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(58:00, Imperiad Entertainment)
TRACK LIST: 1. (Living in) Sacred Time 5:38 2. Only Reason 5:20 3. Interlude I: The Last Case of Dr. Lacy 1:39 4. Now Silence! 4:53 5. Inmortuorum Memorias 5:07 6. Interlude II: The Dead Buried in the Air 1:28 7. Occulted 3:40 8. Exorcised 1:53 9. To Sin Against Our Mercies 6:21 10. Hard Drift 4:09 11. Interlude III: Nova Regna 1:57 12. The Middle Sea at Rest 5:47 13. Starlost 10:08 LINEUP Tony Gaglio - guitars, bass With: Holland Andrews - vocals Rich Ray - vocals Tobin Sprout - guitars Pete Trewavas - guitars Vinny Appice - drums David Coniglio - drums Craig Bidondo - piano, Hammond organ, synths Mirabai Peart - violin, viola Anna Fritz - cello John C. Savage - flute Chelsea Barnes - voice, vocals
Prolusion. US venture PROJECT NIGHTSCAPE is the creative vehicle of author David W. Edwards and musician Tony Gaglio, where the goal has been to give musical life to the universe Edwards explores in his Nightscape series of novels. "To Sin Against Our Mercies" is the first album release this collaboration has spawned, and was released through Imperiad Entertainment in late 2016, an imprint owned by Edwards unless I'm much mistaken.
Analysis. This album is described as a progressive hard rock album, and due to that was sent to quite a few places dealing with productions aimed at the progressive rock audience. Which is understandable, and the presence of Pete Trewavas on the list of contributing musicians will also make this a logical way to go about promoting this album. We are quite a bit late to the party as far as this album is concerned of course, not due to ill will or anything of that nature, but due to the combined efforts of fate and chance having made life a tad challenging for the progressor website in general and this writer in particular for a good few years now. Not that this is important as such, but merely mentioning it, as I'm sure the enthusiastic people behind this venture will wonder. And on that note, enthusiasm is perhaps the key word I'd sue to describe this album. It is obvious that this product is the result of passion, love and enthusiasm for the subject explored. I understand the album is a conceptual one, the author has penned all the lyrics, and as far as I can tell all the contributing vocalists and musicians deliver passionately in their respective roles. But, to continue from the opening paragraph, I do not regard this as a progressive rock album as such. 70's and 80's hard rock and melodic heavy metal is the core foundation of thisa album, ranging from some creations that has more than a wee bit of Deep Purple about them, to more energetic efforts that kind of reminds me of a possible amalgam of classic era Chastain and Virgin Steele. Good riffs, good energy, and at times a real pleasure ride for those who tend to enjoy material from the mid 80's in particular. The occasional interludes, some wee alterations to pace, intensity and atmosphere and some token inserts adds a progressive rock sheen to the proceedings, as does the use of strings and symphonic backdrops here and there, but these elements are more flavoring than the key and core traits as far as I'm concerned. Concluding epic Starlost is probably the closest we get to purebred progressive rock here, the project venturing closer to the Ayreon's of this world on this specific cut. As a standalone product this album isn't quite at the quality level of the big league players though, be it in a progressive rock or a hard rock and metal context. Some of the songs have a closed in vibe to them in the mix, some of the performances are more enthusiastic than highly skilled and controlled, and rough edges does appear here and there. A bit too much enthusiasm and passion at times, overpowering the control of the delivery. Which doesn't make this a bad album of course, but it will limit the overall appeal somewhat.
Conclusion. I presume the key audience for this album are fans of the Nightscape series of books, that here will get to experience this universe in a different guise. Especially those who read those books that have a passion for hard rock and metal will, obviously, get a lot out of this album. Otherwise, I'd hazard a guess that fans of supernatural and horror fiction in general that also has a taste for music that, broadly speaking, cover the range from mid 70's hard rock to mid 80's traditional metal will be the most obvious audience that might be swayed by the charms of this CD.
Progmessor: December 28th, 2018
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