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Unified Past

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Review originally posted at

This is the last album of this US duo Unified Past, which has been released this year (2011). Here we will find a cool mixture of symphonic prog, heavy prog and even some rock- pop moments distributed in eleven compositions that together make a total time of 62 minutes. This is actually my first experience with this band, so I cannot really give you a background, however, I will surely look to their past and listen to their first footsteps.

It opens with "I'm Not Answering", after an introductory first minute, the vocals appear along with what would be the musical structure. I like the guitar sound here, especially the riff that we can hear just before the fourth minute. The music is a mixture of heavy prog with symphonic elements, excellent for us, the fans of the genre. "Mr. Extravagant" starts with a bombastic keyboard sound which sadly only lasts for a few seconds, it opens the gates to the song's main rhythm which is mid-tempo with a kind of 80s prog feeling. This is not a bad song, but not my favorite at all.

"Insulated" has a constant keyboard background which after some seconds will become addictive. It is complemented by nice bass lines, cool drums, great guitar riffs and average vocals. Here I honestly enjoy more the instrumental passages in which we can truly appreciate their quality as musicians, and their compositional skills. "Crushed" is a softer track, I would say a bit experimental and different from the previous ones. In moments I cannot help but remembering Rush in their 80s phase. This song has also a couple of nice guitar solos.

"Exploratory Observations" starts with percussions and little by little the other elements are joining, first vocals, then keyboards, bass, guitars and drums. It has a catchy sound and we can even listen to some claps here. I would not really call this particular song as a progressive rock one, nonetheless it is worth listening. "Painful Observations" has a nice rhythmical base, I like its start and how it suddenly slows down and acoustic guitar stays. When vocals appear we can once again feel a kind of rock-pop feeling, a catchy tone that one can use to sing. I like the bass a lot, though the song is not their best, in my opinion, actually, this two-observations-song is a weak moment in the album.

"The Move" is a wonderful track, with some birds sound as background while a nice acoustic guitar plays. Later a slide guitar appears and gives a special flavor to the sound. After a minute it stops for a couple of seconds and then becomes more aggressive with heavier guitars and vocals, the feeling is a bit tense and angry. However, later it returns and finishes with the same soft and gently sound as it began.

"Mesmerized" is another interesting track with an excellent structure. I like its beginning, the first moments where an atmospheric sound announces that a change will come, and it comes. Later the music takes a different direction, creating nice textures and colors until it reaches a climax, which is when the guitar solo appears. The last minute sounds more intense. Great!

With "Faithless" we are reaching the final and probably strongest part of the album. This is the longest track, and the first of the last trio. Its sound is softer, with delicate vocals, percussions and calm guitars that together create a tranquilizing moment. What I like here is the intercalation of instrumental moments with the ones with vocals, the band wants to explode both and make the listeners notice their quality, and I do notice it, though I cannot hide my preference for the instrumental ones. There is a part where the guitar solo appears and works together with that exquisite percussion sound. This is one of their finest moments.

"Remember When" is another long song, and it also has a soft sound in the first moments, however it will change after a few seconds when the guitar appears and creates a constant and long solo that works as both, fore and background, it leads and complements the music at the same time, which is great, a difficult work. The song maintains completely instrumental for the first three minutes, then vocals appear with an emotional tone. The music is pretty interesting, I like the keyboards here, and later the awaited guitar solo. Here the music transmits several things, and that is invaluable.

The album closes with "Here They Come", a cool track with a keyboard feast at least for the first minute. Later bass, drums and guitars appear creating an eclectic and challenging sound. This is an instrumental track, and a wonderful choice to finish the album.

So Unified Past new album is a good one, with some highs and lows, but with a nice potential especially in their last three tracks, which were my favorites, besides the opener. However I would honestly omit a couple of songs which did not really let me happy, anyway, I like the album as a whole and it is worth listening.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#512132)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US band UNIFIED PAST has been around in one form or another since the early 1990's. At first known as Labyrinth, but in 1999 they changed to their current moniker. "Observations" is their third full length production using this handle, and their first issued by the US indie label Melodic Revolution Records.

"Observations" comes across as a CD where the old cliche "an album of two halves" is an apt description. If you love melodic rock and accessible progressive rock and don't share this writer's sensitivities concerning vocal performance you should find it to be an enjoyable one, but if you tend to take notice of minor details in the vocals department you'd might want to check out the latter four tracks first to see whether or not they are enticing enough to warrant purchasing this disc.

Report this review (#628357)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2012 | Review Permalink

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