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Tom Slatter - Demon CD (album) cover


Tom Slatter


Crossover Prog

4.00 | 6 ratings

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4 stars Tom Slatter is a Crossover Prog artist from London, England who also has a love of steampunk, and his albums have been loved by both proggers and steampunkers alike. He went solo in 2009 after having been involved with several bands previous to this, and as a solo artist, he has released 7 full length albums since, including 'Demon' which was released in July of 2019. Tom plays all of the instruments on this 9 track album that has a run time of over 51 minutes.

Beginning with 'Wizards of This Town' (5:26), the track has a hesitant feel to it and, as usual with his music, some very interesting lyrics that tell dark but somewhat humorous lyrics. The music is not heavy, but it is well orchestrated with some nice mellow guitar and synth washes while his vocals set the stage for his style of storytelling. 'Modern World' (9:06) has a more mysterious sound, but is more upbeat than the previous track. The vocals have a level of imperfection to them that really works well for his strange style that make that steampunk attitude believable. The music (especially in the vocals) is quite melodious, and even though there are several types of instruments here, mostly traditional rock instruments, it still retains a basic folk feeling to it all. This track is also a bit more progressive with the use of various themes working among the meter, tempo and style changes. At five minutes, we move into an interesting section that consists of strange ambient noises which continues past the 7 minute mark before the full instrumentation and vocals come back.

'Weather Balloons and Falling Stars' (6:16) features heavier guitar riffs before the vocals come in, and the reliance on a heavier sound continues, but allowing the vocals to stand out above everything. The track moves to a softer side about halfway through and then remains more thoughtful until the end. 'West Wind' (5:42) has a slight symphonic feel to it created by synth backup and nice melodic guitar lines. The vocal melody is more traditional sounding and follows a stricter pattern, and it is one that remains with you right off the first listen. Mysterious sounding keys bring a new element in the middle of the track, but it returns to a more flowing texture when the main theme returns. Very nice track. 'Patterns of Light' (3:22) is a slow and pensive track mostly reliant on acoustic guitar and soft notes from the keys, and some lovely vocal harmonies in the chorus. The sound moves back to a folk style on this track, sweet and simple.

'Cutting Up All of Our Dreams' (4:57) is 'a cappella' singing with Tom's solo voice backed up by choir like singing. The harmonies are a bit off kilter, but this all adds to the charm of the slight oddness to all of the tracks here and gives the music a certain 'Gentle Giant' atmosphere. 'Drop Dead's Punching Above His Weight Again' (5:51) brings light instrumentation back in to support the storytelling lyrics in this track, and after awhile, rhythm and guitars come in. Again, the synths add a slight symphonic feel to this track as ticking drums add in more tension as it goes on and vocals become more solid as the melody develops and leads into a nice guitar solo.

'Tinfoil King' (6:08) begins with a heavier and more complex sound. The meter changes back and forth between the verses and chorus. Halfway through the track, the music slows to a more moderate beat and a softer sound with a new theme. When the lyrics become repetitive, the music intensifies, and then quiets down as it ends. The last track 'Demon' (4:51) finishes off he album with a more mysterious feel that brings the steampunk attitude back to the music.

The vocals aren't the best as they sometimes have an amateurish feeling to them, but again, that actually works in the album's favor, giving a higher level of believability to the style of music being presented, and also adding to the nice Gentle Giant folk- ish flair to the music which I find enjoyable. There is a nice mix of progressive and accessibility here, the progressive part not really heavy, but enough to keep you guessing and to keep the music interesting and dynamic. I found that the overall sound and feeling to the album never really gets old or annoying, but helps carry the album to the end. It's not a perfect album, but it is still great, and I can see the music growing on the listener with repeated plays. It's hard to be critical about this album in that some of what might be considered weakness actually work to the album's benefit, so, I can easily give this 4 stars. Very interesting and unique.

TCat | 4/5 |


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