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Advent - 2015 - "Silent Sentinel"

(77:20; Advent)


*****!

It is safe to say, that for one reason or another Advent havenít been the most productive of bands when it comes to releasing albums, and this 2015 was only the third over eighteen years, and it is still their most recent. I first came across them at the time of their second album, ĎCantus Firmusí in 2006, and I was suitably impressed by their very English sound, mixing Gentle Giant with mid-Seventies Genesis. The core band has expanded between the two albums, growing from four to six (and misplacing their drummer along the way), but Henry Ptak (keyboards, mandolin, percussion, lead vocals, backing vocals), Alan Benjamin (guitars, bass, violin, mandolin, recorder, glockenspiel, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals) and Mark Ptak (keyboards, percussion, lead vocals, backing vocals) are still there, and they have been joined by Greg Katona (guitars, percussion), Joe D'Andrea (drums, percussion, lead vocals, backing vocals) and Brian Mooney (fretted and fretless basses) along with various guests. They have lost some of the Genesis influences this time around, instead moving more overtly to Hackett and with some very strong strides indeed towards Camel. Indeed, one can imagine ďOn the Wings of an Ant (Verse 1)Ē coming from that bandís canon, with sublime melodic vocals, delicate keyboards and guitars and delightful fretless bass. This does not sound like an album which has been released in 2015, nor any time in the previous forty years, and definitely not from a band formed in New Jersey! Pastoral, incredibly English and complex, if one said this was a lost album from the Seventies the only snorts of derision would be from those who would rightfully say that an album as fine as this could not possibly have been misplaced for that number of years. As it is, I am somewhat surprised that I have not heard more about this album, as it is one of the finest I have come across for a very long time indeed. This contains pretty much everything I want from a progressive rock album, and it has been getting some extended repeat plays. When I next sort out my albums and remove everything I have reviewed, this is going to be added straight back on out of choice as I know I am going to keep coming back to this time and again. Complex, complicated, yet so very easy to listen to indeed. It is full of layers which makes one think of Yes, and particularly Gentle Giant (as well as the use of multiple instruments), quirky time signatures and harmony vocals abounding, this is actually an incredibly easy album to listen to and one which makes me smile. Letís just hope it isnít quite so long until the next one, as this is a delight from beginning to end. The prog world needs to discover Advent.

Progtector: August 2019


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