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DeeExpus - Half Way Home CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.11 | 131 ratings

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5 stars I liked Deeexpus' 'The King of Number 33' so much; I went out and lassoed their debut as well as their Live in Poland DVD, mostly due to the amazing sounds that I witnessed on that magic second album. My favorite drummer Henry Rogers plays on the DVD but not on the debut, which suits me fine,

'Greed' is malicious opener, armed with a punishing barrage of mighty drums (Leigh Crowther), flailing along to the keyboard ('Cynthia'sizer again) sway, backed by gorgeous Tony Wright vocals and a Phil Sloane lead guitar solo. The setting is metallic heavy-prog like In Absentia-era Porcupine Tree, relentlessly hacking away at the pleasure nodes. Bassist Ian Raine holds down a cavernous low-end, dexterous and powerful, a dream come true for bass fans, what a cool and simple riff can do to an arrangement, what a way to kick of a debut disc! Phew!

'Pointless Child' forges the melancholia ahead, very despondent and binary rhythms unite to form a classical prog- ballad, presenting a valorous vocal full of emotion, the bass bubbling along and the bashing drums. The piano sits way in front, almost childlike in its expression, as the song becomes more upbeat and graceful, at times even close to breezy and well-crafted English pop (say Supertramp with a wicked guitar).

If Porcupine Tree was referenced earlier, here is the undeniable proof in the pudding! A track called 'PTtee' is no coincidence and the music within involves a Kraftwerk-like drone intro on ponging synths (TEE-era) and the impetuous guitars pummeling mightily, razor- sharp and lethal, the rumbling surge devastates , only to be briefly softened by an elegant piano sortie. Crowther is no slouch on the drummies, hitting hard and often! This is another awesome track, gargantuan pillars of 'boom' batter the brain into proggy submission, showing why there has been so much recent adulation for this talented band. The seeds were set here for the sophomore release of which this is a fine (though tougher) brother. A Manfred Mann-like synth blast (Mike Henderson ) adds even higher octane fuel to the incandescent fire, slipping into a serene mid-section with e-piano (devilish decision!). The colossal guitar solo is ridiculously raucous, careening outrageously and brashly untamed, searing the chorus all the way. Phew!

'One Eight' mellows the atmosphere somewhat, an effortless piano theme and a sweepingly sweet voice dance in loving embrace , hip to hip and lip to lip. It's a slow comprehensive song, with massive orchestrations that suddenly (you guessed it) gets heavy. An extended Sloane onslaught (word games again!) leaves any potential indifference far behind, catapulting the piece forward like a laser-guided projectile. Power ending, boom! Phew!

Snippet time for 'One Day' , a Beatles White Album-like ditty , pastoral Englishness front and center, cricket and crumpets, if you please!

'Seven Nights' owns a bass riff to exhale for and some delectable Tony Wright vocals, soulful, groovy and memorable, held together by an accessible chorus, all amalgamate like a proggier Level 42. Insistant synths and drums induce hypnosis and ultimately the Formula One guitar solo nails you to the cross. Titanic track, this! Phew! To have the sheer audacity to end their premiere release with a 17 minute rambler, well'..That's ballsy! The title track 'Half Way Home' has all the ingredients necessary to vulcanize the finest pedigree of prog . The usual premeditated cheerful introduction blooms into a shimmering refrain, organ trembling mightily, guitars clanging with joy and exalted vocals. The bass and drum arsenal packs a tight punch and batter ahead mercilessly. The raging guitar swirls screech amid the leaden riffs, veering nearly into heavy-metal delirium. We are brought back to placidity with a forlorn narrative vocal effect and a gloomy musical pretense, pioneered by classic Pink Floyd, the bass taking over the controls to the heart of the home. Intensely dreamy and touching, the epic searches out many volatile sonic landscapes, blending luxuriant symphonics with stunning effect (cascades of mellotron). Then things boom-boom again, break-neck sizzle, machine gun guitar, bass and drum salvos, what a climate of swirling panacea! I have rarely witnessed such a powerful progressive rock epic. My goodness! Phew!

This is the essence of Deeexpus' talent, the ability to go from very heavy to very airy, and back, without being corny and mostly, by adhering to the structural purity of their craft. That is laudable to the hilt. Andy Ditchfield is another musical genius, I can assure you! A star is born!

5 Phews

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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