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Sunchild - Messages From Afar - The Division And Illusion Of Time CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.89 | 132 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist Antony Kalugin is currently offering his `Messages from Afar' musical saga, a trilogy of predominantly retro-flavoured symphonic prog works, the first being released by his Karfagen project last year in 2017 with the sub-title `First Contact'. The second part has arrived in 2018, `The Division and Illusion of Time' but instead this time it's appearing under the Sunchild banner, a side-project name where more song-based material Mr Kalugin composes ends up, so while his charmingly accented vocals and harmony singers are front-and-centre this time around, there's still plenty of luxurious instrumental backings behind them, even if the tunes themselves remain more of a priority here.

Opener rocker `Searching Diamonds' has an AOR guitar-driven punch to it, and the buoyant energy throughout moments of it wouldn't have sounded out of place on any of the recent Glass Hammer discs. `Grail And Time' holds a poppier soothing chorus but also works in a tasty Electric Light Orchestra-like break in the middle. The psychedelically mellow `60 Degrees To The 70s' holds enough quirky electronics, comical vocals and reflective lyrics that it could almost be a Flower Kings outtake, and `Mystery Train' is a lovely all-instrumental interlude with glorious David Gilmour-esque guitar soloing. `Dreams From A Lonely Town' is a brief shimmering reprise of `First Contact' from the first `Messages from Afar' disc, and the title track `The Division And Illusion Of Time' is a crisp atmospheric Neo Prog-sounding rocker with touches of Pendragon and I.Q.

It wouldn't be a prog-related album without a lengthy epic, and the twenty minute `Victory Voyager' doesn't disappoint. With heroic guitar themes, triumphant fanfares and soaring female backing vocalists that embrace the same soulful quality of `Dark Side of the Moon', some rollicking passages remind of those sprightly sprints that popped up on the classic P.F.M albums, and Antony is definitely channelling Roger Waters circa `The Wall' through `The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking' with his half-spoken/half-sung vocal approach!

Finally, despite the album being constantly vocal based, Camel fans will weep for joy with the near-eleven minute all- instrumental closer `Father' that also channels Pink Floyd and Mostly Autumn, and it incorporates delicately tender piano and fanciful violin around the most heartfelt of Andy Latimer-like electric guitar soloing, making for a stunning way to close the disc.

Some prog listeners will wish there were more purely instrumental passages to break things up a little more, but it definitely means that this Sunchild chapter of Antony's trilogy stands out with its own identity and character. With dignified tunes, vibrant instrumentation, surreal and uplifting lyrics and no shortage of variety, `The Division and Illusion of Time' proves to be another classy and dynamic release from Antony Kalugin, a prolific artist who is constantly proving himself to be one of the pre-eminent masters of modern symphonic-progressive music of consistently excellent quality.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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