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TRACK LIST: 1. Chateau Pelerin Part I 2:47 2. Burnt Corals 2:34 3. Hopeless Warrior 3:08 4. The Arrival Of The Magister 2:25 5. Shadows And Dust 5:49 6. Wistful 2:37 7. Red 6:07 8. Chateau Pelerin Part II 2:03 9. Voyage Of The Magister 8:11 10. Nahia 5:49 11. Chateau Pelerin Part III 4:02 12. Departure 4:16 LINEUP: Hod Sarid - drums Amit Shtriker - bass Eran Zilberbuch - keyboards, backing vocals Maya Johanna Menachem - vocals Ray Livnat - backing vocals Maayan Bramson - flute Tal Rubinstein - guitars
Prolusion. Israeli band STEIN is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Tal Rubinstein. Following several years of preparations and recordings, they self-released their debut album at the start of 2016.
Analysis. The band's self description is that their chosen style of music is progressive rock, and they further expand that description by adding progressive folk metal. Personally I think the first is a much better description than the latter, and will add that the music in question is mainly instrumental at that. If I should throw a comparison out straight away, then I'd say that this is a band that have incorporated many elements from the classic Camel sound into their repertoire. Elegant flute section, atmospheric laden guitar solo passages, dream-laden and mystical Mellotron textures, vintage era keyboard details and some nifty, elegant and at times playful organ on top. Pretty much progressive rock of the vintage, atmospheric variety. This band does add a few additional elements into their take on this sound however. On some cuts they will shift towards a hard, gnarly and obvious metal oriented guitar sound that takes the song or sequence in question into more of a purebred progressive metal founded landscape. In other parts they will let everything go and merely focus on an acoustic guitar exploring more of a medieval inspired melody line. But everything does return and the totally is dominated by the atmospheric laden landscapes of the kind that makes Camel the obvious point of reference. A modern and expressive take on the types of landscapes that band explored on, say, The Snow Goose. It is all well put together too I should add, up to and including that most of the tracks build into one another very well indeed.
Conclusion. Stein isn't a band that have been hitting any headlines I've seen, which is just too bad. While this is a kind of album that may well have a limited audience, those who know and treasure instrumental progressive rock of the kind that Camel used to create should have a field day with this album. As long as one can cope with a band of this kind also incorporating elements of progressive metal into some compositions and passages here and there.
May 26th, 2018
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