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Presto Ballet - Peace Among The Ruins CD (album) cover


Presto Ballet


Crossover Prog

3.48 | 76 ratings

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4 stars Are you so longing for the kind of music that blends heavy music and symphonic? Make it simpler - the kind of classic rock bands like Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Styx, Kansas? You got it right here! Yeah . simply said the music of Presto Ballet is like a culmination between two groups: Styx meets Kansas with a kind of Crimson-isque mellotron work. The leader Kurdt Vanderhoof was known from his work with thrash/speed metal outfit Metal Church or his Vanderhoof side project. Both, I personally never heard the music or even the name as it's not in my cup of tea. I only knew the name from my younger metal mates who are very familiar with them. Lucky that I knew Presto Ballet first instead of Metal Church because otherwise, knowing the name, I would not try the CD as I might have guessed that the music would be similar. The band (project?) is fronted by vocalist Scott Albright, a veteran of the Vanderhoof project and his powerful voice that reminds me to the singing style of Styx.

This debut album satisfies me from start to finish as all tracks were composed nicely, combining heavy riffs backed with symphonic textures and of course mellotron work. The opening track which also the album title "Peace Among The Ruins" (5:47) gives no chance for me to breathe at all. It's so bombastic in terms of energy and tempo as it surprises me with a blend of heavy sounds combining guitar, bass, pulsating Hammond sounds and dynamic drumming. The music flows in an upbeat mode with high register notes on vocal department where most of the time organ follows at the end of singing part to accentuate the song. Really an excellent opening! I like the sounds of clavinet during the tenure of rhythm section and also the musical break where the music is toned down while the mellotron sounds enter beautifully.

"The Fringes" (7:34) brings more symphonic textures into the music with heavier and melodic keyboard sounds. Scott Albright is an excellent rock vocalist where in here he sings along nicely with Hammond organ plays as rhythm section, injected with a short guitar solo and nice keyboard punch. This track is more accessible than the opening track as this one is softer. The Hammond organ solo is really cool, augmented with soft guitar riffs and keyboard sounds as background .."Changing times..".

"Seasons" (3:39) is not as impressive its predecessors but it's not a bad track at all. It reminds me to the glory days of 70s rock music. "Find The Time" (7:18) starts off in an ambient mode with a long sustain mellotron work. Vocal enters with a nice melody maintaining musical background as the opening part. The music flows nicely with the entrance of acoustic guitar rhythm which reminds me to Uriah Heep's music. It's a very nice acoustically driven composition performed in relatively mellow style with stunning guitar fills. The music is toned up at the last part with piano as transition sounds that bring the music into higher mode with higher vocal line backed with repetitive guitar work and the music fades out.

"Speed Of Time" (5:50) opens beautifully with excellent acoustic guitar work combined with keyboard. Suddenly the music turns up with chunky organ riffs. Oh .. this is it man .! The exploration of organ, keyboard that form musical riffs is really wonderful. This is one of my favorites. The choir section "aaaaa." reminds me again to Uriah Heep sound. In the middle of the track piano (Brian Cokeley) and keyboard give very nice music interlude combined with hard-edge guitar work. Really good!

"Sunshine" (4:51) and "Slave" (6:33) are good tracks too. "Bringin' It On" (6:43) concludes the album with a kind of ballad song with acoustic guitar rhythm and full of keyboard sounds. It flows in mellow style backed with mellotron sounds.

As a debut album this is a very good album and it definitely would favor those who love the American pro grog style. The album has a strong composition, varied structures and powerful songwriting. Overall performance is excellent. Kurdt Vanderhoof explains "Digital recording techniques are annoying! For rock music it's absolutely fatal when you always rely on samples, sequencers and drum machines. It destroys the live feel of the music. With PRESTO BALLET, it was our aim to return to a more 'natural' feel while keeping as melodic and musical as possible." As a matter of my ears I could even differentiate the sonic quality between this record and another digital technology record. Simply said, the analog record he made with this album is not significantly different with normal CD quality. It might be different if it is presented in the form of vinyl LP. Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild (and not among the ruins) - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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