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The Dear Hunter - Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading CD (album) cover


The Dear Hunter


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 274 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars This is easily a five-star album. A lot of effort, creativity, great musicianship, emotional AND very thought out. I think it's the best of the 6-album concept so far (out of the 3 that exist). The first one definitely has the stand-out 1878, the strongest contender, but this album offers so much more and never quite stops growing on you. There is a lot to discover, both in the lyrics and music.

That said, on to the separate song reviews: The Death and the Berth-opens with a promising film-score like piece of music, but then quickly becomes a surreal and beautiful violin piece. This violin foreshadows what will happen later on in the album, and it stuns you with its beauty, quickly getting you ready for this musical journey.

The Procession-a neat song, one of their heavier ones. Sounds similar to the City Escape from the first album, not better or worse. It's definitely very well thought out, however, and there are surprisingly a lot of things to find here. The lyrics are also very well written and do their purpose in the story (which I will not explain here, but look it up. It's definitely interesting).

The Lake and the River-a real gem of a song. The transition from The Procession to this one is mind-blowing and fun. This song starts with a surreal wonderland like feel...or one way I imagine it is like being inside a toy box. Weird, it must be the percussion used on this track. At around 3 minutes you are treated to some awesome stuffs, then it slows down, and at 3:40 you get a menagerie of shifting time signatures, then this beautiful 5/4 beat with sick bass. The song then slows down for a bit and repeats some of the chorus (again, strong lyrics.) The last two minutes, it goes into a somewhat depressing piano theme that is quickly interrupted by...what sounds like country/folk music and some train noises in the background. This part is extremely interesting, there's not much music out there like it, and the way it speeds up and transitions into the next track is solid gold.

The Oracles on the Delphi Express-this song is pure ballroom evil. Kinda scary. Reminds one of Genesis, specifically Willow Farm or certain segments of The Lamb. Similar lyrics too, and delivered with sweet sarcastic vocals. This song is a fun ride with an interesting bass drum pattern at 1:37 and some evil King Crimson like guitar. Then at 2:07 it gets to a fun jam. Great stuff here, and so far a lot of variety on the album.

The Church and the Dime-again, the transition between this track and the previous are flawless and not even noticeable. Might as well just be one song, this whole album. It kinda is. Either way, we arrive at what I think is the weakest track, but it is not a bad one. It just seems less inspired than other ones, but includes many interesting moments nonetheless, and is lyrically essential to the story. At no point does it drag, it's actually quite fun to jam to, but as a separate song, it's not something that would turn your attention to the band. The vocals are really passionate and the brass section does add a lot though.

The Bitter Suite 1 and 2-a surreal, ethereal opening. Pay particular attention to the chord changes. The vocals and lyrics are beautiful. When the drums come in, they lay down a solid and original beat. The cool part about this song is the transition to part 2, where it gets kinda jazzy and there's this really cool rhythm. This comes in at about 3:45. Sounds like something from the streets of New Orleans and at the same time Genesis-like.

The Bitter Suite 3-again, some more surreal sounds and vocals. The vocals can be strange, sometimes they sound a little cheesy, yet sometimes they sound heavy on the heart. When you imagine the character in the story saying this, it becomes much more powerful. And who is that drummer, he's not some crazy virtuoso like Gavin Harrison or Aaron Spears or Jojo Mayer, but his drums are heavy on the heart, and he is no doubt ridiculously talented. That persistent cymbal will eat at your soul! The beautiful music in the background will cure it though. The last minute and a half of this song is the greatest part, and solid beautiful post-rock gold, with some heavy A Perfect Circle meets Radiohead type atmosphere. That bass line also becomes more prominent and perpetual even. The stop is abrupt and beautiful.

Smiling Swine-this starts off like a Beatles track and ends up like a Queen track. But this song is so much fun and that guitar tone is great. The cuttime feel is also excellent. The chorus and lyrics are great as well, very strongly written, at about the two minute mark (the Queen sounding part).

Evicted-the feel of this song is the best part. That 5/4 groove is catchy and addictive despite being in an odd time. The snare rolls are particularly great. The lyrics and chorus are amazing, and the soft guitar throughout plays these beautiful little enlightening parts. The "If you need a little cash" part, is again, really moving. The last thirty seconds are also great, these guys have a habit at making beautiful endings.

Blood of the Rose-a very unique track with a chamber music feel. It's catchy, dark, gothic, and it is so interesting that this band can mix things up so much. The track is repetitive, but it serves its purpose and never gets tiring. It's full of these confusing yet beautiful moments with the violins and cellos. And the trumpet is great.

Red Hands-This song brings the beginning of the album back into play. It is so heartfelt and moving throughout and is a track you never tire of. The way he screams out the great lyrics towards the end is beautiful. This is a simple but enjoyable track, and one of the best on the album.

Where the Road Parts-my personal favorite track, because of the part at 2:30 onward. Amazing drumming and amazing post-rock feel with brilliant lyrics/vocals and this amazing sound overall. Listen for yourself. The opening is also amazing.

Dear Ms. Leading-back to Mars Volta type music, like the second track, but with cool violin parts. There is a sweet guitar solo here. Not really virtuoso but still tricky and difficult, and always awesome. Somewhat King Crimsonish.

Black Sandy Beaches-a track that grows on you and grows as it happens. Beautiful ending.

Vital Vessels Vindicate-surreal genesis like piano. Not a really powerful ending, but it is full of allusions to this album and the previous album, and definitely opens up the way for the next.

Riuku | 5/5 |


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