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(65:11, Delusion Squared)
TRACK LIST: 1. Devolution 7:15 2. An Ominous Way Down 7:23 3. Necessary Evil 5:24 4. Walls and Protection 4:30 5. To This Day 5:56 6. Under Control 5:15 7. Heirs of Time 5:30 8. The Promised Land 6:21 9. Original Sin 5:48 10. The Great Leap 5:30 11. Prayer 6:19 LINEUP: Emmanuel de Saint Meen - bass, keyboards, vocals Steven Francis - vocals, guitars, drums with: Emilie de Neef - flute, vocals Robert McClung - vocals
Prolusion. French band DELUSION SQUARED was formed back in 2009, and in their initial phase as a trio they released three concept albums that was met with quite a bit of positive acclaim. Following a few years of silence the band is back this year as a duo with a new album, "Anthropocene". Like their previous CDs it was self released by the band.
Analysis. What Delusion Squared create in their second phase of existence is music that is undeniably progressive rock, as opposed to the more progressive metal tendencies they had on previous albums. As such, this latest album heralds a change on more levels than merely personnel ones. It is also a fairly inviting and generally pleasant experience, and comes across as a production with a marked broad general appeal. Much of the music on this album revolves around gentle contrasts. Firm acoustic guitars and softer, delicate keyboard and synth details on one hand and darker toned but dampened guitar riffs are the key features, a lot revolve around the use of those elements. Electronic sounds, effects and rhythms flavor the soundscapes, and soft, careful lead vocals is the final ingredient to create the inviting, compelling landscapes we are presented with here. Generally melancholic to mournful in mood and atmosphere, perhaps with a wee bit of longing as a side effect of that. Be that as it may be, this is music that speaks to your heart and soul to a greater extent than your mind and your brain. As one would expect from a prog album, there are deviations from the main approach throughout. From tribal, dominant rhythms to orchestration details added in, some songs with more of a ballad style orientation while others stretch out towards more of a harder edged sound, in one case actually bordering metal in a few passages. Those not familiar with this band from past occasions should find this album to be a generally compelling experience. Those of us aware of the band's previous incarnation are left with an annoying little problem though: Just about all the songs here comes across as tailor made for their previous vocalist Lorraine Young and her rather distinct voice and vocal style. That a couple of the songs also, most likely by chance, replicates some familiar details from the band's debut album (listen to Under Control first and Copyrighted Genes next, for instance) kind of emphasize this just a little bit. That being said, I suspect it is a good thing on a number of different levels that the band opted for a change in vocalist as well as a slight shift in style rather than finding a replacement singer on this occasion. As I doubt it'll be easy to uncover a vocalist that will fit the specific music of this band as well as their first singer.
Conclusion. Fairly gentle, atmospheric laden progressive rock is what Delusion Squared provides us with on their fourth studio album "Anthropocene", a production that carries some similarities to the gentler sides of Porcupine Tree first and foremost, and otherwise crafts out it's own nice, little niche in the more atmospheric laden parts of the progressive rock universe. One to seek out by those who favor Mr. Wilson when in a gentle mood, and has a desire to encounter more music made with a similar rather than exact manner.
Progmessor: April 29th, 2018
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