning really hit my soft spot. The faster tempo near the end really gets my adrenaline rushing, as well. 10/10.

6. "Vicious Circle": This track has some great, heavy riffing and some strange lyrical content. I feel that this may be the weakest track, although the standard is pretty high. 7/10.

7. "The Last Sunrise": Normally, the title track of an album is one of my favorites, but I have to say that this song is second to last. I feel that it is a bit too repetitive for the majority of its 10+ minutes, but I feel that the last 3 minutes redeem it somewhat----these few minutes end the album on a high note. 8/10.

All in all, this is an album that I have not been able to resist. Sure, it does resemble Riverside, but Xanadu takes this influence and makes it all their own style---the similarities should definitely not be dwelt upon at all. If the final two tracks would have been as strong as the rest of the album, I am afraid that my itchy trigger finger would have given this album the 5 star treatment. As it is, though, I expect great things from this band, and I look forward to their next release eagerly.

Second Life Syndrome | 4/5 |


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