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(80:25: Melodic Revolution Records)
I do not know why it took 9 years for Persephone’s Dream to release their sixth album, but it is interesting to see they have looked backwards as well as forwards, re-establishing themselves by going back to their roots in some ways. Guitarist and co-founder Rowen Poole (who also provides synths) may be the only person who played on the previous album but he has welcomed back onboard fellow co-founder and bassist Chris Poole (also synths) alongside singer Heidi Engel who was on ‘Pyre of Dreams’. They have been joined by Jim Puskar (drums, percussion) and Laura Martin (pianos, keyboards, synths, vocals) plus what is possibly the most interesting addition, a second guitarist in Jason English (who also provides vocals). This is the first time they have used a twin guitar line-up and definitely sees them looking back into their earlier works. This CD has been released in a digipak with a fold out booklet, and it is interesting to see a manikin on one of the panels, as that alongside the colours being used immediately made me think of ‘Opposition’ which they released back in 2001. They deliberately use vocal discord, which can be somewhat unsettling until one gets used to it – given there are harmonies placed against it, and it is something which was experimented with on the previous album I am sure it is seen as a point of difference. When she needs to Heidi is perfectly on key, and I have yet to get fed up of Heidi pleading with the producer not to delete her vocals and make her do it again during opening song “Red Light Syndrome” and being told it will not be fixed in the mix: the fact we are told it also “needs more cowbell” makes me smile. With two guitarists there is room for some rather complex interplay as the guys move into far heavier territory than in recent years and keyboards not nearly as dominant although there is some nice underlying piano. This is an album which is going to really split opinion, as there will be some who really enjoy it and others who feel it is an opportunity missed. Me, I am much more to the former than the latter, as they move far more into 90’s neo-prog with some interesting songs and approach.
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