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The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional CD (album) cover


The Dear Hunter

Crossover Prog

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5 stars I have been a relative new comer to the world created by Mr Crescenzo, having only started listing with any regularity to his albums since Act iv. However that album was quite a revelation to me and thus when I realised that the next act was out I immediately downloaded it and invested time in coming to know the previous albums as well. The striking thing about acts vi and v is the creative imagination they present and the variety of styles. Within its 73 minutes Hymn stretches from rock, prog to blues (and even big band!) - Casey shows his capability in all those areas. The production and musicianship are also top class.

Some highlight tracks would be Cascade, the Revival and A Beginning (one the best album endings in years!). Mr Usher also stands out from the (rat) pack being a slightly lighter track with a great big band sound, yes really, it also has some excellent vocal arrangements.

I have not been disappointed with Hymns with the Devil and over the last few months it has become my favorite album from Casey, furthermore it is currently my choice album of the year.

Report this review (#1651044)
Posted Friday, December 2, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now here is a collection of mature, very well constructed, clean, relatively true sounding Neo Prog songs that I can get behind. Great vocal arrangements and very rich song constructions. A class act that has always been solid but seems to keep getting better. The QUEEN-like theatric nature of the music produced here in support of another whole-album concept is truly eclectic. These guys should be staging Broadway productions of their albums!

1. Regress (1:22) (8.5/10) 2. The Moon / Awake (6:09) (8.5/10) 3. Cascade (5:11) (7.5/10) 4. The Most Cursed of Hands / Who Am I (6:42) a two-part song (why not two separate songs?) (9/10) 5. The Revival (5:00) (6.5/10) 6. Melpomene (4:14) (8.5/10) 7. Mr. Usher (On His Way to Town) (4:59) (8/10) 8. The Haves Have Naught (4:12) (8.5/10) 9. Light (4:02) (8/10) 10. Gloria (5:16) (8/10) 11. The Flame (Is Gone) (5:40) my favorite song on the album (8.5/10) 12. The Fire (Remains) (5:26) (8.5/10) 13. The March (4:12) (8.5/10) 14. Blood (4:33) (9/10) 15. A Beginning (6:19) a gentle, emotional song that just might be the best on the album. Great keyboard, orchestral and vocal arrangements. (9/10)

It is unfortunate that the great multi-voiced vocal arrangements that opened the album weren't sustained for Casey's voice can get a little monotonous (despite his efforts at theatrical renderings). The variety of musical stylings and instruments incorporated to produce the Dear Hunter sound is astonishing and commendable. There is still room for improvement, though.

A four star album; a very good album that most prog rock music lovers will probably enjoy.

Report this review (#1670744)
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars 24th February, 2021: The Dear Hunter - Act V: Hymns With the Devil in Confessional (progressive indie rock, 2016)

This has really grown on me in the last 18 months after initially not making much of an impression, to the point where today I raise it to the illustrious 9 category, and declare it my favourite Dear Hunter record. The biggest hurdle you have to overcome here is that it's overlong - which it is - but once you get used to its length and the fact that it stays reasonably true to the borders of Casey's prior work, the songcraft begins to shine through. This has his best arrangements, with the orchestra used brilliantly in both bombastic and minimal ways, and doesn't ever feel like a tacked on gimmick. The songwriting here is more subdued and it's true that there are no genuine standout tracks, but every single one has at least two or three brilliant musical ideas, and that's coupled with his genius at reprises and recurring themes. The fact that the two weakest songs here - "Mr Usher" and "The Haves Have Naught" - are also arguably the biggest discussion points in terms of genre, shows that there really aren't that many flaws here compositionally.

Having come into this album being a fan for a long time meant that I didn't fully see its musical genius because stylistically it's fairly safe, but this has Casey's best choruses, best performances, best arrangements, best reprises, and is such a good conclusion to the saga that I honestly don't think I need an Act VI.

9.2 (12th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog -

Report this review (#2431411)
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Woah Nelly! Talk about a bear of an album! Yep, this one's definitely going into the record books.

It's safe to say this album is close to being completely perfect from beginning to end. While the first tracks didn't really surprise me that much despite being good, everything that came after was absolutely brilliant. Seriously, wow.

This is currently the latest The Dear Hunter album, Act V: Hymns With The Devil In Confessional. This album is the fifth installment of the Dear Hunter story, happening around ~20 years after Act IV: Rebirth In Reprise. Casey is musically-speaking much more mature than when he started, and it really shows. There's a phenomenal balance between ballads, alt-rock, orchestration, progressive metal, progressive rock, rock-theater, all this combined with reprises from previous acts, it truly feels like the endgame of this album-series, and it's quite surprising to know that there's still one more act in queue.

As I said before, the first three tracks didn't surprise me much, which scared me because I thought the rest of the album was going to be like that. It wasn't. The Most Cursed Of Hands provides that sweet Theatrical vibe I so love, while being balanced yet dynamic at the same time. The transition towards the next track is amazing. The Revival has Casey singing with a very sarcastic tone, his vocals are phenomenal! After those two heavy-hitters, Melpomene works as a beautiful and nice ballad.

Mr. Usher is a very funky and jazz-inspired track, with a comical vibe, reminiscent of The Pimp And The Priest. After the very serious Melpomene, it only makes sense to add some spicy-ness to the album. The Haves And The Naught is a slightly heavier ballad that flows incredibly well towards the next track, Light, which is one big moody build-up for Gloria, one of their most popular songs and a true standout.

But wait, there's more!

The Flame (Is Gone) & The Fire (Remains) work as one track, I personally prefer the bombast of the first part, but the calm vibe of the second part is very necessary for the album as a break. The March is very epic, featuring stomping drums and dramatic vocals on a megaphone, I love this track. Blood is one of my favorite tracks in their discography, from the reprises of The Old Haunt, to the dramatic and climactic lyrics, to the epic orchestral ending. A true masterwork. New Beginning is very moody and ends with a reprise of City Escape.

I love almost every track in this album, it's crazy. Their best to date in my opinion, and also their most mature. One of the best progressive metal albums of this Millenium without a doubt, and a true statement to the progressive rock/metal scene. Five Stars for sure!

P.D. To top it off, this album also got the best album cover of their discography, I mean look at that! It's so pretty (*⁰▿⁰*)

Report this review (#2735417)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2022 | Review Permalink

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